By far the most common challenge I see in SaaS sales teams is terrible alignment between SDRs and AEs. This creates an absolutely horrible experience for buyers:
- SDRs have a “discovery” call, in which they interrogate buyers without giving anything in return
- AEs then have a demo, in which they repeat all the same questions that the buyer already answered in the last call
- AEs treat their SDRs like their personal assistants, even though they haven’t done any outbound in years, meaning your target accounts receive terrible messages
How can you stop this from happening?
Tips to Create Better SDR-AE Alignment
Here are my top tips for creating solid relationships between your SDRs and AEs to ensure a better buying experience:
1) SDRs should NOT use BANT (budget, authority, timeline need) to qualify leads. Asking someone at an enterprise company like Microsoft if they have budget is like asking Lionel Messi if he can score goals. If you are selling to enterprise customers, of course they have budget! It is your AE’s job to convince them that your solution is worth investing in.
Instead of asking about budget, SDRs should research the challenges and current situation of your prospects. If they have big enough pains that are impacting their business, it will be easier for your AEs to justify your pricing.
2) SDRs should attend at least 50% of meeting they book for AEs. This is not only a great way for SDRs to shadow AEs and learn about selling but also is a great way to see which types of buyers are most qualified.
3) SDRs should give a quick 1-2 minute recap at the start of the call before handing off to the AE. This ensures the AE does not repeat the same questions, and also gives the buyer the opportunity to clarify anything the SDR may have misunderstood
4) AEs should listen to SDR calls that lead to their meetings. This helps them better prepare and also ask the SDR any questions ahead of the call. If the call is 15-30 minutes, you can use a tool like Gong or Refract to create snippets of the main highlights so they don’t have to listen to all of it.
5) Leadership must emphasize that SDRs and AEs are peers and partners, and that the AE is not the SDR’s boss. This will create a culture of team selling and helping each other VS AEs micro-managing SDRs.
6) SDRs should teach the prospect something new on their discovery call. If they just interrogate them with qualification questions, it creates a horrible buying experience. Train your SDRs about industry trends, statistics and interesting customer stories they can drop into those first calls, so the buyer is excited about the second call with the AE.