Ramina interview

Interview with Ramina Nabieva, Sales Developement Representative

July 19, 2021

How do you start your career in SaaS Sales? What are the daily tasks of a Sales Development Representative? We invited Ramina Nabieva, Sales Development Representative at AIHR, she tells about her start in SaaS Sales.

Can you give a short introduction about yourself?

My name is Ramina, I’m 25 years old and originally from Russia. I studied international relations for my Bachelor’s. After my studies I realized international relations is not the sector where I see myself working in. That’s why, for my Master’s I chose to switch and do management and business administration. That’s how I got acquainted with the business and everything related to it.

Where do you work and what is your function?

The company that I’m working for is, AIHR – Academy Innovate HR, our mission is to change HR, to make it future-proof and innovative. We provide trainings that focus on practicality, building skills and experiences. We don’t just do training, we aim for behavior change so that HR people become more data-driven, more business-oriented, and more digital.

My role is SDR, sales development representative. A SDR is focusing on outreach, prospecting and lead qualification, they move leads through the sales pipeline. So potential customers go to our website to ask for a price quote or for a demo and they schedule a call with us. We try to help them the best way possible to understand our product. So, basically, my role is to understand the needs and requirements of the customer on the other side of the line and see how we can help them.

‘’An SDR moves leads through the sales pipeline’’.

Can you tell me more about what your day or week looks like?

Let’s imagine an imaginary day. Wednesday, we have weekly reviews. We have our goals set at the beginning of the week, we check the progress in the middle of the week, and then we see how we did at the end of the week. We look back how good our planning was and how much we achieved. It gives you a better understanding of how we should manage our time.

So, on Wednesdays we would have our weekly meetings, our stand-ups, and then we’ll probably have another meeting with the sales team. Then, I will have a call. Before the call, I will prepare, research the company and the people I’m talking to, try to understand already from the overview of the company what would probably be the possible issues that they are coming to me for, and how I can actually help them.

What are the growth possibilities for an SDR?

In most companies you start as a SDR with inbound sales, especially if you don’t have experience. After inbound sales, it depends on the company you work for, you go for outbound sales. 

If you have both inbound and outbound sales as a SDR, the next step is team lead Sales Development Representative. This is the ceiling you can achieve in the SDR function.  After this ceiling you can become a AE, which is account executive. This is a deal-closing role, so AEs are commercially responsible.

What do you think are the benefits of working in the SaaS industry?

There are plenty of them! The most obvious one is that everything in SaaS is moving and changing so rapidly, and I just feel so proud of myself that I’m in this environment. An environment which is modern, innovative, which is applying new things and new tools every single day, and I just like to be in that seat, when you are driving and changing so quickly.

‘’What you see today might change tomorrow.’’

Do you think that  SDRs need to have this specific skills?

No, I think every person is capable to become a SDR. You don’t need a specific degree or set of hard skills to start in the SDR role. It’s more about soft skills, which everyone can develop:

  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Emotional stability

What do you like the most about your job?

So far I like the fact that I can actually change the entire HR function, because honestly before starting, I’ve been thinking HR was probably the most useless function. AIHR radically changed my view. I see so many HR people who want to develop themselves and progress in their careers and we as a company can help them to do that.

How was your job application process?

I applied for over 200 positions in 6 months. For the majority of them, I didn’t even pass the screening stage. This because of two reasons:

– Lack of experience
– Language barrier

Because I am not native Dutch, I think 90% of the market was closed to me, while most of the companies want a Dutch speaking employee.

Also, the lack of experience was a dealbreaker. The only thing I did was a short, 2-month internship during my Master’s, and that was not enough. I was rejected for everything from internships to entry-level jobs.

What advice could you give new SDR’s?

Don’t shy away from learning, use every single opportunity for that: ask your colleagues for feedback, proactively give feedback yourself, invest in your self-development and training, ask questions and don’t be afraid of failing, view it as an opportunity to become better.

Tips from Ramina:

👉Read the interview with Nic van der Tol, Business Development Representative
👉Read more about Business Development
👉 Get in contact with Nobel Recruitment