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Working with Account Executives as an SDR: Best Practices and Tips

RepVue Team
RepVue TeamMar 18, 2024

If you’re a Sales Development Representative (SDR), you know that your role is crucial to the success of your company’s sales team. As an SDR, you are responsible for generating leads and setting appointments for the Account Executives (AEs) to close. Working effectively with your AEs can make all the difference in achieving your sales goals. In this article, we’ll explore some best practices for working with Account Executives as an SDR.

One of the most important things you can do as an SDR is to build a strong relationship with your AEs. By working closely together, you can gain a better understanding of their needs, preferences, and goals. This will help you to identify the best leads to pursue and ensure that you are setting them up for success. Additionally, by building a strong relationship with your AEs, you can gain their trust and support, which can be invaluable in achieving your sales targets — and advancing your career.

Importance of Collaboration with Account Executives

Collaboration between the SDR and Account Executive teams is crucial for the success of the sales process. As an SDR, you need to work closely with the Account Executive team to ensure a smooth handoff of qualified leads.

It is essential to understand the criteria for when a lead is ready to be handed off to the Account Executive. This includes understanding the roles and responsibilities for both you as the SDR and the Account Executive. 

In many orgs, SDRs get paid based on meetings that turn into qualified opportunities — so you need to know exactly what the criteria is for an opportunity to be qualified. Paying close attention to these factors can make a huge difference in your attainment and variable compensation.

What do SDRs make at different sales orgs? Find out here.

Working closely with the Account Executive team also helps you to understand the ideal customer’s needs, pain points, and objections. This information can be used to improve qualification — and the likelihood your AEs will be able to close the deal.

Building a Relationship with Account Executives

Building strong relationships with your Account Executives is crucial for success. Having a good relationship with your AEs can help you generate more leads and set more appointments, leading to more sales. Here are some tips for building a strong relationship with your Account Executives.

Communication Strategies

Communication is key when it comes to building a strong relationship with your Account Executives. It’s important to stay in close contact and make sure you stay on the same page. Here are some communication strategies to consider:

  • Schedule regular check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins with your Account Executives to discuss your progress and any challenges you’re facing. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re both working towards the same goals. You could also ask to sit in on some of the calls that you schedule if you’re not already doing this.
  • Use the CRM: Use the CRM to keep your Account Executives informed about prospects you’re passing along. This will help ensure that your Account Executives have the best chance to close deals.
  • Be responsive: Be responsive to your Account Executives’ requests and make sure that you’re available to answer any questions they may have. This will help you build trust and reliability with your Account Executives.

Trust and Reliability

Trust and reliability will make or break your relationship with your AEs. . Here are some tips for building trust and reliability:

  • Be honest: Be honest with your Account Executives about any challenges you’re facing. This will help you build trust and ensure that you’re both working towards the same goals.
  • Follow through: Follow through on your commitments and make sure that you’re delivering on your promises. This will help you build reliability and ensure that your Account Executives can count on you.
  • Be proactive: Be proactive in your approach and try to anticipate your Account Executives’ needs. If they ask you a question about a prospect before a demo that you scheduled, try to make sure that you include that detail before the next one. This will help you build trust and ensure that you’re delivering value to your Account Executives.

By following these tips, you can build a strong relationship with your Account Executives and set yourself up for success as an SDR.

Looking for an SDR role? Find open SDR roles here.

Navigating the Sales Process with Your AEs

To ensure a smooth sales process, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your responsibilities and how they fit into the larger picture.

Lead Qualification

The first step in the sales process is lead qualification. This involves identifying potential customers and determining whether they’re a good fit for your product or service. Many companies qualify leads by using a lead scoring system. This involves assigning points to each lead based on factors such as job title or decision-making authority, company size, budget, and most importantly, buying signals such as visiting your website, downloading your materials, or watching your videos. Leads with a high score are more likely to convert, so you can focus your efforts on those leads.

In some SDR roles, you’ll need to research your leads before reaching out to schedule a meeting with an AE. This can involve looking at their website, social media profiles, or other online presence. By doing this, you can gain valuable insights into their needs and pain points, which can help you (and later, your AE) tailor messaging to their specific needs.

Setting up Meetings

Once you’ve identified and qualified a lead, the next step is to engage with that lead to see if they might be a good fit for your solution — and if so, to set up a meeting with an Account Executive. This involves reaching out to the lead via phone or email and scheduling a time for the meeting.

When setting up meetings, it’s important to be persistent but not pushy. You may need to follow up multiple times before you get a response, but you don’t want to come across as aggressive or desperate.

To increase your chances of success, it’s also important to personalize your messaging. This can involve referencing something specific about the lead or their company, or highlighting how your product or service can help them solve a particular problem.

Leveraging Account Executive Expertise

As an SDR, you can leverage the expertise of your Account Executive (AE) counterparts to improve your sales performance. Here are two ways to make the most of their experience and knowledge.

Learning from Feedback

One of the most valuable resources an AE can provide is feedback on your sales approach. They have experience closing deals, and they can help you identify areas for improvement in your pitch, objection-handling, and overall strategy. They have also likely been in your shoes as an SDR.  Make sure to actively seek out feedback from your AEs, and take their suggestions to heart.

To make the most of their feedback, consider creating a feedback log or document. This can help you track the feedback you receive, identify patterns or trends, and make adjustments to your sales approach over time.

Advancing your Career

Most (although not all) SDRs will aspire to move into an Account Executive position within a few years. And one of the best ways to do that is to observe and learn from the successful AEs you work with as an SDR.

Wondering about career paths in tech sales? Check this out.

Once you’ve established trust and rapport with a successful AE, you can ask to sit in with them while they do account planning, or schedule time to ask questions and discuss sales strategies and tactics. You may even want to ask an AE to be a mentor.

By leveraging the expertise of your AEs, you can improve your sales performance, build stronger relationships with your accounts, and ultimately drive revenue for your organization.

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