© SV Academy 2019

290 Division Street, Suite 304
San Francisco, CA 94103
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is SV Academy preparing me for?

By completing our upfront pre-hire training program, you will receive the skills, experience, and connections necessary to secure and thrive in an entry-level Sales Development Representative (SDR) role at a fast-growing tech startup.

After one year on the job, many fellows transition into more senior Sales roles or into other parts of the business, such as Marketing, Customer Success or Operations.

What is a Sales Development Representative?

The SDR role is one that many entry-level individuals start with on their journey to becoming business leaders with more significant responsibility.

SDRs play one of the most important roles in business-to-business (B2B) software companies. SDRs are on the front lines, finding new business opportunities in order to find qualified leads and set appointments for sales. They help drive revenue by identifying, connecting with and qualifying businesses that may have a need for your company’s products or services.

What do the best SDRs look like? How do they act, think, and value?

The most successful tech sales development reps are those that understand the holistic experience of providing value for their prospects. They are clear on their primary and secondary goals, and know how to manage their time, interactions and relationships.

Great SDRs are proactive, curious, and fearless — but also need to be coachable, adaptable and strong listeners. They come prepared, know when to pivot, and leave every interaction with their prospects having added value to their journey toward buying.

What opportunities can success in an SDR position open up to you?

Sales really can be a gateway to a vast array of roles throughout any business — which is why it is no surprise that more than 35% of CEOs have a background in sales. 

In addition to a sustained career in the field of sales itself, gaining core tech sales skills can open doors to careers in fields such as:

• Marketing

• Operations

• Sales Engineering

• HR

• Executive Leadership

• L&D 

Sales teaches you relationship building, organization, prioritization, public speaking, prospect valuation, time management, and so many more fundamental hard and soft skills that can be transferred and applied throughout your career.


What are the responsibilities of an SDR?

The mission of a great SDR is simple: To connect with, excite, and motivate qualified prospects to move further down the sales funnel. SDRs act as the initial point of human contact in a sales journey, and manage the relationship with a prospect as they develop greater interest in the product. Some of the core responsibilities of an SDR include:

• Inbound and outbound sales prospecting

• Appointment setting and prospect relationship management

• Industry and prospect research to inform selling strategy

• Lead nurturing and qualifying prospects for sales execs

Essentially, the role of an SDR is to help prospects better understand the value of the service they are selling while ensuring that only the company’s closing efforts are being spent on the most qualified, primed-to-buy prospects.


What challenges do SDRs face?

While the benefits of becoming an SDR are vast and will keep paying dividends throughout your entire career, it’s important to know that this is not a career path for the faint of heart. This industry is challenging, competitive, and highly in-demand — SV Academy gives you the head start you need to crack into the industry, but you’ll need to prove yourself!

Prospects are growing more savvy every day and are becoming less and less willing to hear a sales pitch. SDRs need to understand their prospects’ needs on a deep level, and provide value to them through empathetic, tailored conversations.

You’ll face rejection...a LOT of it...and need to persevere. You’ll be evaluated constantly against your peers and be expected to rise to the challenges set in front of you. You’ll need to learn your prospects through and through, and become an invaluable resource to them.

Luckily, your SV Academy fellowship will set you up for success in all of these areas.


Why do people fail in this role?

The SDRs who find themselves falling behind tend to be those who expect rather than execute. Great SDRs come to conversations, meetings and managers with a gameplan in hand. They’re proactive, tenacious, and unwilling to fall behind. 

The SDR’s that we see fail time and time again are those that let failure weigh them down or who get stuck in a fixed mindset that they bring to the business. 

The world of tech is evolving incredibly fast. So are its customers. SDRs need to do the same. 

Failure stems from inflexibility, inability to focus, and failure to adopt a growth mindset. SV Academy fellows understand these things and it is why most of our Fellows are promoted within a year of starting in their first SDR role.


What will I learn?

Our curriculum is hands-on and created with employers for the specific job you are preparing for. You will focus on the mindset necessary to excel in your career and learn the skills necessary to master the SDR role. At each step of the way, you will receive a combination of real-world experience (courtesy of our employer partners) in the safety of a nurturing learning environment where we can teach you what will be expected of you when you step into the workplace.

How does the employer matching work?

SV Academy works with more than 100 of the best startups in Silicon Valley and New York.

There are a few common traits that we look for in all of our employer partners. We qualify our employers based on their people, product, performance, and culture. We want our employer partners to have a good culture and supportive working environments, to have a track record of performance and strong growth potential, and to have strong teams behind them.

At the same time, our employers are diverse. Some have a couple hundred employees, others have thousands. Some are private, others are public. They all build futuristic technology solutions to solve all sorts of problems in various industries. For example, we have employer partners who solve challenges in cybersecurity, healthcare, government, and artificial intelligence.

After working with you for 4 weeks, we get to know you very well - we understand your strengths and your interests; we know your personality and ambitions. We then set you up with interviews at our employer partners where we think you will thrive. We work with you throughout the entire interview process to ensure you will succeed. Interviews are done by phone and in person (and if you aren’t in town, employers are sometimes open to video interviews).

Our students typically interview with several SV Academy employer partners before finding the right opportunity. You are responsible for earning your position with our employer partners, and we are committed to ensuring that you are sufficiently prepared to do so. Once you sign on with an SV Academy employer, you become an SV Academy Fellow in the Field.

Do I have to relocate to participate in SV Academy?

Our 4-week training and development program is 100% virtual, so you can apply to SV Academy and participate in the first part of our program from anywhere in the world (that has a strong internet connection).  

At the conclusion of the training program, you will need to be able to relocate / work in San Francisco or New York so that you can accept employment with one of our current employer partners. SV Academy has created resources to help you plan your move and we are happy to provide additional insight and support.

What kind of support will I receive from SV Academy once I start my full-time job?

For us, success is not having you earn your first job in the tech industry. Success is you taking this opportunity to break into the tech industry and spring-boarding into a great long-term professional career (just like those who have graduated from SV Academy before you).

As part of our investment in you, we commit to supporting you in your professional development while you are on the job and in the role for your first twelve months. We will meet with you regularly for career coaching, we will be there for you when you hit unexpected challenges, and we will support a feedback loop with your manager to help you perform at your highest potential.

As a Fellow in good standing with SV Academy, you will also be invited to participate in our larger community of Fellows in the Field. We will invite you to our social events; connect you with specific Fellows and mentors we think you should meet; and welcome you into a local community of like-minded people, who have come from diverse backgrounds from across the country to pursue careers in the tech industry.

How much do I have to pay for the Fellowship?

The SV Academy model is designed so that Fellows do not pay any tuition. Ever. The cost for you to participate in the Fellowship is $10,000-$20,000; a cost that will be funded by the SV Academy employer that you join after completing your initial training. Until you get your job, we take on 100% of the risk that we will not recoup the time, money and effort we put into you. If for some reason you were unable to earn a job with an SV Academy employer, we would not get paid.

Why do SV Academy’s employer partners agree to fund the Fellowship?

For fast-growing tech companies, finding top-tier talent is painful and challenging. Finding top-tier talent that has been vetted through a rigorous application process and 4-week training program is unheard of. When employers understand that we work with our students on the job to help them perform at their highest level in the workplace, they realize how invested we are in our community’s success. Our employer partners also care deeply about the commitment that our students make to stay in their role for at least a year - one reason it is very important for you to keep your commitments to SV Academy.

What are my obligations if I choose to participate in the Fellowship?

Because you are not responsible for paying the costs of your Fellowship, we require you to make several commitments to us, and to your future employer, if you do decide to join SV Academy.

First, we invest a ton into your development before anyone commits to funding your training. We do this because we see a lot of promise in you. That said, it does not make sense for us to take on that risk if you are not committed to the Fellowship and to the employment path forward.

Likewise, once you accept a position with one of our employer partners, they are counting on you to become a valuable and productive member of their team. Your future employer will agree to pay for the cost of your Fellowship, including the on-the-job coaching we provide you, because they know the quality of the training that SV Academy provides, the caliber of our student community, and that you are committed to giving your all in the role for the next twelve months (unless you’re promoted sooner!). Therefore, if you decide to accept our offer and join the SV Academy Fellowship, then we ask you to make the following 3 commitments:

• You commit that during the upfront training program, you will give your full effort and commitment to the Fellowship and and will comply with SV Academy’s Fellowship Rules, which includes completing your assignments on time; participating in all classes and coaching and mentoring sessions; and actively incorporating the feedback you receive during the program.

• You commit that at the completion of the upfront training program, you will work exclusively with SV Academy to match you with employers in the SV Academy network. You agree that you will not seek or accept employment on your own or work with any agencies or recruiters in place of SV Academy.

• You commit that once you accept a job offer, you will give your all in the role for at least 12 months and will remain an active member of the SV Academy community.

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