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“I Hate My Sales Job”: If You’re Miserable as a Salesperson, Should You Quit Sales — or Just Quit a Bad Sales Job?

Ryan Walsh, CEO
Ryan Walsh, CEOMar 29, 2024
Frustrated with sales?  Or frustrated with your sales job?

Sales can be incredibly challenging. It’s a high-pressure field. You’re going to be told “no” a lot. You’re going to get hung up on. You’re going to get ghosted.

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that you’re not alone. Many salespeople experience occasional feelings of frustration, stress, and even depression on the job. 

But you shouldn’t feel that way all the time.

If you do, it’s essential to take action to address these feelings before they start to impact your work and personal life. Below, I hope I can help you figure out whether you want to quit sales or just quit a bad sales job, and we’ll explore some strategies for managing the challenges of being a salesperson and finding greater fulfillment in your work.

Why Do You Hate Your Sales Job? 

If you hate your sales job, the first thing to do is take a step back and assess your situation. 

I speak with many early career sales professionals who don’t know whether a career in sales is a great fit for them long term. Like them, you may be wondering if you should stay in a B2B sales role or pivot into another role, inside or possibly outside your current organization. 

Many professionals who start out in B2B sales roles will happily transition into customer success, marketing, sales engineering or even product roles. And that’s great! Having a foundation in sales will provide value, regardless of the direction a career may take.

But the core issue for a lot of reps is that they don’t truly know why they hate their sales jobs. Would they be equally unhappy in any sales job? Or would they love a sales job at the right organization or on the right team?

When I have these types of conversations, about whether or not someone should stay on the sales career track or get out, I usually cover three key areas: career goals, lifestyle goals, and some sales-specific challenges.

Consider Your Career Goals

First of all, we talk through the end game. Where do you want sales to take you in your career?

Is it sales leadership? Starting something of your own? What motivated you to get into sales in the first place? What is it that is motivating you to potentially stay in sales?

I start here because it offers the clearest answer. If your career goals are unrelated to sales, you should definitely find another role that better aligns with your aspirations.

Consider Your Lifestyle Goals

Secondly, how much of a factor is money playing in your thought process? This conversation isn’t all focused around actual dollars — more so the motivation of what’s behind it. 

Are there priorities that need to be met, such as buying a house or taking care of a loved one? 

Sales can be really lucrative, and there’s nothing wrong with that being a primary motivator. Can you support the same lifestyle goals in another kind of job?

Sales-Specific Challenges

The last things I ask about are more tactical and sales-specific. 

Are you able to quickly and easily shake off losses, rejections, hang-ups, etc., knowing that the wins are more than worth it? There are a lot of sales professionals out there who are willing to deal with the constant barrage of “No,” because they know the few times they get a “Yes” will be more than worth it. Others aren’t able to deal quite as well.

And how comfortable are you engaging with other people that you don’t know well on a very regular basis? This is not necessarily an introvert versus extrovert thing. It’s more related to your genuine curiosity. If you’re driven to learn and be curious about other people, other situations, other businesses, you can leverage that into very successfully to effective discovery, the most important part of the modern sales process.

So, Is It All Sales or Just Your Sales Org?

After considering everything above, how do you feel? Do you think you hate sales? Or is your current org just a bad fit? Does your current org have a good RepVue score? Selling on a team with a poor RepVue score can be like swimming against the current. You might be good, but you’re unlikely to be successful — and it won’t be much fun.

The reality of most of my conversations with early career sales professionals is that their discontent with their current career situation is less related to whether they should be in a sales role and more about being in the wrong sales organization.

Now let’s talk about what to do next.

Exploring Other Opportunities

You want to stay in sales but you’re unhappy in your current role. Now that we know the problem we can go about solving it. Here’s what I’d suggest doing next.

What Do You Want from Your Next Sales Org?

Before you start applying for sales roles at new companies, ask yourself what you value most in a sales org. Here are six characteristics to consider:

  • Professional Development
  • Culture and Leadership
  • Product-market Fit
  • Inbound Lead/Opportunity Flow
  • Incentive Compensation Structure
  • Diversity and Inclusion

You can see which orgs currently rank highest for each of those on RepVue. (Convenient, right?)

Personally, I find Product-market Fit to be the most important. If you’re just starting out, Professional Development should be high on your list.

Another thing you might want from your next sales org is high earning potential. Sales is a career where you can make a lot of money, afterall. 

Don’t just apply at sales orgs with high OTE or top-earners, though. Make sure you compare those numbers with quota attainment rates. Big numbers for OTE aren’t real unless a good percentage of the sales team hits their numbers.

By asking what you want from your next sales org, you can identify companies that offer what you’re looking for.

See which companies are hiring salespeople right now on RepVue.

Use Sales Tactics to Land a Good Sales Role

Once you’ve identified the companies that will be a good fit for your wants, you can start applying for roles within those organizations. But don’t just submit an application when you see an opening on RepVue or a jobs site.

If you have contact information, reach out to the hiring manager via email or phone. Connect with sellers and leadership within the org on LinkedIn.

You’re a salesperson. Sell yourself like you would sell for that company.

Related Article – See how a sales pro used sales tactics and RepVue to land a role with a fast-growing startup.

Try to Avoid “Job Hopping” Too Often…

If you get an offer from an org that you think is a great fit, do your homework and then take it! 

But also, remember that no company is perfect. You may find yourself having some similar feelings in your new role. The grass isn’t always greener. If this is your situation, and you’ve decided that you want to stay in sales, try to stick it out for at least two or three years at the new org. 

In many sales roles, it can really take 18 months to get truly ramped up. It takes time to develop product knowledge and to develop a book of business. Once you get some wins under your belt, you’ll probably also start getting more new leads. Stick it out for a few years and you may find that things start to get a lot easier.

If you do decide that you want to start looking again, hiring managers will frequently look to see if you have at least one stint on your resume that’s longer than two years. That shows them that you can make an impact if you’re set up for success. Especially if you can demonstrate a couple of promotions in that time frame.

Build a Support Network

Beyond finding a new role in a sales org that’s a better fit for you, the other thing I’d recommend doing is building your support network.

Sales is a challenging and stressful job. It may take some time to find a role at a better sales org, and once you do, it won’t always be perfect. Building a support network can help you navigate the difficulties of the job and improve your overall well-being. 

Seek Mentorship

Having a mentor can be incredibly valuable in helping you navigate the ups and downs of a sales career. A mentor can provide guidance, support, and advice based on their own experiences in the field. 

Look for a mentor who has experience in your industry and who you respect and admire. Reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to mentor you. If they agree, set up regular meetings or calls to discuss your career goals, challenges, and progress. This can be someone at your current org — or someone from another part of your network.

Connect with Peers and Colleagues

Connecting with other salespeople can help you feel less isolated and provide you with a sense of community. This can be especially important if you work remotely. Attend industry events, join professional associations, or participate in online forums to connect with others in your field. 

You can also reach out to colleagues at your company or in your network to build relationships and offer support to one another.

Building a strong professional network can help you find new opportunities, gain valuable insights, and receive support when you need it.

Remember, building a support network takes time and effort, but it can be incredibly beneficial for your career and well-being. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and ask for help or advice. By building a strong support network, you can improve your job satisfaction and achieve greater success in your sales career.

Good luck out there!

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