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Checklist for a Successful Sales Account Executive Transition

6 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published May. 8, 2018

So, you think you’re ready to become a sales account executive? You have the sales experience under your belt, and it’s time to take the next step in your career. How do you know if you are ready for the transition?

Fortunately, we have a resident expert. Abby Reiter recently joined the Sales Executive Team here at Salesloft. After spending more than a year as a sales development rep, Abby was ready to take her knowledge and experience to the next step. In this interview, Abby shares what the transition meant for her, and how she prepared herself for the next stage in her sales career.

With Abby’s help, we’ve put together a checklist to help other SDRs transition successfully into an Account Executive sales role. This list is a great starting point for development conversations with your manager.

Checklist for a Successful Sales Account Executive Transition

Checklist for a Successful Sales Account Executive Transition

⌧ Expect New Challenges

Any role has its unique challenges and responsibilities. Understanding those challenges and managing your personal expectations can help you mentally prepare for what lies ahead.

“It’s a different conversation that you’re having. As an SDR, your goal is to get your foot in the door and develop a rapport. As a Sales Executive, it’s about better understanding the pain points and the inner workings of the organization and where your solution fits.”

⌧ Have a Mentor

Mentors provide valuable coaching advice and guidance throughout your career. After all, they’ve been in your shoes before and can share guidance and support about obstacles they’ve already encountered in their career.

“Patrick Tracy, a Commercial Sales Executive at Salesloft, was an incredible mentor throughout my sales development career. Patrick helped emphasize the importance of getting the right people on the phone, and just how complicated the deal cycle can be. He was a huge help in preparing me for a successful transition to the SE role.”

⌧ Implement a Time Management System

Time management is essential when you are juggling multiple accounts at different points in the buying process. Each salesperson has their own cadence and system, but it’s important to have a process in place that works for you…and to stick to it!

“Prioritizing where you spend your time is one of the most important aspects of being a successful Sales Executive. Having a schedule for when you do follow up, outreach, and account maintenance helps to manage the workload.”

⌧ Be Organized

Some people have a clean workstation; others organize with folders. If you’re like me, your desk is a mess, and only you understand the mayhem. How you organize isn’t important, just make sure you are actually organized.

“With the volume of accounts you have to manage, it’s important to have your own system in place to make sure customers don’t slip through the cracks.”

⌧ Know How to Maneuver Roadblocks

Whether it’s getting past a “no” or navigating the inner structure of an organization to get to the decision maker, have a plan in place to get around roadblocks. Abby found that many of the roadblocks she encountered were simply getting the right person on the phone.

“Instead of jumping through hoops to get the right person on the phone, focus on finding the right person to speak to in the initial conversation. Having the decision maker as an advocate early on really helps speed things up.”

⌧ Understand Opportunity Loss Cost and ROI

Spending too much time with a client who isn’t ready to move forward in the buying journey can mean lost opportunities with others. That means lost revenue, and as the old adage goes, “time is money.”

“Spending too much time on accounts that aren’t ready to move forward can cost you valuable time with accounts that are closer to being ready to buy. You have to know where to most effectively spend your selling time.”

⌧ See Things from a Client Perspective

Understanding a customer’s point of view and the complexity of the deal cycle is a huge contributor to sales success. Being empathetic, patient, and working as a business partner helps ensure a smooth buying journey.

“You have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and understand that change is difficult, sales cycles vary, and timing plays an important part. Patience pays, and can help prevent you from getting frustrated.”

⌧ Leverage Peer Learning

Who better to learn from than others who have been in your shoes? Having peers in place to learn from and collaborate with is a great way to get ahead. In fact, 74% of sales professionals surveyed found that peer collaboration is a significant contributor to their own sales success.

“Every morning we do a morning stand up and talk about our roadblocks. It helps to know everyone else is sharing similar struggles. We work together to get around them.”

⌧ Be Knowledgeable About Your Offering

Of course, we should all know our products or services inside and out. The key is knowing how to apply them to a variety of challenges. This way you can identify the best solution to their specific problem. Positioning yourself as a business partner rather than a sales rep makes you a better advocate for your customers’ success.

“Understanding the ins-and-outs of what you’re selling is obviously important, but it also helps you quickly provide solutions to different pain points and be a champion for your customer.”

Transitioning to any new role has its own set of challenges and obstacles. Preparation is critical. Having a checklist prepared in advance can ensure a smooth transition from an SDR role into a Sales Account Executive, and set you up for future success!

Looking for other useful sales account executive success tips? Don’t miss these posts!

5 Ways Onboarding Sets Account Executives Up for Success
5 Ways to be a Successful Account Executive
10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline

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