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How to Become a Sales Manager Early in Your Career

Sales Manager

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We tend to envision “experienced people” as the ones who have management roles at established companies. This implies we need experience to be promoted. But how can we possibly define what “experience” means in 2016?

Today’s technology enables people to learn more information faster than ever before. We can grow multiple businesses from one MacBook computer. Or we can access online educational courses from our couch and for a fraction of higher education tuition.

This environment means 20-somethings, in a results-driven business like sales, can build tremendous careers for themselves. And therefore, young professionals have every right to think about management roles earlier in their careers.

I work with enterprise sales leaders in New York to find rewarding career opportunities. When I meet someone who’s capable of managing individual sales contributors, I notice the following similarities among their careers:

Lead a Team Without a Leadership Title

A team lead at a startup typically is a go-getter eager to mentor newer employees and contribute to company growth as much as possible. Is your company scaling? Tell your employer you’re interested in management and want to support the hiring process where you can (perhaps listening to phone screen, vetting resumes, or volunteer to mentor new hires).

Even if leadership is not in your title, you can gain “player coach” experience on the sales floor. Be an advocate and a resource for your colleagues. A team of individual contributors can also benefit from having a leader who isn’t officially tied to the team’s quota. They’ll remember how you made them feel supported and look forward to your well-deserved management promotion.

Be a Resource Early and Often

Do you understand what works and doesn’t work well in the sales tactics of your company? Help your Individual Contributors (IC) learn and grow faster with constructive feedback, as sales approaches are not universal. If cold emails aren’t working, motivate that person to pick up the phone. What mentors do you admire, or what videos have you’ve watched to learn new industry skills? Sharing these tips and resources helps you stand out as a knowledgeable expert in your company.

Add SDR Manager to your Career Trajectory

Many of our New York clients are adding SDR Managers to their promotional path for sales reps. Instead of moving into a closing account executive role, SDR Individual Contributors can move into managing IC’s. This new role is very important for guiding SDR Individual Contributors on the right path for setting and exceeding metrics, which ultimately determine overall company revenue.

Are you unsure if management is right for you? Do a lot of research into the responsibilities of SDR Managers at your company before making a conclusion. If your firm doesn’t offer this management step, then I’m happy to talk through other opportunities in the New York market.

Above all, don’t be wishy-washy about your career goals. “I guess I could be an IC or a Manager, I’m not really sure” doesn’t impress hiring managers. You can set yourself up for management early in your career by vocalizing and acting on your passion for helping others succeed.


Don’t miss out on being top of mind for incredible sales manager opportunities in New York. Let’s connect on LinkedIn or send me an email to set up a time to chat.

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