How to choose your next sales role
November 2019 – there are currently almost 65,000 sales jobs posted live across Reed, Indeed and Totaljobs.
In London only.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Even accounting for a large number of those being duplicates – let’s say half – we’re still looking at around 30,000 sales-related jobs, in London ALONE. I daren’t do a search across the UK as a whole (but let me know your findings if you decide to!).
If I’m a job seeker, one question springs to mind when I look at these stats as a whole:
As a salesperson, how in the world do I choose my next role?!
There are some obvious and simple ways to narrow this down – salary likely being the first, location the second. Now sector, experience level and so on and so forth… But, my guess is, you’re still going to be spoilt for choice. What you’re reading all over the place right now – that it’s a candidate’s dream job market at present, with opportunities galore, etc etc – is certainly true. But when does too much choice become counterproductive?
There are many questions we ask the candidates we meet, beyond finding out about their current position – so here are the main things that myself and my team think really help make sure that the next sales role you take is the right one:
Why are you leaving?
Bear in mind the phrase, “out of the frying pan, into the fire”.
Across the business we ask each and every candidate this question, of course, but let’s drill down further into sales specifically. If you’re looking to move on due to unrealistic targets (see my previous article), a toxic sales environment or any other manner of negative reason – one that’s pretty well out of your hands – make sure you ask the right questions at interview.
When you’re looking for a new challenge, a more rewarding position or some other intrinsically motivated reason, it makes choosing a new role somewhat simpler… But when it’s more to do with an actual ‘issue’ as such, what you don’t want to do is jump ship, only to find the same problems on the ground. Take time to understand exactly what you want – and DON’T want – from the next position.
Your skillset – moreover, what you want to do with it
Regardless of what level your career sits at currently, it’s important to consider the value you already possess in terms of a skillset. But what do you want to do with it?
With so much choice on the market, you’ll be faced with options where your skillset and experience will translate directly – and others where your experience may simply be considered as ‘transferrable’, rather than ‘spot on’.
No need to fear – there’s no shortage of employers who are open, nay keen, to hear about how and why you’ll be successful, rather than how you have been in the past. When looking for a new sales role, consider whether you want to continue to grow and develop the skills, knowledge and experience you have already (whether that be within new business versus account management, the sector/industry you’re used to selling to, the products and services you’ve sold so far) or whether you’d like to use that experience as a means to learn something new altogether.
Your next employer
It may sound obvious, but the company itself plays a huge part in determining the sales role it’s offering. The working environment for the lone Business Development Manager at a boutique tech start-up is going to differ massively from that of a 30-strong sales floor within a blue-chip; both have fantastic benefits and downsides alike.
But they’re going to be very, very different benefits and downsides.
Think carefully about your current employer and what’s important to you in the next – if you’ve been working as a standalone and crave that team environment, looking at a larger company is going to make sense. If you’re feeling like a number and want to make an impact, a smaller business going through a high-growth period is going to appeal.
Fundamentally, there are pros and cons to each role out there – and it’s an exciting time to be searching. Our expert team knows the sales job market inside out, London and beyond; we’re proud to be working with some of the most exciting businesses across the UK. We’d love to hear from you, and to tell you more about the opportunities we’re representing right now.