How To Get Promoted From SDR to AE (in 12 Months or LESS)

Salespeople are always looking for ways to shortcut success. Some get lucky, but luck can’t be relied on consistently. The following ten attributes are ways to differentiate yourself when starting in sales and get promoted FAST.

1. Be Relentless

Yeah, I get it; you’ve heard this one before. But, are you as relentless as the top salesperson in your company?

The first step is defining what relentless means.

How many calls, new meetings, or pipeline opportunities does relentless equate to? By quantifying your daily activities, the next step is to target your efforts on the activities that generate revenue.

If you want to hear how I did it, listen to this podcast with Anthony Iannarino.

2. See Opportunity Where Other’s Don’t

The best salespeople see opportunities everywhere, not just in their assigned territories.

There may be a new position at the company, an unassigned account with revenue potential, or a new product in the pipeline that will change the game.

They even see the opportunity in being relentless. A holistic view to opportunities can shortcut the standard career path by years.

3. Learn Faster

If reading books and attending courses bores you, then build in a process of collaboration with others prepared to share what they have learned.

You must quickly learn to differentiate yourself from the crowd, and standard sales techniques won’t teach you this.

If you want to get promoted fast – focus on the soft skills that all SDRs lack, such as how to sell to different buyer personas, manage your ego with difficult customers, and acquire the mindset of top performers.

4. Smash Your Targets

The single best way to get noticed and promoted is to smash your targets.

However, at the same time, don’t fall into the “look at me” category and let success go to your head.

Sale is a great leveler, and you are not a true top salesperson until you have repeated your success.

It is far more powerful to smash your target consistently and remain humble.

And yeah – If you aren’t likable, you aren’t getting promoted.

5. Understand The Most Effective Channels Of Communication

The fastest way to communicate with a customer is always by phone.

However, have multiple client communication strategies in place.

Use social networks to find reasons to call, research your customer, and if appropriate, begin a conversation.

Understand the fastest way to get a meeting is a well-placed phone call.

Practice the skill of concisely communicating your value proposition by phone.

6. Make Efficient Use Of Your Time

Socializing is fun, as is office gossip, but your early career is the time to show your potential.

Maintain a professional persona and surround yourself with successful people who can help you overcome obstacles and teach you how to sell.

Use your weekends and evenings to prepare for the week ahead and demonstrate your commitment to the company and exceeding the targets.

7. Don’t Get Negatively Typecast

Sales is a complex profession that takes years to master. In the early days, don’t try to buck the system, because you don’t want to be seen as a pain.

Your job is simple, to learn as much as possible, demonstrate potential, be likable and reliable, and overachieve on your targets.

I once had an SDR ask me for help and then argue with everything I said.

My response is perfectly summarized in the clip below…

8. Set Non-Revenue Goals

Sales development is a good training ground for your career. It’s where you develop your personal approach to selling and work on high volumes of low-value accounts.

This allows you to make mistakes, without the risk of damaging your territory.

As you rise in seniority and the stakes rise, you will remember this stage of your career as the time you drilled skills, screwed-up consistently, and learned to handle rejection.

9. Be Better Than Everyone Else

Sales is a competitive game with winners and losers. Even if you work in a team-selling group commission environment, the people who stand-out are the people who move-up (or on).

It’s that simple. I have worked in teams where we all loved and respected each other, but the truth is the person generating the most revenue is the dominant player and has the most opportunities.

Encourage your teammates and conduct yourself with integrity, but understand there is more to winning the game than hitting the company target.

10. When The Going Gets Tough, Dig In…

This is the time to assert yourself and change the situation. Poor management, no progression, lack of purpose – these are reasons to leave, but if you leave, understand why the role didn’t work out and don’t make the same mistakes again.

Above all else, enjoy the ride. Being an SDR is a golden period. Use this time to understand how you respond when the chips are down.

Call To Action – Learn How I Did It

To learn how I navigated a 15-year career from SDR to top salesperson globally in my industry, check out my book The No.1 Best Seller.

Lee Bartlett is a Sales Consultant, author of highly acclaimed book The No.1 Best Seller, and specialist in taking new technology products to market. With extensive experience selling to the financial sector and C-Suite executives, Lee has built multi-national sales teams, been the co-founder and CEO of a tech start-up and has sold extensively across Europe, the US and Asia. He shares his personal sales methodology and experiences in his book and blog, both of which discuss the mindset, strategies and processes of top salespeople.

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