The Power of Compounding Privilege. Why You NEED to Start Strong.


Ever see one of those Sales reps that keeps getting the best accounts?

Wonder who in management they must have dirt on to be constantly set up for success?

Maybe it isn’t that at all, but something stronger. Something like, Compounding Privilege.

If you are new to Sales (especially Tech Sales) you may not have seen this yet, but you will. There are 5 distinct activities you should be doing to be the rep everyone talks about. For a list of the Top 5 Things you SHOULD be doing in your first year of Sales, check out Episode 2 of the Millennial Sales Podcast.

No matter where you are in your career, if you are doing the right things everyday (see this article to find out how) you can experience massive success in this profession. Most of us will not luck into it though. And I am not talking about that rep who came in and hit a Blue Bird one year and could’t repeat their success. I am talking about year over year exceeding your number and making good money success. The more or less predictable kind.

If you are interested in having the best chance to succeed every fiscal year there is something you need to know. I am going to share with you a very important concept that will help you along the way. If you are familiar with the concept of compounding interest in the financial sense then you can grasp the concept of Compounding Privilege.

Compounding Privilege is a concept I use to describe the power of reaching big levels of success by being set up for it. But in Sales you aren’t handed Compounding Privilege, you earn it, and it is best to earn it early. The definition of Compounding Privilege is the concept of having access to good opportunities because of your current or past status. 

This concept of privilege is controversial in some contexts, but there are no free rides in the commission based game of Sales (no matter who your dad is), so in this world this privilege has to be truly earned. If you have proven that you are reliable, an executer, and can be trusted with really important territories or opportunities you are who management is going to choose for their top accounts. If you are entrusted with the opportunity to manage a top account or a top opportunity / deal for your team, then you were not put there on accident.

You have likely proven to be the best person for the job. This is where Compounding Privilege shows itself to be a 4 part process.

  1. Earn trust by proving you can step up and execute when it matters most. (hard part)

  2. Get placed in a high stakes opportunity (territory, account, deal) because you have proven to be the best person for the job. (less hard) (there is also a little right place, right time element here)

  3. Continue to deliver and make your management look good for trusting you. (also a hard part)

  4. Repeat…

The more you do this the better opportunities and accounts you will get. So if you are continually promoted to better and better territories, then good job. Keep it up. If you keep getting stuck in greenfield territories with little chance of success (assuming you weren’t put there because you are really good at building something from nothing) then you have to ask yourself what you are possibly doing wrong.

You must pay attention to the things you might be doing to STOP Compounding Privilege from working for you.

Ask yourself, could there be opportunities you are missing based on things you do that you aren’t even aware of?

Here are some examples of habits to stop doing immediately if you want better opportunities and territories in your Sales career.

  • Not delivering on your commitments and then making excuses for it.

    • Buying your solution is not your job. That’s your customer’s job. Your job is to remove as many barriers as you can to set up a purchase and then accurately predict what your customer is going to do and when they are going to do it.

    • If you get this wrong, and we all do, own it. No one respects a blamer and they certainly don’t give them their best territories so they can just hear your complaints about the customer when you blow that big renewal everyone was counting on.

  • Not stepping up to take more leadership roles.

    • If you can’t prove to be a leader on the small things you will not be considered a leader for the big important ones.

  • Not putting time into the right areas to become an expert in your craft.

    • Sales is more than product knowledge and BS like mirroring stances and communication styles.

    • Industry knowledge, company context gained through earnings reports and the news (your own, your customers, and your competition), repetition and practice that culminates in preparedness are all things you should be doing to set yourself apart from your peers.

Ask yourself, what am I doing to prevent me from getting better accounts?

Ask yourself, what am I doing to prevent me from getting better accounts?

Now, there are certain things you should be focused on at certain times in your career. Consider it a learning path to mastering your craft. In the next article I will run through the Top 5 Things you should do in your first year of Tech Sales or you can just tune into Episode 2 of the Millennial Sales Podcast. After that, the Top 5 Things for you folks who have been selling for a couple of years, and you guessed it, the Top 5 Things for you 5+ year veterans will follow that.

We also are publishing accompanying Podcast Episodes on the Millennial Sales Podcast about Compounding Privilege and these Top 5 activities in more detail so you can put your headphones down afterward and immediately start improving your position at work and creating opportunities for yourself.

We are super interested in your feedback so we encourage you to reach out at hello@millennialsalespod for questions, advice, or general comments.

Charlie Lisk