Software Sales, A Recession-Proof Job?

recession and software

The current pandemic has left all sectors of the economy under a state of shock. Among fears of massive layoffs, unemployment rates in the UK could rise to as high as 15%

This more than doubles that of the unemployment rate of the 2007-2009 recession. All this after a 50 year low of 3.9% unemployment rate before the pandemic. 

The sheer number of layoffs and restructuring has caused a lot of people to question their job security and financial stability. The massive blow to the global economy has caused financial experts to project a future downturn. As to the extent and duration, it is highly dependent on how well the disease will be controlled. 

If you are not living under a rock will know that Software is a relatively large industry. It is a 3.5 trillion dollar industry that will only get bigger as more and more existing industries are incorporating IT to essential parts of their business processes. It’s projected that 95% of companies will be reliant on SaaS (Software as a Service) and that 78% per cent of those who already are will be expanding their SaaS tools. In amongst a lot of negative news, this is a very good marker for people involved in the Software Sales space.

What do Software Sales Salaries look like? 

Software sales careers can be very lucrative. However, the income range is highly variable. On average, a software sales professional makes around $51,301 a year, according to PayScale. These amounts vary depending on bonuses, profit shares, and mostly commissions, just like any other sales job.

On average commissions can add up to $20,000, bonuses of $9,944, and $7,500 from profit shares yearly. All of these factors still highly vary. According to a Business Insider survey, software salespeople working for top tier companies can bring home up to $250,000 or higher.

How did the Software Industry Perform during the 2007 Recession? 

2007 to 2009 took its toll on almost all industries – the Software industry was no exception. But it is fair to say it fared better than other sectors.

One perfect example is the story of SaaS or Software as a Services Companies during the last recession. Growth slowed, but it did not stop. SaaS companies were averaging a 40% annual growth before the recession that dropped down to 10% between 2008 and 2009. A big blow it might seem, but still positive growth. 

There were 17 public SaaS companies prior to the start of 2007. Omniture was acquired by Adobe, and the other 16 are still in business and showing growth. 

Another relevant angle to look at is how software companies performed post-2009. Microsoft is up 400%; Salesforce is up more than 1,400%. Apple, although the majority of its revenue is from hardware, is up 2,000 per cent. Netflix is up more than 5,000% from 2007.

What does a modern-day Software Sales career look like? 

The Sales landscape has changed rapidly within the last few years. 

Previously you were employed in a sales role within an organization. Often with the unoriginal email title of “Sales” as your job role.

Fast forward to 2020, and you have Sales Engineers, Sales Development Reps (SDR’s), Head of Growth, VP of Sales, Business Development. Sales Representative. This expansion in job titles has stemmed from an increase in social selling and the fact that marketing is now expected to warm the leads up and even present the sales department with marketing validated leads. The responsibilities of each title differ within the Sales Industry, but no doubt, the Sales Industry is shifting.

What does a Future Recession Mean to Software Sales Jobs?

Software companies have shown stability and sometimes even growth in the face of extreme financial crises. Having a strong balance sheet and strong leadership has steered many a Software company clear of dangerous waters. Tech Giant Microsoft and Salesforce have shown that it can be done and with flying colours. On the flip side, some organizations have suffered losses despite being in a growing space with massive financial backing. *Cough Cough* WeWork.

How to Recession-Proof Your Software Sales Career

The lousiest salesperson at Salesforce will always close more deals than the Wolf of Wall Street of a buggy startup. 

That’s not meant as a controversial statement. 

When you consider the marketing budget and the prior work companies like Salesforce put into creating marketing through content, webinars, events, new product launches, bundled feature sets etc, it’s fair to say their leads will be a bit warmer. Therefore, picking the product and company, you selling for is an excellent way to ensure your Sales career stays relevant. As a sales professional, you should be asking your organization how much in-bound and out-bound marketing they are doing to create marketing validated leads to ensure as you give your sales career the best opportunity of being recession-proof.

Jyst Agency, build bespoke CRM and Sales Pipeline Software. Jyst have contributed to the design and development of Sales Pipeline CRM Tubular.io sales enablement tool Ripchord.io and industry-specific CRM Atlas Telecoms