Becoming a self-made B2B salesperson : Carving out a successful sales career
The estimated average tenure of a sales person varies wildly but it is safe to say that most of your stints will last somewhere between 2-5 years, which means that on average you will have something like 5 different employers before you hit your mid-thirties – One of the side-effects of switching institutions is that you have both overlap and gaps in your sales development*. Combine job switching with spending a bunch of time with under-resourced, early stage start-ups and you could find that you have a Swiss cheese sales education that really slows down your progress.
If you are looking to be a world-class salesperson, then I would advise you to sit with several experienced salespeople that you respect and make a note of all the skills that they deem critical; then set about investing in yourself by attending conferences, workshops and seminars to start carving out the sales professional within. The areas you will need to cover include (but are not limited to): Territory analysis/planning, Large Account Planning, Discovery meetings, Call planning, Political mapping, Opportunity management, Business writing for sales, Commercial negotiation, Finance for non-finance people, pipeline & forecast management and presentation skills…
My suggestion is that you make a list of all the skills you need based on interviewing top sales performers and then set about finding courses to build out your knowledge, with or without your employer’s sponsorship.
*I have an acute understanding of this at an academic level because I attended no less than 8 schools due to international travel as I grew up and I can tell you that my maths was horrible…. Different approaches, progression rates and emphasis depending on location meant that I never really caught up until I realized that I was going to have issues at college and chose to get tutoring from my friends to catch up.]