Asking for a Promotion to Sales Management
Not everyone in sales has an interest in earning their way into a sales manager or sales director position, but many sales reps do. If you have a desired career path that includes a promotion to management, you need to know not only when to ask for a promotion but how to ask in a way that increases your chances of getting that promotion.
Do Promotion Opportunities Exist?
The first thing you need to do may seem obvious but is often overlooked. Asking for a promotion when there are no opportunities for advancement will only serve to create a stressful situation for you and for the person you are asking for a promotion.
A common thought of senior leaders who are asked by an employee for a promotion to either a position that is not vacant or doesn't exist is to wonder if the employee is looking to leave the company.
Before you even think about asking for a promotion, make sure that either a position opening exists or a new position is needed to be created.
Have You Proven Yourself?
Just because you want to be promoted doesn't mean that you have deserved one. Not only that, you may not have earned the "right" to ask for a promotion in the mind of your senior leaders. Before asking for a promotion, ascertain how the decision makers in your company feel about you.
If you receive performance updates, re-read them, paying attention to any ratings or comments that suggest how ready senior leaders feel you are about assuming more responsibilities.
Of course in sales, the best way to prove yourself is by producing results. Hitting your assigned quota is expected; those who consistently overachieve their quotas are the ones usually considered for a promotion.
What Skills do You Have?
Assuming that you have proven yourself in your current sales position, it's time to consider other skills that will make you a candidate for promotion. For while your selling skills are important, they don't do much good for a manager who doesn't possess the skills of teaching, coaching and building a sense of team.
Senior leaders are usually very reluctant to pull a talented sales rep out of a sales position and promote them into management if the person has a polarizing personality, is difficult to work with and is focused solely on their interests.
The best and most successful sales managers and sales directors blend strong sales skills, with strong rapport, negotiation, trouble-management and recruiting skills.
If you (or your superiors) feel that you are lacking in any critical managerial skills, hold off on asking for a promotion until you can improve them all. If your employer does offer additional skill training, make sure you ask to be included in the next training sessions while letting them know that you are interested in earning a promotion. Letting them that you are serious about advancing your career before asking for a promotion will probably put you in a very strong position.
Have Your Ducks in a Row
If you are ready and your desired position is available, make sure you spend plenty of time preparing for both asking for a promotion and interviewing for the position. You've done way too much work getting yourself in a position to confidently ask for a promotion to waste your opportunity by going into a meeting with your supervisor ill prepared.
Prepare for your meeting or interview much like you would when preparing for a large sales presentation. Learn what specific skills the person you will be meeting with would want a sales manager to possess. Consider what you feel the sales team you want to manage most needs to reach the next level and prepare a 90-day plan of action that details what you would do and what results your superior should expect.
Make your presentation compelling but keep it grounded in reality. The last thing you want to do is to present yourself as something that you are not.