Are you interviewing for a tech sales role and not sure where you fit?
In this article you will learn how a sales team is organized, that way if you are interviewing at a company, you will know exactly what role you fit into and you can ask way more educated questions to the interviewer.
Salesforce.com is the company that pioneered this organizational structure, as published in this book.
SDR: Sales Development Rep – Inbound leads. Inbound calls, live chat on the website, download ebook, etc. KPI: Number of leads qualified.
BDR: Business Development Rep – Outbound prospecting – “40 dials a day”, cold emailing, LI sales navigator, tools like SalesLoft. KPI: # of calls. # of connects (how many pick up the phone). # meetings of booked.
AE: Account Executive – Closing. – Pitching, demoing, qualifying, objection handling, pricing. KPI: # of deals closed. # deal size / revenue.
CSM: Customer Success Manager – Ensuring the customer is happy with the product. KPI: # customer satisfaction (csat), # retention rate, #upsells cross-sells
Sales Engineer / Tech Sales – Help AE’s close deals by providing technical expertise. “Product experts” KPI: Usually salary, or maybe 80% base salary
KPI means Key Performance Metric, which is the main measurement of the person in that job. Think of batting averages in baseball or field goal percentage in basketball.
So here’s how the sales process happens. An SDR receives a call from a customer who is interested in buying, or a BDR makes a cold call and finds an interested customer. The SDR or BDR books a meeting with the AE. The AE shows up to meeting and assesses needs, makes the pitch, talks pricing, handles objections and goes for the close. The Sales Engineer also supports the AE during the meeting to answer technical questions.
For shorter sales cycle, the AE may have 1-2 meetings. For longer sales cycles, they may have up to 10 meetings. Once the customer has bought the product, the CSM takes over to make sure the implementation goes smoothly, and ensures customer satisfaction so that they renew when the contract ends.
If you want to learn more in-depth about this, you can buy the ebook Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. It’s an easy 90 minute read that gets right to the point about the above, but in more detail.