Succeeding From Scratch
How Adrianna Vidal, Community Manager at RevGenius, made the jump into SaaS sales, saw success as an SDR, and built her online brand.
Name: Adrianna Vidal
What She Does: Adrianna leverages her love of sales and obsession with community as the Community Manager for RevGenius.
How to Connect: Adrianna’s LinkedIn
Breaking into the world of SaaS sales can be daunting.
It’s competitive (high earning potential), it’s confusing (we love a good acronym), and it’s fast (new tools and strategies pop up every day).
But if you can embrace all of that, the sky’s the limit.
That’s what draws people into this world – people like our guest, Adrianna Vidal.
A former retail sales associate turned property manager, Adrianna had her sights set on breaking into and succeeding in the world of SaaS.
She talked us through her journey, what she’s learned along the way, and the advice she has for anyone looking to move into or up in the world of SaaS sales.
Let’s talk a bit about your journey to becoming a SaaS SDR. What were you doing before your first SDR gig? What were you able to take away from your previous experiences to help you succeed as an SDR?
What are some resources you leveraged on that path to becoming an SDR? Any good recommendations for the audience?
You’re all over LinkedIn. What made you decide to jump in and start posting? What were you hoping to get out of it?
What are some of the pros and cons of being visible on LI?
What makes you a top SDR? Are you doing anything different from your peers that’s helped propel you to where you are now?
You had the chance to try out the AE role. What was that like? Is the grass truly greener?
Do we need to change up comp structure? Promotion structure? Training & development? All of the above?
Top 3 Takeaways
🌐 Yeah, so I think a good thing to do if you are trying to become an SDR is to learn about the tech landscape as a whole. To understand how all the different departments work together.
This is an exciting time for SaaS SDRs. The role is more difficult than it’s ever been, but there are also more resources than ever before. Podcasts, communities, personalities, courses, events…the amount of educational material out there to help people move in and up within the SDR role is staggering. So take advantage of it!
Patrick was her introduction to tech sales. Chloe was helpful when it came to applying for sales jobs and nailing interviews. And 30 Minutes to Presidents Club shares actionable tips she uses in her day-to-day.
Resources like those 👆 are everywhere. Find what resonates with you and start learning.
* I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention RevGenius here, as that’s where Adrianna currently works. They produce a TON of helpful content for SDRs (and anyone in a revenue-generating role).
** I’d also be remiss if I didn’t link to interviews we produced with Will Frattini and Sam De Rosa. Will talked about being an SDR self-starter, and Sam shared her learning & development mindset. Both are great, relevant, listens.
⭐ I am not that special. There are a lot of fantastic SDRs and a lot of people that I think could be fantastic SDRs. I also don’t want to make it seem like I just walked in here and totally knew what I was doing and I just magically worked out.
Adrianna doubled down on her take that pretty much anyone can be a good SDR. It takes the right mindset to succeed – not some combination of skills and experience (they don’t hurt, but they aren’t the end all be all).
To break into and move up within the SDR role, Adrianna did a lot of homework. She consumed content from the resources mentioned above, while also immersing herself in the strategies and advice of other reps who were succeeding in the role.
That immersion, coupled with an experimental mindset, propelled Adrianna forward. And she’s pretty confident that it can propel anyone forward.
* Another good listen on this topic is our chat on innate sales skills with Maria Bross. Pair the right mindset with a well-built coaching & training motion, and anyone can succeed as an SDR.
👍 I think just sharing where you’re at and not trying to pretend like you know more than you do…just kind of sharing what you’re learning, what things are working and what things aren’t, is really valuable to people. And they appreciate just knowing what’s on your mind.
Adrianna has built a heck of a brand on LinkedIn. Her secret?
There is no secret. It’s about being authentically you, showing up regularly, and helping others. Doesn’t matter if you’re an SDR helping other SDRs or a VP sharing thought leadership – the same tenets apply. Show up consistently, create content that you enjoy creating, and give more than you take. Do that, and you can start to build a strong brand online.
And don’t gatekeep LinkedIn, people.
🏆 In terms of soft skills, just understanding, OK, how do I talk to someone that I’ve never met before and make it an engaging conversation? I think that’s the number one most important skill to have if you are trying to become an SDR.
We’ll take that a step further and say that it’s one of the most important skills you can develop, period. Whether you’re looking to break into tech sales, move up in your role as an SDR, or jump out of sales entirely, the ability to have an engaging conversation with someone you don’t know all that well is a skill that will take you very far.
Those communication skills are something we (and pretty much all hiring managers) look for during the interview process. They’re one of our company’s core values. And they’ll serve you well throughout your career.
Our advice? Take Adrianna’s advice and focus on building up soft skills like this one.
🌱 I think that a lot of times it’s like, okay, you’ve been in SDR for nine months and we have an opening on the account executive team. So we’re just gonna scoot you over there and you’ll be fine. And I don’t think that there really is enough of that training beforehand.
Is the grass always greener on the other side? For a lot of SDRs, the natural next step in their career is to move into a closing role. But that step needs to be built with a proper foundation, otherwise, it could crumble to pieces.
Companies often rush SDRs into the AE role. It makes sense – AEs can have a larger impact on the business than SDRs (in most cases). But doing that before they’re ready can cause a host of problems. After all, more impact = more responsibility = more things to mess up if they aren’t ready.
Part of it is on the rep – Adrianna talks about how SDRs can start building their own AE playbook – but part of it is on the company. If you want to play the long game and build a team that can drive sustainable, recurring revenue, you better have a good training & coaching motion to help promote your SDRs ➡️ AEs.
* Final plug – more thoughts on the SDR to AE path and shaking up the current state of sales development.
Hey there! AJ here 👋
The big takeaway that Adrianna dropped in this episode matches up nicely with how I view the SDR role:
“It’s kind of cheesy, but just believe in yourself.”
Succeeding as a SaaS SDR comes down to one thing – do you have the right mindset?
The best SDRs all share similar traits:
They take their growth and development into their own hands. They network, join online communities, and consume content to help them level up (whether their company provides training & coaching or not).
They genuinely care about what they do. They’re excited to talk with someone and share information that could help them do their job better. They’re passionate, curious, and love to experiment with new ideas.
They have an eye on the future. They might not know exactly what their next role is, but they’re always working toward something – not just going through the motions each day.
* OK OK…this is the final plug. We talked about SDR mindset during one of our symposiums, and we got some great answers. It comes down to understanding your role as an SDR and building a pathway to move up and out of the role in a way that makes sense for you.
It’s not a secret recipe. It’s about putting in the work. Adrianna is a great example of someone who jumped into the SaaS world fairly blind but was able to grow because she believed she could.
Learning from other reps, sitting in on discovery calls, and joining and participating in online communities are great ways of taking your growth into your own hands. Give it a shot!