It’s no secret that many people who land sales development roles have their sights set on promotion, with many looking ahead to becoming Account Executives, but some also looking towards Customer Success Manager roles or other titles. You, too, are looking at growth opportunities; which of your top-performing SDRs will move into AE roles? It’s become a natural progression of sorts, but one that still requires a significant amount of work from both you and your salespeople.
Though both are vital to the success of any sales team, the SDR role differs greatly from the AE role. While your Sales Development Representatives are responsible for prospecting potential clients who fit your company’s Ideal Customer Profile, the Account Executives handle demos and negotiations and ultimately close the deal.
These complementary roles require slightly different skill sets, and promoting your team members from SDRs to AEs is not always a walk in the park. Here are 3 ways you as a sales leader can prepare your SDRs for promotion.
1. Gradually increase performance expectations.
By now, you’ve probably landed on a management style that works for you and your SDRs. You’ve monitored their performance over time and set target goals and expectations that challenge them, but not too much. They’re generally succeeding at hitting their goals month over month, and you suspect that they may be ready for the next level.
Now, it’s time to stretch them a bit further. Say they were at 300 cold calls per week; consider increasing that number by ten percent. 50 emails sent per day? How about 75? The point is for your SDRs to demonstrate that they can handle increased workload and expectations, even if this isn’t the exact type of work they’d be doing in the AE role.
Additionally, if you see a particular SDR naturally stretching into other areas, encourage this growth! Their time as an SDR is also your time to identify any skills or traits they have that may not have stuck out to you before. Give them additional responsibilities that allow them to lean further into their already developing skills; if someone is demonstrating superb leadership ability, offer them the chance to lead your next team meeting!
2. Pair them with a mentor.
Here at Vendition, we’re all about mentorship. We’ve seen firsthand the impact that strong mentoring and coaching can have on a new SDR, and it’s no different for up-and-coming AEs.
As your team’s sales leader, you likely work closely with each SDR on their individual progress. But the AE role is a different animal, and you may not have the time to coach SDRs on the specifics of this role while still keeping them on track with their current goals. If this is the case for you, consider pairing your high-performing SDRs with current AEs who can offer them guidance and share their firsthand experiences. This way, your SDRs will feel more confident getting promoted and know coming into the role that they have someone to lean on.
3. Consider roles beyond AE.
This one may be less intuitive, but hear us out. Just because many SDRs eventually progress to being Account Executives doesn’t mean that’s the only route they can take. In addition to AEs, your growing company likely needs Customer Success Managers, Marketers, HR professionals, and more.
SDRs require and develop a great deal of transferable skills that make them worthy candidates for various roles. If you have an SDR who’s ready to be promoted, but not necessarily to the AE position, consider looking to other departments. The key is to put each person on your team in the best position to use their talents.
If you’re looking for help hiring and coaching promotion-ready SDRs, we can help. Connect with Vendition today!