You’ve got a great thing going with your SDR team. There’s even a stand out few, the rockstars of the bunch, that just keep surpassing quota and motivating their colleagues. Knowing when it’s time to take on an AE role can be a bit confusing since it’s not like a video game where the game tells when you’ve leveled up. This is how our expert Gibran Quezada, AE at Apollo, compares it.
But, how do you know if it’s the right decision to promote your rockstar SDR to an AE role?
We chatted with seven SDR Managers and sales experts in the B2B space to get their answers. Let’s dive in and see what they said about helping their best sales development reps move on up.
You know that SDR.
When someone from your AE team is double-booked, they’re the one who ends up jumping in saying they’re fully prepared to take the meeting. Maybe they’ve even run a few discovery meetings for lower-priority buyers. They’re a total team player and they’re hungry for more responsibility.
Ryan Liubinskas, Senior SDR Manager EMEA/APJ at Redis Labs, confirmed – “When the AE is trusting the SDR to run entire sales cycles for them (usually lower probability or smaller deals) – that’s when the SDR is ready for the account executive role.”
Just like a good point guard, when an SDR is continuously setting up AEs to score, you know they’ll be a slam dunk account executive themself.
B2B Specialist Sales Advisor Javier Llorden elaborates on when you’ll know if your rep’s ready for a promotion, “The best signal is watching the SDR’s conversion rate closing customer deals from their booked meetings, and how they work with different AEs.”
“High win rates usually start with amazing work from an SDR, usually due to the SDR already doing some of the selling when setting up the meeting. Then, the AE just tips the ball in the basket.”
Some of the major keys to success as an SDR are the same needed to be a stellar AE: listening, asking the right questions, and always, always following up.
Michael Hanson, founder of GrowthGenie, chimes in – “I look for good qualifying questions and persistence. Because a mixture of good discovery on demos and relevant follow up post demo is what makes a great AE.”
Gibran adds -“If they’re interpersonal, good at listening and you identify well problems and solutions, that’s an indicator that they’re prepared for an AE role.”
Something everyone can agree on across industries and companies is that an employee’s maturity goes along way towards more responsibility.
Ted Stockton-Smith, Head of EMEA Account Development at Cisco, Duo Security, comments on what he looks for in a new AE, “Maturity, honesty, and positivity. KPI’s and targets should be a given as an SDR, so now it’s time to think about their longevity in the business.”
SVP of Revenue at Nextail Gonzalo Hafner follows up, “For us, there’s a big seniority gap between SDRs and AEs, so we look mostly at the level of maturity of the individual. Things like their capacity to interact at very senior levels with prospects, to do the right thing at the right time, their knowledge of the product and industry, and their attitude are key indicators.”
Showing initiative is a surefire way to get noticed as an SDR. But is it enough for a promotion? It all depends on how well they handle learning about a new role while managing their current workload.
Kyle Vamvouris, CEO of Vouris, offers up, “In my opinion, it’s time to promote an SDR when they are exceeding all expectations and finding time to learn from the AEs. I give SDRs that are close to transitioning time to learn and prepare, but I view the willingness to learn without sacrificing productivity as an indicator.“
Knowing when to promote an SDR to AE will never be completely cut and dry, but there should be a system in place. Use a combination of these expert tips, plus SDR activity and conversion insights from your prospecting platform to make the best decisions about promotions.
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