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Why fintech companies want salespeople who ‘get’ coding

Posted on 22/07/2020
by Lee Doherty

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The UK’s fintech market has held up relatively well during the Coronavirus pandemic. The vast majority of fintechs (87%) have raised equity finance which means many have hard cash as well as access to expertise and investor networks in order to get through.

It also makes fintech a lucrative industry for salespeople looking for stability. But beware – it takes more than decent chat to sell into the tech space.

As technologies advance and become more complex, salespeople have had to match that in terms of their skillsets. The idea of pushing a product with a set of prices to achieve is a bit old school, and certainly dying out more at the top. In the world of fintech, you can't sell a complex software platform if you can't describe it and put the return on investment points across in understandable and believable terms.

If you're going to be at the top of the food chain with a six figure base salary plus commission, then you need strap on some additional skills, as opposed to just being able to close or manage relationships. That’s doubly important in fintech.

There is a strong demand for salespeople who have a decent understanding of the tech they’re selling. The colour de jour is for salespeople to understand coding. It doesn’t matter what language they understand, but they need a base understanding of how the tech works. It’s critical when talking to CTOs and lead developers on the other side.

You can be the best talker in town and you could be somebody that will make Star of the Day at the mid to low level or book 50 meetings a week. But it'll only take you so far in a conversation with what's fast becoming more and more complex sales environments. So, to maintain credibility, to maintain momentum in the deal, salespeople must have that depth of knowledge.

This is why so many salespeople have spent lockdown strapping on skills such as AWS Certifications or gaining cyber security accreditations, training to broaden their understanding. It’s about knowing the “How?” and “Why?” than the “What?”

This is the standard for mid-senior sales roles in tech, but what about juniors? Certainly, understanding some aspect of coding will leave you in good stead, but hiring managers are far more interested in your enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, and dedication. In a nutshell, they want to know you’re teachable. Tech knowledge and sales techniques will come from that.

For your first two to five, six years in role, it's about getting that sales experience, that business development experience, that relationship building and management experience within a professional environment that. That seems like an age to a lot young salespeople, but it takes that long to build up credibility and knowledge. And with the speed at which tech will move – even during Covid – the more info you can soak up, the better.

Lee Doherty is a senior consultant in Client Server's Technical Sales team. 


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