Thinking about asking your employer for a raise? As it turns out, there’s a strong chance that your boss will respond to your request with a “no,” according to a new study from PayScale. The report found that less than half of working Americans ever even ask for a raise, and close to 30% are uncomfortable negotiating a salary. In other words, your self-doubt may be your biggest hurdle to the outcome that you want.
Despite these trends, what’s important to remember is that in sales, you have a powerful resource at your disposal—data that quantifies your personal contribution to ROI. Know your value. Try to quantify your worth to a specific number. Especially in the world of digital advertising, your employer cares about you and wants you to see you happy in your career. If you want to increase your salary, you need to believe in yourself and be clear in communicating your value.
No matter your job function, marketing, ad operations, sales planning, or creative services, the following tips are tested and true from digital advertising industry veterans. Here are the steps you need to take to ask for a raise, no matter no your experience level.
Approach the conversation with data and clear examples
One of the most direct ways to ask for a raise is to show your value, quantitatively and qualitatively, to your organization. When you come to a conversation prepared with evidence, you’ll have more compelling perspectives to share. You’ll be dealing with fact vs. opinion.
From your perspective, you’re probably working hard and deserve an award or recognition. But remember that hard work is in the eye of the beholder. How can a person supporting the sales process compare the time that she’s put into building a new program with a sales rep who is bringing in new business?
There isn’t a clear answer to this question: you’re essentially comparing apples and oranges. In the digital and ad tech world, everyone’s contribution is important. Everyone is a valuable part to the same business ecosystem and puzzle.
That’s why, when asking for a raise, it’s important to bring specifics to the table. Ask yourself the following questions, to come prepared:
- How much incremental revenue have you brought your company?
- How have you contributed to the development of new strategic areas?
- In what ways are you outperforming your role and expectations?
- Describe how you’ve turned failing projects into clear wins. Can you describe specific scenarios?
Ultimately, your manager will need to make a case to his or her manager, who likely needs to make a case to the c-suite. Come with the information that you need, in hand. Prepare just as you would for a job interview.
Explain why you’re a long-term asset to the company
One of the biggest challenges that employers, especially in the digital advertising industry, experience today is employee retention—when it comes to persuading top performing sales reps to stick around, companies are struggling. A recent survey from Gallup, for instance, found that at any given time, 60% of millennials are open to a new job or opportunity.
Stand out from the crowd by showing you loyalty. Make sure your company knows why you want to stay. The key is to make your intentions clear: explain to your employer why you want to stick around and continue to build your career as a sales professional. You might even want to change departments one day—that’s a totally valid goal.
- Are you looking to evolve into a management role?
- Would you like to help your company improve upon their products?
- Do you harbor knowledge that is rare to your organization or industry?
They key is to line up your value proposition as an individual to the long-term strategic needs of your company.
Walk the talk: commit to ongoing training
Want to show your employer that you’re committed to sticking around and adding more value to your organization? Attend conferences. Self-direct your training. Show that you’re committed to making investments and evolving in your career. Here are some resources that are especially relevant to top performers in the advertising world:
- Complete a training or certification. Check out the IAB’s sales-focused certification workshops, Google’s certification programs, and open-source courses from Coursera. Ask your employer if they’re able to fund your training, send you to digital and ad tech related conferences to help you grow.
- Participate in internal management programs. Most likely, your company has internal management training programs that are open to leadership-track employees. Ask to participate in these trainings or attend one off-site.
- Interview leaders within your company. If you’re not ready for a structured class, ask to interview several leaders in your organization. Ask to sit down with 1-2 senior level executives in your company, for instance, for 20 minutes. Learn what it takes to advance in your career.
Remember that at the end of the day, your employer cares about your success. Don’t make the conversation about money: ask your management and leadership team to make an investment in you as an individual. Come prepared with a clear breakdown of your contributions and a detailed list of why you want to stick around.