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Working with Your SDR as an Account Executive: Best Practices and Tips

RepVue Editorial Team
RepVue Editorial TeamFeb 2, 2024

As an account executive, working closely with your SDR (or SDRs) is essential to ensure that they are setting you up for success. And by investing in your relationship with your Sales Development Rep, you can help them become more effective at generating leads and setting appointments — which will ultimately lead to more sales for you.

So, let’s take a look at the relationship between AEs and SDRs and best practices for making the most of your work together.

Understanding the SDR and AE Relationship

The SDR and AE relationship is a critical one, and it’s essential to understand the roles of both parties. SDRs are responsible for outreach, lead generation, and qualification. They use a variety of methods, including cold calling, social media, and email campaigns, to identify and engage with potential customers. Once they have identified a lead, they will qualify it to ensure that it meets the company’s criteria for a potential customer.

Once the lead has been qualified and a follow-up sales call is scheduled, the SDR will pass it on to you, the AE. At this point, it’s your responsibility to take the lead and move it through the sales process. This includes nurturing the lead, understanding their needs, and providing them with the information they need to make an informed decision.

To work effectively with your SDR, it’s essential to establish a strong working relationship. This means communicating regularly, sharing feedback, and collaborating on strategies to generate more leads and close more deals. A good way to do this is to set up regular meetings to discuss progress, share insights, and identify areas for improvement.

By understanding each other’s roles and working collaboratively, you can generate more leads, close more deals, and drive revenue growth for your company.

Learn more about what it takes to become a successful SDR

Effective Communication Strategies

Effective communication with your Sales Development Representative (SDR) is crucial to the success of your sales efforts. Here are some communication strategies to help you work effectively with your SDR.

Setting Expectations

It is important to set clear expectations with your SDR from the beginning. Discuss what you expect from them in terms of lead generation, follow-up, and communication. Make sure they understand what you need from them and what they can expect from you in return. This will help to establish a strong working relationship and avoid any misunderstandings.

Regular Check-Ins

Regular check-ins with your SDR are important to ensure that you are both on the same page. Schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and next steps. Use this time to provide feedback, answer questions, and offer support. This will help to keep your SDR motivated and engaged.

Feedback Loops

Creating a feedback loop is essential to improving communication and performance. Encourage your SDR to provide feedback on your communication style, sales process, and overall performance. This will help you to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments. In turn, you should provide constructive feedback to your SDR on their performance, communication, and sales skills.

It’s critical to provide detailed feedback about the leads that you’re getting from your SDR. Are they adequately qualified? Are some better than others? If so, what do the best leads have in common? Are the expectations coming into the sales call set appropriately? 

If you have good communication with your SDR, this type of feedback will pay big dividends in improving the quality of the leads that you get from your SDR team.

Invite them to Sales Calls

One of the best things that you can do for your SDR is to invite them to sit in on some of the sales calls that they schedule. Not only will this help them learn, but it is a good experience for the prospect since they will feel that you value their potential business. 

Joining some of your sales calls will also help the SDR to see why you might be requesting certain pieces of information prior to the call. This enables you to deliver the best experience for the customer — and it also helps the SDR to improve and maximize results from the team.

Leveraging SDR Efforts

As an account executive, the efforts of your SDR will be essential to maximizing your sales conversions. Here are two ways to make sure your SDR is helping you achieve the most success.

Qualifying Leads

SDRs play a critical role in qualifying leads and identifying potential customers. They can use various techniques to identify prospects and gather information such as company size, industry, budget, and pain points. By leveraging this information, you can focus on the most promising leads and tailor your sales pitch accordingly.

To ensure that your SDRs are qualifying leads effectively, you’ll want to provide them with a clear definition of what constitutes a qualified lead. Some organizations may institute systems that assess certain factors such as the prospect’s budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT qualification). You can also use a lead scoring system to prioritize leads based on their level of engagement and interest.

Even with a qualification or lead scoring system in place, it’s important for you as an AE to provide feedback on the leads that get qualified by your SDR. After you meet with the prospects, follow up with your SDR to talk about why a prospect was or wasn’t good. Your feedback can help your SDR prioritize leads that meet certain criteria or avoid others, which ultimately will streamline your sales motions and improve your close rates.

Aligning Sales Processes

To maximize the effectiveness of your SDRs, it’s important to align your sales processes. This includes defining the roles and responsibilities of both the SDR and the account executive, as well as establishing clear handoff criteria.

Establish clear criteria for when a lead is ready to be handed off from the SDR to the account executive, such as when the prospect has expressed interest and meets the BANT criteria. 

Also, make sure you’re on the same page about how to best hand off a prospect. Should your SDR just introduce you via email? Should all of you be on a hand-off meeting where the SDR can make an introduction in person? Or is it enough for the SDR to just provide their notes and the prospect’s contact information? You’ll want to be on the same page to ensure a good experience for the customer — and maintain a quality relationship between you and your colleague.

Maximizing Collaboration

Some AEs and SDRs become dynamic duos by maximizing their collaboration. This may not work for all AEs and SDRs or in all sales orgs, but shared goals and joint account planning can be used to great effect by the right AE/SDR teams.

Shared Goals

Establishing shared goals can ensure that both you and your SDR are working in concert towards the same objectives. You can create a spreadsheet or table in a document that lists the goals and the respective actions required to achieve them. This will help you and your SDR stay on track and accountable.

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Joint Account Planning

Joint account planning is another effective way to maximize collaboration with your SDR. This involves working together to create a plan for each account that you are targeting. You can create a list of key decision-makers, their pain points, and the messaging that will resonate with them. This will help you and your SDR to create a more targeted approach that will increase the likelihood of success.

By working together, you can create a more targeted and effective sales process that will increase your chances of success.

Mentorship

You may have been an SDR before becoming an AE. And most SDRs aspire to be promoted to an AE role at some point. 

One way that you can foster your working relationship with the SDRs that you work with is by mentoring them toward a promotion to an AE role. You can coach them on what’s most important at your sales org, and help them position themselves for a promotion that may serve as a springboard for a long and fulfilling career in sales.

Check out open AE and SDR roles

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