A few weeks ago, I shared my research on the failure rate of SDR-to-AE promotions. (Executive Summary: 26% of SDRs who take on an AE role fail. The shorter the SDR tenure, the higher the failure rate. The post-promotion failure rate for SDRs with 11 or fewer months experience was 55%. The failure rate for SDRs with 16+ months experience was just 6%.)
A few dozen InMails and 1.5K+ social shares later, I’ve concluded that this topic hits a nerve.
The most common feedback I heard was “Yes! I’ve seen this too. What can we do to address it?” I wanted real practitioners to share advice so I reached out to Kevin Dorsey, Head of Sales Development and Enablement at ServiceTitan, and Natasha Miller Sekkat, VP of Demand Generation at ClickSoftware. Rather than post the full transcript, I’ve grouped their thoughts below.
Why risk promoting SDRs to AEs at all?
Natasha Miller Sekkat: Successful SDR-to-AE transitions are key to making sales development economics work. Unless you’re selling a high-ticket solution into the enterprise, I’ve found it’s hard to financially justify the existence of an SDR organization. But, when you factor in potential savings on AE recruitment plus productivity gains from successful promotions, the equation flips to positive.
You’re looking for the "the trifecta" from your SDR-to-AE promotions:
- Lower attrition rates than external hires
- Higher performance versus goal than outside hires
- And a lower cost per $ sold than external hires
In the best scenario, an internally promoted SDR-to-AE will cost less, stay longer, and sell more.