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  • Writer's pictureMike Hanna

Is It Time to Throw in the Towel?

There’s a big difference between throwing in the towel and hanging up your shoes, as those sayings go. Throwing in the towel, as you might know, means giving up on something that just isn’t working out—while hanging up your shoes implies gracefully retiring from something by choice. Do you feel like one of these two expressions applies to your current work situation? And if so, what are you going to do about it? Here are a few signs that it might be time to move on to your next software sales opportunity.

You’re bored

If you feel bored at your job, it may be time to do some reflecting on why that is. While personal accountability and coachability is a big part of succeeding in sales, sometimes the company you work for is just tapped out. If you’ve exhausted your list of potential clients and you can’t move to cover a different territory, it may be time to look for something else to sell. Alternatively, you may have mastered the sales process for your solution and there’s just no room to grow at your current company. It might be time for you to explore a different role in the sales cycle, such as sales management. And lastly, you might be feeling bored because you’re not passionate about the solution you’re supposed to evangelize. The software industry is truly vast. In addition to the proliferation of tech solutions in every sector, there are even new markets on the horizon.

You’re underpaid

Are you getting paid what you deserve? It’s always good to check on the industry standards for base pay and bonuses to see if your company is up to par in this area. It’s difficult to talk with friends and colleagues about pay and compare notes, so that’s probably not an option for most people. But more often than not, you don’t need to know what other people are getting paid; you’ll just get some intuitive inner feeling that you deserve more. Another way to gauge your compensation is to hold it against the standard of living in your area. Can you comfortably afford to live where you’re working? If not, it’s time to find a company that at least pays you what you need. Alternatively, the disparity between what you believe you’re worth and what you’re getting paid may not be because executives are withholding the raises you deserve. There may just be companies who can afford to pay you bigger base salaries and bigger bonuses—and it doesn’t always have to do with the size of the company.

You don’t fit in

If you don’t feel like you fit in with the company culture, there are probably better options out there for you. For some people, company culture is not important. But if you’re in a role that requires lots of collaboration and you can’t collaborate with other parts of the team, maybe there is something more to think about. Sometimes company culture can change. You may have gone into a company several years ago, and with a changing of the guard at the executive level, new policies and procedures were put in place, creating something you didn’t sign up for. Or maybe a company that began as a fun and happening startup blossomed into a midsize company with a lot more rules. Thankfully many companies these days place a lot of importance on fostering a great work culture and assembling a team that really fits. This means that if you interview around and explore some options there is a good chance you can find the shoe that really fits if you ask the right questions.

You’re uncomfortable

In some instances, you might feel an unreasonable amount of pressure from your higher ups. They may have unrealistic expectations of what you can do, if (for instance) you are at the managerial level and no matter what you’ve tried to do, no matter how many great books on management you’ve read, you just can’t seem to get them motivated. And in some rare instances, you can have managers or executives asking you to do things you are uncomfortable with that you find unethical. You should never have to sacrifice your personal sense of right and wrong in order to make your higher ups happy. If you wouldn’t recommend this workplace to your friends, maybe there’s a different company you would happily endorse. Lastly, the company may have an unhealthy view towards the work-life balance. If you’re feeling chronically stressed out, there are healthier options out there.

So what are you going to do about it?

In some instances, you feel like it’s time to throw in the towel—maybe because you’re chronically stressed or there aren’t any more customers to close deals with in your territory. In other instances, you may be hanging up your shoes—maybe because you feel you have maxed out your potential at your current workplace and need something more fulfilling with better pay. Whatever the case may be, the best thing you can do is to have an ongoing relationship with a good software sales recruiter.

Even if you’re not currently in the market, having an ongoing relationship with such a recruiter can make all the difference in the world when you decide that it’s time to move somewhere else. And if an opening comes across their desk that happens to be better for you, they might also think of you for the role and reach out, even if it’s not on your radar. As a software sales recruiter for over three decades, I have helped thousands of job seekers land their next role, and plenty of companies find that perfect hire. Whether you’re searching or hiring, I’d love to connect with you…send an email to and let’s discuss where you’d like to go or what kind of talent you need!

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