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Bridging the SDR-to-AE Promotion Gap (Two Leaders' Perspectives)

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Tue, Sep 19, 2017

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.

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The Failure Rate of SDR-to-AE Promotions

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Aug 17, 2017

The head of Sales Development for a $50M SaaS company recently shared some interesting team data with me. Excluding recent hires and the team currently in place, the group had 55 terminations, promotions, transfers, and quits over the last three years. A little high, but not too far above the median.

Breaking down the individual data, I found the following:

Roughly 60% of his SDRs were promoted or internally transferred. That’s great stuff! But on the flip side, and a concerning note, nearly 40% of the SDRs promoted to an AE role had been terminated. That surprised me.

I wondered if these results were above average, below average, or to be expected. I couldn’t find any public data on the post-promotion failure rate for SDR-to-AE transitions, so I turned to LinkedIn to do my own research.

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PTO vs Making the Number

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Jul 13, 2017

In the US, our approach to vacation is unrecognizable to much of the rest of the world. In Sales & Sales Leadership, our approach to Paid Time Off (PTO)  is incomprehensible to many of our own non-sales colleagues.

A quick trip to Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tells me that workers in the US work ~11% more hours annually than our peers. That’s roughly an extra half day. Every week. 52 weeks a year.

I suspect you wouldn't argue against the benefits of time away--improved concentration, replenished performance, refreshed attitude-to name a few. But a quick trip to LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Slack, and LinkedIn tells me that taking PTO and making the number are in conflict in many sales organizations.

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AE and Sales Leader Compensation Calculator

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Jun 15, 2017

Over the last few months, we published our latest research reports on the Account Executive role (AEs, ISRs, etc.). Both the SaaS and non-SaaS versions are currently available. The reports provide base and on-target earnings for the AE role—both averages and broken down by specific factors.

A number of readers have emailed in and the top three requests have been:

  1. Update the 2015 calculator with the latest data (allow tailoring by geography, rep experience, ASP, etc.)
  2. Add a sheet for manager, director, and VP compensation as well
  3. Port the calculator over to Google Sheets
     

Well, we've done all three. Welcome to our new and improved AE & Inside Sales Leader Compensation Calculator (now available both in Excel and Sheets formats).

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