Should AEs Be Training and Onboarding SDRs?

Mar 14, 2022
Collin Stewart

The relationship between sales development reps (SDRs) and account executives (AEs) is one of the most important in outbound sales. In order to reach revenue goals, your SDRs and AEs need to work together as one unit. But just how involved should your AEs be in the SDR training and onboarding process?

According to most experts, the answer is very. Teamwork between these two roles is crucial for outbound sales success, and involving AEs in the SDR training process keeps everyone on the same page.

Here are the top five reasons why AEs should be onboarding new SDRs.

1. It sets your SDRs up for growth

The path from SDR to AE is a well-trodden subject in outbound sales, but with good reason. Promoting from within is much easier than looking for external talent, and sales development reps often make great AEs once they gain more experience.

Including AEs in the SDR training process sets the tone for that future transition. It can be a great motivator for SDRs to see the possibility for advancement, and push them to work hard in developing the right skills. It may also boost retention rates by providing a clear path for the SDR to grow within your organization.

2. Overlapping skill sets

AEs often begin their career as sales development reps, which means any SDRs they train will benefit from their experience, helping sales development reps identify any gaps or weak points in their process.

This is especially effective if the AEs giving the training were once SDRs at your organization. Having that insight from someone who was once in the SDR’s shoes can be instrumental in setting them up for long-term success.

AEs can also encourage your sales development reps to think differently about the outbound sales process. SDRs tend to be very focused on selling, while the AE role is more relationship-based; but nurturing the customer can be beneficial on the SDR side as well. This article from Chorus points out that the best SDR training helps reps think more like AEs.

3. Smoother handoff transition

The handoff from SDR to AE is a crucial part of the outbound sales process. If it goes poorly, you risk losing the prospect. Unfortunately, the handoff is a common area for communication breakdowns.

SDRs and AEs are unsure where their responsibility begins and ends, or AEs end up missing key information they need to close the deal. Bringing AEs into the SDR training process gives them a chance to outline their expectations in terms of who owns what part of the process.

Setting those expectations from day one can help new SDRs get comfortable with the handoff process, and will also make for a much smoother customer journey. Using the SDR’s insights from the discovery phase will help AEs avoid asking the prospect repetitive questions and pick up smoothly from where the SDR left off.

4. Better communication

When AEs and SDRs become accustomed to working together, it turns your outbound sales team into a well-oiled machine. Involving AEs in the onboarding process immediately demonstrates to new SDRs how vital communication is to their role.

Having been a part of their training process, AEs may be more likely to take extra initiatives to involve the SDR; inviting them to sit in on meetings, for example.

Having an established relationship is also beneficial for the SDR, who may feel more comfortable bringing new ideas to the table or asking their AE for advice. All this makes for more cooperative and successful outbound sales teams.

5. Establish mutual accountability

Sales development reps and AEs will be working together to meet revenue targets, and including AEs in the onboarding process helps establish that sense of shared responsibility. The onboarding process could be used to introduce key performance indicators (KPIs) that the entire outbound sales team is working towards.

This big picture overview will help SDRs solidify their place within the sales development team, and see how their role relates to others (including their AE).

Final thoughts on including AEs in the SDR training process

Establishing strong relationships between your AEs and SDRs is essential for outbound sales success. Including AEs in the onboarding process helps set those expectations from the start, and encourages greater teamwork between the two roles–which results in more deals closed.

If you’d like help training your sales development team, our Coaching and Consulting Services can help you build your outbound sales team the right way by staying on top of best practices.

Throughout these pages, you will find lessons taken from conversations we’ve had with thought-provoking B2B sales leaders, insightful advice, and actionable tips to help you navigate changes in the industry and leverage new opportunities for growth.

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