Even if you aren’t in SaaS, it doesn’t mean you can’t get into SaaS. Today, there are a ton of professionals who have pivoted into SaaS revenue roles.
Getting into SaaS can seem tough though. How do you successfully pivot your career into a SaaS job? And even once you’re in SaaS, how do you make sure you quickly get up to speed.
For a lot of people, breaking into SaaS can seem like a hard task. Do you need to have a network to get in? What skills are required to break in?
We’ll dive into pivoting your career into SaaS with Drew Brucker, a VP of Growth at a SaaS company who first got his career started in non-SaaS sales.
If you want to grow your career, you can’t just limit yourself to your job responsibilities. Sometimes, you need to be willing to step out and take on a new responsibility. If you treat things that you’re handed outside of your job as actually “outside of your job”, you may be missing a key opportunity to grow.
“I think the takeaway was like, everything's your job. You know, there's nothing that's not your job. That was kind of what this role was. I took that mentality with me and that's probably the best takeaway I got of it.
There are certain things that you're required to do and other things that just need to be done. And so jumping in and doing those things always comes in handy.”
Opportunity happens when luck meets preparation. For Drew, switching into marketing was possible because he happened to talk about a marketing opportunity with a competitor company. He had the skills for marketing but hadn’t been able to apply them in a job. Luckily, when opportunity came calling, Drew was able to take advantage.
“I had a competitor reach out. We just talked about the opportunity to switch into marketing and they might be willing to take a chance on me. And so I just kind of weaseled my way in. I knew social media at the time. I taught some courses for employees at Camden, just trying to teach them how Facebook works.
That was like my ticket in, right. So if I could just get a chance, then I felt like this was a great opportunity for me and it, and it was.”
Not every career move is going to result in a higher title or higher salary. Sometimes you have to be willing to take a step back in title or salary to grow long-term. You need to look at long-term growth opportunities when evaluating jobs. Otherwise, you might be limiting your max potential.
“There was a bigger step back with going into property management. I was making pretty decent money at the time for a 25 year old at Office Depot and sales but I just hated it so much. I was looking for something that actually spoke to me.
And so that's how I landed in property management. I took a 20-30,000 pay cut there. So that was a humbling job. I think when I went from community manager to specialist, it was pretty much a lateral move in terms of compensation, but I just looked at all the other elements beyond pay that it was gonna provide.
And so it was a no-brainer at that point.”
If you want to pivot into SaaS, the easiest way is by moving to the same industry but in SaaS. Find the tech companies that service the industry you work in. For example, if you’re in hospitality, look for SaaS companies that service the hospitality industry. A lot of those companies will be looking for talent with industry expertise.
“The key was that the company that was recruiting me was a vendor in the space. So I went from the customer side to the vendor side, which made it really natural—an easier transition because I still knew the space.
It was just going to the SaaS side of things. I knew I wanted to learn more. I knew I needed somebody alongside me that could teach me what I don't know. And it was an uncomfortable leap of faith, but ultimately it paid off.”
When you pivot into SaaS, you need to look for opportunities to provide value. Lean on your personal experience and strengths and look for ways you can add value.
“I think a lot of people just try to do the very minimum. For me, I was just trying to find ways how I could take a look at the job description and go beyond the job description—create my own opportunities within it, learn, talk to people and just try to follow my own plan and work collaboratively with the team that was there.
I also had an awesome team that was super talented. So we just had a really good understanding of what each other's strengths were. We utilized those. We had the opportunity to really throw around a lot of ideas and talk through them without judgment and be creative.
And so ultimately like those things gave me more confidence along the way as I got more and more settled in.”
To be successful in a SaaS role, you need to constantly be open to learning. Lean on the leaders at your company to help fill in knowledge gaps. You should also spend time and create relationships with others that can help you find success in your role. Networking is a big part of filling knowledge gaps.
“I just fully immerse myself. If I deem a skill as a necessity or something that I'm genuinely interested in, I go deep. I'm trying to pick it up and be proficient with it.
But the advice I would give to myself and anybody that's breaking in right now would be to talk to other people that are in the shoes that you wanna fill.
There are just so many people out there that are willing to help. So if you're proactive and you try to create relationships and build rapport, you can go talk to them. The biggest thing then is really just identifying the right kind of questions that you wanna have answered.
And, you know, if there are other things, maybe even ask them if there are other things you should be asking or thinking about.”
If leadership and or company direction is changing a lot, that might be a red flag. If you see other people on your team leaving that might be a red flag. You don’t always have to move jobs if that’s the case but it’s something to consider. Make sure you’re able to identify red flags for your career to maximize your potential.
“The autonomy that I had and to grow with that company was tremendous. It was really just a matter of, I had been there three years and leadership had changed a few times.
I think our direction had changed a few times. A manager that I cared about dearly and had loved working with had left. I had another teammate leave. So there was a little volatility there. I don't know that I was actively looking though. I mean it really just came down to an opportunity that was presented to me just by chance.”
Drew joined Lasso because he had a passion for the product and a passion for the opportunity to get to build things. When you come across a role that you’re passionate about and the company is interested in, take it. You will probably get a great sense of fulfillment from taking the role.
“What really stood out to me was the ability to get back to hands-on marketing. I love the ability to jump on calls and talk through stuff and kind of skim the surface. But I think at the end of the day, I love to create, I love to feel the impact.
I love to build things. I love the ambiguity of a startup. I love driving towards something that's much bigger than me. And so when I heard more and more about :asso and what we were doing, and then saw the product and talked to the people that were here it felt like a no brainer to me.
A lot of imposter syndrome can be solved by having the right mindset. You need to leave your ego at the door that you have to know it all and be okay with not knowing. If you don’t change your mindset, imposter syndrome can eat at you and take you away from your job.
“I have a little bit more of an intellectual take on it. It sounds weird, but I think it does have a lot to do with ego. I really got down this path of thinking about ego and insecurities and kind of eliminating these negative thoughts that would creep up in my head.
I would go down these wheels where you've got one bad thought and then all of a sudden you've got another bad thought. And because you entertain that thought it starts to snowball. So I spent a lot of late nights just thinking about, ‘How could I be better at my job? How could I better lead my team?’
‘What am I gonna do about these things? I don't know.’ And I think at some point you just gotta say, ‘Hey look, it's okay not to know it all.’ I'd rather be curious, ask the right questions, figure out who does know what I need to know.”
If you’re hiring, make sure you’re hiring for things that you can’t do. Double down on your strengths and hire for weaknesses. You also want to hire people that are serious about their career development and want to grow.
I want to find people that are curious and serious about their development. And look, you don't have to be a workaholic to be serious about that.That's not what this is. It's really just about, ‘Do you have that thirst for more and what you don't know and improving and being a self-starter?’ So I love that. I love the idea of attitude over experience.
You never know if a role is actually perfect for you. A job might seem perfect and then it gets handed to someone else but you end up finding an even better job. Everyone is on a different path and you shouldn’t dwell on not getting a job.
“We're all on different roads. It's important to know when you are looking for roles, you're gonna run into roles that you think are right up your alley, companies that you think are right up your alley and you just don't get the job.
That's happened to all of us, right? I've gotten to the final stage of the couple companies and roles that I really, really wanted. I thought they were the perfect fit for me.
I knew somebody that ended up getting a job I wanted and it turns out she was friends with the hiring manager.
That's cool but that's just another example of something you don't know that's happening behind the scenes and they actually let her go during COVID whereas I still had a job.
And so you don't always recognize those moments right when they're happening but those can be blessings in disguise.”
To be better prepared for interviews, make sure you’re regularly networking. You should be talking with people who have roles that you want or work at companies that you want to work at. You never know when someone can open that door for you. Also, be willing to speak to failures. That’s something most people don’t do.
“LinkedIn's such a great place right now. It's different than it was a year or two ago, right?
People are having conversations all the time and a lot of people are giving back and are really respectful of those opportunities.
I know if someone reached out to me, I'd be more than willing to help. So I think that's number one. Two,I think you need to understand where your milestones are that currently exist in your job?
What are those amazing things that you've already done and accomplished and have those as the core elements to how you're gonna interview and what you're gonna lean on.
And, you know, resumes are flawed, right? Like you just need to get in the door because of resumes but they never talk about the failures that got you there.”