Career in Sales

What Opportunities Are Available After an SDR’s Role: AE or SDR Manager?

Every step of our career progression looks pretty daunting, and for good reasons. Our brains are wired to weigh the pros and cons of every move, eventually benefiting us in our decisions. 

However, how much knowledge we have over a subject can make a huge difference in what we choose. SDRs also find themselves in such a position when they think about which career path to take after working in the profile.

You can be many things after you have worked as an SDR. We cannot talk about all of them because that includes a lot of career paths that are possible but not probable. 

To make things simpler for you and brevity, we will stick to the two most popular career paths after an SDR's role: Account Executive (AE) or Sales Development Rep Manager. 

Without further ado, let’s begin.

AE or SDE: It is a Question of Preference?

AE or SDE: It is a Question of Preference

There is no objective answer to which is better, SDR manager or AE. It boils down to your personal preference, and as cliche as it may sound, it is true.

Let’s break it down a little more. 

In terms of pay, how much you make will be roughly the same. However, you might make more as an AE because there is an overachievement possibility. 

But that difference in money won’t be worth it if you don’t see yourself working as an AE. So, in a nutshell, you won’t be making disproportionately more in either of the options. 

That being said, how can you then choose one over the other? 

Much of the answer lies in your academic acumen and work skills. While working as an SDR, you needed a different skill set. If you decide to transition to an AE, you will have to learn the necessary skills. 

But what if you already have at least some of the skills that an AE requires? The decision then becomes much easier. Then, working as an AE would be easier for you, and not going for it does not make any sense. 

The easier the work, the faster you climb up the ladder. The faster you climb, the more money you make. It is indeed this simple, but we tend to overcomplicate the decision. 

Interpersonal Skills and Inter-Organizational Skills

Being an SDR manager is more about interpersonal skills while being an Account Executive (AE) is more about inter-organizational skills

Let’s understand it this way: an account executive is a link between the sales team and the clients. The SDR manager is the link between the frontline and the centre of the sales team. 

You can’t do either without collapsing the entire structure. This is because all parts of the sales team are dependent on each other to keep the sales funnel active. 

Some of us either acquire interpersonal/inter-organizational skills or work on them later in our formative years. If you have worked as an SDR, you will have at least some skills in both domains. 

But, ultimately, it boils down to what kind of work you can see yourself doing day and out. 

How to Stay on the Path of an Account Executive (AE)

How to Stay on the Path of an Account Executive

AEs are pretty much the arteries of a sales team. Many SDRs do exceptionally well as AEs because they are already keeping the sales funnel active. 

Once you have that skill, life as an AE becomes much easier. You can focus all your energies on perfecting the team's internal communication and making the entire process conducive to closing deals quickly. Many of the skills required for SDRs and AEs overlap. 

One of the many things you have to do to be a successful AE is to learn continuously. The world of sales is changing at an unprecedented speed. Every time a new technology comes out, there is a foundational change in how we sell and market. 

Take, for example, the metaverse(s). Before we know it, we would be selling things in the metaverse. But, of course, that would demand an entirely new set of skills. 

Being an AE will be complicated if you don’t stay on top of what’s going on in sales. 

Another skill that all AEs must possess is niche-specific knowledge and expertise. But, of course, you cannot be the master of all the niches, and you should not try to either. 

Instead, channel all your energies into a few niches that resonate with you. Then, as you progress in your career, specialised knowledge will play a significant role. 

Staying on the Path of an SDR Manager

If you have talked to some people about this issue, some of them must have told you how being an SDR can limit your potential at a certain level. Much of this misconception stems from the idea that VPs won’t encourage SDR managers to run sales pipelines. 

While there is some truth to the suggestion, its framing is incorrect. It is more about where the sales team needs a certain person at a certain time. If you stay on track, you will end up in the top managerial positions in the sales team. 

To become a successful SDR manager, it is crucial to establish communication among the SDR teams and team members. Therefore, your most important skills would be organisational skills and interpersonal skills. 

Staying on the path of an SDR manager demands leadership, and in reality, not everyone is a leader and that’s how things should be. So it’ll be a problem if everyone assumes leadership roles. 

But, on the other hand, you must assume the leadership role with passion and conviction. The more you believe in yourself, the more your team will believe in you and themselves. 

Some of the most exciting decisions of our lives are also the scariest. So, as a last piece of advice, allow us to repeat the cliche that it all depends on where you are willing to put your time and effort. 

Do not forget to visit the Juno School Blog for more career guidance content. Want to kickstart your career in Sales?Juno Business School can help.

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