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Advice for a new AE *UPDATE*

I just got promoted and will be starting as an AE next week.


I welcome any advice, warnings or hilarious stories from when you were a fresh AE.


If you could start over again, what would you change?


For reference I started as a BDR in October.


UPDATE:

Thanks to everyone who chimed in and was supportive, I've taken all the feedback and through trial and error I'd say I'm doing pretty well so far. My pipeline is looking good and management and all the uppers are super happy with my work. Proof that the WR is the place to be for REAL and practical sales advice. Thanks everyone!

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9
Ba
Bandido
Politicker
+3
Client Director
I'll give this a shot...these are some things I wish I could have learned early on...

-Don't be too serious, its just sales, we aren't performing brain surgery.Β 
-Don't worry about being perfect in your pitch, chances are the client won't know your mistakes.
- Be human, and talk like one.Β  Don't talk like you are typing a formal email.
- Ask questions but listen for answers, don't think about what you want to ask next instead.
- When a client is giving you an answer to a question, allow a couple seconds of silence....this often causes them to elaborate even further.
- Don't waste your time on opportunities that aren't going to move...this will take time to figure out as every new rep will have the infamous "rose colored glasses"...eventually you will learn and become lethal with this.
-Β  Talk to the right people, not just anyone willing to take the meeting.
-Β  Ask for help, learn from your peers but don't try to do everything they do...Figure out the tips/tricks to the role that make sense for you and build your style from there.
-Β  Make clients like you...even when opps don't close make sure you made them like you enough so you have the right to stay in touch in order to hopefully strike the next time you have the chance.
- Check work at the door (Or in the new virtual world, at the closing of the laptop)....Things can wait until tomorrow and the things that can't are easy to identify.Β  A potential client often does not give a dam if you get them something that night vs the next morning.
- Don't be caught up by "rules" your sales org puts forth.....bend the rules to get clients in the door and do what you have to do in order to close the deal.. rules are meant to be tested/broken.
-Β  Study your craft, but don't feel like reading books, listening to podcasts, and listening "LinkedIn Influencers"....The best training you are going to get in sales does not come from a book, it comes from you learning from your mistakes in client situations.Β  Reflect on each and build from there.
-Β  Not sure what you are selling but become an expert on it, but also while learning to talk about it from an "application standpoint"...new reps want to talk about all bells/whistles as opposed to how it would benefit the client's environment.

I can go on and on here but hopefully a few of these bullet points can be of use.

Now go have fun!
Tiddy
Arsonist
+9
Funbags Enthusiast
Grade A advice, thank you for taking the time to write all of that! Really appreciate it.Β 
Archivist
Good Citizen
Sales Manager
Don’t drop outbound... it is is so hard to pick back up when you do.

You are going to crash and burn hard. It may not happen at first but every rep slumps. Remember to go back to basics. Whatever made you successful at first will make you successful again.

KISS (keep it simple smartguy)Β 

Guard your time. No after hours calls, no late meetings with your manager, etc... closing roles mean more responsibility and can lead to a feeling like you have to do everything. You don’t at least not on the weekend or after hours.

Along with that theme. Always take a lunch at the same time every day
Tiddy
Arsonist
+9
Funbags Enthusiast
My mentor said the same thing, he challenged me to keep up my outbound momentum.Β 

That is something that I see a lot of AEs do is make themselves available all the time and it sucks the life out of them and they get burnt out.Β 

Thank you for the solid advice.
Archivist
Good Citizen
Sales Manager
It really will suck the life out of you.Β 

congrats on the role and hoping you crush it!
RB
RBO
Opinionated
+1
Sales Manager
I couldn't agree more with the first part. Don't ever lose sight of outbound.Β 


I'm no longer responsible for an individual number but I definitely still make calls to keep that skill sharp.Β 
softwarebro
Politicker
+4
Director of Sales
Realize that most AE's don't hit quota in year one. Also, make sure you hit/exceed quota.Β 
RealPatrickBateman
Politicker
+7
Amateur Butcher
This is the most Salesy thing Someone could tell you πŸ˜‚ and I mean that in a good way.
Kodiak
Politicker
+5
Senior Account Executive
I'm assuming that you were promoted from an ADR/SDR/BDR role. Don't forget what got you promoted. Keep as much of your outbound and cadence as possible in your daily efforts.

Also, when I was first promoted to an AE, I recall many selfish pieces. Emails talking about how amazing my product is, our amazing success, my success, etc... Strip selfish thoughts from your mind. The best AE's I've seen are those who can write and talk in a way that makes the prospect think selfishly.Β 

What can you say/show/email that makes a buyer think about their personal gains?Β 
Tiddy
Arsonist
+9
Funbags Enthusiast
You are correct, I started as a BDR in October. The things that got me promoted are definitely practices I intend to keep, so thank you for that bit.Β 

I appreciate your advice!
Kodiak
Politicker
+5
Senior Account Executive
Promoting in two quarters is awesome! Congrats on the success!
ye
yer_blues
Opinionated
+1
Sales Director
You can be successful in nearly any AE role with coachability and activity. Accept feedback but also proactively ask for it.Β 

Listen to every call that becomes a Closed/Lost opportunity. See if there is any tweak that can be made to your approach and then leave it in the rearview.

Day 1: Find the top three performers and see what they do to be successful (time blocking, activity, follow-up style, etc). Listen to as many of their calls as you can. Put your own tweaks and style on their approach.Β 
Tiddy
Arsonist
+9
Funbags Enthusiast
I definitely resonate with that, I'm lucky to have a senior be my mentor and he's really helped/challenged me in all the right ways.Β 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
First off, congrats! That's awesome. CB21 gave some great pointers so I'll try to be different. Some notes:

1) Don't be hungover at work. My first boss as an AE would just mess with me when I was hungover but it could've been very problematic with a different boss.

2) Prospect your ass off. My first gig wasn't supposed to have been outbound heavy but I would've withered on the vine and been fired if I had relied on inbound/BDRs.

3) Figure out who some of the best AEs in the company are and figure out what makes them so good. Don't just shadow them and think you'll learn through osmosis. Actually study what makes them effective.

4) STFU and listen. The best rep I knew told me that when I started and it's so true. And this means to sales engineers (who can sometimes be realllllly seasoned vets), fellow AEs, prospects, anybody you can learn from. That doesn't mean all advice is good. In fact, some is dogshit. But you can learn from people who do things well and those who do things poorly.

5) Be yourself. Extending on CB21's point about being human, I first tried to put on a persona that I thought would play better than my natural self. That didn't work. Being my blunt, sarcastic self isn't for everyone but it's genuine and people can tell that.

6) So many new AEs worry about getting fired (I did) when they first start. Take that concern off the table. I've been fired in future jobs and it honestly hardly mattered.

7) Keep building your network everywhere. You most likely have a lot of company switches in your future.
Tiddy
Arsonist
+9
Funbags Enthusiast
Love it! Seriously, I really appreciate you taking the time to give some different insights.Β 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
Don't stop asking for help here as you run into situations for the first time. I would've loved to have War Room at that point in my career.
Show 1 more replies
WCK
Notorious Answer
+11
Padre de Tequila, General of the Coors Knights
Somehow I missed this
Fail fast. And learn from it, don't just fail to fail.
Find what the top reps do, and take what you like from it to mold into your own voice.
Have your own voice. It plays off the step above, but don't be a robot, fit the process to you and run with it.
Pick the brain of everyone you can that has been successful in the role. Plays off the second as well, but you get what I'm saying
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
Yes I missed this too.

Stay consistent, transparent, and roll with changes as they come.

Don't forget where you came from. Include SDRs in planning to make sure they know how you do business. Ask other AEs for advice.
RealPatrickBateman
Politicker
+7
Amateur Butcher
Consistency is KEYYYYY! Don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Stay grounded in your focus and approach every day as if the next opportunity is the game-changer, because it just may be.Β 
mcsalesperson1
Politicker
+3
Account Executive
Don't be afraid to ask for help, be proactive, stay positive, and always remember sales basics. Congrats on the promotion!
betweenworldandme
Good Citizen
Enterprise Account Executive
Listen to top sales rep call recordings/demos. Use the phrases they use to describe the product and value add on features. There's no shame in copying from the best. It'll make you more confident in your pitch and you will start noticing other aspects of client interaction.Β 
CaptainQualification
Praised Answer
+1
VP of Sales
Ne bitch pas (Don't bitch)

YoureMuted
Opinionated
+1
AE
You’ve arrived. Kick back, relax, and let everyone else do the work.
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Congratulations on your promotion!Β 

- stay upbeat and positive- after switching careers, what I can suggest is : tune your pitch with your learnings more than product's
- learn to connect and engage from client's problem perspective, not your product's capabilities perspective

- have a healthy schedule you can do. Not something over ambitious

- kill it, with full 100% when you're working! 🀝
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