metrics, trends, and analysis

Inside Sales Experts Blog

Inside Sales Experts Blog


2017 SaaS AE Metrics Report

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

In the SaaS world, metrics can be finicky beasts. What works at LinkedIn, Salesforce, Twilio, or Zendesk might not be transferable from one to the other, let alone work for you.

Questions around how can I benchmark myself make leading an AE group all the more challenging. In our 2017 SaaS AE Metrics & Compensation Report, we analyze the biggest shifts in recent years and provide core metrics to measure AE teams. We also break findings down by company revenue, ACV, and other factors.

This is our sixth round of this research project and I can honestly say it's our best release yet. The report is organized into five sections:

  1. Group Structure
  2. Ramp and Retention
  3. Quota and Compensation
  4. Activity and Technologies
  5. AE Leadership

384 Executives from a broad diversity of SaaS companies participated. 89% were headquartered in North America. Median respondent revenue was $27M and median respondent ACV was $25K.

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Making Salesforce Work for SDRs

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Mar 16, 2017

Do your SDRs often remark about how much they love using Salesforce? Do they feel bad for peers at other companies with poorly configured CRMs? Are they thankful that, unlike those poor sods, they aren’t drowning in manual steps and byzantine processes.

I suspect this isn’t a sentiment you hear very often.

I’ve asked dozens of SDRs to describe the experience of doing their jobs inside Salesforce. The responses ranged from “death by a thousand cuts” to “running in mud wearing cement shoes” to “sitting in the dentist’s chair five days a week.” I once heard “it’s fine” and considered that rather high praise indeed.

For all the attention and buzz the SDR role has received, the way companies support sales development in Salesforce hasn’t advanced much in the last 10 years. Where AE, managers, and senior leaders have been drowning in innovation and improvement, SDRs have been logging clicks and filling fields in ways that would be entirely familiar to a time traveler from 2008.

So I wrote a book about fixing it.

Lightning Sales Ops was just released. I interviewed 34 sales executives, SDR leaders, marketers, operations pros, and Salesforce admins for this book. I hope the stories, strategies, and thinking I share will inspire you.

It's a book for SDR managers and biz ops / marketing ops / sales ops pros. It’s a book with five parts:

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Topics: technology

Does Sales Development Have a Glass Ceiling?

Posted by Trish Bertuzzi on Tue, Feb 28, 2017

I've started and stopped writing this post half a dozen times over the last few months. I hesitated as I didn't want to upset anyone or look like I am casting shade on some amazing and successful people. But the more I've thought about it, the more I've come to understand that this is a topic that needs to be discussed.

I'm talking about the glass ceiling in Sales Development. And no, I don't mean the glass ceiling faced by many women and minorities. I mean this:

Once you have risen to the rank of VP of Sales Development, how do you crack into the C-suite?
Where do you go next?

Some of the best and brightest our industry has to offer are sitting in an SDR leadership role right now. They run global teams, report to the CEO, and are instrumental in revenue growth. But have their careers hit a glass ceiling? I chatted with three (current and former) Sales Development Leaders that I have immense respect for and posed the question to them. Here's what they had to say.

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Data on Reps Outearning Their Managers

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Feb 16, 2017

I ran across a question on the Inside Sales Experts LinkedIn group last week. As luck would have it, I’ve been working our 2017 SaaS AE Metrics & Compensation (due out next month) and have just the perfect dataset. The question read:

Manager Earnings vs. Rep Earnings
I think we would all agree that top reps will and can always make more than their sales managers. But where should that line be? Has anyone seen any data that identifies where manager compensation should be relative to their reps?
This is one of those questions that causes a gut reaction. I’m sure you’d agree that a “top rep” should outearn their direct manager. But how many top reps? Is true for every #1 rep in every group?


Beyond making for fantastic cocktail party conversation, this is an important question.

As anyone with a pulse and open AE headcount can tell you, we’re in a highly-competitive market for top talent. If your compensation plan limits, caps, or otherwise blocks AEs from the potential to outearn their boss, something is wrong. I hope you’ll evaluate your own plans as you read through these findings.

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