During my career, I’ve always worked towards the next promotion. Sometimes I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, but I always took steps to make sure that I was positioned to advance.
Here are my top tips for how you can set yourself up for that next promotion (and the ones after that):
1. Know your numbers and strive for the highest level.
When you’ve achieved your sales numbers, there’s nothing more for people to ask of you. You can fairly ask for a promotion. Make sure you understand your worth within the organization. It’s one thing to understand your quota, and another to understand how the money you bring in fits into the larger picture.
If you understand your worth, in quantitative terms, you can get the recognition that you deserve.
2. Develop a strong support system.
I’ve always had both a mentor and a coach. They’re both important but have fundamentally different jobs. My mentors are outside of the organization. They provide me with an outside perspective to help me as I’m building my career. Right now I have three mentors, and they’re all on speed-dial.
Additionally, I have a coach inside the organization. My coaches are people who I’ve chosen very carefully. I foster my relationship with them because they can coach me to the next level. They’re always at a higher level than me—sometimes two or three levels higher. These people are also advocates and can help you connect with the right people in your organization and vouch for you.
3. Know your formula for success.
When I look at sales overall, there is a methodology that you can follow to win. You can add your own spin, but there are essential elements that remain the same. If the formula is right, it can work across multiple sales channels and activities.
Knowing your formula is critical for both individual contributors and leaders. Individual contributors need to know the formula so they can execute it, over and over again. For leaders, you need to have a formula you can get a group of other people to replicate. I’ve worked in many different divisions over the course of my time at CareerBuilder, but I always bring the same basic formula to my work. That has been the key to my success. Think about what’s yours and what you can bring to a team.
4. Look for needs within your organization that you can fill.
I have been at CareerBuilder for 13 years. I used to think that I wouldn’t stay at any place for nearly that long, but the stimulation and opportunities for growth that I’ve received here have kept me in one place. I believe strongly in our mission of helping to put people in the right jobs, and I’ve constantly been able to learn and grow.
To grow within your organization, you have to create your own opportunities. I started a Women’s Alliance six years ago because I saw a need for it. 54 percent of people in sales were women, but that was not reflected on the executive level. So I gave our leaders data on why the Women’s Alliance needed to exist and received the go-ahead.
If you identify a need in your organization and there isn’t a role for it, make sure that the right people know about it. Show them what can be done and ask them to take a chance on you. If you’re a performer, they’ll give you that chance.
5. Be willing to take a pay cut to pursue new opportunities.
I’ve taken a pay cut four or five times. When I was asked to build new client acquisition, I didn’t get a pay increase or even a title increase. But the opportunity excited me because the company had tried developing new client acquisition twice before and it failed. I knew that it was not going to fail under my leadership, and that the money would come.
Think about it like professional sports. When a player is drafted for the NFL, most of them will not get all of the money they deserve. They have to prove themselves, too. That’s what we have to do in sales. Then when the contract is up for renegotiation and you’ve done exceptional things, you’re in a good position to negotiate.
Trust yourself that you will get the money that is owed to you. And you will.
You can build a stimulating and rewarding career within the right organization. By using these principles as a guide, you can adopt a mentality of constant career growth.
Puja Rios is the Vice President of Sales, Healthcare and New Client Acquisition at CareerBuilder. She is responsible for SAAS sales strategies and revenue growth through her teams that partner with the country’s top organizations. Rios brings 20 years of account strategy and sales experience, helping clients utilize long-term strategies to drive business development and create a measurable ROI.