In Sales, Managing up Throughout your Career

At a recent AA-ISP DC Chapter Meeting, Bobby Moran, VP of Business Development and Strategy at POLITICO, gave a short presentation on “Managing up Throughout your Career.”

Actually, it was more of a question and answer session, with some final thoughts at the end by Mr. Moran. In any case, it was a good meeting with lots of comments and questions from the audience.

Here is the major point Mr. Moran made during the session from his slide presentation –

“When you own something, you take better care of it – whether it is your car, your house, or your career. The goal of this training is to discuss what it means to take ownership of a process, project, or problem through upward management. Ownership and effective upward management, in addition to strong performance, will speed up your career development and enhance your personal brand.”

managing up your sales careerAnd here are some of key takeaways from the session along with of my own advice sprinkled in –

1). One of the best ways of managing up throughout your sales career is to do the best job you can every day. In other words, make sure you master the basics, whether it’s cold calling, prospecting, lead generation, product knowledge, etc.

2). Outline clear goals and make sure your sales manager knows what they are. While some may argue that introverts make better salespeople than extroverts, when it comes to your career, you can’t afford to be a wallflower. Speak up. Let those in charge know actually what your expectations are, and vice versa.

3). With regard to sales meetings, whether it’s one-on-one, or in a group, take notes and try to stick to an agenda. I’ve attended too many sales meetings that turned into bitch sessions and drag on endlessly with complaints that could better be handled at another time. In my experience, sales meetings should last no more than 30 minutes. Why? Because time is money.

4). Believe it or not, your sales manager is a human being – so treat him like one. Rather than always meeting in the office where there could be constant interruptions and distractions, why not meet offsite in a coffee shop? And don’t always talk shop – talk about yourselves, your interests, hobbies, vacation plans, etc. The more both you and your manager see each other as human, the more he will treat you like one.

5). You’ve heard it before, but always under promise and over deliver when dealing with both your co-workers and clients. When you go beyond expectations, people start to see you in a more positive light.

6). Take responsibility for yourself and take ownership of your sales territory, accounts or leads. Your sales manager isn’t your mother. If you make a mess or need help, speak up.

Final note – if you are not a member of AA-ISP, I would encourage you to become one. The organization offers a lot of resources, including a Career Center, Webinars, and a Mentor program.

Note: If you like my post, please check out my book – Advice for New Salespeople: Tips to Help your Sales Career.