You are a BDR & Your Colleague was Promoted Faster to AE than You…

The best thing about writing posts that are from personal experience being in sales is that I know that there are others out there going through similar things in sales that I have gone through. So to anyone who has messaged me, slacked me, emailed me about my posts THANK YOU. Thank you for following along and thank you for reading. I encourage you to write about what you learn because it does help others to be able to read about what you are learning. We can all learn from each other. :)

Yesterday I wrote a post about what I have learned in working at HubSpot for 7 years. I wrote about the process of starting as one of the first BDRs at a tech/software company and what happened to me from there in my sales career so far. It is an amazing process to help to define a BDR team and early sales team. You get to lay the groundwork for other people in the sales org in the future. It is a great place to start your career in sales.

In the post I spoke about how I had started with a good friend of mine, Adrianne. We started on the same day 7 years ago on August 1st. She and I were and still are buddies. We would walk to lunch together, walk to get coffee together, etc. We were on this journey together, not really knowing what we were doing at first but figuring it out together. There is something exciting and fun in that. Don’t let yourself forget that you are a core part of your sales model for your company. When a company decides to start a BDR or SDR program they are doing that for a reason. If you have been picked to be on that team they want you to get good at that job so you can be promoted to an AE. I don’t think there is any startup out there who hires BDRs just to hire them. The goal is to promote BDRs to AEs and keep you in the sales org to move your way up.

The BDR or SDR role is not an easy one. It takes courage. It takes long hours. It takes lots of dials and unique outreach. It takes getting feedback from your AEs along the way that maybe you didn’t want to hear. You might feel like you aren’t doing something that is worthy. You are WRONG. Your job is the most important part of any sales role.

Let me let you in on a little secret. The BDR role is the most important part of what you will learn in becoming a sales rep in the future. You cannot be a great sales rep without the foundations you learn as a BDR. So if you are a BDR for longer than your friend, that is okay. If you decide you don’t like sales, that is okay. If you are a BDR longer than anyone else has ever been a BDR, that is okay. Your time will come. You will get promoted one day. Don’t rush it and don’t compare yourself to others around you getting promoted.

Adrianne was promoted before I was and I was crushed. I remember crying in the bathroom at work wondering what I did wrong and how I could do better to get promoted to a real sales rep. Don’t beat yourself up. Keep going. Keep your head high and stay confident in what you do. Your friend who got promoted now has a real quota hanging over their head and guess what that doesn’t go away. Once you are promoted you are promoted. There is usually no backtracking on that. So once you have a quota you are locked into that! It only gets harder from there.

Don’t rush becoming an Account Executive. Take your time as a BDR or SDR. Learn as much as you possibly can so when you are promoted you are really, truly as ready as you can be.

Adrienne isn’t even in sales anymore. She works in services at HubSpot. So just because someone is promoted first to Account Executive doesn’t mean that you are not worthy of being in sales. It means you need more time to ripen. Take advantage of it and look at that as an opportunity to get mentored, coached and trained more.

In your career in sales you will get passed over many times. You will feel defeated many times. But, when I sit here writing this and think about the bad times there are so many MORE good times and accomplishments. Don’t think about the fact that you didn’t get that promotion or that manager role. Think about what you have done and how far you have come. Think about where you are going next. If you let that hold you back you will become bitter, sad and not as engaged on the floor.

I bet any successful person you know has been fired, laid off, not gotten the manager role or not been promoted…but guess what they made their way up their career path somehow, and are somehow where they are today. Remember things happen for a reason. Let that guide you in your sales career. Let yourself learn from what happens.

Courtney Pearce is an Account Executive at Alert Logic. She sent me this note today on LinkedIn:

Courtney, thank you for writing me that personal note. It means a lot to me to hear from people reading my stories about being in sales. It is helpful to know what resonates and what doesn’t so I can write more about what I have learned about those things over the years.

Sales is a hard job. No matter which part of the journey you are on. Keep your head up. Keep your confidence up. Push yourself to do things you don’t want to do or don’t feel comfortable doing. Push yourself to get better and learn something new everyday. If you don’t get promoted first, second, third, or ever that is okay! Your time for whatever is right for you will come. You need to know that where you are now is okay and just the right spot for you.