Your sales career path: 23 pieces of sales career advice we found on LinkedIn
A sales career path can be full of ups and downs or unexpected twists and turns. Persistence and hustle will get you much further than skills or natural abilities.
If you’re looking for sales career advice, the best place to go is to the people who have already navigated these troubled waters successfully.
We love to follow sales leaders and influencers on LinkedIn and have curated some of our favorite posts to give you career advice for sales.
1. Get in your repetitions
Author: Morgan J. Ingram
Improving your sales skills is a key way to advance in your sales career. How do you do this? Simple: practice.
Yes, repetitions aren’t just for the gym anymore. Here’s how Morgan describes it:
“You build self-confidence by time blocking your day to practice. It’s hard to get confident without practice.”
Morgan compares practice for a salesperson with the kind of practice Kobe Bryant does to get that perfect shot.
“When game time starts and he starts hitting those jumpers,” says Morgan, “we’re all impressed, however, he isn’t at all.”
“You know why? It’s because he practices every single day.”
2. Be your unique, creative self
Author: Dale Dupree
Many sales gurus will tell you that just doing a certain number of calls will lead to deals closed. But that’s not necessarily true.
As Dale Dupree says: “Your attitude is what defines your success. Your ability to be yourself, unique, and creative.”
“Everyone who's buying is looking for a salesperson that will be unique and provide value as an individual and not a corporate robot that's churning and burning.”
Our takeaway from this piece of sales career advice: learn to be yourself in sales and actually care about the people you’re selling to, and you’ll find a much faster track to success.
3. Jump from SDR to AE with the 4 Cs of influence
Author: Sarah Brazier
Many SDRs think of hitting quota as the ultimate goal in their sales career path.
And while hitting quota is important, it’s not the only way to move forward.
Here’s what Sarah Brazier of Gong says:
“If you want to influence the powers that be to promote you, look at the four C's of Influence.
2. Common Ground
3. Compelling Position & Evidence
4. Connect Emotionally”
With this pattern, SDRs can find out where they stand with the right managers, find a common goal that everyone is happy with, and back up the theory with data.
Considering Sarah jumped from SDR to AE in record time (and documented her journey on LinkedIn), we trust this advice.
4. Don’t win the battle to lose the war
Author: Amy Volas
How often do you hear ‘no’? It’s normal, and many times people feel the only reaction is to try and turn that no around. But Amy Volas objects:
“Sometimes the "no's" lead to the biggest "yes's" later,” she says.
“Having a real business conversation. Confirming or denying what makes sense together. Leaving the door open because of the way you handled yourself. This is when you go from okay to exceptional.”
“Too many salespeople try to win the battle only to lose the war. Why not let them go now?”
“The real way to have a lasting career in this industry is to approach your buyers with a genuine interest to help them.”
5. Be clear about your motivation
Author: Belal Batrawy
Maintaining sales motivation isn’t easy. In fact, it can be dang hard sometimes. Which is why hearing Belal talk about the times he thought of quitting sales is actually quite therapeutic.
So, why did he stay? He talks about the rush of winning, and addictive it can be.
To sum up, Belal adds: “So know that even a 12-year, multi-award winning, industry-recognized sales veteran can have their doubts. That's normal.”
“Just be clear about your motivation. And know that your motivation coming and going is totally okay.”
6. Build the foundations, then add the rest
Author: Alex Alleyne
Simplicity with consistency often leads to success.
Alex’s career advice for sales pros looking to move up: “Start with learning the fundamentals. How to drive a discovery call, how to effectively qualify a deal, how to think, act and operate as an AE.”
“The fundamentals will carry your entire career.”
7. Don’t waste a delay
Author: Erik McKee
“My promotion to AE was 6 months delayed,” says Erik.
When we’re expecting to move up but aren’t seeing the pieces come together, it can be easy to get impatient and think it’s time to move on.
But that won’t advance your sales career.
For Erik, he used a delay to work. He carved out an Enterprise SDR role for himself. He created opportunities with major brands. As he says, “This laid the foundation for my sales career and made me a much better person.”
His career advice for sales reps facing a delay: “Don’t waste your delay. Do something with it.”
8. Serve others
Author: Bisho Chamssuddin
As Bisho says: “Sales needs more humility.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the chase for quota and commission. But when you take the time to serve others and be a truly consultative salesperson, you’ll see success come where you least expect.
“Go more into:
- how can I solve the prospects' problem?
- how can I make them feel understood?
- how can I point them in the right direction?
- how can I support my team to perform better?”
“Your sales career could be about your ego or about serving others,” says Bisho. “What do you choose?”
9. Remember that introverts and extroverts can both win
Author: Eugene Soo
This is an interesting story told by trainer Eugene Soo about two different salespeople: an introvert and an extrovert.
While it’s easy to assume that the extroverted salesperson will win more deals, Eugene talks about how he watched the introvert get a ton of clients, while the extrovert struggled.
Here’s what he learned:
“I had this misconception that being an introvert or extrovert affects your ability to generate Sales. And I was wrong. As it turns out… there’s ONE factor that affects this. And it’s the fear of rejection!”
“I realized a powerful truth—That your success in your sales career is not dependent on whether you are an introvert or extrovert, but rather your fear of rejection.”
Our takeaway here is that, to advance in your sales career, you need to recognize that you’ll be rejected. Get rid of that fear, and you can succeed whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.
10. Don’t fall in love
Author: Jason Baskaran
We asked Jason from GetAccept on LinkedIn about his best sales career advice. Here’s what he said:
“Too many salespeople fall in love with their pipeline, their deals, and the will to succeed. It pays dividends to be neutral with your deals to the extent that you don’t fall in love with them.”
“We’ve all seen pipeline that drifts on and on “it will close this month… it’s signing off next week… they promised it will come in… sorry boss they chose someone else.”
“It pays to question the process of purchasing, the motive for buying, and the value that is currently lacking. If you can lay the foundations of value, motivation, and process, then you can control, without being in love, how you get a deal from “Tell me more” to “I’ll buy it.”
11. Do cold calls for your career
Author: Jake Harry
Sometimes the best career advice for sales is to be consistent at doing the simple things. For example, cold calling is normally required for salespeople early in their careers. But did you know this can also help you in the future?
Here’s what Jake Harry, CRO of North State Consulting says:
“There are many benefits to cold calling other than just booking a meeting.
- building confidence
- overcoming hesitation
- ability to hear no and be fine
- trusting in your abilities
- getting to outcomes faster
- able to ask questions and learn”
“If you’re making calls, your future sales self will thank you. I promise.”
12. Remember the slingshot when taking a step back
Author: John Barrows
Most sales career advice is about how to take steps forward. This post from John Barrows is all about the times when you need to take a step back.
After relating his own experience, John adds:
“I know many "older" reps who worked in other industries and think they want to get into SaaS or Tech sales but they worry about starting off as an SDR and working their way back up. If you're confident in your abilities, have a strong work ethic, and have a bigger picture plan then you should never have to worry about taking the "step back." Remember how a slingshot works.”
13. Don’t sell—help
Author: Dean Glas
Dean Glas, CEO at SellX, gave us his favorite tip for selling like an entrepreneur:
“Don’t sell. Help. When I go into a meeting, any meeting, my job is to figure out what someone’s goals are and how I can help them in one small way. If the way I can help them happens to align with what I’m selling, great. If not, that’s fine too.”
“Sometimes helping looks like making an introduction. It can mean sharing a perspective, story, or new way of looking at a problem. It might even be recommending the competition. Whatever it takes to truly help the person in front of you the most. Helping “sells” the most.”
14. Develop key skills to become a manager
Author: Alan Ruchtein
If you’re in an AE position and want to jump to manager, there are some key sales manager skills you’ll need to start developing.
Don’t wait until a promotion is on the table before you start developing these. Here are the seven skills that Alan highlights in his post:
- Empathy ❤️
- Resilience ⛏️
- Servant Leadership ⛑️
- Communication Skills 📣
- Solution-Oriented ✔️
- Motivation 🔋
- Delegation 📋
As Alan says: “Don't wait till you get the title of sales manager to start assisting your coworkers. Start developing your Sales Management skills now! Don't wait to be there!”
15. Remember that steller SDRs get bored before being promoted
Author: Armand Farrokh
“Nearly every stellar SDR gets just a bit bored before being promoted,” says Armand, VP of Sales at Pave. “This is a good thing (sorry).”
As he goes on to explain, a new AE needs to learn key skills, including cold calling, emailing, managing your golden hours, working a territory, running discovery calls, or negotiating.
“The best SDRs start with half of it on autopilot,” says Armand. “So when every other new rep is whining: “I don’t have time to prospect.” A stellar ex-SDR has prospecting going on autopilot.”
16. If you’re struggling to stay afloat, keep your head up
Author: Kyle Asay
Let’s face it: a lot of career posts on LinkedIn are just downright depressing. Posts that pretend to be ‘inspirational’ show only one side of advancement—the wins.
So this post from Kyle Asay is refreshing, to say the least.
He talks about times in his sales career when he was simply struggling to stay afloat. That said, today he’s a VP of sales.
“If you are currently in the “just staying afloat” part of your career,” Kyle says, “Don’t think that means you aren’t heading for massive success in the future. Just make sure to keep your head up.”
17. Raise your standards, don’t waste your prospects’ time
Author: Jason Bay
“Want to be world-class at sales?” asks Jason Bay. “Raise your standards.”
“Don’t EVER ask your prospect a question they’ve already been asked at a previous point in the sales process. Why? It destroys your credibility. And it’s a waste of both your time and theirs.”
When it comes to handoffs between SDRs and AEs, this can happen a lot. A cold call is meant to gather intel, but if AEs aren’t using that intel later on, it will simply be a waste of time.
“Respect the craft,” says Jason. “It’s the accumulation of little things like this that add up. Don’t take a minute of the prospect’s time for granted.”
18. Avoid a short-term mindset
Author: Christian Krause
Some SDRs think they’re just biding time until a promotion. And if that promotion doesn’t come on time, they’re willing to start all over again at another company just to get a chance at being an AE.
According to Christian, that’s not the right mindset.
“Think about your SDR time as an investment, not a cost.”
“Build skills. Build relationships. Build a brand.”
“Trust me, it will all pay off once you’re an AE.”
19. View your competition as your friend
Author: Dale Dupree
Viewing people as the ‘competition’ can seriously limit your advancement.
Dale Dupree talks about how he sat down with a ‘competitor’, Josh Braun, and talked about business. They shared ideas, and Dale talks about how Josh showed him compassion and interest.
As Dale recounts other moments when this competitor helped and advised him, he brings it back to this clear point:
“To all of the salespeople out there reading this who continue to perpetuate the myth that somehow your competition is your enemy. Pound sand.”
“When I sold copiers, I grabbed drinks with other copier reps at different companies to know them better and support them in any integral way that I could.”
“Choose to be something much bigger than the world and the status quo have taught you to be.”
20. Stay hungry
An excellent piece of career advice for sales: never stop learning. In this post from Gong, they talk about how having a hungry mindset matters more than skill and experience.
As they said: “Showing the will and desire to get better every day will set you apart.”
21. Make changes that are measurable
Author: Darryl Bassett
Sales career advice that will help you consistently move forward: “Focus on being oriented towards results.”
Here’s how Darryl explains it:
“If you're going to make a change in your habits or behavior, try to make it one that delivers tangible and measurable results.”
“If you can't measure what you're doing, it's harder for you to focus on your priorities, and it makes it easy for more important things to slip through the cracks.”
“Focusing on your overall goal will help keep your day-to-day efforts in context, and give them more purpose.”
22. Let your wins fuel you
Author: Jacob Karp
Throughout your sales career, you’ll have wins and losses—but your mindset can change how these motivate you to continue.
Jacob, an AE, talks about how he’s spent time at the end of this quarter looking back over the positive moments he’s had, and he celebrates those.
“To me, this is important because there was a time in my sales career where it was actually the opposite, focusing way too much time on what went wrong or failed.”
“Instead, I now acknowledge the good things, no matter how big or small. They remind me of what I’m building and why it matters.”
“So celebrate your wins and let them fuel you to keep going.”
23. Focus on losing less to win more
Author: Belal Batrawy
Belal drops some fast, valuable advice for new AEs that want to grow. One of our favorites from this list is:
“Focus on losing less to win more. Time is the one thing that is truly a sunk cost when you waste it. Don't go chasing possibilities over actual deals.”
Fast track your sales career path
There is no shortcut to getting ahead in this world, but taking the advice from proven sales leaders will set you up with the right foundation for success.
Now, it’s up to you to put what you’ve learned into practice.
If you're feeling stuck in your career, check out our comprehensive guide on how to overcome career stagnation and achieve your professional goals.