SaaS AE data and management


Every year The Bridge Group puts together a survey of software sales teams. The latest survey includes data from 253 B2B SaaS companies with median ARR of $22mm and median ACV of $38k. The report is well worth the read and available at their site (bridgegroupinc.com). Below we summarize some of the parts we found most insightful.

Leads are doled out by territory or round robin. 41% of companies under $50mm in revenue segment AE’s by territory while 48% simply round robin their leads. 76% of companies over $50mm in revenue segment by territory while only 22% round robin their leads. While round robin works for smaller companies, as revenue grows, unfortunately complexity increases meaning AE’s will have to be segmented by some criteria (territories, by vertical, named accounts, etc).

33% of AE’s pipeline is from marketing. “This includes inbound SDR support and excludes outbound sales development efforts.” That means the other 67% needs to be filled by outbound efforts of the AE and SDRs. As ARR and ACV grows, marketing contributes a smaller fraction of pipeline.

On average, 81% of AE’s are supported by an SDR team. “We observed little variation by company revenues — companies at $25M ARR are as likely to use the SDR role as those at $250M. The inflection point for SDR support is driven by ACV. Somewhere between $515K ACV companies move from we can’t afford SDRs to we can’t afford not to have them.” Additionally, “For high-growth companies that number increases to 87%.”

Specialization of the sales effort. “59% of companies support the customer lifecycle with at least three distinct sales roles — SDRs, AEs, and CSMs (AMs, Renewal Reps, etc.). When we remove companies under $5M in revenues, that number rises to 67%. High-growth companies are slightly more likely to “triple specialize” than laggards.”

At hire, the average AE has 2.7 years of experience and needs 5.3 months to ramp. Only 22% of companies require that an AE have more than 5 years experience before hire. “Notably, fewer companies require 3+ years’ experience — down from 42% in 2020 to 32% in 2022. We note that high-growth companies require 15% less experience, on average, than laggards. Average experience prior to hire.” Also “Respondents with ACVs over $100K require nearly 1.7X more experience than those with ACVs below $25K.”

Tenure is only 2.2 years. So after the 5.3 months of ramp, you get 21.1 months of quality production out of good reps. “This is down from 26 months in 2020’s report. Considering lower experience requirements — which correlate with shorter tenure — and an overall fall in average tenure, this isn’t surprising.”

Attrition. “Median annual turnover sits at 32% split between 12% involuntary turnover (attrition resulting from termination) and 20% voluntary turnover (attrition initiated by the rep — e.g., The Great Resignation).”

AEs average 18 dials and 25 emails per day.

Quota achievement is 66%. “On average, 66% of reps in a given group achieve quota. There has been remarkable consistency around this metric over the years. Two-thirds of reps achieving quota seems to be the natural equilibrium.”

Quota to earnings is 4.4x. “Median annual ACV quota is now $740K. Median on-target earnings are $167K with a 54:46 (base:variable) split. Continuing a decade+ trend, median OTE rose to record highs in 2022. While quotas have increased at roughly 2% annually, OTEs have risen at more than 5% CAGR over that same period. As ACVs rise, so do median on-target earning levels. At 100% of quota, the median commission rate is 10.3% of ACV.”

7 reps per sales leader. “The median number of AEs reporting to a single first-line leader is 7. This is consistent with our findings since 2015. As revenues increase, leaders support more AEs.” Manager comp is $173k on median. VP comp is $296k.

­Customer Success reps have a base salary of $61k on average. That said, on target earnings are $100k for a CS rep. For an AE, the base is $62k on average with OTE of $126k. The higher the ACV, the higher the OTE. The average annual quota of such reps was $770k for a Bookings/Earnings ratio of 6.1x. As ACV rises, so does quota.

The report is full of a lot more data and insights than presented in this blog. Their website is https://www.bridgegroupinc.com/ if you want to download the report directly. It’s the best sales we’ve found and it’s updated annually.

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