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How Long Should an SDR be In That Role?
Answer - it shouldn't be time bound...
My friend Josh Roth and I had an exchange on LinkedIn a few weeks ago about how long an SDR should be in their role before being promoted to some type of AE.
The general thesis in the SaaS world is that it should be about 1-year. But why?
There are a few reasons that 1-year is the magic number. First, it costs a lot to train, ramp, and manage and SDR, so by forcing a 1-year cliff on promotions a team ensures that a decent SDR is a profitable SDR. I’m happy to go into budgeting if you’d like.
Second, by having a well defined career path, people know where they stand and what their next steps are, it stops SDR’s from prematurely asking about it.
No joke, I once had an SDR ask about being promoted right out of onboarding.
Third, it is well documented that after 15-months, SDR performance shows diminishing returns. So 12-month promotion cycle is about right to maintain maximum performance.
Finally, and I believe that this is the most important, after 12-months, an SDR should have seen the right number of pitches and will know how to react accordingly in order to move a deal along.
This is the one that I want to talk about. I actually don’t believe that 12-months is the right metric for promoting an SDR, but believe that the amount of consistent success should be the metric for success. Sometimes that metric might be beat in 6-months and sometimes it takes 18-months.
The metric should be whenever the SDR hits their annual quota. If you can do this in 3-months, that is amazing. I had a guy that worked for me at WebEx that would hit his monthly quota in the first 10-days of the month and then just coast. It was frustrating, and the result of a poorly designed comp plan, but hard to argue with a guy that hits 100% of his number faster than everyone else.
Think about it this way, lets say that your SDR’s have a quota of 120-SQO’s per year (10-per month). If you have an SDR that gets to 120-SQO’s by month 9, you should promote her. Don’t wait 3-more months. Promote that person as she is an absolute killer.
Similarly, maybe you have someone that is really good, but they hit a spell of bad times. Maybe they get to their 120-SQO’s in 14-months. That is okay too.
By setting the expectation of hitting an annual quota before promotion, you take away the awkward conversation of not wanting to promote that person after 12-months. You also avoid the negativity of promoting someone into a role simply because they’ve been there 12-months.
So as you think about career development for your SDR’s, I’d encourage you to take timing off the table and, like a quota carrying sales role that they are vying for, make it all about results.
Music this Week - This past weekend, my wife and I did a 4-hour road trip to see our daughter for parents weekend. On the ride home, we listened to music that made us reminisce about our days in college. The album we had the most fun singing and driving to was the original B-52’s record. While this album was released in 1979, over a decade before we went to college, there are still so many great tracks here. It is hard to believe that this record is over 40-years old.