7 Boston Account Executives Share Their Secrets on How They Made the Jump to a Closing Role

If you’ve worked as a business development representative (BDR) or sales development representative (SDR) for over six months, chances are you’ve already established some essential skills to do well in a sales position. But what does it take for an SDR or BDR to successfully climb the ladder and become a sales account executive? To gain some insight into what it takes to make the promotion happen, we asked seven Boston-based account executives to share their secrets and experience on how they made the jump.

Know Your Product and Keep High Activity

Ian Buzby

Account Executive, Zoominfo

“Before I made the transition from sales development representative to account executive, I focused a lot of my time on learning the product inside and out. Zoominfo has a “ZI University” which is where I learned a lot of the product. Knowing the product was definitely one of the key determinants of my transition, but I think that mostly it was my hard work and determination that put me ahead. I was never the smartest or the one that shows up at 5 AM, but every day I would sit down and grind until I felt like I left it all on the floor. I would make at least 100 calls per day. It’s just a number’s game. Keeping high activity is key.”

Being Great at Being Consistent Makes You Consistently Great

David Odhiambo (006)

David Odhiambo

Account Executive, SmartBear Software

“One of the most important things that contributed to my jump is consistency. It’s what a lot of people look for. As an SDR, you want to show your leaders that you have the consistency to do a good job. Making phone calls, booking meetings, creating pipelines – you need to be consistent with your action. A lot of people want to be consistently great, but it’s more important to be great at being consistent. There are a lot of ups and downs in sales. If you stop doing the right things when things are down, it’s only going to get worse. If you continue to be consistent, then the things that were originally not going your way will eventually turn around and you will be rewarded for your effort.”

Networking Never Ends

Lindsay Smith

Account Executive, Rapid7

“Always have a plan, be prepared, and performing well, are all important elements. What I wish I would have done was to pay more attention to the internal connections I made in the company sooner. It’s important to make an effort to know your surroundings, make connections to people with higher leadership positions, and ask for people’s advice. Everyone is willing to help, and you just have to ask for it and be proactive in seeking these relationships. Networking is still relevant and essential even when you’ve landed a job.”

Have a Partner Attitude

Eddie Overton

Account Executive, SmartBear Software

“I’ve always had a ‘partner attitude.’ I’m always the person with the mindset of doing whatever it takes to accomplish our goals. If someone gives me an opportunity, I will make sure to work hard and show people that I’ve earned that opportunity. Show people that you have the right prospects in mind and the ability to learn. You should be fearless and confident to pursue things but also humble enough to listen to other people. At the end of the day, you should leave this office with the fulfillment of knowing that you’ve done enough for the day. It was the mindset, attitude, and determination that I had made sure that I hit my goals.”

Time Management is Huge

Derek Reed

Regional Sales Executive, Motus

“Time management is HUGE in a closing role. As a closer, I am doing everything I did as a BDR as well as creating and running presentations, joint evaluation plans, sequences of events, and making sure that each opportunity in the pipeline is progressing to stay on track with the prospects’ timelines. Calendar blocks have been a huge help for me staying focused and getting everything done that I need to get done. I also encourage any BDR who is interested in becoming an AE and furthering their sales career to reach out to sales leadership and let them know your goal is to be a member of their team and you are motivated to learn and do whatever it takes to get there.”

Have Good Performance

Ciarán Nugent

Account Executive, Drift

“Performance is the key determinant of my transition from a BDR to an AE. If you aren’t a top performer, you can’t hide from the numbers. So you have to get to the top as BDR/SDR before those discussions take place. Learning what your AEs need to ask in the middle of an opportunity can help you become more effective on cold calls and discovery calls. Gong.io is also a great tool I wish I had when I was a BDR to improve my numbers. Learning how to prospect into key accounts and being able to identify the very best and biggest opportunities in your territory can help you articulate the problems you’re solving.”

Use Social Media to Build Relationships and Never Stop Learning

Hanna Mazukina

Associate Account Executive, Ntroduced

“Prior to making the transition, I focused on mastering my prospecting skills. Using social media to engage with people and building a relationship with them is something I’ve learned as an SDR that continues to be important as a closer. If I could do it all over again, I would have focused more on learning and developing my knowledge earlier in my career. If you’re in sales, and you’re not consuming knowledge on a continual basis, I highly recommend you start now. By listening to podcasts and reading books I have been able to continuously hone my sales skills which have helped me tremendously as I pick up on new ideas and then test them out.”

Do you have any tips on how to make the jump from a business development representative or sales development representative to an account executive? Do you have more questions about the sales industry that you want to see the answers to? Let us know in the comment section. Don’t forget to like and share this article to help others!

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Ntroduced connects salespeople and engineers directly to hiring managers to avoid the resume black hole. Ntroduced delivers vetted candidates to companies based on in-depth profile matching, including personality traits and soft skills, to facilitate a long-term match. Simply create a profile on our website and the companies will apply to you. For more information, visit www.ntroduced.com

 Written by Qinyue Sherry Zheng from BU PRLab