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From SDR to AE: How to Turbocharge Your Career

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How to Turbocharge Your Career
The Successful SDR
From SDR to AE
  • Sarah Arcoleo Photo
    Sarah Arcoleo
4 min

On June 2nd, 2016, Rainforest QA and Iron.io hosted an event titled “From SDR to AE: How to Turbocharge Your Career” featuring several Q&A panels with SDRs, AEs and VPs of Sales from both companies. Videos of the panels are included below, along with extended thoughts from Rainforest QA’s Sarah Arcoleo.

How to Turbocharge Your Career

As Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Business Development Representatives (BDRs) you are a vital component of your company. You do research on and connect with prospects, and you help teams across your entire organization make plans and build roadmaps for paying customers. In many ways, you are also the future leaders of the organization.

As you’ll see in these videos, if your goal is a closing role in Sales, choosing the company you work for carefully and spending your time smartly as an SDR is a great step along the way.

During your time as an SDR (or BDR) you’re busy learning about your market, fine-tuning your tool set, and learning what messaging and sales approaches resonate with your target audience. You’re also building your career, so you should be thoughtful in choosing the type of team you work on and the people you will be working with. The best opportunities will allow you to learn best practices from your teammates, expose you to the full sales cycle, and provide a clear path for both personal growth and professional promotion.

When you’re looking to join a team as an SDR, it’s imperative that you ask a lot of questions. Find out what the team is doing well and what areas they’re struggling in. Here are some sample questions to get you started:

  • What processes do they have in place that are working, and how do they address areas of concern?
  • Do they have a firm understanding of what’s working, based on data?
  • Do they regularly experiment and make adjustments based on measured outcomes?

Finally, ask yourself, what can you learn from this team and how would you contribute?

The Successful SDR

For most, the SDR role is a starting point for a career in Sales. Joining a team that functions well, has values that resonate with you, and team members you respect and want to learn from will help you grow a strong foundation for your career. When you’re interviewing, ask questions about how SDRs work with Account Executives at the company.

Are they encouraged to tag along on calls further down the sales cycle? What sort of feedback do they get on the opportunities they’re sending over? Once you’re on a team, be sure to pay attention to what the best closers in your company are doing well and learn from them.

From SDR to AE

As an SDR you understand your value to the business but, for most SDRs, this is a step on the path to a closing role. Look for a company that sees SDRs as more than lead generators and invests in you as a person and in your career. Some companies, if they have been around long enough, will have a clear process for promotion in place. Pay attention to the timeline for promotion and see if that works for you.

Other companies may be at an earlier stage with a less defined process. If this is the case, see if they have a history of promoting internally and if they do, ask questions around how you can prepare yourself to be moving in that direction.

We’re proud of the work we’re doing and the SDR teams we’re building at Iron.io and Rainforest QA. If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about our teams after watching these videos, please reach out or join us for another event, we’d be happy to hear from you!

If you’d like to attend other developer focused sales, product, marketing, and general management events, check out the Heavybit Events page, and RSVP today.