One of the things I’m working on at Care is trying to build a world class sales training program. Our new VP of Global Sales, Ben Robinson, had only been here for a month when he realized that this was something that our entire sales team could benefit from, from the inside sales team, to our sales development team, right up to our enterprise AE’s. We have training for those divisions, don’t get me wrong, but we want to elevate it and make it better. I know that when we finish creating this training program that we’re going to satisfy a number of reps who are craving more training and who are yearning to be better at their craft. However, there’s been something kind of nagging at me about it, I didn’t exactly know what it was. I know it had something to do with my own training, not just as a sales rep from years gone by, but also to my development as sales leader.

On Thursday, June 18th, Craig Rosenberg posted an article on his Funnelholic blog called Never Separate a Gorilla from his Bananas. Craig starts the blog recalling a panel discussion he was a part of, where the panelists were asked for their advice if a company was not investing in the success (training, technology,etc.) in their sales reps. A couple of the panelists urged sales reps to move on, but that Bill Binch of Marketo, suggested that, “…a real sales person will tear down walls to get a deal done. If the organization isn’t giving them what they need, they will figure out a way to get it.”

Now I’ve got it. Now I can better define what it was nagging at me, and it is this:

While I fully believe that it is the role of an organization to be responsible for the development of their talent, I also believe that it is the role of the talent to be fully responsible for their own development.

While what I’m about to say really can apply to any employee, regardless of function, I want to speak directly to the SDR’s reading this blog. I want to share with you that even if you’re not getting any support from upper management as it relates to your growth as a sales rep, there are three reasons why you need to take responsibility for your own improvement.

1.) First of all, there is no one who cares (or should care) about your own growth as a sales rep more than you. Your manager, hopefully, is invested in you becoming a better SDR, but they had better not want it more for you than you do. Your organization should be responsible to your growth, but not for your growth. You must start here. In my experience, the majority of SDR’s that I’ve worked with are either freshly out of college or just a couple years removed. You may be out of school, but you have to keep to learning. You have to want to be better tomorrow than you are today, and you cannot expect anyone else to get you there.

2.) Second, you own the trajectory of your own career. You’re an SDR now, and God bless you if you want to stay in that role because we need you, but let’s talk truth here. Statistics say that you’re likely going to stay in that role for 2.5 years (check out The Bridge Group’s 2015 SaaS Inside Sales Report), so that means you’re going to move on to something else. Some of you will move on to a full –cycle sales role, some of you may move into sales ops or marketing, and still others will move into sales management. Regardless of where you go, you’re going to get yourself there. Taking responsibility for your skills improvement or leadership development is only going to help you stand out from amongst your peers who are going to be chasing down similar roles. Own your career; don’t put it in the hands of your managers.

3.) Third, the more you personally invest in your growth, the more it will mean to you. When your company pays for you to attend conferences or to go through sales training, I’m not saying that you won’t pay attention and learn something, but if you’re the one investing your own resources into your career development, you’re going to make sure that you’re getting the most for the money that you spend. If you spend not only your resources, but your own free time – that’s a different story, too. People tend to spend their free time pursuing leisure, hobbies, or on fitness, so when you spend your time off making yourself a better salesperson, the books that you read or the coaching you receive will root itself within you all the more because you sacrificed for it.

Let me restate that I wholeheartedly believe that your company should be responsible to you to set you up for success throughout your tenure with them, by providing you with as many opportunities as possible to learn new skills and better yourself. As a sales leader, I’m not shaking off accountability here. What I want for you to know, though, is that whether or not you’re not getting the training and development support that you think you should (or maybe you are), it is your responsibility to seek improvement as well.