Taking charge of your career trajectory is essential to future success. Learning from those who have achieved your career ambitions is a great way to set the course. That’s why we’ve compiled career advice from a few influential sales leaders. They too started their careers in the trenches and are sharing their perspectives to help you navigate your own.
Drawing from published interviews, blog posts and anecdotal stories, we’ve uncovered where these leaders failed and what they learned along the way. Their stories have been shaped into five core lessons...
(If you’re interested in learning more about their backstories, click on the links to read the full articles at the bottom of the page.)
Lesson #1: Identify your managers’ pain points and challenges
Jim McDonough, VP of Sales at Attendware
Hitting your quota is certainly an achievement, but won’t necessarily get you the attention you deserve. Take the time to develop a rapport with your manager and figure out what keeps them up at night. Finding ways to leverage your skillset to help out beyond what’s outlined in your job description will set you up for success. What are your managers trying to accomplish (beyond making their numbers) and where could you alleviate their pain?
Lesson #2: Set others up for success
Brandon Cassidy, VP of Sales at Talkdesk
Taking credit away from others to shine the light on your own accomplishments is a big mistake. No one wants to work with that guy. Creating the conditions for others to thrive will help you get noticed and attract the right talent for your team. Take the time to coach others and share your perspective on what it takes to grow and evolve as a leader. You want to be inclusive in your success and make people feel like you have their backs. It will pay off in the long run.
Lesson #3: Act like as a consultant
Rachel McLaughlin, Senior Sales Associate at Bloom Energy
The best sales teams are more like consulting teams. You’re wearing many different hats by framing the client’s challenge and helping to solve their problem. Finding ways to add strategic value to the client’s business – such as being the first to identify a new product’s market potential – will help you transcend your job description and evolve into a leadership role. Communication skills, business acumen and efficiency are essential to thriving in this capacity.
Lesson #4: Shift your perspective on time management
Michael Weinberg, Sales Coach and Author of “New Sales. Simplified.”
Top sales performers are often “productively selfish” with their time. To block out distractions, they often lock in on their goals and guard their calendars. This is an essential tool to keep them focused and hit their numbers. But when you become a manager, your time is no longer yours to own. Instead of keeping others away, your job is to invest in those through whom you’ll achieve results.
The transition from protecting your time to giving it away is challenging, but inevitable in a leadership role. Be cognizant of this shift and its implications to how you manage your time. Change your perspective by asking yourself, “How should I be investing in this hour to help my people achieve their goals”?
Lesson #5: Earn your leadership
Eli Martin, Director of Sales at eZanga
Moving up the ranks doesn’t mean you’re too good to get your hands dirty. If you sit back and bark orders, you’ll just isolate yourself and deter others from wanting to work with you. Effective leaders are willing to get in the trenches with their teams. They wouldn’t ask something of their team that they wouldn’t do themselves. So don’t forget where you came from and never lose the capability of rolling up your sleeves to get messy.