The Entrepreneurial Pathway

5 Questions with Clement Schneider

Senior Demand Generation Specialist @ SalesWings

Nobody wants to be an SDR forever. And the good news is that nobody expects you to be an SDR forever.

Because the SDR position is a launching pad for a number of future career opportunities

You can move down the funnel into a closing role. You can step into leadership and manage SDRs. You can leverage skills into a marketing, revenue, or client success role.

Or…you could start your own company 👀

One of the coolest things about being an SDR is how much you learn about running a business.

You’re exposed to product marketing, account targeting, sales, customer success, effective message creation, product positioning…the list goes on and on.

Especially if you work at a start-up. Those SDRs have their hands in pretty much every bucket available.

And our guest, Clement Schneider, knows a thing or two about start-up life and the value of a well-rounded SDR.

His experience in the start-up world offers a great view into how SDRs can travel down that entrepreneurial path, why you should encourage and enable them to do so, and what it takes to become a successful founder.

Our guest, Clement Schneider, knows a thing or two about start-up life and the value of a well-rounded SDR.

His experience in the start-up world offers a great view into how SDRs can travel down that entrepreneurial path, why you should encourage and enable them to do so, and what it takes to become a successful founder.

Play Video

Key Takeaways

  1. Let’s start by talking about what it’s like working in the startup world. As an SDR, what do your responsibilities look like?

  2. How is that different from what an SDR at a larger organization might experience? What are some of the pros and cons?

  3. Sales and marketing alignment is crucial to success. How can the SDR function help bridge the two?

  4. The SDR is often looked at as a stepping stone to an AE role, but you can take your career in many different directions. Let’s touch on entrepreneurship and how SDR experience sets you up for that.

  5. Are the best founders former SDRs? Is that something we’ll see more of in the future?

Highlights, Notes, and Resources

Note: Timestamps correspond to the YouTube video

(2:28) The number 1 priority for startups is growth. And a lot of them want to do it quickly. Whether you lead a team or you’re an SDR on a team, that should be your focus. Make sure you learn something new every day.

(4:14) Outbound sales is important to master at any organization, but that’s especially true for startups. When you don’t have a strong inbound engine or brand presence to lean on, efficient outbound becomes paramount.

(4:30) To that point, you’re probably building out the systems and processes around outbound sales, discovery, closing, etc. There’s a premium put on SDRs and Managers who can come into a startup and begin building tight systems.

The Process > The Outcome

Discovery is incredibly important. You learn about your ICP, what they care about, if your message resonates…and all of that can have a serious impact on your strategy moving forward.

💡 Sounds a lot like what we discussed with the UpMarket team…

Working at a startup can feel a lot like you’re building the plane while it’s flying. Some people thrive in that environment, and some don’t. But you won’t know until you try it out!

(6:14) Discovery doesn’t stop with prospect conversations. SDRs often times learn about and pitch new tools to their leadership teams at startups. They’re the ones who know more than anyone what tools can help them see success.

(7:34) Some of the pros and cons of working in the startup world…

  • If you aren’t passionate about the company or product, don’t bother. Without it, you’ll struggle.

  • SDRs face rejection daily, but expect a higher dose when working at a startup.

  • There’s a lack of resources available in most startups. Don’t expect well built training modules or workshops to help you learn new skills – you have to seek those out on your own.

  • You have more sway in the business. Your voice holds more weight. Growth opportunities are a lot more common (and expected).

  • The reward is HUGE. If you can succeed as an SDR at a startup, the victories are magnified.

(10:07) Want to grow up and out of the SDR role? It’s on you. There’s a mindset required for success as an SDR, and that mindset holds more value when you work at a startup.

🧠 Get more insight into that mindset: 5 Questions with Tad Bustin | Think Like a Salesperson

(10:30) You can’t rely on being a household name when you work for a startup. Not saying companies like Gong don’t have to work for their leads, but prospects have a very different reaction when they hear you’re calling from a well known brand vs. a startup that hasn’t built a name for itself yet.

You can’t count on marketing to do your job for you.

(12:06) How can sales and marketing work together? Look no further than ICP development. If you really want to understand your ICP, SDRs has to capture intelligence & conversation notes and feed them to marketing. The two teams combined can get a cohesive picture of your audience.

And that’s just the start. That intel can go beyond ICP development to impact content, messaging, website language, etc.

(17:04) “The role of marketing, especially in the B2B space, is to translate sales people’s thoughts into marketing action.”

That 👆 is really difficult if your teams aren’t aligned. SDRs can help with that, but change also needs to come from the leadership level.

(17:21) It’s not magic. It’s Marketing.

(18:49) “If you don’t have the SDR mentality…you will struggle being a solo entrepreneur.” It’s as simple as that. There are tons of skills you pick up in the SDR role that translate well to the entrepreneurial space.

  • You have to go out and understand your market. What do they care about? What problems are you trying to solve?

  • You have to know how to have mutually beneficial conversations with prospects & future customers.

  • You have to know how to sell someone on your vision & value.

(21:30) That mentality is necessary, but it’s not the only thing. You have to round yourself out with skills in marketing, closing, product, etc.

It’s easier to justify at a startup, but it’s on you to go out there and find the right resources.

Stepping out on your own isn’t easy. There’s a level of risk you can’t overlook. But SDRs are set-up well to understand that risk and make the most of the experience.

(25:35) There are so many resources online AND within your own organization. Learning new skills isn’t difficult – it just takes time and proactivity.

And you can’t just learn them. Take what you’ve learned and apply them at your current company.

Next episodes

2 23

From Acronym to Sales Career

ep 62 - alignment and abm

Eps. 62 44 min

Alignment and ABM

sdr insider 1 you got the job now what

Eps. Bonus 33 min

You Got The Job! Now What?