6 ways to get promoted quickly as a first-time sales rep
First-time sales rep? Let me guess: You’re after a promotion, and you want it to happen yesterday. I don’t blame you. In fact, I respect the ambition.
You’ve been showing up on time, working hard, making your cold calls, meeting your sales quotas—you’re doing everything that’s been asked of you.
Surely that promotion will be yours in no time, right?
Here’s the thing:
That promotion isn’t going to just magically show up at your doorstep.
And saying “I did what I was supposed to do” doesn’t exactly scream “Promotion time!” to your director of sales.
You have to go above and beyond. And in this post, I’m going to share six things you should be doing right now to get that promotion you’re after.
1. Consistently exceed your quotas
I’ll say it again:
Just because you’re doing what you’re supposed to doesn’t mean you deserve a promotion.
Hitting your sales quotas alone doesn’t show the boss that you’re doing amazing and that you’re much better at your job than your colleagues.
The way to get ahead?
Absolutely crush your sales quotas.
Crush them so bad that no one else on the team is even in the same ballpark as you.
Make yourself so valuable from a results standpoint that your company doesn’t even want to consider what would happen if they lost you. That’s when you know you’re on the right track.
2. Take on extra responsibility
Though your current role is technically “sales development rep” or something similar, don’t be afraid to step up and assume more responsibility before you’re promoted.
If you’re taking on responsibilities that go beyond your current SDR job description—responsibilities that your colleagues aren’t taking on—the higher-ups will take notice.
A colleague is struggling to figure something out? Offer your time and input to help.
A new project just popped up? Take it on—and crush it.
Show you’re capable of more responsibility, and nobody in the room will ever wonder, Hmm… can they handle everything that comes with a promotion?
You’ll have already proven that the answer is yes.
3. Act as an informal team lead
You don’t need to be a team lead by title to act like a team lead. Position yourself as someone worth listening to, and the team will start listening.
An informal leader is a team member who’s earned the respect of their peers.
They’ve built a reputation for being great at what they do, and for being available to help out other team members. They’re not afraid to step up when they need to. They carry influence and power—even if they’re not officially a team lead.
Noticing a trend here?
First, you have to work harder and be better than everyone else at your level. You need to be so good that nobody can ignore you—including your colleagues.
And then you have to step up and act like the leader you’re trying to become.
4. Be highly coachable
Crushing your quotas, stepping up when you can and becoming an informal team lead are all going to work wonders for you in your pursuit of that promotion. But there’s one key trait you have to demonstrate consistently:
You need to be able to listen.
Self-confidence is valuable when you’re chasing a promotion—and it's key when it comes to receiving feedback and taking criticism.
You’re not the best salesperson the world has ever seen.
If you truly want to level up your career and grow as a salesperson, you need to embrace every coaching opportunity that comes your way. In fact, you need to seek out coaching from sales vets—both on your team and the teams of other successful companies.
Loving the Close call coaching feature. It’s the piece that we needed to train up how we want. I was able to jump on a call with a rep where I picked up a number of crucial aspects that will make their next call even better.
Adrian Isaac, Head of Sales & Customer Success at Countfire
But being open to feedback and coaching is only the first step.
What will truly separate you from the pack and set you up for the promotion you’re after is acting on the feedback and coaching that comes your way.
Take the advice and do something with it—don’t just leave it sitting in a notebook collecting dust on your bookshelf.
5. Prioritize self-improvement after hours
Real talk time:
Clocking in at 9 and back out at 5 isn’t gonna cut it.
It’s enough to avoid getting fired, sure, but if you’re trying to climb the ranks and earn that promotion, you need to hustle after hours.
Let me be very clear here:
I’m not suggesting you HAVE to spend your evenings and weekends making sales calls and sending cold emails for your company.
Here’s what I recommend:
Instead of binging Netflix and going down TikTok rabbit holes on Saturdays, spend that time mastering your craft. Invest in yourself.
For you, that might mean sending more emails—and if it does, that’s totally fine. But it could also mean picking up a book, signing up for an online course, going down sales-related rabbit holes on YouTube, etc.
My personal favourite (take note) is this:
Find someone who’s currently working in the role you want and ask them for a chat.
Get together via Zoom, or for coffee or a beer if you’re local—the medium doesn’t matter. Just spend time learning from their journey, and ask them about their current role and responsibilities.
What better way to prepare for the role you want than learning first-hand from someone who’s crushing it in that exact role right now?
6. Actually care about company results
Last but not least, you need to care.
Not just about you and yours, but about the company as a whole. When the company wins, you win too. That’s the mindset you need to have.
If Jordan scored 50 but the Bulls lost, he wasn’t popping Dom in the locker room.
That promotion isn’t coming if your director of sales thinks you only care about you.
Show them you want the entire company to succeed.
After all, if you hit your numbers but the company fails—good luck getting that promotion. All those numbers will be good for is a Medium.com post about how great you did at a company that crashed and burned.
A promotion is like anything else in the world—just wanting it isn’t enough to make it happen.
You have to go get it.
There are plenty of things you can be doing right now to set yourself up for the promotion you’re after—here are the six you should be thinking about today:
- Consistently exceed your quotas
- Take on extra responsibility
- Act as an informal team lead
- Be highly coachable
- Prioritize self-improvement after hours
- Actually care about company results
Looking for some extra motivation to get you fired up for a promotion?
I’ll send you a 60-second sales motivation video every single morning with an inspiring sales quote and a quick action item to set you up for success. Interested?
Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect: