Guest post by Kate Batt, Account Executive at Pendo
Have you ever asked a BDR (Business Development Rep) why they’re busting their butts 12 hours a day? Some will tell you that they’re in it for the money, while others will say it’s for the experience. But a lot of us push ourselves so hard to get that coveted promotion to Account Executive (AE). About 9 months ago, I made the exciting transition from the BDR team at Pendo to the AE team.
It’s been hard work, but I do have a few sneaky advantages over my peers who have been AEs for a while. I still have the hustle of a sales rep giving me an edge when it comes to getting in front of prospects and closing deals. And I did bring one secret weapon from my BDR days into my new roles as an AE that’s helping me work more efficiently and drive better results (spoiler alert: it’s Outreach!)
I think all Account Executives could take a few tips from the grind of being a BDR to become a meetings master, take a more data-driven approach to hitting their numbers, and tie their day together more efficiently in Outreach.
“Are you available between 1:30pm and 3:30pm on Monday to discuss the proposal?”
“Sorry, we’re prepping for our board meeting at that time. What does your schedule look like on Tuesday?”
“Unfortunately, we’re booked solid that day. How about Thursday at 2:00pm or 4:30pm?”
“No can do, Kate. Let’s shoot for next week?”
5 emails later and you’ve set your meeting, but at what cost to your time and your sanity? As an Account Executive, I’ve become hyper-aware of how I spend my time. Every hour of my work day can be associated with dollars (Are you working on things that are revenue generating, or not?).
When I was a BDR, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Between calls, emails, LinkedIn messages, and a few well-placed gifs, I was doing whatever it took to get that meeting set for my AE. There was nothing more gratifying than seeing that accepted calendar invite come through my inbox, regardless of how long it took.
Now that I am that AE, I have a lot more on my plate. From redlines and contract negotiations to demos and travel, there’s a lot to do (and coordinate!). The last thing I want to do is send multiple emails over the course of a few days in hopes of setting up a meeting.
The game changed when Outreach launched Outreach Meetings. I am now able to save hours and sometimes days of time between asking for a meeting and getting it booked. Not to mention, meetings are more likely to occur if scheduled and held within 7 days. Nowadays, receiving a notification that says, “*Target Prospect* has booked a meeting with you” has become a standard event for my inbox — and I don’t need to do anything aside from sending them a calendar link!
One of our core values at Pendo is a maniacal focus on the customer. Outreach Meetings has saved me time, but more importantly, it saves my customers time. Being able to provide my customers with an easy way to book meetings (even at random!) has improved their experience of working with me. It’s easy to look at things from the lens of saving time for yourself, but for me, it’s more important to look at the buying experience of my customers. Outreach Meetings has helped me accomplish both at the same time.
The biggest challenge for new AEs is learning how to accurately forecast. It comes with a big learning curve. Pendo as a company is heavily focused on empowering product and customer success teams through actionable data, so it’s natural that we are a highly data-driven sales team.
We are equipped with the data behind our close rates, ACV, ADC, and every other TLA (three letter acronym) you would ever want to measure. We also take this a step further. With Pendo, I know that if a prospect in a trial has X people logging in, they’ve used Y number of our key features, and they have spent more than Z hours in the product they are more likely to convert to a paying customer.
This information is extremely helpful, but I go one level deeper, leveraging the activity and efficiency metrics that were so valuable to me as a BDR. Using the data I get in Pendo and the insights and activities in Outreach, I can optimize to hit my forecasts more accurately. With Outreach’s activity feed, engagement stats, and follow-up tasks I am able to nurture the prospects that need more attention and focus on the deals that have momentum.
For example, when I notice a prospect isn’t engaged in the trial I look through their Outreach history. What initially piqued their interest, what emails were they clicking on the most, what do my notes say? This helps me narrow down on their initial use case and I double down on the Pendo Stories I share with them. Almost immediately, I see the impact of this follow-up sequence. They’re opening, clicking, and logging back into Pendo.
It can be a lot of information to consume, but ultimately it makes me evaluate how I’m going to reach my goals and where I should be allocating my time.
Outreach is my morning cup of coffee and my nightcap. I organize my tasks, schedule my meetings, and prospect, all without having to do anything manually. The value compounds the longer I use it. My favorite Outreach trick is that I can see when a prospect who has never engaged with us before opens up my prospecting emails from over a year ago. I know that Pendo is at the top of their mind and it’s a perfect time to give them a call. It’s a huge time saver and stress reliever knowing that I can rely on Outreach to keep the engine running.
For the sake of easy math, let’s say that you have 600 hours a quarter of selling time with a $150,000 quota. That means you need to be making your company $250/hour on average — which is also the value of your time in a workday. Every hour you waste not working towards that goal is lowering that average. So as an Account Executive, I place a new emphasis on working efficiently and spending as little time as possible on administrative work.
Say it takes 5 deals to get to quota, each deal requires roughly 8 calls or meetings between discovery to close. And I’d say I probably send 30 emails and follow ups to support those deals as well. If I can save even a few hours of time spent scheduling meetings, dialing back and forth, or writing manual follow ups for each deal, that multiplies exponentially over the course of all the opportunities I manage in a given month or quarter.
And this means time back in my control to close even more business. Quota accomplished.
Pendo is a product cloud that helps product teams deliver software users love. With Pendo, product teams can understand product usage, collect feedback, measure NPS, onboard users, and announce new features in app—all without requiring engineering resources. Founded in 2013 in the heart of Raleigh and backed by Battery Ventures, Spark Capital and Meritech Capital, Pendo has raised $56 million and counts over 500 customers, including Zendesk, LexisNexis, Coupa, Gainsight, BMC, and Sprinklr. In 2017, it was named a Top 50 Startup by LinkedIn. Pendo tracks 27 billion user actions, and improves the product experience for 56 million users every month. Pendo is also the producer of ProductCraft, a destination editorial site with insights by and for product leaders; and Pendomonium, a premier product conference. For more information, visit: www.pendo.io.