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7-steps to promote SDRs>AE successfully

+ 1 new bootcamp

Chris Ritson

7 Jul 2023

2.5 mins

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Fun Fact: This week we launched the first-ever SDR>AE skills Bootcamp, for SDRs who want AE skills but no one has time to team them! 

In this week’s edition you’ll get: 

  • 7 steps to successfully promote SDRs 

  • Overview of my new ‘SDR>AE Skills Bootcamp’ 

  • 3 top tips from an AE who got promoted from SDR 

PS. If you want to get better at writing emails check out last week’s newsletter edition it’ll be under ‘Keep your emails relevant’ in your inbox.

Most SDRs want to get promoted to AE. The problem is they want it to happen too early. They push hard for it, get promoted, and then fail. 

Let’s get this straight; because an SDR has hit their target for a few months in a row does not mean they are ready to be an AE. 

This may seem harsh but the truth is the AE role demands different skills. Skills most SDRs have not had the chance to develop, yet. 

Simply put; moving someone into an AE role from SDR without upskilling them is like asking a footballer to play tennis. There are some transferable skills that may help but most of the skills needed to perform at a high level won’t be there. 

It’s depressing but promoting someone too early without these skills ends up in your top-performing SDR getting fired for being a low-performing AE. 

The business loses, the team loses, the SDR loses and you (the manager) lose. 

Instead, have this mindset:

Today, I’ll give you 7 steps so you can build your SDRs into high-performing AEs before they’ve even started. 

SDR>AE in 7 Steps:

Step 1 - Qualify: 

Have the reps been consistent enough in their performance to qualify for additional skills training? This should be highly sought after and hard to attain so only the best get access to it. For example, I used to have 12 months in the role with consistent quota attainment. 

Step 2 - Hard Skills:

Now you need to identify the hard skills of your AE position. What hard skills does someone in this role need to have to be successful? For example, if they are running full-cycle deals they’ll need skills in discovery, pitching, negotiation etc. 

Step 3 - Soft Skills: 

Thirdly, identify the soft skills of your AE position. What behaviors (the harder skills to teach|) should a successful applicant possess? For example; curiosity, empathy, emotional intelligence etc. 

Step 4 - Skill Gap Review: 

<10 of leaders do this. Make sure you sit down and assess the SDR’s current skills against the hard and soft skill requirements of the AE role. Next, communicate to them where their current gaps are. 

Step 5 - Development Plan: 

Now, build a plan with the SDR that balances their day-to-day and new skill acquisition. One thing I did was give the SDR a ‘secondment’ one day a week into the AE team to allow them to learn from others and get a feel for the role. 

Step 6 - Interview: 

By now the SDR should have started learning skills for their future role. Can they prove this though? I always make sure there is a robust interview process at the end to make sure the SDR actually has the skills we need for them to be successful. I also recommend comparing to external candidates. Prepare to make tough decisions if needed. Ultimately, if an SDR isn’t ready the best thing for them is to continue learning the skills in Stage 5. 

Step 7 - Communicate: 

Tell the team why that individual got the promotion. This is your chance to set the bar high. Only the best get promoted and only when they’ve proved they have the skills to be successful. 

Hope this helps. 

Good luck!! 

SDR>AE Skills Bootcamp

5 years ago, I spoke about solving how SDRs get access to learning AE skills. 

I felt it has gone on for too long and I’ve seen too many SDRs fail to be great AEs because of the lack of high-quality training they have access to. 

So this week we launched the first-ever SDR>AE Skills Bootcamp. 

Click here to check it out (14 places left):

PS. If you know someone who would like this, please pass it on to them 🙂 

SDR>AE Spotlight:

Delighted to introduce all 1200+ of you to my dear friend; James Munro, Enterprise AE @Workvivo.

His journey:

Now, you’re probably thinking why am I letting an AE on the SDR Leader Spotlight? Well, this week’s edition is all about successfully promoting SDRs to AE so I thought who better to spotlight than an AE who has done that very journey? 

James started off as an SDR in my Peakon team 6 years ago. He spent 18 months as an SDR during which he was overlooked for 2 promotions to AE. 18 months after being promoted to AE he was closing multi 6-figure Enterprise deals. 

His story is a great example of the power of patience and how important focusing on skill acquisition is for any SDR who wants to be an AE. 

His SDR>AE tips:
  1. Hit your targets; don’t forget what your current role is. Make sure you’re doing your job well, you’re top of the leaderboards. Too many SDRs get distracted. Target = number 1 priority. 

  2. Prepare for the role; do you know how to demo the product you’re selling? Can you handle common objections? Can you do what the best reps are doing? 

  3. Work with internal stakeholders like you would an account. Turn ‘Why’ into ‘Why Not’. Gather information from top AEs and their tips to get the role. Ask hiring managers what you need to work on in advance of interviewing. Finally, go to the top of the chain and the CRO/VP of Sales. Make sure no one in the ‘account’ thinks ‘Why should we promote X’ but rather ‘Why shouldn’t we promote X’. 

Good luck to every SDR who wants to be an AE out there. 

Cheers, Jimmy.

That’s all for this week, folks! 

To everyone who wants to see more SDRs successfully make the transition into AE, I’m with you! 

To every who doesn’t, you suck. 

See you next Friday @1.05pm for next week’s edition on ‘Time Management’. 

PS. You’re all legends for giving me your time each week 🙂 

Whenever you’re ready here’s 1 way I help SDR Leaders:

The last one SOLD OUT ALL 24 SEATS in a week. The next one will launch in August. Respond to this email to reserve a spot. Only 8 left already.

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.