Since the pandemic, the job market has undergone a significant transformation. Job hopping, for example, is well on its way to being destigmatised and has become much more acceptable. This is because, for many professionals in tech, it is easier to change jobs and gain a new, higher salary package than get a pay rise at their current company.
But, while changing jobs may work for some, it is not the ideal solution for everyone. If you have equity in your package, for example, it could be costly to leave the company before your options are vested. Perhaps you have a family and would prefer to stay in a comfortable, secure job than be a newbie in a different company. Or, maybe you genuinely love your current role and want to stay there long-term!
In these cases, negotiating a pay rise is an essential strategic move if you feel that your compensation does not accurately reflect your contribution. In this blog post, we will explore how sales and marketing professionals in tech startups can navigate the process of negotiating a pay rise and achieving the best outcome.
The Long Game: Building Your Case Over Time
Successfully negotiating a pay rise is not a one-time event - it is a process that requires careful preparation and long-term effort.
Here is how you can gradually build a strong case for a pay rise:
1. Take responsibility for your salary
The era of employers initiating conversations about annual raises or promotions is behind us. Sure, some are still proactive, but the majority would rather keep costs low to impress current and future investors. It is therefore crucial to advocate for your financial well-being, especially in sales and marketing roles where your skills are in high demand and directly impact revenue generation.
2. Leverage performance reviews
Performance reviews are more than just a check-in with your manager. Use them as an opportunity to showcase what you achieved since the last meeting. Keep the conversation centred around your future within the company by showing enthusiasm towards career progression, commitment to growth, and willingness to contribute to the company’s success.
3. Keep detailed records
Maintain meticulous records of your achievements and contributions. Do not solely rely on internal systems like Salesforce - create your own system to track performance metrics like leads generated, conversion rates, and revenue generated against your targets. Not sure how your KPIs relate to revenue? Check out this article for help.
4. Compare and benchmark
Avoid tunnel vision at work - keep an eye on how your peers and other team members are performing. Presenting comparative data when negotiating a pay rise is much more impactful and helps you demonstrate your value more effectively.
5. Make the most of recruiters
Even if you are not actively seeking a new job, reach out to specialist recruiters within your market. Recruiters constantly have their ear to the ground so they have a wealth of knowledge about salary benchmarks and can offer valuable insights into whether your current package is above or below the industry standard.
6. Translate achievements into financial impact
If you are in sales, quantify how much revenue the company has generated as a direct (and indirect) result of your efforts. For example, perhaps you have closed £450,000 in the past 12 months and wrote a sales playbook that decreased ramp-up time for new hires by 20%.
If you are in marketing, highlight the revenue generated from the leads you have acquired as well as an estimate of the amount saved as a result of processes you have improved, cost-effective channels you have implemented, or lead acquisition tactics you have adopted.
The Conversation: Navigating the Pay Rise Discussion
When it comes to actually speaking to your manager about a pay rise, preparation is key.
Here is how to approach this conversation effectively:
1. Be well-prepared
Nothing undermines a pay rise negotiation more than going into the conversation without a clear plan. Enter the discussion armed with data, figures, and a well-thought-out case about why you deserve a raise.
2. Set clear goals
Define clear objectives before the conversation. Set an ambitious goal for your salary increase (e.g. 20%), a minimum acceptable amount (e.g. 10%), and potential consequences if your request is not met, such as starting to explore other opportunities to get a salary increase (as the market rate is higher than your current employer can offer).
3. Explore alternative benefits
Be flexible about how your increased compensation could be structured. Sure, a base salary increase is the most straightforward approach, but this could be difficult for your manager to obtain. Do not discount ideas like performance-based bonuses, equity grants, or quarterly incentives tied to KPIs.
4. Keep an open mind
Negotiations can take various forms, so be open to exploring creative solutions with your employer, especially if you love your job. Your manager may not be able to raise your base salary immediately, but they could give you a realistic timeline and plan with KPIs you need to hit to achieve a pay rise within the next X months.
Take control of your future
Negotiating a pay rise is a sensible and smart move for any professional, but even more so in sales and marketing roles where your contribution is directly linked to revenue generation. By proactively managing your compensation, building a robust case over time, and approaching the conversation strategically, you can secure the salary increase you deserve.
Remember that, ultimately, your financial well-being is in your hands, and advocating for your worth is an essential step towards achieving your career and financial goals.
If you are a tech sales or marketing professional and need help benchmarking your salary or have had an unsuccessful payrise conversation and are looking for something new, the team at Ortus are here to help!