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How Molly moved from BDR to SDR to AE in 2 1/2 years

February 1, 2024

Lottie Taylor

We love our AI at Amplemarket. We wouldn't be here if we didn't.

But more than that, we love salespeople. And we really, really love it when they succeed.

A little over 2 1/2 years ago, Molly Maahs joined Amplemarket as a bright-eyed Business Development Representative (BDR) with zero sales experience; fast forward to 2024, and she's kicking a** as our newest Account Executive (AE).

In that time Molly's not only become a sales legend; she's also the first of Amplemarket's salespeople to make the full journey from BDR to AE.

To celebrate, we sat down with her to talk about her adventures in sales so far...

Where would we have found Molly before Amplemarket?

I was studying Management in Portugal. I went into business studies because it felt diverse, but there were a lot of things I could have done, sales included!

So it was Amplemarket that got you started in sales?

It was all Amplemarket! And to be honest, it was my first real job. I was looking around at things to do but Amplemarket was such a perfect opportunity for me, being from the US, studying in Portugal - the company was kind of a big deal in both spaces and the position was ideal. 

I got to learn so much about sales in Business Development but I had no idea where it would lead. There was still so much left to learn about sales!

Meet Molly!

Do you remember your first week in sales?

As it happened I was onboarding at the same time as Michael, one of our senior AEs (Account Executives). I got to watch him interacting with the product and figuring out how he was going to sell Amplemarket… it was really cool to see what he was coming up with. 

I had no background in sales, so everything was super new and interesting. Michael does everything by the book and is super strategic with everything he does. It was a new world for me to be honest!

What were your favorite bits of being a BDR?

I was really thrown in because it was just two of us in the BD team building everything from scratch. But I loved getting to be really creative in our campaigns! I started in September and in October I came up with this Halloween sequence that was themed with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. 

Then when it came to prospecting, you have to be like a “cyber-stalker” (I know, that sounds wrong!) - but you have to hunt in all these new places and look for new triggers and opportunities to find people. It was scrappy but it was really fun detective work - following the breadcrumbs, scraping websites, then looking for memorable ways to reach out to people.

...And your least favorite bits?

At that time we were doing a lot of manual work that we can now automate with Amplemarket. The product page just 2 ½ years ago was so different from how it is now. There’s this thing our SDR Kevin says: “it would feel like the stoneage” if we had to use the tools we had back then again!

How did you feel about moving on from BD? Were you already thinking about climbing the sales ladder?

I guess the downside of the “cyber-stalking” prospecting as a BDR is it can feel like there’s a bit of disconnect from the people you’re emailing every day. I just didn't have that connection to the actual human behind the screen who was getting all of my emails. 

I really wanted to move into the SDR (Sales Development Representative) position to figure out what that next part of the funnel was like and see it from the other side. And then from there, I did think it would be super cool to eventually see the entire funnel, to move from BDR to SDR to AE. But it definitely felt intimidating at the time, especially considering it was my first job!

…Then you became the first person at Amplemarket to do the full progression! But what was the learning curve from BD to SD like?

SDR work is kind of closer to what you think a traditional salesperson does. There was a lot more managing my time like, okay, I have to cold call, I need to update Salesforce, I need to do follow-ups, I need to manage my mailboxes... 

So there were so many different things that I needed to keep on top of and optimize, all whilst making sure I didn’t spend too much time on any one thing and neglect my other responsibilities. The thing I kind of struggled with is just fitting everything into one day - and I think that’s the case for a lot of salespeople!

You went with Amplemarket to SaaStr & WebSummit 2023 - how did you enjoy selling in person for the first time?

Before I went to my first event, I was really unsure what it would be like. I was thinking, what should I wear? What do people do? What do they talk about? What happens?

I probably had too much fun like trick or treating at each of the booths! But it was actually really cool meeting people at events, then I'd see them again at the next event, and it was great to start building in-person relationships. It was totally different to just talking to someone on LinkedIn a few different times! 

What surprised me was how many people are open to having conversations and genuinely interested in exploring different solutions and new products. There was a moment at SaaStr where we were eating and our AE Garen choked on a piece of cauliflower - then later there was a lady sitting by us and she also choked on the cauliflower and they struck up a conversation about this, and then ended up talking about sales and everything…

On the road at SaaStr and WebSummit 2023

Other memorable bits of being an SDR?

There were definitely some funny things that happened to me. There was one time I called someone and they probably weren’t interested, but they pretended they were and just said I should call back on another number - then they gave me the number of a laundromat or something and threw me on this whole wild goose chase. I was annoyed but you have to look back and laugh!

Did you enjoy cold calling in general?

I think the thing with cold calling is a lot of salespeople are afraid to hear no, but that's fine with me. It's like, okay, I can move on and try to talk to someone who actually wants to have a conversation with me and who actually has pains that I can solve.

Then when you have a cold call that actually lands and the person relates to what you’re talking about, you feel like you’re really helping someone.

So no one enjoys hearing no a lot or not getting to talk to people, but once I did, it was always one of the more rewarding parts of the job.

And your least favorite bits of being an SDR?

The part I found hard about being an SDR was that you managed to make a connection with someone, you have a discovery call with them and you take on kind of this consultative role where you're asking about their pains and talking about the different solutions that are out there - but then you pass them on to an AE and the rest of the funnel is kind of history. 

There’s always a risk that if you’re not nurturing connections and managing your network it can feel kind of transactional - but it doesn’t have to be like that.

You were ready to become an AE then?

Yeah, I knew while I was an SDR that this was definitely the role I wanted to take! 

I know there are a lot of different career paths that SDRs can take. You can go into RevOps, you can go into marketing or other places, and if I ever want to explore somewhere else after being in AE, maybe I will. But I felt like now was the time I could do this and have the unique experience of seeing the whole Amplemarket funnel. 

Any memorable pieces of advice that have stuck with you on your sales journey?

There’s one… our AE Elad always told me “you shouldn’t give a ****!” It’s not about being empathetic, but it’s about being able to detach yourself from the sales outcome. I feel like that’s kind of how you can do the best work - for instance, a lot of times I’ll say “even if you never buy Amplemarket, here’s why you should look into solving your email deliverability…”

It sounds counter-intuitive, but detaching yourself from the outcome can help you solve more problems - and obviously people are more likely to buy if they’re convinced you’re solving their problems.

You’ve obviously coped with the pressure of working in sales - but is there anything you still struggle with?

I still get nervous once in a while before jumping on a call and overthinking how the prospect will react. But sometimes when I'm really curious I go and watch the discovery call that the SDR had so I can get a feel for the person I’m meeting. Just doing your research and prepping beforehand makes you a lot more confident in what it is you're going to do.

Now Molly… what’s your secret to success? What’s unique about your approach to sales?

I feel like I am a culmination of every single person that I've got to work with, especially because I didn't bring any previous experience with me when I started here. I guess I'm a unique blend in that sense! But Alex, our SDR Manager, also told me I always approach everything with a smile. No matter what kind of issues arise, if you can smile and laugh and just not take everything super to heart you'll do well!

Congrats Molly - keep crushing it!

Want to work with awesome people like Molly? Take a look at our current open positions!

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