SDR to AE to VP to Out of a Job


Last month I posted the "Typical SDR to AE Timeline" and it got me thinking, what's the typical AE to Director timeline, and Director to VP expectation. After that, what to expect?  SVP and then a CRO title. One can dream... or should they? Here comes another box!  Let's get into why I say that and let me also say this, I started ICA to talk about these types of scenarios with all you bright-eyed, bushy-tailed go-getters.  Ok, so now the reason this popped back in my head was due to a validated metric from the Revenue Collective (which is the inspiration behind ICA) on average tenure of a VP with a single company. Any guesses what that is?   17 months, one, seven. So you're telling me after I bust my ass as an individual contributor for a decade I then have the ultimate privilege one day to become a VP who won't even sit in that seat for a year and a half before ihts hits the fan and having to find another VP role? Right...  Of course some people fast track through this and some startups love hiring these mid-to-late 20s, and early 30s newly decorated managers that have literally "sold" for maybe 4 or 5 years, maybe. I mean amazing for them if they sold Yelp to pizza shops for a year and a half before managing a five-person SMB team as an order taker and voilá, you're now a preferred candidate for other leadership roles. 

*Side note, I think it's quite comical (and irritating) that companies do this, then again these people fit the box. Anyways, everyone is a manager or senior manager fighting for the next finite tier of leadership roles, which naturally become less and less as you go up the pole. Which leads me to next week's two cents, depending on what you ultimately want, wealth or power, why you need to consider stage over the company or vice versa. Nice, Bill, cliffhanger for Wednesday's newsletter. I do have some context below for now, and a couple of quick points on what I mentioned above:


  1. You usually take a substantial haircut on pay (especially if you're top-performing AE) once you become a first-time manager.

  2. How you're actually managing really depends on the size/stage of the company you're at/join. Generally speaking: 

  3. You're at a small shop calling the shots, reporting to the CEO

  4. You're at a mid-stage firm seeing things through for a VP

  5. You're at a bigger company reporting to a Director, reporting to a VP, and you're, well you know.


*You can get back to making well into the six figures once you get through the frontline manager, director gauntlet, or negotiate your way into a good deal with the smaller shops in need of your expertise.


Again, more on this Wednesday, but back to the manager to director track. I give it another year and a half to two years to get a feel for that first time managing experience. Then hit director (again depending on size/stage) you're looking at another 2-3 years with a senior director squeezed in there, or it should at least, and congrats! Now you're a VP and your head will be cut off in 17 months. 


So just to recap, if you're one of the lucky ones/top performers or what have you there is a chance to make Sales VP by 11 years. Or if you're a sales rockstar from - insert garbage startup who inflates everyone's title- you'll make it in half that time.  Then you'll have a nice two or three, or maybe four months you can look forward to searching for your next VP role hoping not to make all the mistakes you made in deciding to take the first gig and experience another year and a half stint, good luck (insert winky eye emoticon). Lots of inserts in this editions two cents section.  Cool, so is this the case for everyone? Definitely not. Are there some amazing success stories and structured organizations with purposeful leadership? Of course, the problem I'm seeing is there's just too many of "you" looking for them and not enough of "them." So get ready for that #careergoals of yours to come with a lot of bouncing around.    What to talk about it? Jump on the ICA slack and let's discuss. 

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