Advice: "I currently work in sales support. How can I transition into an AE role?"

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Dear Quota Team,

I've been working in sales since 2018, starting out as a commercial SDR in the tech space, and taking various roles with increased responsibility, and now find myself selling professional services at a software company. 

I am responsible for the full sales cycle for multimillion dollar opportunities to enterprise level accounts, but my company considers my role sales support and therefore I do not have a variable component to my earnings, but software sellers that own the account get paid on it. I have a decent base salary, higher than the median mid-market AE, lower than an enterprise AE, and a metric driven bonus of 10%.

I'm tired of earning commission for other people based off of my sales and want to pursue an enterprise AE role elsewhere, there are no open AE roles at my company. Based on my previous experience, I feel that I am going to have a hard time getting an enterprise role because I don't have software specific closing experience. 

How can I improve my odds of securing an AE role that will pay me what I deserve?


Underpaid in the Southeast 


Dear Underpaid,

This question was a bit above our pay grade (see what we did there?) so we reached out to Ryan Walsh, CEO of RepVue, a sales organization ratings and transparency platform, to get his take. 

If you’re looking to make the switch into becoming an enterprise AE, here are some things you should highlight about yourself when you apply: 

  • The size of the accounts you've been working
  • The size of the transactions you've been closing
  • The fact that you have full-cycle visibility
  • That you’re selling within a software org and understand the process in great detail
  • The reason you're looking is to increase your upside and round out your experience

But Ryan also cautions about your timing. He says, “Those are all ways to 'sell yourself', but also note that it's still very much a bear market for many roles and orgs in software sales, so consider the following:

  1. Wait it out a bit, be successful, show a nice long tenure on your resume, and early next year, we feel the market will be in much better shape and your resume will be stronger too.
  2. The hard truth is that you may need to take a slight step back in base and maybe take on a mid-market role first so you can make that transition into selling software. But if you do that successfully, enterprise roles will be available sooner than you'd think.”

We hope this helps. Good luck!

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