The War Room
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AE vs. Upsell only role?

I spoke with my leadership yesterday and they're segmenting a role specific to upselling existing customers. They encouraged me to apply and think I'd be a good fit on that side of the business due to my product knowledge vs. others on the sales team.


Certainly I'll explore it, and it will come down to earning potential vs. continuing growing as an AE. But curious if anyone in here has any experience in this type of role?


Off the top of my head, it seems completely different. Maybe it could be easier as the customers already trust the org, want to grow, and this role comes off a bit more consultative by nature. But my concerns are that the upsells aren't worth that much, commissions will be lower due to this, and it will be harder to meet the quota of this role due to lower average order values compared to what I'm used to.


My leadership also mentioned that the skills associated with upselling and growing existing accounts is in alignment with what investors look for in a SaaS company in general, so the skills are highly sought after from a career growth perspective.


What do you think War Room? I'm leaning towards sticking with AE but figured see what everyone in here thinks.

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10
saaskicker
Politicker
8
Sr. AE
"My leadership also mentioned that the skills associated with upselling and growing existing accounts is in alignment with what investors look for in a SaaS company in general, so the skills are highly sought after from a career growth perspective." ---> mmmmmmmmmm they are hard selling you on this for the experience. SaaS investors want new logo growth, big names on the board, 6-figure contracts. I can't imagine they are dying to find someone to upsell/cross sell a product, if the product is good enough that could be put on autopilot. Just my $0.02. They are blowing smoke up your ass because you will be faster to ramp than an external hire. Lastly, "Maybe it could be easier as the customers already trust the org" --> do they? or will you be an outlet for support tickets, product requests and cancelling contracts. I'd let someone else do this role for 6-months and if they do well/enjoy it apply.ย 
newsalesguy14
Politicker
0
Account Executive
These were my exact thoughts exactly lol. Appreciate the input. Someone is actually in the role now, they transferred from AM/CSM to that role which is new, so I plan on discussing with her and watching how it goes. Again, I'm most likely going to stay in new biz, but was just curious. Thanks for confirming my thoughts on them wanting an internal hire who can ramp quickly though
funcoupons
WR Officer
4
๐Ÿ‘‘
I have the skillset to upsell and secure new logos, so it comes down to the money for me. Generally, AE that's bringing in new biz is going to make more than someone in an upsell role. Also, if the upsell role includes account management/customer service duties it's an automatic no from me.

If you're doing well as an AE and enjoy that role my rec is to stay put. Upsell would be a good path for someone who isn't succeeding as an AE or desires a change.
Hoopnip
Opinionated
2
Commercial AE
I work at a top SaaS company and the upsell teams kills it every year for the most part. All of the top reps are in these roles.
newsalesguy14
Politicker
1
Account Executive
Appreciate the feedback! I like the role and am doing relatively well as an AE. The upsell role is sales only and does not include CS or AM duties.
BitcoinAddict
Opinionated
0
AE
In that situation right now where upselling includes AM work and Customer Service, want to legit quit my job because it is just all throwing people under the bus and pointing fingers internally.
NotCreativeEnough
Politicker
2
Professional Day Ruiner
new biz all day. Pitching products to current customer's sounds boring to me. I like going out and finding new business.ย 
TennisandSales
Politicker
2
Enterprise Account Executive
Personally I would stay as the AE.ย 

Unless....the money is crazy good for the upselling.ย 
ORย 
if you think this will lead to a leadership role that you want.ย 

but the skills AEs have are always in demand, and have SOLID income opportunities.ย 
Pachacuti
Politicker
2
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
Its a "land and expand" strategy.ย  Get your foot in the door and then grow the business.ย  Its one of my favorite ways to sell.

The big problem with that role is that the original sales person will not like the account transitioning to you.ย  If there is more business to be won, they will want it (wouldn't you?!).ย  So there is a high potential for workplace conflict inherent to the role.ย ย You will need VERY defined parameters of when an account becomes yours to work.ย ย 

And there has to be the opportunity to sell a significant amount of business into that current customer, to the point it makes it worthwhile to actually work.ย  What's the point in having an account to work if that customer already has bought 90% of what the company offers?

So if you're talking about being able to go back to previous customers who have not been engaged in the past couple years - it could be a great opportunity.ย  However, if they were sold 3 months ago and the sales rep who sold them is chomping to sell more into them - the position could be very problematic.
DungeonsNDemos
Big Shot
2
Dialing for Initiative
I would deeply plan out if I can make more closing new business or if I can heavily leverage existing customers for your upsells.ย 
This is a question brings up more questions like how hard is the upsell: size, timeline, and most important what is the value???ย 
Lioness
Good Citizen
2
Sr Field Enterprise Account Executive
AE skills are more prized and better paid. Upsell only boxes you in. Continue down that path and you may end up in customer success. That's fine if you want to take that path, but it's definitely a different path.ย 

Growth and retention is good for your company's bottom line, but it's not good for your future income potential for you to focus on that area.
BitcoinAddict
Opinionated
1
AE
I've been in both kinds of sales roles and with most upsell roles as others have mention, expect a lot of internal conflict and drama. If it involves any sort of customer success or Account Management work, head for the hills! AM and CSM work is mostly others internally pointing fingers at you for entitled customers (and they do get entitled) feeling pissed off that you are not their all in one platform for everything.

"Oh we brought you for marketing but why can't you guys also do procurement, finance, and make sure my toilets are not getting clogged?"

Even if companies go out of their way to build proper boundaries, all it takes is one new biz AE or someone with clout to just say FU to the rules and the company makes an exception because they want to grab that juicy upsell at an account they closed. Expect massive amounts of internal drama and crap.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
0
Senior Account Executive
Sounds like an account manager role?
Hoopnip
Opinionated
1
Commercial AE
Most companies like Salesforce , Oracle , Microsoft , Amazon , DocuSign all have install accounts that need to be upsold by AEโ€™s with a fair mix of prospects. As you go up market to Enterprise your role is to work a couple accounts and grow them every year, so I donโ€™t understand the logic on some of these comments that install / upsell roles are limiting peopleโ€™s careers in SaaS. Yes if you go to a startup with all new customers and no install base that takes a certain skill set of spamming 100 emails a day, cold calling ZoomInfo and answering inbound leads from marketing ( hopefully ). A helluva a lot more work for an uncertain outcome. If you have a great territory of upsell accounts , itโ€™s way easier to sell into than cold prospecting all day.
waltgrizzly
0
Enterprise Account Executive
This is my role nowโ€ฆ just starting. Wondering how it works though. Established company I work for they gave me 40 accounts.. but how much can you possibly grow each one? Isnโ€™t there a limit?