I want to lock down an AE role after working in Direct D2D sales. Is it easier or harder for me to get into a startup? I would imagine they don’t want to train anyone, right? They want someone out of the box?

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It's definitely easier to go with someone that already has experience, but transferable soft skills matter a lot too - especially for an AE role. I'd try to focus on those.

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Mostly yes, but there are some places willing to take a chance. I think you might have a better shot at smaller or midsized places as your first transition role

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I think it should be easier. I got into a startup with zero experience, started as an SDR and move to AE

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If you have the right mindset / emotional intelligence for enterprise sales to handle a sales role at a great startup - you’ll get hired more so based on that than anything else. Go read the book MEDDICC by Andy Whyte. Keep in mind this advice applies if you’re going for SDR, SMB AE, or Commercial AE roles. If you have no experience selling enterprise software - then you should stick to the entry roles. I’m on my 4th startup / pre-IPO … Alteryx, Snowflake, ThoughtSpot and now Confluent.

I started from the bottom with little experience and just had my passion / drive to be in this industry and to succeed. Now I’m one step away from what is a top level / elite AE role.

Best of luck!

I like bigger companies early on in a sales career for 2 reasons: 1) they train 2) you can build your executive contact list (used to be called a "Rolodex"). With those, you can then develop a repeatable sales process and (presumably) get results. With a Rolodex + a proven process + over-quota results, you can then start looking at the shiny start-ups who want to hire (not develop) top producers.

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