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Seamlessly Pass Leads from the SDR to the AE

3 min read
June 11, 2015

There’s one question on the top of everyone’s mind when you start talking about specialization in sales development: How do we seamlessly pass leads from the sales development rep to the account executive without dropping the baton?

Best practices for this process are a constant source of debate–from tracking opportunities, to scheduling appointments, to determining credit and compensation. We’ve talked about it, asked industry experts about it, and then talked about it some more, and as the sales development industry has grown, we’ve continued to test our process of lead passing.

The silver bullet to avoiding any issues with the pass off is to have a clearly defined Service Level Agreement between Sales Development Reps and the Account Executives. – William Bond, AE

Having a process laid out from the beginning ensures no leads fall through the cracks, and holds both the SDR and the AE accountable for their specific responsibilities. What if the lead doesn’t show up for the appointment? Who reaches out, the SDR or the AE? Who handles the re-schedule? All of these questions are spelled out in our process to prevent miscommunication and throwing too many lines in the water.

But it’s not just about process. Open communication between the SDR and the AE is key to a smooth transition for the lead. Having clear expectations on all sides not only helps prepare the AE to know what topics to cover, but keeps the prospect from having to repeat his needs and pain points to yet another rep.

In order for the introduction to go smoothly, the AE needs to be prepared with all of the right ammunition. Who’s going to be on the call? How did you get in touch initially? Is this lead a rep vetting options for a decision maker? What are their pain points? These are examples of questions the SDR needs to answer before the demo occurs.

A simple way of putting it is: Who, What, When, and Why? – Chuck Jones, SDR

The best practice for communicating these details through a standardized process is associating notes with the “BDR Demo 1” open task in Salesforce. The SDR can then add notes associated to the calendar invite created when the demo is scheduled. Per our SLA, account executives are responsible for keeping their Google calendars updated at all times, as well as visible and clear in order for the SDRs to schedule appointments. This communication technique guarantees total transparency between the two parties, and leaves as little to chance as possible.

Although sales development and account executive teams have to work independently to perfect their own process, synchronicity between the two is crucial to a seamless handoff. Through mutual trust and respect, the two teams are able to work together as a unit to create a transition so smooth that the lead won’t ever fumble in the endzone.