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Creating an Effective SDR to AE Handoff

4 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published May. 30, 2017

The handoff from a sales development rep to an Account Executive is often likened to a track and field relay race. One runner passes the baton to the next and, boom, he or she takes off. If you’ve seen these races before you know the runner expecting the baton isn’t just waiting around as their teammate reaches them, they are already in motion down the track. They pick up just enough speed for the initial runner to catch them, blindly thrust their hand back to accept the baton, and then surge onward. It is fast, efficient, and most importantly, it preserves the momentum.

An AE should use this “transition in motion” mentality when they are picking up a new account from an SDR. But what first steps should you take to gain momentum and prepare you to make a sale?

Since an SDR guides a prospect through the initial sales cycle, most of an AE’s first steps will revolve around gaining the SDRs knowledge. Here are a few items you can easily check off to get up to speed prior to your first scheduled call with an account.

Complete Your SLA

The Service Level Agreement (SLA) defines the responsibilities of the SDR and the AE within the sales cycle. This agreement is really about holding each other accountable by providing and accepting information to push a sale forward.

Terms will be set for how an SDR should handoff the account. This process will often include creating an opportunity in Salesforce, filling out pre-qualification notes, and scheduling a demo. An AE knows the exact information they should receive and where to find it. Once that information has been exchanged, the AE is now responsible for marking the agreement as complete and facilitating the duration of the deal.

Study the Opportunity Notes

Thanks to your trusted SLA, any new opportunity will already contain qualifying information to get you up to speed. I highly recommend taking a close look at additional opportunity notes your SDR may have left. Opportunity notes can provide crucial details that were mentioned during early correspondence you want to be aware of.

Additionally, with sales engagement platforms like Salesloft, activity previously logged to a contact will also be in the opportunity. This means you can take a look at previous correspondence and quickly learn any pain points the company may have. You can also see how often communication occurred, whether a person is quick with replies, or if they have a lot of questions. All of this information can help better prepare your personalized sales process.

Listen to Call Recordings

If your SDRs conduct qualifying calls before passing opportunities to AEs, you should dig into the individual call recordings. Notes and information can give you the solid framework of an account, but actually hearing that person speak about their goals and pain points offers the real building blocks you’ll need to make a sale.

Think of it like when a friend recommends a show on Netflix versus you watching the trailer for yourself. You have the gist of what it’s about, but you know nothing of the tone until you catch a glimpse yourself. As an AE you are building a strategic relationship with this person, at the very least you may be able to pick up some ice-breaking conversation starters.

These steps will allow you to put your best foot forward. Knowing as much information as possible about a company and your contact’s feelings in regards to his or her role prior to speaking with them provides you a boost in your sales track. Take full advantage of the SDR’s knowledge and efforts with a company and continue your stride to the finish line.

Want to learn about a sales engagement process that works for your role as it relates to Salesforce? Download our newest series, Sales Engagement with Salesforce: The Complete Kit, and discover which works best for your sales development, sales operations, or full cycle sales process.

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