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AE to BDR? What would you do?

I've been an AE the last six years and am thinking about making the transition to a senior BDR role. I'd be paired up with two AE's and have 20 accounts to prospect per quarter, selling enterprise HR software. As an AE, I've closed six figure deals with some of the largest companies in the world, made great money, but really don't enjoy all the busy work that comes with contracts, closing, and onboarding. I'd be taking a 30% pay cut making the switch but would have way less stress and more free time for IronMan training. What would you all do?

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29
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jsingh
Good Citizen
+1
Account Executive
I'd confirm first if the new role actually gets you what you want here which is less stress and more free time to do activitiesΒ 
Kiona
Opinionated
+2
Head of Business Development
100% agree. I made this jump and worked more for less money - and less recognition. It killed me and I eventually left the company.Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
That's the worst! I've had that happen once before and also left after about a year.
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Great advice! I am getting super granular with my questions with peers and bosses to confirm what the day to day really looks like. From what I can tell so far, it is less stress and time then what I'm doing now.
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
This.. is VERY VERY IMPORTANT.
Kiona
Opinionated
+2
Head of Business Development
DONT DO IT - I did this, moved from sales exec to Business Development. I was a top sales performer and everyone tried to talk me out of it, but I was burnt out and the company didnt want to see me leave. In the end, everyone agreed to let me be a "senior member of BD." I created more opps and had the highest close rate for my sales execs, but missed the pay out for my contribution. (when you factor in making it rain QoQ, its a big pay loss.Β 

14 months later I left because I missed sales SO much but there wasn't an open seat to join back and I was worried about the political headache it would cause leadership to "trade me" back to quota carrying. Instead, take a few weeks to a month off and then jump back in it. Especially if you love your company. I loved my company, and regret not dealing with the stress in a healthier manner.Β 


Now I work for a company where I have to build everything back up again.Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Thanks for sharing your story. I would be changing companies so wouldn't have to worry about everything you did but I get where you're coming from. The big pay loss is probably what I'm most concerned about.
HBIC44
BDR
I just recently did this. Went from a VP of sales role in a 40 person start up in the fitness industry to a BDR role in application security.Β 

Took less money.Β 

but I work remote and I have so much more time and control over my schedule to train for weightlifting. I think a lot of this depends on your manager.Β 

if you have a micromanager don’t be a BDR. I am lucky- my manager does not care what I do as long as I hit my number.Β 

Overall, I am glad I made the jump. But I had to ensure- that I was getting the freedom I wanted not the company just saying it.Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Very good points! I think a lot of this is going to come down to my manager and their style of leadership.
spoderman
Arsonist
+10
Friendly Neighborhood Spoderman
I think being a BDR is a different type of stress, and I do not miss it at all. I'm only 2 months into my AE role, so the idea of going back to a BDR seems unfathomable to me. Maybe its time for you to find a different industry?
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Yes, I am 100% getting out of this industry. That could also be the answer.
spoderman
Arsonist
+10
Friendly Neighborhood Spoderman
Well I hope you find happiness and peace with your next move, good luck!
Show 1 more replies
LordOfWar
Big Shot
+12
Director
Can you not ask your boss to dial down your accounts? Maybe work part-time or contract? That way you keep your position and can scale as needed.

If you're a big closer they should be happy to accommodate rather than lose you. You can also make the case for hiring an intern/jr AE trainee to handle your admin while learning their job. This leaves you with more time to close deals.
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Never even thought of that! That's a great idea!
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
Money is not everything and if you vibe well with the new people I think it could be worth it. Also nice to switch roles and try something different just to freshen things up. Good luck with the iron man training absolute badass thing to do
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
I'm definitely in a "I'd rather be happy than rich" phase of life and my wife does well at her job which helps. I love prospecting and really think just focusing on that could be a nice break for a couple of years with eventual leadership transition.
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
I love prospecting too always fun to learn about new and innovative companies while I source them out!
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paddy
WR Officer
+11
Account Executive
I mean yeah if you value the iron man training then do it. Work life balance brotha
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
I also value time with the family. IronMan training is going to add an extra 15-20 hours a week on top of my normal sports/workouts.
paddy
WR Officer
+11
Account Executive
Then it's probably worth it man
CoastLife
Good Citizen
Large Enterprise Sales
Knowing what you like to do in a role, what makes you happy is so important. Who cares if it is not the "traditional path". I say go for it.Β 
I moved from sales leadership back to an individual contributor role and have never looked back. It provides the freedom that I want, in a role that I find more enjoyable.Β 
Good luck!
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Wise words! I stepped back from sales leadership already and do not regret that at all. I work to live not live to work. Having a job/profession that supports my family and personal goals is all I really care about.
SiliconBBQ
Politicker
+4
The Metal Rooster
sounds like ironman brings you happiness. if that aligns more closely with your life goals and the salary cut is tenable, then pursue the dreams. no one gets to say when we check out and leaving shit undone will haunt you later in life. ....that said, there are other roles that may not hit you as hard in the pocket and give you the flexibility you need to train at that level

JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
That's what I'm thinking too!
Rigeyyy
Opinionated
+1
Account Executive
Man if it’s a better life do it! 30% less of six figure deals is still a good paycheck I’d imagine ;)
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Lol you're not wrong about that.
SammySandbags
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Live within your means and you'll be way happier
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
100% - I could care less about keeping up with the Jones'. I'm still driving a four year old honda and shopping at Aldi despite making 6 figures and totally happy with that.Β 
SammySandbags
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
secret to success
Show 3 more replies
MoonDog69
Executive
+7
Commercial Account Executive
It seems like you're 90% of the way there to answering your own question...Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
I'm starting to see that!
MoonDog69
Executive
+7
Commercial Account Executive
Good feeling? I think these kinds of gut-checks are super helpful. For what's worth, I'd say your current earning potential is well worth the busy work hah
sketchysales
Politicker
+8
Sales Manager
What will give you the most satisfaction?Β  While stressful, theres great satisfaction in closing and onboarding a deal IMO.Β Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
I agree there is a satisfaction in closing and onboarding when you have a company and team that's good at that. When your onboarding and support personnel blow, onboarding can be excruciating and you can end up feeling guilty about even closing.
Silvita
Business Development Manager
BDR-ing ain't easy but it comes with less stress than an AE. The AE's in our company have a lot of pressure on them but the role of BDR comes with less respect. I was a Lead BDR and now I'm BDR Mgr and I make more money than AE's in my company because I surpass quota very often. You might even make a commission on the success of your team if you take on leadership duties.Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Moving up to a BDM within a year or so would make transitioning to a BDR easier for sure.
Silvita
Business Development Manager
We have a Senior BDR who makes a commission off the success of our team because he brings in more revenue and takes on leadership duties.Β 
Show 1 more replies
Rupert_Pupkin
Contributor
+2
Account Executive
This is super interesting. I view the "busy work" as prospecting/pipe gen hahaha. One is certainly not right or wrong, but the contract piece doesn't bug me as much as list building, email creation, etc... If it makes you happy go get it, who cares about the pay cut if you don't
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Lol that's the fun "busy work"! The hours a day spent dealing with network requirements, pen tests, security blah blah blah are unavoidable things that come up late in the sale and always are riddled with issues.
countingmyinterest
Politicker
+4
Account Executive
That sounds terrible and future companies are going to ask why you did that.Β 

Personally, I wouldn't do that, I'd try to find some inbound role or some customer success function.Β 
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Good feedback!
Dr.Sales
Executive
Use AI, machine learning, and inbound marketing to due away with BDRs and only have AES. Radical? Probably. Effective? More so.Β 
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
If I'm thinking about the long term I'd be aware of the perception of someone that says "I took a pay cut and a demotion to have more free time". Β If I'm hiring for a sales position this is a red flag for me.
braintank
Politicker
+7
Enterprise Account Executive
If you work hard enough you could get promoted to intern!

Moving backwards is usually a bad move, unless you plan to be a lifetime BDR or move into BDR management. If you change your mind and try to go back to AE how will you explain it?
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
That's the biggest concern for me. I don't want to be a lifetime BDR but could be a lifetime BDM I think.
braintank
Politicker
+7
Enterprise Account Executive
You're painting yourself into a corner. As a hiring manager, I'd be skeptical of an AE who took a perceived demotion, particularly if the reason was "I don't like contracts, closing, and onboarding". You have to spin the hell out of this if BDR manager isn't your cup of tea.
Show 2 more replies
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
What did you decide?
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Ended up not taking that role and moving in to a cushy Director role for now.Β 
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