The War Room
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How do I get an AE role as a SDR/inexperienced AE?

I've been in my current firm as a SMB AE for 3 months and it hasn't turned out the way I had hoped. Y'all may refer to my previous post for more detailed info on why my current SMB AE role kinda sucks. But TLDR; salary sucks, I realise I don't like the market I'm selling to, I'm bored, and there's no tech stack. 

That said, I've been getting AE interviews with good firms, e.g. Twilio, Datadog, but haven't gotten past the hiring manager/director and I've been told that I have the drive and the attitude BUT it's because of my lack of experience. But don't all AEs start off from SDRs too?!?! I'm so confused why I even got shortlisted for an interview in the first place. 

Since I've only been in an AE role for 3 months, any tips on how I can get offers for an AE position? 
👥 Hiring
🤝 Interviewing/Offer
☁️ Software Tech
9
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
The hiring manager needs to know you can close. Did you close your interviews? Doesn't sound like it. You need to gain more experience where you are, and not be whiny about it. 
Robot
Politicker
+7
Account Exec
SAVAGE!
Robot
Politicker
+7
Account Exec
Tough Love
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
Typical on-boarding for new reps at my company takes longer than 3 months.  If I were interviewing you I'd probably pass as well unless you have some specific experiences that align to the skills I'm looking for.  What are you bringing to the company that other, more experienced AE's lack?
sa
saasmuch
Opinionated
+3
Inside Sales
I had no ramp time. I started selling on my 2nd week of work, running a full sales cycle role. I self-taught myself everything about closing, on how to conduct discovery calls by subscribing to newsletters, attending webinars, reading LinkedIn posts from sales “influencers”, googling for questions to ask based on MEDDPICC etc, and how to close deals etc. I did manage to close 5 mini deals so far, even in my 3 months here. 

If I were to compare myself to experienced AEs, I'd definitely lose in terms of experience, but isn't that how all AEs started? By getting the role and then gaining experience? I'm very independent in doing my own learning and getting up to speed quickly, so this is what I can bring to the role. Idk how else I can even justify how I'm better than other experienced AEs and am not sure if that's even a fair question to ask an inexperience sales rep because everyone starts off inexperienced, or am I missing something here?
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
That's my point.  It sounds like you got the opportunity to learn, grow and prove yourself.  Use it.  What you need now to get to the next level (based on my limited understanding of your question) is time and experience.  So... do the job.  Why are you looking for an AE offer if you just started as an AE?  That makes no sense.
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UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Little blunt honesty for you here, you've been in sales for 1 year according to your profile, you've been in your current role for 3 months and have no track record of closing. Why would a large established company hire you when there is a massive, well qualified talent pool they can choose from?

You need way more than 3 months to ramp and become effective in your current role. Learn how to kick ass in your current role, gain like 18-24 months of experience and then move on. Everyone wants to fasttrack their way to an AE role making $300k a year, thats not how it works. 
sa
saasmuch
Opinionated
+3
Inside Sales
Actually, I had no ramp time. I started selling on my 2nd week of work, running a full sales cycle role. I self-taught myself everything about closing, on how to conduct discovery calls by subscribing to newsletters, attending webinars, reading LinkedIn posts from sales “influencers”, googling for questions to ask based on MEDDPICC etc, and how to close deals etc. I did manage to close 5 mini deals so far, even in my 3 months here. 

I feel like there’s just no structure here and I do think I need a proper process in place, otherwise I’m just a headless chicken with no direction.
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Good on your for owning it and trying to get better but you cant fastrack experience. There is a reason companies want AE's with experience especially when they hire externally. You have only scraped the tip of the iceberg in your first 3 months. 

If you really need structure go be an sdr at a legit large org and work your way into an AE role from there. 
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mitts2
Politicker
+8
Account Executive
There are no shortcuts in sales and if you try and take a shortcut it will bite you in the ass in the long run. Experience is more important than you might think. Great that you have closed some deals but it is not a seamless transition to AE. 

I went from a pretty successful SDR to AE in 12 months at the same company and even then I was grinding over the first few months to figure out how to close. The conversations are different, the questions are more critical and the only way to improve is to have more of those at-bats (aka experience).
sa
saasmuch
Opinionated
+3
Inside Sales
"If you try and take a shortcut it will bite you in the ass in the long run" This hit me hard! Thank you. 
Fo
FormerStartupJobHopper
Big Shot
+7
AE
Same thing happened to me, they're hesitant about you job hopping for one, and then the other is companies generally always prefer someone with more closing experience unless it is an internal promotion from an SDR. It's difficult to go from SDR at one company to AE at another. Or to do what you're doing
sa
saasmuch
Opinionated
+3
Inside Sales
Yeah I hear you! How did you eventually land your AE role?
Fo
FormerStartupJobHopper
Big Shot
+7
AE
I did what I said haha, after a few tries I got an SDR gig at above market at a good company and got promoted a year later
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Avon
Politicker
+7
Account Executive
I’d recommend doing what I did. Stick it out just over a year, then get a nice raise as an AE somewhere else.
Diablo
Politicker
+7
AE
Honestly, for me doesn't matter provided you can create that aura for me that you can do it.

I am not sure your approach and what you speak about with the hiring manager but rather than talking about what you you do try to talk more about your achievements, metrics and that is what going to get you hired.
torontowarroomrep
Politicker
+5
Account Executive
Have you looked at more junior AE roles? They tend to hire SDRs and inexperienced AES more often and it's a great stepping stone to the next position. 
sa
saasmuch
Opinionated
+3
Inside Sales
Hmm do you know of some companies that hire junior AE roles?
Mi
Mintea
Good Citizen
District Manager
Some companies highly value internal referrals so if you can, build a strong relationship with everyone in the company. You never know if they, or their friends can refer you into a role in the future. 
17
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