If you have a career plan, is it in a written format with clear S.M.A.R.T action steps to guide you this year towards your goals, as well as the next 3, 5, 10 and final career goals? Most sales professionals have a plan but we usually fail to put it in writing and to revisit and check on our progress.
We talk about our goals or loosely write it down without having it in a formal format. Take your career seriously and commit to creating your sales career plan. Nobody will do this for you and the time you spend now, will help you progress and grow in your sales career.
Below are some tips to help you get started on your sales career plan:
- Make it a living document that gets revisited and updated. It is best to review at the end of every quarter versus waiting for the company initiated yearly job appraisal that might include a career development discussion. Take control of your sales career and put the effort towards having a plan in place.
- Map out your goals: Start with where you want to end up at the end of your career. For example, if you plan to be a VP of Sales for an organization, do you know the steps and experience needed to be qualified for the role? By knowing and having the end in mind, you can take the necessary steps in your career to work towards achieving them.
- Personal Brand: What do you want to be known for? Know your strengths and highlight what you want to be known for. It takes time to brand yourself, but by taking the time to plan, you can work towards branding yourself to convey how others see you professionally.
- Audit Yourself: Do a self assessment of your skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences and have these in writing to give yourself a snapshot of what you have to offer.
- Career Coach: Work with a professional career coach to give you another person's insight and energy toward helping you achieve your goals. The cost is well worth the overall money you will earn in the long run and will also give you different perspectives and challenge the goals you have set for yourself.
- Create short term goals: Set S.M.A.R.T. short term goals to help you gain momentum towards supporting your longer terms goals.
- S.M.A.R.T.: S- Specific, M- Measurable, A- Actionable, R- Realistic, T- Time Bound.
There is no minimum or maximum number of pages you should lock yourself into to, but create a sales career plan that works for you. It is important to revisit on a regular basis. Having a sales career plan in place will help you take control of your career and the direction it goes versus letting it control itself.