7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How Lack of Sales Career Planning Can Lead to Plateauing

Without sales career planning, plateauing in sales is a very likely scenario.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

As a sales person, you are motivated to succeed. The more you succeed, the more you strive to do better. There can come a time, however, that without proper sales career planning, plateauing in sales can occur. Plateauing means that you get to a certain level and just can’t seem to get beyond it.

Unlike a slump in sales, sales plateauing is usually more long term and much harder to shake. Generally, it happens when you feel that you cannot go any further in the sales position that you are in.

It is generally believed that there are four reasons for plateauing.

  1. You are making enough money that is meeting your needs. You have probably given some thought as to how much you would like to be making. You also need to think about what will happen when you make that amount. If your entire sales career plan has been “I want to make X dollars per year”, then you are going to hit a sales plateau when you make that amount. Your sales career plan should include what your professional life will look like as you achieve your desired income. The money alone will not be fulfilling enough to keep you happy. Studies have shown that money is not the number one reason for job satisfaction. You need to consider in your sales career planning what makes the job exciting and fulfilling for you.
  2. The job you are in is a dead end. This is a very common occurrence in sales. As you progress in your current company, look to see how far the company will allow you to go. A common question people are asked during interview is “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” You need to ask yourself this question on a regular basis as part of your sales career planning. If you see yourself in the same position, doing the same thing in five years, then you are likely to hit a sales plateau.
  3. Your current job is boring. This is different from a dead end job. There may be opportunities in the company, but it could take a long time to get there causing you to hit a sales plateau before you can move up. As part of your sales career planning you need to consider what you need in a position to keep you interested and excited about sales. We all need challenges to stay interested. If the job is boring, it is very difficult to remain motivated and that will lead to a sales plateau.
  4. You are just burned out. Feeling burned out on a job can be a problem caused by the company you are with. If you feel under-valued by your company, it can be difficult to sustain a high amount of drive. When you develop your sales career plan, you need to look at companies that seem to appreciate and recognize the success of their sales team. Feeling unappreciated and unrecognized for your performance will lead to sales plateauing as it will be hard to stay motivated or stay energized to succeed. If the company provides the same recognition for mediocrity that it does for outstanding sales, it can destroy your ambition and you will undoubtedly hit a sales plateau.

Without sales career planning, plateauing in sales is a very likely scenario. As part of your sales career plan, you need to look past a specific amount that you would like to earn and decide what else would add to a personally fulfilling goal. You need to focus on companies that will give you nearly unlimited opportunities for growth, offer continual interesting challenges and that will reward you appropriately for you hard work. Sales career planning needs to include not only what motivates you, but also which companies can offer that type of motivation. Otherwise, you are bound to hit a sales plateau that will be difficult to overcome.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.