Joseph J. Sherman
Business Development Representative - B2B SaaS

Business Talk with Jake Levant Part 1: The Salesclass Solution

Salesclass is an ambitious reskilling program getting olim into high-tech sales careers. (TheMint/Pixabay)

Israel has a shortage of high-tech sales talent. From start-ups to publicly traded companies, recruiters struggle to fill sales positions. As a result, despite their best efforts, many jobs are offshored not to save on costs but because nobody in Israel is qualified to fill the position.  

At the same time, finding well-paying employment is a massive challenge for many olim (new immigrants) even amidst the tremendous economic success of the high-tech sector.

Many come to Israel with impressive academic degrees, professional qualifications, and successful careers. Yet, they often struggle to find jobs that come close to resembling their careers abroad.    

Stuck in unemployment or underemployment, some choose to retrain for entirely new careers, often at a high cost in time and tuition. Others leave Israel or retrain for a new field, only to leave the country later on. These reactions have a massive cost in human capital to the Israeli economy and society and the lost hopes of immigrants who failed to make their immigration successful.  

Jake Levant has a unique solution to this problem; it is called Salesclass, an online sales masterclass for high-tech sales. Moreover, he is uniquely qualified to lead it. An executive with over twenty years in tech marketing and sales, Jake has worked at companies such as Procter & Gamble, Seeking Alpha, and Lightico. In addition, he holds degrees from The University of Calgary, McGill University, and INSEAD.

Jake Levant (left) with Jono Bloom (right) at a networking event hosted by Salesclass and NefeshB’Nefesh. (Courtesy)

What is Salesclass?

Salesclass is a hardcore reskilling program whose sole purpose is to get people into high-tech sales careers.

What jobs do graduates pursue? 

We train for SDR (Sales Development Representatives).

Why is this the best route to follow?

This route leverages what most people can bring to the table – their personality, empathy, communication skills, and work ethic. For businesses, it’s a relatively risk-free role as it directly adds to the company’s revenue.

The market is hot. New SDRs are earning between 15,000 to 22,000 NIS per month. Some people earn more than that. For example,  if you have been working as an accountant, and you land a job in fintech as an SDR, they may give you more credit for your previous career. 

What is unique about Salesclass compared with other training programs?

We see the value of what people come with, not focusing on what they lack. We teach the language of high-tech, networking, and practical skills. 

Israel has endless programs to help people become programmers, but there is a shortage of high-tech salespeople. 

Technology doesn’t sell itself; it needs to be sold. We have a secret weapon that is our olim population. They come with years of work experience, languages, and other abilities. They don’t need to be tech; they need to be high-tech sales.

Salesclass instructor Omri Kenan with a new Ole at a networking event hosted by Salesclass and NefeshB’Nefesh.(Courtesy)

What do olim need to enter high-tech sales?

They need fine polishing on their skills to lead. The value is tremendous. someone has to bring it to market

Rather than offshoring jobs to US or UK, we can do it from here. If folks can sell from Utah, why can’t they sell from Carmiel?

This program is an intensive and practical caterer reskilling with the sole purpose of getting people started in new careers in high tech sales.  Attitude and work ethic here is what you need to do. 

With this program, you gain a year of experience in six weeks. 

How is it possible for students to get a year of experience in six weeks?

The people who run the course have no time. We do very little theory. We use a professional model to teach you what you need to know; then, we do it. Then we do it again. We critique each other and do better. There is a steep learning curve. 

This approach only works if you are ready to learn. Our students already have the basics of sales – empathy and communication. Now, They need to refine their sales techniques for high tech.

After six weeks with some of the best people in the industry, students are learning and improving quickly. And they are getting a true preview of their new careers.  It’s intense. Little theory, lots of practice. 

How do you practice?

We use live fire to practice realistic scenarios. For example, we simulate calls. By the end of the course, you have been on the phone several times. 

We don’t theorize about emails. You write the email, and then we critique what you wrote.

Your approach sounds very different from a traditional training course.

It is the antithesis of everything in traditional education –  lengthy, ineffective, theoretical.  Our course is the nemesis of institutional education –  it is practical, implementable, and employable.

Olim at a networking event hosted by Salesclass and NefeshB’Nefesh.(Courtesy)

How is a typical class structured?

Each class is 2 hours on Zoom. First, we bring in a little theory and then practice role-play, practice again, and build on that. 

For example, we will bring in the theory of email and communication. Then we role-play and do homework. 

We criticize and argue why an approach doesn’t work. Homework is to write an email. We do objection handling and practice with one another. 

Do you learn about making calls?

We learn how to call someone, find their info, and the first thing to say on the phone. Then, where do you go with the conversation? Objections – how do you manage those. How do you close that? How do you move forward? 

In the forthcoming second part, Jake Levant will discuss Saleslass’ instructors, partners, and students.

About the Author
Joseph has extensive experience in business development, sales, and marketing with tech start-ups and scale-ups. Joseph holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the KEDGE Business School in France, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. In addition, he has studied at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico and received a fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley.
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