Brendan and Sean started their tech sales careers as business development representatives (BDRs) at Auvik. Being a successful BDR means continuously learning on the fly, asking lots of questions, and viewing each challenge along the way as an opportunity. At Auvik, there are plenty of growth opportunities to set you up for success in your tech sales career… if you seek them out!
Today, both Brendan and Sean are account executives (AE) on our sales team. The BDR to AE transition program involves an eight week mentorship program, online courses to cover the technical aspects of the product, and countless opportunities to learn from other leaders and peers on the team.
Excelling as a BDR can open up a great growth path to an Auvik AE. Here’s how Brendan and Sean did it, and their advice for what you can expect joining Auvik as a BDR.
Meet Brendan O’Brien
Three years ago, I was working in an insurance job I wasn’t excited about. I wanted to work in tech but didn’t have experience. Auvik had a great reputation, a transparent and efficient hiring process, and they saw my eagerness to learn and grow in tech sales. Since joining in 2018 I’ve be lucky enough to work through a few positions at Auvik:
- Business Development Representative
- BDR for Strategic Accounts
- Inside Sales Representative
- Account Executive, Corporate IT (where I’m at today)
Learning what makes a great salesperson
The BDR onboarding was fantastic. It’s a steep learning curve, but there’s trust right from the start.Once I started to understand that the root of what makes a good salesperson is communication and the ability to have meaningful conversations, I realized I was able to apply it to other factors of my life too. I started having better conversations with friends and family, and was asking more questions about what challenges people were facing to get to the real issues.
I also learned what it means to have a formulated sales call. As a BDR, I was making 100 calls a day, and loved talking to people but it wasn’t until I listened to peers on calls that I started to see the patterns I could use to up my skills. The sales leaders at Auvik are incredible. I listened in on their calls and asked for feedback from my peers, and found people were eager and willing to help!
Being a great salesperson is about being a great listener. It’s about asking open-ended questions and understanding the customer’s “why.” I learned how one word can change a whole sales call, and I started asking things like:
- Can you tell me more about that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How does that affect everyone who’s involved?
From BDR to Inside Sales to AE
Auvik does such a great job nurturing the BDR team that I stayed in my role for more than two years—I was still learning and absorbing so much everyday. I then moved to a BDR mid-market role, where I worked with enterprise-level companies and was dealing with top 500 Forbes organizations internationally. I loved the business development team, and once you get good at what you do, the feeling from a deal you helped with closing is simply amazing.
In 2021, I opted to move to a newly-created inside sales representative role. This allowed me to try out account management skills working with our corporate IT sales team. I worked with many aspects of the sales team, and got a chance to facilitate training for BDRs. I was then promoted to my current role of account executive in late 2021.
Making an impact helping IT customers
If you ask the right questions, you can learn a whole lot about how the world works. Our customers are, in my opinion, some real unsung heroes: IT teams that kept companies running during the pandemic.
They are technical networking experts, so you learn so much talking to them. I see myself long term at Auvik because it is an exciting time of growth for the networking industry and our product is constantly making it even better! Auvik is a great place to learn and grow your sales career.
Meet Sean O’Malley
I joined Auvik as a BDR right after graduating from university. Being a business development representative is a great way to learn a lot about tech sales quickly, and it’s a role that can lead to many other opportunities. After starting as a BDR in December 2019, I was promoted to my current AE role in June 2021.
Building my skills to make the BDR to AE transition
As a BDR, your role is to facilitate discovery calls: helping sales leads host calls with potential customers to try and find out (or discover) what their current challenges are. When you end up closing a call like this—by booking them a meeting with an account executive— you’re having a direct impact on helping our customers through the sales funnel. And that feels pretty great.
Like me, most people in a BDR role are in the early stages of their professional career.There’s a lot to learn on both the sales and technical aspects of the job, but Auvik provides the support you need along the way. Our customers are very technical IT professionals interested in our network monitoring and management system. If you have no past experience in tech, don’t freak out! A thirst for knowledge will serve you well in this role. As a BDR, we get some exposure to closing calls, but in the end I still handed off leads to AEs. Everything that happened after that in the sales process I didn’t know as much about.
After about a year, I knew I wanted to grow into an account executive position. The AE facilitates product demonstrations, and builds relationships with leads , facilitating them through the entire sales process with a prospective client. We also work closely with Auvik’s marketing team, who generate leads for us to reach out to through some pretty impressive campaign work. As a BDR, we get some exposure to closing calls, but in the end I still handed off leads to AEs. Everything that happened after that in the sales process I didn’t know as much about.
An AE needs to be an expert on the structural process of selling. They need to learn how customers make decisions, how to make the right connections with the right people, and ask the right open-ended questions. It’s a nimble mix of having the confidence to run a great call or demo, but being flexible enough to adapt to the customers’ questions and needs in the moment.
How mentorship helped me get there
When I became interested in the AE role, I turned to my manager and my team to learn everything I could about how to be a great AE. Sam Steeves, Manager of Sales at Auvik, was very helpful in supporting me and getting me growing into the AE role.
There’s a lot to learn about the product, but just as much value in understanding people and how they buy. You’ll make mistakes along the way, and that’s to be expected. For me, I learned early on about ensuring you have the right decision-makers in the room during the sale process.
It also helps when you’re surrounded by a collaborative sales team who are all rooting for you to succeed. Now, with the more formalized training program, it really sets BDRs up to get more support and build on the skill sets they need to move up to a new position.
Join the Auvik team as a BDR
The Auvik sales team is growing! We’re looking for curious, driven people to join us in helping IT managers around the world.