How SDRs and AEs Should Build Successful Working Relationships
Author: collin stewart
Julian Muniz is a sales development leader with experience assisting two Go To Market teams get acquired for a total of $430 million. He currently holds the role as the Director of Global Sales Development at BlueVoyant.
Julian joined the Predictable Revenue podcast to discuss the importance of successful working relationships between Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Account Executives (AEs).
Why are SDR/AE relationships so important?
A poor relationship between an SDR and AE can prevent your company from making outbound sales goals. On the other hand, when both parties work together there is a ripple effect of success for the entire company, with more sales closed, quotas reached, and better opportunities for internal growth.
“When SDRs and AEs come together, it’s only going to benefit both sides,” Julian explains. “The AE is going to close deals and the SDR is going to hit their quota and grow their career.”
What can SDRs do to improve their relationship with their AE?
For Sales Development Reps looking to improve their relationship with their AE, Julian suggests being the one to take initiative and ask for collaboration. “For an SDR, it’s really about reaching out to the AE and taking a genuine interest in the accounts that you have,” Julian says. SDRs should ask for feedback on prospecting emails, set up regular one-on-one meetings with their AE, and always be on the lookout for ways to improve.
One way to ensure a more collaborative process is for SDRs to bring their AE a target account list. Once a week, deliver a list of 10 accounts with personas, contact information, and messaging ideas to the AE, and explain why you’re interested in those accounts. Take this one step further and set an hour-long meeting to collaborate on outreach emails for those accounts.
How can AEs improve their relationship with Sales Development Reps?
Julian advocates for more teamwork between AEs and SDRs. “I think the number one thing they [AEs] need to know is that this is a person on the frontline, booking you meetings for you to close deals.” It’s important for AEs to see SDRs not as an “entry-level” position, but as important members of the Outbound Sales Team.
The more successful an SDR is, the more deals their AE will be able to close. Therefore it’s in the AE’s best interest to coach their Sales Development Reps and take the time to explain why they’ve chosen certain accounts, why this is the right persona to prospect, how to formulate messaging, and what methods of outreach might be more successful.
Ensuring a smooth transition between SDRs and their AE
One of the most difficult parts of the Sales Development process is the handoff between Sales Development Representatives and AEs. It’s important to set clear expectations in advance, and follow up the day before to confirm any meetings.
SDRs should ensure the prospect is warmed up and build the relationship as much as possible before handing them off to an AE. The goal from the Sales Development Reps’ side should be for the AE to go into the meeting with as much confidence as possible. A hands-on experience and open communication will help ensure a smooth transition for the prospect.
Removing friction points for your Outbound Sales Team
One of the most common friction points for Sales Development Teams are scheduling conflicts; an SDR books a meeting, and then the AE is unable to attend. “There have to be expectations on both ends,” Julian says. “It all comes down to priorities.”
AEs are responsible for closing revenue, so leads that are further down the pipeline should be given priority. At the same time, Julian also emphasizes the importance of not letting the SDR’s work go to waste (regardless of where the prospect is in the sales pipeline). This is where teamwork comes back into play.
In this case, managers and Sales Development Leaders should step in to see if there is another outcome where the meeting is possible (for example, if another AE is available, or the prospect is open to rescheduling). Transparency is imperative; always be upfront with the prospect and let them know that someone else will be stepping in, or that the meeting has been moved to another date.
Improving the efficiency of your Sales Development Process
Another common issue within Outbound Sales teams is knowing when the SDR’s job has ended and when the AE should step in.
Julian believes the answer lies in proper SDR training: “From an outbound perspective, I believe in empowering your SDRs to have the most knowledge before they start doing outreach–on the right personas, why we’re reaching out to them, what messaging made them interested, and why the timing is right.”
Sales Development Leaders can take this one step further and identify inefficiencies within their outbound process. For example, AEs hopping on a call with a prospect only to repeat the same questions an SDR has already asked. Any unnecessary steps or meetings should be eliminated to ensure a smoother customer journey.
The impact of better SDR/AE relationships
An improved relationship between your Sales Development Reps and AEs can have a tremendous impact on sales outcomes. Encouraging SDRs and AEs to get to know one another outside of work will promote better working relationships, faster growth, and a more productive environment. This often underlooked area is crucial to the success of any Sales Development team.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can be notified when our weekly podcast episodes are released and learn more about top sales development insights.
Experience and a lot of testing have shown us that it is possible to create email templates that people actually resonate with.
You don’t have to figure it out alone, whether you’re starting off as a sales representative, looking to improve your game or providing your team with expert advice, we have your back!
Dr. Stefanie Boyer discusses why roleplaying practice makes the best sales development reps, and how to incorporate improv exercises into your SDR training.
Sales enablement tools are an essential part of the sales development process. Here are our top ten picks for the best sales enablement tools to use in 2022.
Executive coach Darren Reinke discusses how to recognize and overcome self-limiting beliefs in sales development and how reflection can help you grow as a leader.