Career acceleration tips for 3 key roles

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Let’s speed up success…

One of my passions in the past 6 years or so has been coaching emerging leaders, so I thought I would share some actionable advice based on working with dozens of folks over this time. We can’t boil the ocean, so today, I will focus on the top-of-mind roles (where we are doing training courses in July) and offer a ‘top tip’ to narrow the lens a bit:  RevOps, SDR Managers and Sales Engineers. Whether you are in the role or have a colleague to share these with, I hope they help.


Top tip for Sales Engineers:

Stop saying ‘Yes’ – EQ competencies of Self-regard and assertiveness come into play. SE’s are by definition problem solvers and in my experience, universally admired for the ‘can-do’ attitude. The most common concern I have observed is burn-out due to overlapping deadlines and priority conflicts. This is further compounded by unnecessary meetings “Can you join this call? Not sure what they will be asking about but it would be great to have you there for any techie questions.

Tactic:  Use ‘calendar blocking’ to reserve time for demo builds, RFP responses, call prep, etc, and don’t let people cancel over it. If you find you have a time crunch, seek advice from your manager on prioritization and if needed, advocacy. You shouldn’t have to say “No” alone. In fact, in mature orgs, the SE manager is the person who allocates workload (Like an engineering manager would), and the IC provides perspective and input. If you are an ‘army of 1’ with no manager, then have a regular 1:1 with the sales leader to discuss the previous week and your upcoming workload/priorities.

Also:  SEs love to be upskilling, so check out the SE ‘Brown Belt’ program


Top tip for SDR Managers

The role seems to get more difficult every year, and sales leadership expects you to be as productive as ever, even in the face of data that says we need to be using different tactics. The most effective SDR teams use multiple approaches, some of which require money – EG Gifting using services like Sendoso.

Tactic:  Request a meeting with marketing and sales leadership to agree on pipeline attribution (if you don’t report to marketing) and secure a budget for experiments designed to get the pipe flowing again. In a previous post, we talked about VUCA, with ‘A’ being Ambiguity (IE What worked before may not work now), and my suggestion is to address this with low-risk experiments that may offer a path to double down on. So, agree on a budget for an experiment, define success (Perhaps, ‘Cost per qualified opp’ and ‘# Opps’), and go for it. My biggest observation is that too many SDR managers are being passengers and not taking the initiative to get creative and to problem solve in the face of declining efficiency.

And we have support for you also:  The SaaSy SDR manager program


Top tip for Sales/RevOps:

Whether you are early in your career and focused on the tools, or ascending the ranks and starting to own analytics and insights, you need to get closer to the business. The most pressing observation I have in Sales/RevOps is people being pigeon-holed into a TechOps role where they become CRM mechanics or report jockeys. In order to extend your runway in this role and make it a fulfilling career path, I recommend you get closer to the business and away from the tools as fast as you can. It is the distinction of being a contractor providing labor, vs being an architect. You have to understand the technology/tools, but you want to be a thought partner to the main stakeholder (Property owner <> Sales leadership).

Tactic:  Make your intentions known to sales leadership in a way that clearly affords them value. The conversation could start similar to:  “I am looking to be more valuable to you and the business by being able to provide insights that will support strategic decisions around go-to-market design and tactics for improving sales productivity. I know that I have some gaps in my understanding and so I would like to spend time with you to think through how to combine exposure to the non-technical operations of the sales org with mentorship which means I can be a better consigliere to you.”

But of course, we can give you a jump-start on that by joining our holistic RevOps program, which will arm you with templates and frameworks for thinking that will get your head out of the reports and into the realm of thought partnership.

I hope that these pithy focal points help you or can be shared with a colleague in support of their development. 


Matt Cameron

CEO – SaaSy Sales Leadership

Meet the Author

Matt is the managing partner at SalesOps Central and founder of SaaSy Sales Management, Silicon Valley’s Sales Management training and leadership community.

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