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About This Episode
How do you know whether you’re doing the right thing with your career?
Today’s guest used to be mired in uncertainty, like most of us, but has finally arrived at his calling: sales development leadership.
“Sales development was the first time that everything clicked for me, was the first time I put 100% in and got 100% back across the board from money, visibility, opportunity, impact — and I really loved it,” Evan said.
Evan and I talk about leadership, mentorship, and finding your calling. Let’s dive in!
Leadership insights from the sales track
In his new role at Hyperscience, Evan has been so happy to get back to sales development leadership. “I love the sales development function. I think it’s such an interesting role,” he said.
Investment in others
One of the reasons that drew Evan to sales development in the first place is the unique work environment. He gets to take young professionals who don’t know what they want or how to get it and help them get to that next level.
In other words, leaders enjoy helping others grow, improve, and succeed.
Like many people, Evan fell into sales and didn’t have a smooth path to his present contentment. “Especially now that I’ve had the experience of being an SDR, being an SDR leader, being an enterprise sales, that bizarre three sided coin has given me a unique perspective to have really difficult conversations for SDRs,” Evan said.
When he sits down and tells a new SDR that they aren’t ready for leadership yet, it’s partly borne out of his early experience of not being ready for leadership yet. He knows exactly what he’s talking about.
Advice & wisdom
For an SDR who’s gunning to be an AP in the next six months, here’s Evan’s take: Stay in your lane.
“You have to earn your stripes. You have to put in the work. You have to be patient and not skip steps and not cut corners,” he said.
Use your current role to find your footing, figure out what you are (and aren’t) great at, and seek mentors who will shape you into a standout candidate.
Here’s how to find a mentor.
Quick shoutout to all of Evan’s mentors who were willing to say, Listen, I know it’s scary, and I know it sucks. I’m going to get in your face and tell you what you did wrong, but it’s going to make you better.
Someone being willing to coach him in such a direct and honest way changed the game for Evan as an SDR.
- Identify key people in the organization. Ideally, you will have or build a personal relationship with them.
- Informally interview them. Take them out for lunch or coffee to pick their brains about how they became successful. Ask: What’s different about you that separates you from all the other people that are all doing the same thing?
- Show gratitude. Respect that they have been there before you and can teach you something.
“Knowing that you have so much to learn, especially early on in your career, will prove to them that it’s worth their time,” Evan said.
And here’s how to know whether your mentor is any good.
Their feedback is accurate and actionable. Not judgmental or egotistical, but realistic and supportive.
“We as leaders have such a massive opportunity to have an impact on young professionals’ lives. If we’re not taking that seriously, we’re in the wrong profession,” he said.
Finding the right sales career path
Evan will be the first to admit that “What should I do?” is a question he has asked in nearly every form at nearly every job he’s ever had. “So many questions and no clear-cut answer, right?” he said.
Young professionals who see the juicy OTP, the huge numbers, massive paychecks, and early retirement — they want to make a ton of money.
That intense, fast-paced life can be fantastic, although the only really consistent part of it is the pressure.
What makes you happiest?
Evan did some soul-searching about the parts of his job that gave him the most fulfillment. “My best moments were watching my team get promoted, watching those people that I hired straight out of college, figure it out, and get promoted and have incredible jobs,” he said.
That was a hint that sales development was his calling. “Once I wrapped my head around how important that was to my character and how important that was to my day to day happiness, that made that decision that much easier,” he said.
He began to search for a workplace that would empower him to have those impactful conversations, to grow professionals from scratch, and to invest in their success.
“I’m waking up every day energized and can’t wait to get my hands dirty and solve problems and help people get better,” he said.
Whether that joy comes from sales development for you or some other type of leadership, be sure that you’re following your calling, not just the pressure to advance.
Get your mentors to help you see whether you have leadership capabilities before you jump into heading a team (remember “stay in your lane”?) and realize it isn’t right for you.
“Figure out your why. Why are you making this move? You always have the opportunity to make those changes, as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons,” Evan said.
Evan’s parting advice
Evan: When you’re thinking about that next move, and you’re thinking about that company that you want to work for, when you’re thinking about that boss that you’re going to work for, figure out if they are in line with your expectations and what you need to be successful.
Get in touch with Evan about sales development leadership at LinkedIn.