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Should I Rethink My SDR to AE Handoff Process?


Should I Rethink My SDR to AE Handoff Process?

The standard SDR to AE handoff model passes a prospect to the AE as soon as possible. But in modern SaaS sales, should we rethink this process?

We asked some pro SDR Managers about switching up or sticking with the standard SDR to AE handoff.

Here’s a summary of what they said –

When should the SDR to AE handoff occur?

TLDR; Once the meeting is set.

“The handoff occurs when the lead has been qualified, and there is a clear business opportunity ahead: a clear time and date confirmed in the diary, i.e. a calendar invite,” commented Ted Stockton-Smith, the Head of EMEA Account Development at Cisco.

Typically, an SDR runs a qualification or discovery call and then passes the prospect on to an Account Executive quickly to hit their target.

Kyle Vamvouris, the CEO of Vouris says “this varies based on the type of sales process (SMV, Mid-market, Enterprise). But, the general rule is a handoff at the first meeting.”

What should the AE do to prepare?

For a handoff to go smoothly, your tech stack should offer support by providing information captured in a clear format for the AE.

All the relevant info for the meeting and all the conversation details between the lead and the SDR, like the call recording, should be easily available.

Javier Llorden, an advisor to numerous startups, shared his thoughts about the AE preparing the meeting upfront, “They should read all available info and perform thorough research on the account and the lead. In case of doubts, the AE should call the SDR.”

Michael Hanson, the Founder & Sales Consultant of GrowthGenie, explains further.

“Once the lead has pain points identified and is qualified, according to ICP, ensure AE listens or read into how SDR booked meeting. So that –

  1. They are prepared and don’t repeat questions.
  2. They can determine if the meeting’s really qualified and support the Sales Development Rep to help them improve.”

Should the SDR attend the first meeting?

Most of our experts mention the SDR’s presence at the initial meeting between the AE and the prospect. Ryan Liubinskas; Senior SDR Manager EMEA/APJ at Redis Labs, thinks the handoff starts here.

This is helpful to do a formal introduction from the SDR; which has been talking to both of them, and “do a smooth transition in the eye of the prospect” says Gonzalo Hafner, the SVP Revenue en Nextail Labs.

Also, SDRs attending sales meetings now and then is great as they learn in practice the consequences of their work, and can improve from there.

A few more best practices for creating a smooth SDR AE handoff

James Buckley, the Head Of Business Development shared with us that in Attest, they have a qualification checklist that the SDR needs to hit to book a meeting with an AE.

He adds, “A written or built-in playbook that outlines best practices for handover is also crucial.”

Tinesh Kansara, SDR Team Lead EMEA at Airship, offers a totally different perspective, “In the age of COVID-19. Relationship building and smart insights are driving current conversations. And how can an SDR establish trust and educate if they’re looking to introduce a prospect to another colleague at their first chance? Let’s not even get into the confusing buyer experience.”

“In turn, we’ve empowered the SDR team to demo Airship’s stand-out features. Our SDRs can now have the confidence to engage in highly technical conversations with marketers to help them learn something new.”

That way, booking a meeting with the AE that offers real value based on previous conversations with the SDR naturally flows from there.

Want to know more about prospecting through 2020? Download our latest ebook featuring advice from some of the best SDR leaders in the game.

SDR to AE Handoff

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