How to get promoted from SDR to Account Executive

Chris Algiere
April 11, 2018

This week it was our pleasure to invite Pat Crane on The Talent Hacks Podcast. Pat is a returning LaunchSource Alumnus who has worked in the SDR position and is now an Account Executive.

He spoke to the issue of getting promoted from SDR to Account Executive from both an SDR’s and manager’s perspective. Below are the main takeaways, and listen to the full podcast to hear the full conversation.

Being a good SDR does not mean you will be a good Account Executive

The first thing to know is that simply doing the SDR job well, doesn’t mean you are ready for a promotion. The SDR role and the AE role require different skills, and as an SDR you have to work to obtain those skills. If your company does not have detailed path on how to become an AE, you should start by asking your manager what it takes to get there.

Then you need to build those skills by either researching and learning on your own time, or asking for help working on those skills. You may need to invest your own time to build those skills, but if you do, it will help your career progression.

Managers shouldn’t judge strictly by performance

The same thinking should be applied from the manager’s perspective. Just because an SDR is crushing their numbers doesn’t mean they will be successful in the AE position. To evaluate who to promote, start by creating a soft-skills tracker. Evaluate your employees in those skills needed to perform in the AE position, and be transparent about where your team members need to improve.

This will help your team feel as though there is a path to promotion, and will also help them to understand that simply being the best in the SDR role is not enough. Remember that young employees crave that learning and development more than anything. They’ll appreciate the clarity and the mentorship you can offer them.

How to be the best SDR you can be

Joining a startup, especially in a results-oriented position such as the SDR, means being a self-starter. As Pat puts it, “there are no passengers”. Everyone needs to contribute their best to move the ship forward, and you can’t rely on the rest of the team to carry you all the time.

You’re bound to have bad days, weeks, or months, but you need to brush off failure and learn from it. Being a self-starter, learning from your mistakes, and creating solutions will help you build the professional skills that you need to advance in any company, at any position, including moving up to an Account Executive role.

Listen to the full podcast to hear Pat's thoughts on when the SDR role is right for an organization, plus his recommended reads and follows to help you be a better salesperson!