Exploring Career Path For SDR in SAAS: What’s Next?

If you have started an SDR in the SaaS industry, you’ll fit just about anywhere. As the jobs teach you everything from navigating sales cycles to building lifelong relationships, and my friend, these are some invaluable skills. These, combined with your experience as an SDR on your Resume, open a lot of doors for you.

If you don’t want to be an SDR anymore, make use of your experience to land a job in marketing, product management, or even customer success. Just look into which part of being an SDR worked for you and start your job hunt from there. As an SDR, you have the tools to make just about any related profession work. 

Key Skills SDRs acquire

Experience as an SDR can launch you onto new opportunities and career paths. So, are you excited to know what the future holds for you? I am sure you are, but before we explore the career paths, you should understand the two key skills you will acquire being an SDR.  

Networking and Soft Skills

The importance of soft skills cannot be looked down upon in any profession, and they are especially important in the world of sales and marketing. They really have the power to take your career from the bottom level to the top of the Burj Khalifa. By working as an SDR you get an opportunity to acquire all the sales techniques and soft skills you need.

Being a part of the sales industry exposes you to a wide variety of tools, among which soft skills are the most important. As a Sales Development Representative, you develop problem-solving skills that are valued everywhere, team working skills to collaborate effectively with colleagues and, most importantly, communication skills.

Good communication skills acquired by pitching to clients serve you in the long run. It will aid your growth professionally as well as personally. By using this skill, you can not only communicate effectively with clients and colleagues but also build a relationship with them. Making relationships is of key importance in corporate work; after all 80% of all job positions are filled through networking.

You never know if a client realizes your value and offers you your dream job in their company just because you talked to them nicely.

Strengths and Interests

As a Sales Development Representative, you can try out different responsibilities and see what you excel at.

You may have a knack for crafting the perfect email outreach or thrive in client-facing communication and relationship building. With so many hats to wear, you’ll quickly determine where your strengths and interests lie, guiding your career path. 

According to LinkedIn, sales development is one of the fastest-growing job categories in the tech industry, with a 30% growth rate in recent years.

So why not jump on the SDR bandwagon and discover your strengths?

Careers to start off as an SDR

Here are eight careers you can take up once you start off as an SDR: 

Marketing

If you drive on the consumption of data, then being a marketer is the ideal career path for you. As a marketer, you need to gain knowledge about your target audience, particularly what they want and hate. You can achieve this by collecting data from multiple sources and then analyzing it. That’s not enough, though; you also need to market your products to the target audience via emails, social media, SEO, SEM and whatnot.

If I were to make you understand the entire field of marketing, it would take a day. This is because the field is highly diverse and has many different roles in the department of product, advertising, branding and digital marketing.b The good news is that you can explore anything among them. 

Customer Success

As a Customer Success Representative, you focus on retaining and expanding business with existing customers by delivering excellent service, support, and advice.

No, success reps aren’t the same as sales reps. While the former pays attention to high customer satisfaction and retention, the latter is responsible for closing deals. While good communication is essential in both fields, you can think that Customer Success Representatives serve a higher purpose, especially now. With the SaaS industry booming like no other, the demand for good Customer Success Representatives has skyrocketed. 

It is said to be one of the fastest-growing jobs. As it should because companies have now realized that nothing beats a positive customer experience when it comes to retaining customers. You can improve your product 100x times, but if the customer was manhandled the first time, they won’t come back, making you lose oodles of easy revenue.

If you are not convinced that the above job is extremely important, note that a recent survey showed that 96% of customers don’t mind paying extra for better customer service.

If you decide to be a Customer Success Representative you won’t just spend your entire time helping and listening to customers, but you can also earn some extra commission. When you are working with the customer so closely, they welcome your opinions, giving you a chance to upsell and draw more revenue.

Account Executive

Ready to take your SDR skills to the next level? As an Account Executive, you’ll oversee customer accounts, conduct demos, and, most importantly, close deals to bring in new clients and revenue.

According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for an AE in the tech industry is over $80,000 annually, potentially earning over six figures with commissions and bonuses. So if you want to level up your sales career and bank account, becoming an AE might be the ticket.

Channel Sales

In a channel sales role, you’re like the matchmaker of the business world, forging partnerships with third-party resellers and trusted advisors to achieve revenue goals.

As a Channel Sales Manager, you’ll work closely with partners to drive sales and help them implement effective strategies to meet sales quotas. With the right partners and a robust strategy, you can achieve growth and success while expanding your network of connections in the industry.

It’s a challenging but gratifying role where you can build long-lasting relationships and watch your hard work pay off in sales numbers.

Account Manager

Account managers are like the nurturing parents of the sales team.

They focus on expanding and enhancing relationships with top customers and ensuring they are satisfied with the products and services they have already purchased. Instead of hunting for new leads, account managers prefer working on existing accounts, building deeper relationships and increasing revenue through upselling and cross-selling.

Account management plays a crucial role in the success of a SaaS company, where customer retention is the most important activity. This is because it is easier to make revenue from existing customers than to go and search for new ones. Existing customers contribute the most to revenue generation, making the job of an Account Manager invaluable. For this reason, the position is one of the top most promising jobs in the US.

If you think you can excel at managing long-term relationships, can handle customers’ problems and query life, are a pro, and can put your customer’s needs above yours, then this job is definitely for you.

Sales Operations

Sales operations are the foundation of any successful sales organization.

It involves streamlining processes, implementing new technologies and strategies, and supporting the sales team to ensure they can sell efficiently and effectively. McKinsey & Company found that sales operations could boost sales productivity by 30% and lower sales costs by 15%. Sales ops professionals analyze data, optimize sales processes, and provide insights to the sales team to help them close more deals.

Some critical sales operations responsibilities include sales forecasting, demographic research, pipeline management, and incentive compensation design.

Look at it this way, the sales operations team are the vitamins that your doctor prescribes you to take in order to increase your efficiency. Sales ops ensure that the current sales strategy is in line with the business objective. They do this by working closely with the sales leadership, enabling the sales team to achieve desired goals and meet targets.

Strategic Accounts

Strategic Accounts is a sales role focusing on managing the company’s top-tier customers, called critical accounts. These customers bring in the most revenue and require more attention and customization.

Let us find out what a Strategic Accounts Manager actually does. If you decide to become one your role will include analyzing your customer’s plan for their business and the areas they wish to improve. You’ll do this by closely working with the customer and studying their knowledge of the business and also how they operate in the real world. On the basis of your analysis, you will develop a strategy that can help their business in the long term.  

You won’t be a lone wolf here; apart from your team, you would be able to collaborate with the product development, marketing, and internals team. By doing so, you can help the product to improve as per the real-life requirement of customers. Also, your knowledge about the target customers can aid the marketing team’s plan.

The role is high paying and satisfying, however, there’s a big crowd in the waiting room as it’s highly competitive. So, make sure to stand out and show some of those SDR skills.

Sales Training 

Sales training is an essential part of any sales team’s success.

It involves identifying skills gaps and creating educational materials and resources to help sales reps generate more closed deals. The ultimate goal is to improve the sales processes and outcomes. Sales training can come in many forms, including one-on-one coaching, peer group meetings, and certification programs.

Tailoring the training to the sales team’s needs and providing ongoing support and assistance as they implement the new strategies and skills is essential.

Continuing sales training increases win rates by 50%, according to a report by CSO Insights. This highlights the importance of investing in sales training for a business’s success.

Final Words

Starting your career as an SDR would open multiple pathways for you. You won’t be stuck in the same boring job all your life. With the skills and experience in sales development, you open yourself to the possibility of exploring a ton of different fields. You can go into sales operations, sales training, account management  and even channel sales with your experience. You are not just limited to the sales department, though, with your skills, you can fit in anywhere, be it operations or even HR. By starting your career as an SDR and being open to learning and diversifying opportunities, you can do just about anything.

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