3 Must-Have Strategies For Growing Your Sales Career

3 Must-Have Strategies For Growing Your Sales Career

As a VP of Sales at Anvyl, I spend my days coaching and developing my team. One of my favorite weekly activities are the one-on-ones with members of the sales team. During those meetings team members often ask, “what are the career growth opportunities?”

I like to respond by asking “what does growth look like to you?”

Think about it for a minute. Can you answer what growth looks like to you – with specifics on HOW you want to grow? Don’t worry if you are unable. I’ve found that most people can’t articulate what they’re looking for, so my goal is to give you some insight on how salespeople can approach this exercise. 

Below are helpful tips I’ve relied on over the years to empower myself, and others, to move forward in their sales career.


Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable

You may have a manager who’s setting goals for you and holding you accountable to ensure you hit your quota, but I’ve found it’s good to set personal growth goals as well. Yes, good managers will hopefully help you clarify and connect with ways and goals to grow that align with your personality and skill set. Be sure to communicate that you would like their support in this way. 

Here are examples of specific growth goals I set for myself:

  • Increase the complexity of the sale – larger deal size, longer sales cycle, more buyers
  • Improve my communication style – not using “upspeak” and speaking more slowly
  • Get practice being calm when speaking in front of a large audience – ask for opportunities to present at department and company meetings
  • Improve by training others – run training sessions for new hires and peers

Sometimes we’re so focused on a new title, or thinking the grass is greener at another company, that we don’t focus on the opportunities right in front of us. With the right mindset, there are lots of ways you can improve within your current role.

Setting personal growth goals is one thing. Actually putting in the work to achieve them is a different story. You can hold yourself accountable by creating a plan to hit your goals, then routinely check back in monthly or quarterly to review your progress.

***Bonus points if you loop in your manager to create an added layer of accountability (and support!).


Think about All of Your Growth Options

In my own experiences, I’ve often been advised against making a “lateral” move in my career. Contrary to the popular belief, moving from an Account Executive role at one organization to an Account Executive role at another company can lead to growth. You’re learning a new product, a new sales process, potentially a new industry and learning from a new boss. I’ve made a few lateral moves in my career and learned a tremendous amount I never expected. 

This doesn’t mean that you should jump from company to company every year – it’s just something to consider if you aren’t able to find a path forward in your current position. From a career growth standpoint, it’s important to stay at an organization for a few years to show you are dependable and committed to your own education and hands-on experience. Taking this approach also builds your internal brand, and prepares you to reach new levels of success that build upon what you have already successfully learned and completed. 

In the corporate world, moving to management is often seen as a “clear next step”. However, managing people is a very different skill set than being an individual contributor. Instead of hitting an individual goal you need to hire talented people, coach them, and spend time motivating and holding them accountable to hit both personal and team goals. Not everyone is interested in becoming a manager or has the skill set to be successful in that role.


Get Clear About When Taking a New Role to Grow Makes Sense

If you are interested in changing roles, you are probably also contemplating when and how to take on a new opportunity. This will look different for each person, but there are a few essentials to think about when considering a transition to a new company or role:

  • Is it a great product that you believe in and clients love, and are there high renewal rates?
  • Is the market actively looking to purchase the product? Does the product solve a real problem that customers face?
  • Can I picture myself at the organization for at least 3-5 years?
  • Does this role fit my skill set, and will I grow from taking the opportunity?
  • Why am I taking this role? For…money, location, product, new challenge? 
  • Do I know anyone at the organization I can speak with, and can they provide me with an unbiased review?


You Are In the Driver’s Seat of Your Sales Career Growth

If there’s one key thing you take from this article, remember you are the one who defines what “growth” means to you. The motivations and actions of your own development belong to you, only. 

My hope is that these tips act as a guide as you evaluate your future opportunities and grow in your career… even if you are on the sales team at Anvyl!


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Amanda Rice VP of Sales – Anvyl

Amanda Rice has 10+ years of sales leadership experience at SaaS companies focused on building Inside Sales and SDR teams, which is why she recently joined Anvyl as the VP of Sales. Previously she carried a number of roles at Schoology growing her career from Inside Sales Manager to Sales Operations to VP Sales. When Schoology was acquired by PowerSchool she helped manage the transition and then grew her sales team by inheriting additional product lines. Her favorite part about her roles has been the opportunity to provide guidance and teach skills and behaviors that help grow others careers.

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