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BDR to AE jump...when to stay and when to leave for a promotion?

I joined a late stage startup in 2019 as a BDR to get my foot in the door for tech sales. I was the top performer on my team in 2020 with the most qualified meetings, $12M in qualified pipeline, and over $3.5M in closed won deals that I sourced. I would really like to stay at the company and have done everything proactively to make it known I want to move into the next role such as seeking sales leadership mentoring, co-running deals until closed won, and even running first and second meetings and pressure testing deals to see if they are real until an AE takes over. I interviewed for an AE role and was told “I need more practice.” There has never been a BDR promoted at the company. The last 4 BDR’s left and found AE roles at other companies that I wouldn’t say are as high of caliber. There is a promise to get me more practice but I don’t know if I believe it. I don’t want to restart as a BDR at a new company. Would my best bet to wait and see or should I look outside the company to see if there is someone who will take the chance on me and offer mentoring for any gaps I may have or should I wait and see and hope for an opportunity at my current company who has a bad track record at promotion and is on track to IPO in about a year or so.

🎈 Mentorship
6
Da
DaveFromCollege
Notorious Answer
+7
Account Executive
Damn, I felt this at a personal level. I obviously do not know the whole story, but based on what you've posted, I would stay. Keep doing what you're doing, and get those delicious shares of the company.

A question I would ask is "What do I have to do to prove that I am ready for the AE position?" If they keep saying practice, then just say you've done that for over a year, what's the timeline?  Or straight up record your demos and show your boss that you're ready for the next step.
vet2rep
Good Citizen
+1
Business Development Rep
I have recorded several demos. It’s the catch 22 of just being given the opportunity to close instead of a supporting role. I don’t have a developmental path of working a co-sell deal to show I can navigate stakeholders, signers, legal, and procurement which is my primary blocker.
Da
DaveFromCollege
Notorious Answer
+7
Account Executive
Not going to lie, I'm stuck in a similar situation. 
I'd say your company is doing better than mine, so stick there unless the absolute right opportunity comes by. It's so hard to make that diagonal move though, so best of luck. Sorry I couldn't help much more.
closedwon
Politicker
+7
VP Sales
You just said all you needed to — “There has never been a BDR promoted at the company.” 

You’ll either be the first to make it or it’s time to leave.  With numbers like that, you’ll have plenty of AE offers! 
GlenRoss
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
I would at least start interviewing because you may be able to get a better offer that you aren’t aware will give you a shot. Also if the company realizes that the market views you as ready and it sounds like you are a valuable asset to them, they may counter with an AE offer
snazzy
Praised Answer
+1
AE
This is interesting. My first company rarely promoted from within- I always found it strange that they hired AEs or extremely successful BDRs externally considering the training costs and the amount of talent within.

I am the first to be promoted from BDR to AE at my company and it has been a learning experience. It could be best to come to the table with a solution- take on a junior role with assistance from your peers until you meet quantifiable metrics to move into your own role. It will pave the road for others wanting to build their careers within too! 

The devil's advocate in me says, "know your value".  If they don't foresee growth for you within, take your quota-crushing numbers and go somewhere that will! 
Lambda
Politicker
+6
Sales Consultant
Sounds like you have the answer if there has never been a bdr to ae spot. You COULD be the first but if others have done what u are looking to do? I'd go that route
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