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Sales Leadership
3 Ways to Climb The Sales Career Ladder
Sep 5, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

While not everyone in sales wants to move into a sales managerial or leadership position, there are many ambitious sales reps out there who are ready and willing to climb the sales career ladder and get ahead.

If you’re one of them, here are 3 ways you can stand out from the crowd and start your advancement trajectory and develop your sales career..

Create a Plan

If you’re in Inside Sales, you may be thinking that there’s just one career path: from Sales Rep to Account Exec to Sales Manager to Sales Director and even on to VP and CRO (Chief Revenue Officers). But of course, the truth is that the sales career ladder has many different options; this ladder is not straight up but may wind off in different routes. Your first task should be to take the time to reflect on what you really want from your career and to determine what your true goal is. Once you have this goal crystallized in your mind, you can set about actualising it.

Some other sales trajectories:

Have you considered a move to sales operations roles? If CRM and data are what excite you, your path may veer away and be different from Inside Sales: think CRM Specialist to CRM Admin, to Sales Ops Managers to Sales Enablement Directors.

Or what about a business development career path? If your strength lies in creating connections and making them thrive, you might want to move into development: from Business Development Rep to Account Manager to Channel Manager to Channel Director.

Once you’ve landed on a path, create a professional development plan: List your strengths, weaknesses, the opportunities available to you right now, and the obstacles in your way to achieving your goal. Based on this, develop short, medium and long term goals that you can actively work towards.

Step Up

Since you care about your career, you’re probably already functioning at a high-level: meeting targets, completing projects on time and being a dependable figure in the team.

However, if you want to grow in your sales career and climb the ladder, you need to really shine in your current role, develop your skills and make sure your managers to notice you.  Achieve all three of these things by stepping up and seizing opportunities as they arise.

Your manager needs someone to lead a project? Raise your hand! A coworker is sick? Share some of their workload. A problem arises in the team? Be there to problem solve and lend a hand.

A word of warning though, make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’ll only be successful if the additional tasks you take on run smoothly and are well-executed. Saying yes is important but learning to say no is important too.

Keep Track of Your Accomplishments

This is important: as a sales pro, you need to be prepared to sell yourself. Keep a running file of your achievements, so you are ready to refer to them when an opportunity for promotion comes up. In this way, you’ll have a wealth of examples ready when it’s time to make a case.

However, don’t just wait to share your accomplishments until you are asked. This doesn’t mean bragging about them daily in the office in front of the whole team. But when you achieve a tricky close or get praise from a customer, now is not the time to be humble. Share your achievements with your boss so they get timely reminders of your sales leadership throughout the year, not just at review time.

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