Top Tips on Career Progression for Aspiring Sales Leaders!

woman smiling looking at a computer screen with the word 'Development' on it

Career progression in Sales will always be a talking point due to the buzz that hard work and high rewards can bring in the job. Those who have mastered it hold invaluable knowledge for anyone who is seeking that next promotion. Alex Kahn-Former Associate Vice President of Sales at Triptease-shared what it was like being a new sales leader and what he wished he’d known when he was transitioning up. Let’s dive into what attitudes you need to help you fast-track your progression through this career trajectory!

In Alex’s live broadcast, Lessons Learned by a New Sales Leader, we took a look at his fantastic career. At only twenty-six, Alex heads up the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region for Triptease, leading the sales team. Triptease builds digital tools that help hoteliers drive direct bookings and improve their guest experience at a reasonable price. Their value lies in providing mutual benefits for both themselves and hotel owners, offering an alternative to other providers who have monopolized the travel industry. In just four short years, Alex went from AE to Associate VP of Sales and was no.1 revenue contributor in 2017.

3 tips for those starting the journey in sales management:

1. Don’t stress if sales don’t go well at the start 🎯

Trust your process and commit to it. Your numbers will eventually begin to tip if you are doing all the right things and sticking to it. Resilience and perseverance are key skills to master.

2. Invest your time in a strong leadership team 👩🏽‍🤝‍👨🏻

It may feel natural to invest a large proportion of your time in a product. But, that product may not be what your business is dedicated to long-term. What is long-term is your leadership team! Invest your time in building a strong structure that benefits your team and where your goals and ambitions are aligned.

3. The culture that you build in the office should be what’s best for you 👌

Don’t stress if the culture you build in your new office is different from the one you came from or from the company’s HQ. Focus on what’s right for you in your part of the world.

We also put some questions to Alex about early career sales professionals and what they should keep an eye out for if they want to make an impact in their job. Here’s what he said…

Q. “What kinds of salespeople are seeing relative success?”

“We are finding it much more challenging to generate new business leads without the option for face-to-face sales and industry events due to the pandemic. The successful salespeople in my organization depend on their network of customers for upsells and cross-sells during this time AND openly asking influencers in their network for references to get in the door with a completely fresh prospect.”

“Also, salespeople that hunt high and go after the larger accounts are seeing success. Sadly, we’ve seen quite a few SMB clients and prospects temporarily shut down-they are simply less inclined to look at digital marketing initiatives when this is the case. A much greater proportion of our sales are coming from larger accounts at the mid-market and enterprise level. These businesses are large enough to maintain office operations even while the hotels themselves are shut.”

“So, overall, the salespeople who will do well are those that have remained in close contact with their largest sales to date, built a strong network in their market to reach out to for referrals, and have direct relationships with the largest accounts in their territories whether they had sold them or not.”

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring leaders in order to achieve career progression?

“Start practicing your team player and leadership skills as early as possible — even if they don’t come naturally to you. It was very challenging for me at first to manage and motivate people with different personality types. Engage and support people in your sales organization who think differently to you. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by preparing for a challenge you are bound to face in the future. Plus, your visibility to management as a team player can’t hurt.”

“Seeking out challenging markets can often pay off in the long run too. For the first six months of my career, I failed to sell into the Caribbean, and I watched salespeople in my cohort have almost instant success in markets like New York and California. It is hard to gain initial trust and traction in the Caribbean market, but once you have it, you are one of very few people that do. The trust I built up over the year was a barrier to lots of the competition because we operated in a place that was generally reluctant to give new products a try.”

“By the end of year one, my sales cycle had gone from slowest to fastest on the team, and I was able to maintain some of the highest AOV/margins due to the challenges that slowed me down when I started.”

Alex joined Triptease straight out of university because he saw the company was making waves and the competition was taking notice. Always try and find somewhere where there are opportunities to progress for both yourself and the company.

Want to know more? Check out our courses specific to Sales and Management & Leadership and find out about our upcoming free live events here.