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Should AEs do their own prospecting?

In my work, I see a lot of different opinions on who's responsible for generating enough sales pipeline for an AE to hit their targets.

Typically, when a team had SDRs, the popular opinion is that the SDRs should do it.

But I've also found that the teams with the most consistent results look at prospecting as a group effort.

Curious to see where the Sales Hacker community stands:

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jeffswan18_sales-pipeline-prospecting-activity-6871087427084271616-Rr6B

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    • 0
      Profile picture of Colin Campbell
      @colin-campbell
      ( 11.6k POINTS )
      1 month, 2 weeks ago

      Hey @jeffswan18 – I’m surprised you haven’t had more replies here. This is something I’ve seen a LOT of discussion about recently.

      At Outreach, we began expecting our AEs to generate a certain amount of their opportunties with outbound prospecting this past year, and I can say it did improve consistency.

      It also improved our overall sales culture. I think AEs appreciate SDRs a little more, and visa versa.

      @cpless wrote up a killer article about it here: https://www.outreach.io/onoutreach/leverage-your-account-executives

      @cpless – curious if you’ve got any update on how you think it’s going since writing that piece?

      • 0
        Profile picture of Jeff Swan
        @jeffswan18
        ( 2.8k POINTS )
        1 month, 2 weeks ago

        Me too, @colin-campbell! It’s blowing up on LinkedIn.

        What you saw at Outreach this year is the reason I’m leaning towards the “AEs should prospect always” camp. The consistency is good but the impact it has on culture is invaluable.

        No longer do you see AEs complaining about “bad leads” or “not enough leads” because they can take charge and do it themselves. It also adds more experienced people to the prospecting mix that can define new strategies and tactics the rest of the team can use!

        Love the article btw. Buyers really are getting less engaged and more distracted these days. Takes a monumental effort to fill the funnel and keep buyers excited for what’s next. Always nice to have amazing content and tools to share though, right?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Adrian Wong
      @awong209
      ( 1.1k POINTS )
      1 month, 1 week ago

      All🧨the🧨fecking🧨time

      1. Keeps reps sharp on knowing their buyer
      2. Builds pipeline (Marketing & SDR sourced pipe should be gravy)
      3. Stems a culture of entitlement

      That being said, how to do this consistently while balancing their current Opps can be a challenge.

      • 0
        Profile picture of Jeff Swan
        @jeffswan18
        ( 2.8k POINTS )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        Great points, @awong209! I find #3 to be especially powerful when I see the impact this has on B2B revenue teams. With everyone being partially responsible for pipeline, no one team or person feels like they “deserve” it from someone else.

        The most effective tool to enable this in AEs I’ve come across is time-blocking. If you block prospecting time in your calendar and treat it as important as a sales meeting with a hot prospect, you never need to worry about a lagging pipeline. Instead, you’ll get a steady flow of business and won’t place one sales call as more important than others. Changes the whole power dynamic of a seller too!

    • 0
      Profile picture of tom_hearts_tacos
      @tom_hearts_tacos
      ( 170 POINTS )
      1 month, 1 week ago

      AEs need to prospect regularly to keep their pipelines strong and healthy. What the BDRs bring in should be part of the pipeline, but it’s not enough.

      • 0
        Profile picture of Jeff Swan
        @jeffswan18
        ( 2.8k POINTS )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        Agreed 100% that AEs should prospect regularly. A truly switched-in revenue team will identify which portions of pipeline should be from SDRs, AEs, and Marketing respectively. Much easier to do your job (and for the company to resource you) when you know exactly what you’re responsible and when!

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