My Adventure Towards Elite SAAS Sales

Brent Wallace
Brent Wallace Member [Pro] Posts: 5
edited February 2 in Networking & Connection

Hey everyone! I've recently become a part of this Ascender community and am eager to get some insights on how to successfully land an AE SMB role at a fast-growing SAAS/Tech company.

Although I have years of sales experience under my belt, I've yet to immerse myself in a dedicated AE/Sales role. So, I'd love to hear your valuable tips and advice for someone like me taking this exciting leap!

For the past 15 years, I've been fortunate to run my own marketing business. During that journey, the core of my work has been finding and interacting with my clients, understanding their needs, and offering the best solutions for their digital marketing. As a result, I have amassed a foundational knowledge of sales that I'm eager to build upon.

My life took a beautiful turn three years ago when my wife and I were blessed with our first child. My decision to become a stay-at-home dad was a no-brainer, and it's been an indescribable experience to watch our child grow. Now that our son is enrolled full-time in Pre-K, I'm looking for an opportunity to apply my honed skills to a stable position within a vibrant team with which I can support my family.

That's what's driven me towards the realm of SAAS sales.

Engaging with technology, helping businesses thrive, and being part of a dynamic team in a fast-paced environment - these elements make up a career I'm enthusiastic about. That's why I have set my goal to become an SMB or Mid-Market AE for a tech company doing B2B sales, an arena that complements my current skill set.

I discovered Force Management through a LinkedIn contact, and I've been in awe of this Ascender platform since. I'm here to delve into MEDDICC, and get the certification to showcase my proficiency in this qualification framework to potential employers. To further augment my understanding, I've been studying The Challenger Sale and SPIN Selling, absorbing all I can from these sales classics and a few other things.

Can You Lend a Hand?

I firmly believe there's no end to learning, especially in an ever-evolving field like sales. To everyone in this forum, I'd love any opportunity to grow. Every input is valuable to me - do you have any insights, suggestions, or even disagreements with my approach?

I’m also open to introductions to sales managers or anyone in an organization who might be looking for an AE. I'm 100% dedicated to personal growth and team success.

I always believe good karma does come back around. I'll aim to bring value and give back to the Ascender community, showcasing my sales competence and friendly demeanor in all my interactions. I also have a TON of digital marketing knowledge I'd be happy to share with anyone (If that's even relevant here in a sales forum?)

Thank you, Joe and Rachel, who got me into this forum in the first place, and to everyone else in advance for your support. I look forward to this incredible journey together!


  • Brian Walsh
    Brian Walsh Member [Plus] Posts: 2

    @Brent Wallace what a terrific post and I love your willingness to pivot your career. Couple initial thoughts. First, consider narrowing your search to a vertical that excites you, i.e. Marketing Tech, Finance Tech, Cybersecurity. Second, start digging into that vertical to get some fluency/knowledge base. Your experience is a plus, but your lack of sales background will obviously be the thing you have to overcome. So, learn the customers' challenges in this space and spend time, as you research companies you're interested in, learning about how they solve for those challenges. Lastly, treat any interviews you get as a sales call: What is the objective of the person I'm meeting with, why are they looking, what does great look like in the roll and what's required to be great? Those questions are what you need to be able to attach yourself/your answers to. BTW, there's a course called "Essential Questions for Your Next Job Search" that you can find in the "Enroll" tab. Here's the link…

  • Trevor Swaine
    Trevor Swaine Member [Pro] Posts: 9

    @Brent Wallace great post and excited for your journey. I think narrowing down your ideal industry, company and culture is a great starting point to Brian's point. It also sounds like you are looking for a shorter sales cycle that is more transactional, this should help you narrow down your ideal role as well. In terms of actual interviewing, I would get together 5-8 STAR stories from your past sales experience and know these inside and out as they relate to interview behavioral questions (you can find some great ones in the course suite on ascender). I've found the ability to show you can: zoom into details about personas and deals but also be able to tie those details to the largest business challenges/outcomes goes a long way when interviewing. Lastly, become a master storyteller and understand what moves people to take action now. This also directly aligns to critical listening skills, if you can master story and insightful listening that will up level your ability to get any role you want.

  • Brent Wallace
    Brent Wallace Member [Pro] Posts: 5
    edited January 23

    @Brian Walsh Thank You so much for this advice, and I will narrow down what verticals excite me. I'm naturally curious, so this might be harder than I think! I know marketing adjacent jobs (i.e. Hubspot) would be a natural fit since I'm very passionate about marketing. The food vertical is also very exciting, and I've seen some positions at DoorDash that could fit me well, too. I will think about this a lot from now on. THANK YOU!

    Also, thanks for turning me onto that Acender course! I had no idea that one existed, and I have already enrolled thanks to you!

    @Trevor Swaine - Great idea about storytelling, taking my past wins into account, and practicing telling them in a way that highlights the personas and the challenges I helped them overcome. Excellent!

    Can you (or anyone reading this) recommend a good storytelling resource (books, courses, YouTube, etc.) to learn from, relating to sales?

    Thank you both again for taking the time to help, I appreciate y'all so much!

  • Trevor Swaine
    Trevor Swaine Member [Pro] Posts: 9

    @Brent Wallace Really like "What Great Salespeople Do" -The science of selling through emotional connection and the power of story by Michael Bosworth and Ben Zoldan

  • Russell Scherwin
    Russell Scherwin Member [Plus] Posts: 3

    @Brent Wallace - @Brian Walshs advice was spot on. Specifically, narrowing your search to verticals that interest you. Most hiring managers see passion for the domain as a key indicator that you'll develop empathy for the buyer, and will have the resilience to push through the grind. Not to mention will set yourself up for great discovery.

    Per your comment on the food industry, check out Believe Kyle is currently seeking AEs.

  • Russell Scherwin
    Russell Scherwin Member [Plus] Posts: 3

    @Brent Wallace - you should reach out to Kyle, if you haven't yet.

  • Brent Wallace
    Brent Wallace Member [Pro] Posts: 5

    @Russell Scherwin Yes! I have been reaching out to and connecting with multiple salespeople and have now reached out to Kyle about this. I am SO GRATEFUL you have pointed Kyle out to me, he seems to be the sales coach and leader I'm looking to train under, not to mention the product offering that Owner has is rock solid and something I'm very passionate about and have experience with, by helpings SMBs survive the onslaught of corporate restaurants and big budget marketing campaigns.