Your AE’s are marooned on an island with no pipeline support.

Your AE’s are marooned on an island with no pipeline support.

It’s a lonely, lonely place being an Account Executive / Account Manager right now. Heavy lies the crown of “big compensation” packages because AE’s/AMs are expected to do much with little support.

Here are the three topics this week:

  1. Your AE’s are marooned on an island with no pipeline support.
  2. 8 of 10 AE’s polled have >50% “self-sourced” pipeline pressure on their heads.
  3. The AutoGTP Terminator is going to assassinate SDR headcount costs.

Your AE’s are marooned on an island with no pipeline support.

Here is the insanity inside most B2B revenue organizations. Suppose you’re a $100,000,000 SaaS company that is break-even profitable. Here is

Marketing / Demand Generation Full-Cycle AE’s / AM’s

Spend 30-40% of revenue on Spend 10% of revenue on:

  • Tools – Headcount of 70 
  • Data – CRM, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo
  • Campaigns
  • Events
  • SDRs
  • Etc. 

Total = $30M – $40M Total = $10M

The marketing team creates (best case for a majority of companies) 50% of the total lead flow for the company, but it is more likely 20-40%. This massive marketing machine has all the widgets imaginable.

The 70 Account Executives / Managers are virtual sellers in geographic territories, living at home, armed with a cell phone, laptop, and few database tools. That’s it. But they are expected to unlock 50%, 60%, and 70% of your sales pipeline.

Do you see a dangerous problem that is now arising?  Marketing + Demand Generation are struggling to have meaningful conversations and create meaningful SQLs, while the “on an island” AE’s are drowning with an ever-increasing self-sourcing pipeline GAP to fill.

8 of 10 AE’s polled have >50% “self-sourced” pipeline pressure on their heads.

Leaning into the points above, I launched a poll on LinkedIn that went viral. I was curious to see what % of the sales pipeline the average AE / AM needs to ‘Self-Source’ vs. come inbound from marketing, demand generation, channel, etc.

The results shocked me:

This says that over 80% of all AE’s / AMs surveyed have a ‘self-sourced’ quota GAP of >50%. Look at >75%; that’s still 45% of polled sellers! 20% are on a very deserted island, requiring self-source 100%!

Think about this simple pipeline GAP waterfall:

Quota = $1,000,000

AVG Deal Value = $50,000

# of Deals to Win = 20

Inbound = 5 Deals $250,000

YOU “Self-Source” = 15 Deals $750,000

Winning 15 Deals might not seem intimidating until you continue to reverse-engineer:

– Win Rate = 20%

Thus you need 75 Sales Qualified Leads / Opportunities (SQL).  If 10% of every qualified conversation with a prospect in each territory turned into a SQL, then that seller needs to engage 750 accounts this year to activate 75 SQLs.

Do you think your average Account Executive has 750 account-based conversations (3 per business day NET NEW… EVERY DAY)?

The AutoGPT Terminator is going to assassinate SDR headcount costs.

Get ready.  In the last 3 major sales transformations since 2010, AutoGPT will be the most profound to both profitability and sales headcount:

2010 – the emergence of Sales 2.0 and the future of segmenting sales roles into SDRs and AEs.  Inside Sales exploded.

2013 – Social Selling really started to catch people’s attention.

2020 – Covid forced all Field Sellers to become Digital Sellers overnight.

So yes, you can do good things with a list if you have all the time in the world (and let’s not assume automation will magically solve this challenge). Make the RIGHT LISTS based on the following:

But I think AI will change the game for Demand Generation.  Many of the actions and activities that “basic” SDRs are doing now:

  • Make a list
  • Build a script
  • Load into SalesLoft
  • Press play

This is so repeatable that many companies even offshored this role. But like cell phones in Africa (skipping the landline generation and going right to cell phones), companies that didn’t migrate the SDR to offshore labor will miss a step and go full AI.

Outbound BDRs that are making cold calls and contextual messages (videos, personal LinkedIn) that’s not going to change. I’m talking about the “drinking birds” hitting SEND, SEND, SEND in Outreach, Salesloft, Groove, etc.

The Terminator is coming… and moving way faster than previous waves.

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