Free guide: How to Build the Sales Career You Want
Congratulations on choosing to explore the opportunities of a career in sales, how exciting! A sales career will offer you constant, unique challenges and put you in charge of your own success. Plus, the sales department is typically one of the highest paid departments in a company.
Whether you’re just starting to think about a career in sales, or you’re eyeing that open Sales Manager position, we’re here to help you understand the lay of the land. Here’s a glimpse into our free guide to help you navigate various paths, set career goals, and build the career you want.
Choose the right role.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common sales roles, what’s involved in each one and what kind of skills are needed to succeed.
We’ll start with a sales development representative (sometimes called a market, business or lead development representative or a lead generation specialist). These reps are in charge of researching, finding and reaching out to new prospects and qualifying them for other sales reps. It’s not uncommon to include quite a bit of cold calling, so someone who is personable and organized is likely to succeed in this role.
An inside sales role is a great place to start for those transitioning from an SDR role to a sales job. There’s plenty of opportunity to grow by working closely and learning from sales managers and more seasoned reps. Inside sales reps work in an office and sell remotely, so you should have strong technical skills, rounded product knowledge, and feel comfortable using customer management (CRM) software.
The counterpart to an inside sales rep is the outside sales rep or, field sales rep. Out in the “field,” these reps focus on building relationships face-to-face. Someone who thrives on personal interaction, uncertain situations, and can self-manage and organize will be successful in this role.
Last but not least, there’s the sales manager. As the title suggests, they’re in charge of managing the performance and day-to-day activities of sales professionals, including SDRs and sales reps. To be a sales manager, it’s best to have a few years of experience under your belt. You’ll need to have strong communication and analytical skills since it’s important to evaluate your team’s performance and identify what they need to be successful. Their success will be yours as well.
Understand your compensation.
If you didn’t already know, here at QuotaPath, we’re self-identified sales nerds. We live and breathe sales compensation plans. Here are a few key components we believe make a good compensation plan:
- Simple enough it can fit on the back of a napkin, which means no more than 3 variable components.
- Set realistic goals that are ambitious yet achievable. (Sales reps thrive off challenge and competition after all.)
- Correct ratio of quota to on-target earnings (OTE). If you’re just starting your career generally somewhere in the 20-25% range is ideal.
Beware, there are terrible plans out there. A few red flags to look out for when reviewing compensation plans are any moving targets, a high clawback rate, and 100% commission jobs (unless you’re working in real estate or auto sales).
The good news here? QuotaPath is equipped to manage all kinds of plans — from the good ones to the not-so-good ones. It’s free to use too, so sign up to start calculating your earnings today.
Map your career goals.
The beginning of your career is all about trying different things and discovering what you like, and equally important, what you dislike. To map your career goals, ask yourself questions like:
- What aspects of your current job do you find most satisfying?
- What skills do you have that aren’t being put to use in your current role?
- What would be your ideal job situation in one year?
Answer those questions, then make a plan on how to make changes that will make you happier and potentially more successful as a result.
You might imagine you’ll feel more confident and secure after a few years, but that’s not always the case. People with ten, twenty or even fifty years of work can be just as unsure of the next steps as they were at the beginning of their careers. Check-in with yourself regularly about the state of your career to avoid getting stuck in a rut. Your goals will shift over time, since life goes on and priorities are constantly changing and evolving.
Did you find this information helpful? It’s all inspired by our guide, How to Build the Sales Career You Want. Download the free guide to get even more great content.