The War Room

Everyone wants to be an AE

I have a lot of people during our hiring process for BDRs and SDRs hyper focused on how to become an AE.

I get it. But, the majority of them based on the way they conduct an interview and answer my questions have a large bullshit meter and would fail day one as an AE.

What is the best way to set the expectations and recalibrate the mindset of being an AE as quickly as possible vs when you have the talent to do the job.

Is it tough love?

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Account Executive
Yeah- I lived this and heard this amongst all of our fresh and junior bdr/sdr's.Β 

I think it's perfectly normal for all of them to be squarely focused on what they want and making it known. Beats them taking an SDR role without any desire or ambition on what the next steps or career path is.Β 

That being said, I think this is when great BDR management comes into play. Be very honest and transparent about the time 'investment' key word there and the types of skills sets that need to be developed in order to be considered for an AE role.Β 

I do think many fresh college grads think about the 12-24 months as a lifetime and do need to be recalibrated as you mentioned. But for them this is the most important investment they'll make in their future, and really cut their teeth in their career. For our company the sales are rather complex and long and it takes a long time to learn how to grasp the sales skills and product/market knowledge to then go and sell it. Our management was very upfront about the time it will take roughly 15 months to get enough experience in parallel you'll need to do these things in order to get skills xy&z.Β 

The best orgs will realize that the BDR team is the pipeline of future sales talent and groom them/invest in them as such. This can be seen by the training they implement to push the bdr's to the next level, weather it be steps to take more ownership in leading calls, mentorships ect.Β 
BDR Manager
Hashtag following this....I tyipically go the tough love, build em up to break em down to build em back up routine.
Valued Contributor
SDR Manager

I'll be following your post as well since it follows same suit.
WR Officer
Business Development Representative
The biggest one I would say is not to make false promises on this. My VP of sales brought us two BDR's over for a conversation at our first SKO, promised us in a year AE/AM role's. Yeah that definitely didn't happen.

It's okay to tell people the truth, but be honest if their isn't room for growth. Your AE's are all in their 50's and have 20+ years of experience? That's probably a sign that an SDR won't stick around if they aren't told that progression is a natural part of the role.Β 
Valued Contributor
SDR Manager
It's even harder when you set that expectation in the interview process, and six months and one good quarter later it's an everyday conversation.
Business Development Manager
manage their expectations properly and they should be fine. its a great goal to have, but let them know they have to work their way to get there. success as a BDR does not equal success as an AE. nothing worse than promoting too soon and then having them fail immediately when they could have grown more in their current position for an extra 4-6 months.Β 
Valued Contributor
SDR Manager

Just because you're good at one job doesn't mean you will be good for another.Β  WE first require you to prove in your current job, then we put you on a 90 day plan to promotion.Β Β 

That said, you need at least a year at the company before we even consider considering you.
What if your client wants "companionship"?
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