A Day In The Life of a SaaS Sales Development Rep

UTDFinanceGuy's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 3,158

So, I know this doesn't go in here, but I know the Other Road won't get any views on this or very many, and its not exactly Sales and Trading.

I've been working in a sales development role at a hot startup in the SaaS sphere. We are innovating and disrupting in our field, and I wanted to explain what a typical day looks like for me.

6:45AM
I come in earlier than most, the real start time is 7:00AM but I'm normally in by 6:30AM. The reason is we call into different time zones and Eastern being 3 hours ahead, 6:30AM is the best time for you to really start hammering the phones there.

I start off reaching WSJ Tech, Tech Crunch and Fortune just to get a feel on the markets and big news that day, see if competitors launched something overnight, and I love business. You wouldn't think it but that pre-news news that comes out is pretty helpful and helps me plan my day.

I normally do a scan of my notes and determine the highest priority contacts first thing in the morning. Answer some emails that were sent the night before, and really plan out my day.

Then as soon as I'm settled in I start calling business from 6:45AM till about 11:00AM. The calls I make are to our middle market segment since we do best with employees less than 500 employees. Before each call I research the person I"m calling (whether it be a CFO or CEO or CTO) to get a good feel for rapport building and just get a pre-judgement. The same process goes with their company, I want to know if I can really use the information there to help.

11:00AM till 12:30PM
During this time is lunch, but being what Steli Efti would call a hustler https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/how-to-hustle-a-hus... I try my best to keep the time productive. A stocked kitchen (thank god for startup mentalities) means I get free food and drink while I do prospecting.

Prospecting is something totally fun for me, you play mini-detective, you look at a company on Linkedin/their website/news articles and start to determine if they'd be receptive or a good fit for our product. Almost all companies are, but I like to sell to my background and to our pre-determined demographics. I'll gather as much C-Level contact information to enter into Salesforce.com so my calling will go well.

12:30PM till 3:30PM
At this point I make sure to send out some personalized cold emails and follow ups from the week before and from the morning time. This is normally a slower process and really doesn't require too much talking which is nice being a sorta kind of introvert. Today I actually had a callback to went straight into a demo. Which leads me to the next thing.

3:30PM till 5:00PM[
I'm giving a demonstration of our product via a screen share application to a company with about 120 employees with the CFO and CTO sitting in on the call. It's a really nerve racking process since if this converts I can literally land over $10,000 in commission just from this. I run through what was important to them in discovery and have to overcome several objections. It's hard when you have these data driven experts in their fields grilling you on detailed financial information, but I love it.

After the demonstration is done, they say they'll definitely love to continue the conversation and speak next Wednesday about some final details and run it by the CEO. Good sign and bad sign, but a next step is better than nothing at all.

5:00PM till 7:00PM
Everyone but the hardest workers are gone, most people left at 4:00 or 5:00 but I stay so that I can be in my little area, do some prospecting on some high level accounts (in the upper ranges of what we consider middle market). Researching everything I can, and planning on possibly flying out if the first call goes well. These guys in this type of role are worth spending $1000 of my own money to help seal the deal.

Also I start tweaking a personal calling script I use for contacting COO's since their take on our product is different than the CFO's who's is different than the CEO's who's is different from the CTO.

At this time I normally call up a couple of my sales buddies who already left, and plan to meet at the local bar to crush a few brew-skis and call it a day.

If you have any questions feel free to AMA.

Comments (27)

Nov 17, 2015

UTD--thanks for doing this. Would love to hear how you landed into the role and what experience you had in sales previously.

Nov 17, 2015

How much do you interact with other parts of the organization such as engineering or product?

Nov 17, 2015
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How much do you interact with other parts of the organization such as engineering or product?

Probably ~zero.

Software engineers are typically segregated from the rest of the org; they really need peace and quiet to work properly... And honestly, the majority are really strange people - you almost have to be on the spectrum to interact with most of them.

Sales is usually looked down on by product, although at the more senior levels they interact.

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Nov 17, 2015

Working at a much smaller startup with a similar business model (also SaaS with sales calls). How do you go about making calls and building relationships without being too pushy/selling too hard but also making sure you're progressing towards closing the deal. How many touchpoints do you usually have until you close?

Nov 17, 2015

How does your compensation structure work? Salary + commission? Draw? How does your company do commission on long term recurring contracts?

Nov 17, 2015
undefined:

Working at a much smaller startup with a similar business model (also SaaS with sales calls). How do you go about making calls and building relationships without being too pushy/selling too hard but also making sure you're progressing towards closing the deal. How many touchpoints do you usually have until you close?

I normally touch on 2 topics or something 3. It just depends how its going, and how much they are interested, the more interested the more I go personally since I want to qualify the best companies since we are paid on conversion more than just appointments. I try to picture myself as a software consultant more than sales person. My goal is to really stress the strategic and financial implications of what we provide.

Think of it as you're a consultant and not as a sales person.

undefined:

How much do you interact with other parts of the organization such as engineering or product?

Rarely. Like extremely rarely but it is possible to in fact talk to them and communicate, but its rare.

undefined:

UTD--thanks for doing this. Would love to hear how you landed into the role and what experience you had in sales previously.

I really stressed all my cold calling (which is honestly mimnimal) but I was very good at interviewing to be honest. As a project manager I did some business development and really fluffed it to the best of my ability and hit the ground running so no questions.

undefined:

How does your compensation structure work? Salary + commission? Draw? How does your company do commission on long term recurring contracts?

Salary (very minimal) think less than 40K a year, but with commission on quota even at entry level I'm looking at 50-60K if I kill it, then higher. After 6 months you move into an AE type role where the average is around 110K from what I've gathered from some of the AEs. It's sales, so you kill it, you make good money. One rep W2'd 230K last year with less than 2 years at this compnay.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Nov 17, 2015

Also interested as well.. quite a few of our "slightly above average" sales reps at my company easily make 6 figures... and they don't have any financial modeling skills or a CFA!

Nov 17, 2015

How do you stay motivated?

Nov 17, 2015

Money - If that's not one of the main motivations of a sales person, he or she is probably not a very good salesperson

Nov 17, 2015

Thanks for doing this!

Could you speak on career progression and what the track looks like from your point of view?

Nov 17, 2015
undefined:

Thanks for doing this!

Could you speak on career progression and what the track looks like from your point of view?

Career progression would look like this at my job.

SDR --> AE or SDR Manager
If you go SDR Manager you're looking at pulling in 60K + some commission share, but its focused on training and management (obviously).

SDR --> Directors of Sales --> VP of Sales

Whereas AE would go like this.

SDR --> AE (Middle Market) --> AE (Enterprise)

My goal personally is to go the AE route, and then get inton enterprise deals and maybe after a couple years jump to a really big name company like Cisco, Oracle, Salesforce.com and be an enterprise AE or middle market AE there.

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How do you stay motivated?

Honestly, this is exceptionally hard.
The money and chip on my shoulder from my past (grew up poor) pushes me forward.
I also LOVE sales, its so interesting and social dynamics at play its a lot of fun.

I listen to rap/rock music, watch those motivational videos on YouTube and just focus on being successful.
Chase success and progression, and money will come. :)

Also my goal is to go into entrepreneurship at a unicorn either at as a founder or a VP of Sales (early hire) because that's where the money is. I have a picture of an Audi R8 as my background as my dream car, and plan to do whatever it takes to get that car.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Nov 17, 2015

Also I start tweaking a personal calling script I use for contacting COO's since their take on our product is different than the CFO's who's is different than the CEO's who's is different from the CTO.

How do you tweak the way you pitch to different members of the C-suite?

Nov 17, 2015

I hate when people claim their goal is to lead a "unicorn" like all it takes is a little elbow grease.

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Nov 17, 2015

Cranking 12 hour days for 40k base. Sounds dope. Not to mention probably in the Bay Area..

Nov 17, 2015
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Cranking 12 hour days for 40k base. Sounds dope. Not to mention probably in the Bay Area..

Not in Bay Area. The best thing is that my commission will be over 100% my salary in a relatively low COL area. The goal is to grind like a little bastard for 6 months, to be the top 5 rep in the company, so people know your name and know who you are. That way when you get promoted to AE, you're prepared, and honestly, overprepared. In the next 6-9 months I'll be a AE so it's worth it since they make really great money (similar to first/second year IB numbers if you're doing well).

undefined:

Also I start tweaking a personal calling script I use for contacting COO's since their take on our product is different than the CFO's who's is different than the CEO's who's is different from the CTO.

How do you tweak the way you pitch to different members of the C-suite?

Here's the best way to really show the difference.

CEO's focus on revenue generating, they love vision and growth, scaling and being the best in their field. I'm going to tweak my pitch to show how we help generate revenue, retain employees, and overall help their vision for growth.

CFO's focus is on the bottom line. They want more profit, less expenses, and expense cutting is an easy sale. Our product has case studies showing how we are able to save companies 10's of thousands and sometimes 100's of thousands dollars. I'm going to show that to the CFO, and explain how we affect his bottom line, cold, hard data.

CTO's love organization and efficiency. By showing them that this software is going to reduce the bottleneck and replace multiples systems into one single system, we can reduce the amount of problems he is going to have on his end with the technological side. We don't target CTO's that much, since in most company's they would be a developer type. If he's the only contact, I don't mind trying to get information from him and sell him on the idea of security, efficiency and customizability of the platform.

undefined:

I hate when people claim their goal is to lead a "unicorn" like all it takes is a little elbow grease.

It takes results. Someone leads a 'unicorn' and its the guy who can produce results or execute. Is it likely, no, will I more than likely work in a smaller startup and make good money but not fuck you money, yes. However, if your aiming at leading an unicorn down the road, even if you don't make it, you'll have skills and accomplishments that allow you to do it on a smaller more realistic scale. Dream big, expect small.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Nov 22, 2015

How did you land your first sale. And how did you feel

Nov 22, 2015
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How did you land your first sale. And how did you feel

It feels soooo good.
Especially because unlike a lot of my colleagues who throw up shit meetings and demos just to meet some KPI's and metrics, I like to prospect and land the whales.

I landed my fist one during training and it was big enough to meet my quota for 2 months. I put probably 2 hours into research about their competitors, C-levels and their interests and I made sure to tailor my pitch and rapport building to all of that.

When they agreed to the demonstration and wanted to expedite it to know for sure, I felt an overwhelming chill go down my back because its exactly what I had worked for. The amount of respect I instantly gained from my managers and colleagues was worth it all.

Especially since your day is 90% 'No' when you get a certain 'Yes' it just makes it all worth it.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Nov 26, 2015

1) What attracted you to sales, and SaaS sales in particular?
2) You mentioned that a few of your colleagues leave around the 5:00 p.m. mark -- how do they perform, relative to you?
3) What was the training program like at your workplace? Did you do any outside reading on negotiation, sales, etc and if so, what sources did you use?
4) You mentioned that your company is "innovating and disrupting in our field." What type of product do you sell and how does it "disrupt" the space?

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Nov 26, 2015

double post

Nov 27, 2015

Out of curiosity, what are your future plans? I know people can do well as AEs and if you do well you can have a great life from sales, but my impression has always been that the exit ops are pretty weak (don't mean to be offensive).

Best Response
Nov 28, 2015
undefined:

Out of curiosity, what are your future plans? I know people can do well as AEs and if you do well you can have a great life from sales, but my impression has always been that the exit ops are pretty weak (don't mean to be offensive).

Pretty weak IF you don't like sales as a career. Most people in sales don't do it for the exit opportunities but because they actually love the job, and don't plan on leaving it. If you're doing well, you move up and start selling higher ticket items for bigger named companies. I have a friend who was a Oracle HRM sales person who W2'd over 400K (albeit after 7 years of experience) and wouldn't want to change what he's doing at all.

Account management and business development are different veins of sales, but both options you can get into. Same goes for things such as headhunting (which is practically a recruiter which is inverse selling srs) and even consulting. It's more diverse than you would thing.

Typically you can go into two or three arenas from a sales careers.

  1. Management
    Sales Manager, Directors of Sales, VP or Sales and from then either COO or CEO. This is where some of the less apt sales people go (managers and directors actually make less than the better sales people). These guys are the one's tracking some metrics, coaching, training and managing the team. It's not selling, but you still get a slight commission off how well your team does.
  2. Entrepreneurship
    This is very common from what I can see. A lot of guys bust their asses for 4-5 years, save around 50K-200K and then jump into their own gig whether it be digital marketing, construction, insurance, consulting, etc. They become small business owners and aim to be their own boss and grow their businesses. Some go the tech start up realm, but that's not as often seen. The hardest part of a starting a company from scratch is having no contacts or selling ability (which if you are good at selling, isn't a problem you'll face).
  3. Graduate School
    This is where theres a fair amount of people, they end up going to MBA programs and get into more business development (growth, strategy and relationship focused selling) or general management roles or even human resources. Several go to law school or go back and get their MS in Accounting and pursue a life like that. The thing about sales is that the personalities and hobbies are so wide and far its hard to account for what everyone does in a blanket statement.

As far as myself? I don't really know. I think I have a good shot at being a top sales person in general, so its possible I just keep selling for the next decade and save some serious money. Then I'd like to get into something entrepreneurially (like currently I am working on a small little hobby business of social engineering audits and competitive intelligence research for some small businesses) and really dive deep into it and build my own business.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Nov 29, 2015
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