There’s a certain set of qualities, call them traits, that successful sales people have. And while the debate remains – are sales people born or made, we know one thing for sure – the sales profession demands a certain skill set. It requires empathy, great people skills, and a driven personality.
And because sales is omnipresent, it’s an industry that’s always looking to expand and develop its workforce. After all, whether it’s a small business, or a multinational delivering products globally, sales is the driving force behind growth. And front and centre of these organisations are sales professionals – an industry that makes up one of the biggest workforces in Ireland.
If you’re one of the many sales professionals with an enviable black book of contacts and impressive sales knowledge looking to level-up your career, then read on. Because here’s what you need to take your sales career to the next level.
When you first entered the sales industry, you might have worked in various roles or disciplines before you found your niche. As you develop into your role, it’s important to know your key areas of strength and where these can grow and add value over time. In simple terms, you need a strategy for your own sales career path.
Consider the senior leaders and those you look up to within your organisation and profession as a whole. What career path have they taken that you can replicate? Plot out your career journey, and find yourself a mentor to help reach those milestones.
While mapping out your preferred career pathway, consider the sales role you want to develop into. Since some sales roles work on zero commissions, whilst others are purely commission-led, this deserves due consideration as you evolve in the industry.
No matter how adept one is, there’s always gaps in our knowledge and opportunity to learn. What sets a successful sales professional apart is their ability to identify these and strive for improvement. It’s part of the growth mindset that successful leaders adopt, in a quest to level-up their sales knowledge and acumen.
In a study by The Harvard Business Review, eighty-four percent of the top performers in sales scored highly in achievement orientation. These candidates were found to be focused on, not just achieving goals, but also constantly assessing and measuring their own performance in relation to them. If you’re not already evaluating your skill set and reviewing areas for personal growth, it’s never too soon to start. And in light of the recent pandemic, there’s more opportunity than ever to learn online, with an abundance of training programmes to tap into.
One of the benefits of a sales career is that it can be heavily compensated, especially for middle and senior management. The average sales career salary in Ireland sits at around €35,000 annually, while top earners can expect to earn over double at €81,270 at Sales Director level according to Payscale.
If you aren’t receiving the remuneration, you ought to be, it could be time to review your role.
But when is the right time to bow out and move on? In the sales profession, there are no hard and fast rules. However, experts tend to suggest that typically, 3-4 years’ in a role is adequate before looking for new career opportunities.
As you think about your next move and your sales career pathway as a whole, think about where the opportunity lies. For instance, in recent months and years we have seen a big explosion of growth in emerging markets and technologies, and sales professionals in these areas have been in high-demand. In a world post-covid, the pharmaceutical sector and digital technology has seen a boom, whilst those in the travel have seen quite the opposite.
Attend industry events, sign-up to relevant podcasts, newsletters and industry magazines to stay abreast of the latest developments. And always have a trusted sales recruitment specialist that can help map out your future with you, keeping you in mind for exceptional opportunities that emerge.
Everyone’s sales career path and aspirations differs, and there’s no wrong or right route to take. However, with some carefully forecasting, strategic planning and personal development, the opportunity to grow and develop has never been better.