We recently gathered the Top Minds in Sales Development in one place, over one day in Austin, Texas for the Tenbound Sales Development Conference.
The theme of the conference was EVOLVE – and based on the talks, the speakers are thinking hard about where Sales Development is going and how we can best react to the crazy times happening in our economy right now.
One thing is for sure, companies continue to need Pipeline & Revenue, now more than ever.
The skills of great Sales Leaders and SDRs will always be in high demand, especially now. Actually, now more than ever.
Here are a few key takeaways:
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One of the most exciting new technologies emerging today to help SDRs improve is a company called Teamflow.
Using Teamflow, groups of SDRs and AEs (or basically anybody in inside sales) join others in a virtual meeting to create a virtual sales floor and start making calls.
Others in and out of the company can jump in, listen in real-time and offer support, feedback, and advice.
Similar to the old-school sales “bullpen” of yesteryear, where people used to work together in an office in a group.
One of the things that sucks about remote work is the feeling of isolation. With this tech, SDRs can hear others making great calls, and also ‘meh’ calls, and terrible calls. It’s all part of the process of getting better.
Adding a new layer of technology makes it even more useful because when you were in the sales bullpen you only heard one side of the conversation, and not the other. With Teamflow, you can listen to both sides of the conversation.
This is how the new generation of salespeople learns and interacts online. The trends toward SDR and Inside Sales enablement point in this direction.
The old-school methodologies of instructor-led training, posting product sheets to your wiki, and offering occasional weekly training, are all helpful, but they are not just-in-time coaching and are not peer-led. They don’t fit the workflow of a new generation.
A generation raised on video games with instant gratification, and YouTube videos with constant jump cuts have never had the time patience or energy to learn by reviewing slides on their own and listening to boring lectures.
They want micro-learning, just-in-time training, preferably among their peers in a structured way that includes gamification, collaboration and fun, with awards so that they know they’re constantly making progress.
There are other tools which are chrome extensions that follow along and assist as SDRs are on calls are other micro-learning solutions that are more just in time for the workflow of the SDR.
However last time I checked they don’t involve the peer-to-peer aspect of something like Teamflow.
The potential of a tool like next is really interesting in that they can layer on learning methodologies, training programs, and other job specialties within the inside digital workforce to make it more valuable across the company, more than just salespeople.
There’s also the Conversation Intelligence layer platforms that could be potentially integrated and used the data that’s being provided across companies on best practices versus just the one company that’s using them.
This is definitely a space to watch and will be in included on the next Tenbound Market Map -potentially in the Sales Enablement quadrant.
Teamflow is hosting a webinar this month - sign up here. Find out more about how they use this: Advancing Your Career as an SDR Manager
December 6th, 2022 @ 10AM PST
We are all familiar with the Scientific Method we’re all taught in our first science class. A thousand-year-old methodology.
But how does this relate to running a successful Sales pipeline generation program?
Especially now, with all the changes happening in the economy, what can we learn from this ancient methodology?
We introduce the HEARER/R Methodology.
Use this to track your campaigns and align your revenue engine against the scientific method. Apply this method to your outbound efforts, running continuous HEARER/R programs over a set time period, usually, a 90-day period is enough time to start getting useful feedback. This will create an upward spiral of learning and productivity. Here’s the breakdown:
The HEARER/R Methodology
Hypothesize: Based on past results, or if you’re just starting out, based on your best judgment, what outbound message will you use to impact your market? What channel will you use primarily to interact with your market- cold calling, emailing, social media, events, and others? What size company and which verticals will you target? Who are the personas you will target and what are they most concerned with? What data provider and list prioritization strategy will you use? Start a the beginning. Create an initial hypothesis that you will commit to testing for 90 days, or a long enough time period to get meaningful results.
Experiment: Start testing. Use the messaging, lists, and channels you have determined you are going to run, and execute your sales plays. Start reaching out to prospects, making contact, and opening conversations. Set up activity metrics to ensure enough activity is happening every day, and hold your team accountable for hitting those numbers. If the initiative requires more or less activity, you can adjust during the repeat phase. If nothing is happening, that’s a data point. Your initial hypothesis could be off track.
Analyze the results At the end of each week, and each month, review the campaign results. Were there any responses? Who replied? How did they reply? Which persona is most likely to respond to your current messaging? Is there an emerging channel that is working better than others, i.e. is cold calling working better than email? At a high level, are you starting to see trends? Compile the results into a format you can review.
Report on the results At a set time period, at least monthly, report on the results of your campaigns, with a cross-functional Go-to-market team. Put more eyes on it to get feedback and ideas. Does the messaging resonate with you, is our talk track accurate based on real-world examples? Are we missing a key point or objection-handling technique we need to add to the campaign? Essentially, how can we get better results?
Examine and question results Now, we’ve seen the initial results, and gotten feedback and input from a cross-functional team, it’s time to be brutally honest, are there people, processes, or technology constraints we need to address in order to improve performance? Are there bottlenecks that need to be removed? Are we tracking the right metrics and looking at the right problems? Vigorously question the results.
Research further If you’re a student of the craft you know there are many resources, ideas, and studies on best practices in prospecting. Every day new ideas and methodologies are produced. Capture new ideas and organize them into your own playbook. Now, look at the results of your campaign and cross-reference the ideas and research you have done. Are there any new ideas or techniques you can use to improve your results?
/Repeat Take all that you have learned from running the campaign, the results, the teardown, the further research, and create a new hypothesis. You are now back at the beginning of the HEARER/R process. Create a new hypothesis and start over at the beginning, running the process again. Forever. A continuous process to better results, processes, and return on investment.
Next time you see a debate online about whether cold calling works, or emailing, or events, now you can reply with one word: HEARER/R!
Have you tried this? Leave a comment below.
During a market downturn, selling may be difficult, and setting up calls even harder. Not only are companies getting ready to operate with a lean staff, but there seems to be budget freezes from your buyers. People start ghosting.
Deals will start to take longer to close and meetings will be harder to book. Yet, there are ways to still generate revenue and keep your sales org going. As the Stoics say, focus on what you can control.
Below, we've compiled some methods to help you get ready to conquer the time ahead.
1. Stay Focused
It all comes down to this. The entire company should be on the same page. This is the time to be relentless with your team goal. If you have projects that are not serving your core competency, now is the time to cut them.
Communication will be the life blood of the company during this time. Each department, from sales to marketing, to customer support, must focus on one singular goal. If the team wasn’t already on the page and working towards the same KPIs, then now is the time to do that.
There is no time for wasted effort, chasing after goals or new initiatives that won’t directly serve the company.
2. Upsell & Cross-sell
Now is also the time to be diligent with your current customer base.
Most SaaS companies put far too much emphasis on acquiring new logos in a downturn — instead of focusing on their existing customer base. Instead, concentrate on optimizing your renewal rates and expanding your customer base to additional services.
Start where you already are. Build deeper relationships with your existing customers. Work on getting into other line of businesses. Push to get 2-3 year deals. These are just some of the things that you can do to ensure that you grow your existing customer base.
3. Create the best customer experience
We’ve seen the trend over the last 5 years of the focus being on creating a buying process that aligns with how your customer buys.This is perfect time to think through areas that need improvement in your over customer experience.
Consider offering different payment options so you can tailor the experience to each customer's specific needs. You may also want to explore providing additional discount options. At the end of the day, customization should always be made with the user experience in mind.
You’ll want to provide your users with the best possible experience when purchasing your product. This starts from the moment your Sales Development Representative reaches out to them to the time the deal is closed and handed off to the the CSM team.
Focus on providing the best experience possible for that customer.
4. Level up your team
Resilient sales teams are able to quickly adjust to changing markets as long as you invest in training and skills development. This way, your employees can handle any role or responsibility that arises.
Even though you may not be pursuing as many opportunities in the next year, this is the right moment to invest more heavily in training and coaching your sales reps. Take advantage of every chance to review calls together as a team and get everyone focused on growing their business.
Investing in your team ensures that you build loyalty. Sales reps will stick around longer if they know that they are being invested into.
5. Automation - Doing more with less
More often than not, you’ll have less resources than you when it isn’t a downturn. You’ll want to assess your sales process to see which process could be automated to help your team out.
Not only will it save time, but automation can lower risks for salespeople by reducing errors and helping them focus their attention on high-value interactions instead of mundane minutiae.
At the end of the day, we never want to automate in a vacuum. The goal is make your team as efficient as possible.
If there are two things you remember from these tips, let it be this:
If an economic crisis occurs, you may witness some fluctuations in revenue. Therefore, companies want to be ready for an upturn, they need to invest in their products and their customer service. And they must be able to demonstrate that their products and services offer genuine benefits to their customers.
In 2022, we’ve seen companies redefine themselves in their sales motion. Some companies have had to become very creative to create the pipeline, and we’ve highlighted several of the tactics here on this blog.
In our experience, only some of these tactics will remain. Here at Tenbound, we have had the privilege to talk to Sales Development Leaders (SDR) who are on the leading edge in their industry. Based on those conversations, we’ve highlighted three main areas of the SDR functions that will grow and become more important in the future.
Automated Tools for SDRs
Over the past five years, we've seen the rise of artificial intelligence tools, but they haven't been widely adopted by sales organizations. However, over the past eighteen months, we've heard good things about automated dialing platforms like ConnectandSell and Orum.
With these tools, SDRs can now handle twice as many calls per day than before. The hope is that they can use the extra time to perform additional tasks like personalizing emails.
Another tool that has recently gained traction among revenue leaders is Lavender. Let's face it, most SDRs aren't copywriters. We can always use a little bit of help getting an initial concept off the ground or clearly and succinctly conveying our point. This is why most people use Lavender.
We've found it works especially well when SDR Management doesn't have the time to read each and every email their sales reps send. Honestly, you shouldn't be reading them yourself either.
SDR Support team
If you ask any SDR manager, they’ll tell you that they have a plan to get each new SDR to ramp up and be at full productivity. The average time they’ll give you is 3 months.
What they fail to tell you, is how little support they receive from other areas of the company and how that ultimately affects the BDR ramps time. We’ve seen SDR teams get looked over, because enablement and sales operations focus on Account executives first, and then dedicate whatever time they have left to the SDR function. But let's face it, they rarely have any time left.
In the last 9 months, several companies have advocated for a dedicated SDR Ops and enablement headcount. The idea of having a dedicated support team for your SDRs is alluring, especially for those managers who juggle it all by themselves. We predict that this is a trend that will continue to grow, especially as teams further specialize and become more strategic.
SDR Process Changes
Two major process changes have also appeared. One of them is focused on Product led growth. CEOs have seen the growth of Slack and Twilio - among others - and want to replicate it.
We should note that the SDR functions generally start a long time after these companies get going, so it’s mainly focused on going up market. This is a specialized skill set that we are starting to see CEOs ask for.
The other process change that we are starting to see, (and that we are very very excited about. Did we mention how excited we are?!) is the emphasis on coaching. So much so that Cory Bray and Hillmon Sorey are attacking this issue.
At the end of the day, nothing will grow your team more or increase retention than dedicated coaching.
We expect to see teams focus on improving their current team - and to do so, they’ll need to ensure that their SDR teams are coached in the best way possible.
Want to learn more about the future of Sales Development? Come join us at out The Tenbound Sales Development Conference LIVE in Austin, Texas. This will be a VIP In-Person Gathering of the Top Minds in Sales Development.
I Visited 100+ Booths at the SaaStr Conference: Here are my 3 Big Takeaways
I had the opportunity to visit the SaaStr 2022 conference in person this year, my 3rd time going. After being stuck inside way too long, this year I decided to make a huge effort to catch up with everyone, check out all the latest software tools, and see all my old friends in our industry.
It was awesome, an amazing experience. Highly recommended for anyone in our industry.
But I had another challenge. I wanted to see what was new for SaaS companies since the pandemic, specifically Sales and Marketing software related to Sales Development pipeline generation.
Tenbound gathers tools specific to Sales Development in our Market Map Directory, which is free to download and explore as you make your decisions.
Also, as a Conference organizer myself, I wanted to see how the Tool Expo Marketplace looked and performed.
So I made a plan, took some time to study the floor plan, and stopped by as many booths as possible. SDRs, Salespeople and Marketers, take note.
Here is what I learned:
I saw several booths where the people working there turned their back to the audience, making it hard to engage with them to start.
Put your phone or laptop away unless you are giving a demo. It’s also helpful to acknowledge attendees as they walk by your booth. If allowed, you should also stand in front of the booth and engage people walking by.
I know that it’s been a while since so many people had the opportunity of presenting at a conference. I’m not sure if this should have been an excuse for how I felt visiting booths. It didn’t feel as engaging as I thought it should’ve been. Even if they don’t look like a hot prospect, make an effort to engage.
Remember, the people walking by don’t care about your company, your product, or what it does. They care about themselves and the problems that they’re trying to solve. Those are problems you can understand and potentially help them solve. Act accordingly.
Spend time talking about the person in front of you and try to dig out any problems they may have, like they are human beings and not a “prospect”.
Listening to irrelevant pitches over and over can result in people zoning out, especially with over 100 booths like at SaaStr. Talk about them, not all about you. If they start showing some relevance or interest, do a quick overview of your solution. But only if they want it.
After visiting too many booths, everything started sounding and looking the same to me. Another demo screen, another slide. Another gee-whiz moment.
As a sponsor, you’ll want to think about the experience that the attendees are having at the conference. How tired will they be, and what sessions will they have just come out of?
If you think about the attendees, you can work to create an experience that will ensure that they remember your booth and your company long after the event.
The one thing I remember is somebody handing me a stuffed giraffe … not sure what they were selling but I do remember it.
What have been some strategies you have used to maximize your time at events?
Bonus tip: Sign up for more Braindates. Braindates are an amazing program where you can set up “dates” with people before and during the conference and then meet with them. I filled my calendar with dates with amazing people doing awesome things we can help each other with.
What were your favorite parts of the show? Let us know your learnings by leaving a comment below.
There’s a reason that “breaking into tech” is trending right now. Aside from the flexibility and the growth potential, employees are attracted to high earning potential. Here we’ll share 20 companies that rank with some of the highest On target earnings (OTE). In previous years, SDR salaries varied greatly based on location, but because of the pandemic and remote work, we are starting to see a leveling across geographies (location is starting to have less of an impact on salary).
This is just a starting point. While the OTE is high, it’s important to check to see what the average total compensation is and what percentage of reps are hitting quota. To investigate which company is performing well, check out our Free: Job Interview Questions Cheat Sheet for SDRS. This will help you think about some of the top questions that you can ask during an interview. Note: We’ve sourced this data publicly. This is just a starting point and doesn’t take into account seniority.
Sources: https://compgauge.com/salaries/sdr/ https://salestrax.com/blog/companies-paying-software-salespeople-the-most
Want to get into tech sales? Here’s how you do it...
Breaking into tech is not always easy, but it’s not impossible. While many believe that you need to have a technical background to be in tech, we’re here to tell you about a lesser known way to break into this industry.
And the cool part is that you can access it without any previous experience.
Yup, we are talking about tech sales. And don’t worry, it’s not the used car salesperson that you are used to thinking about when you think about sales. This is one of the faster growing job sectors in 2022.
What is Tech Sales?
Tech sales is generally seen as the sale of technology to other companies or customers. Most people often start their career in tech sales as a sales development representative or business development representative.
These professionals will prospect for new clients and respond to inbound leads when they’re purchasing new products. They identify and create new businesses in addition to providing support for inbound inquiries. The day to day also includes cold calling and sending emails with the goal of qualifying customers and booking a meeting for the account executive.
As the tech industry grows, there’s a huge demand for non technical roles to support the marketing, sales and support of the customers.
This is where the sales team comes into play. There is no shortage of sales jobs available now (despite all of the recent layoffs). We see the demand still being very high and the overall industry growing at an alarming rate.
We are also seeing that tech sales continue to be a financially lucrative career path. While the average salary for a tech sales representative will vary, we see that the average starting salary for a sales development rep to be about $75,000.
More than anything, because most tech companies are smaller, they offer a lot of opportunity for advancement and career growth.
Now, let's transition into how to get started with your tech sales career.
Updating Your Resume
Just like any profession, you need to prepare a stellar resume for your job search. Updating your resume to match the company and role is always a given, no matter which industry you are in.
However, in a tech sales job, you want to show transferable skills along with data driven successes.
Most recruiters expect that you won't have any experience, so come prepared to tell your story based on the research you’ve done and why you want to transition into a tech sales career.
If you feel like you need additional knowledge, you can always check out the different sales bootcamps and certifications around (some paid and some free). Working to complete one of these helps to signify that you are serious about breaking into tech and show a level of grit.
Job Search Process
Before you begin to submit your resume to companies, it’s important to know what type of companies you’d want to be a part of. You should be able to answer questions like these:
After you’ve gone through these questions, you should create a prospect list of companies you’d like to pitch. This way, you’ll be able to prioritize those you find the most attractive. The next step is to strategically reach out and network with these prospects without seeming desperate.
You’ll also want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date so that employees take you seriously. Most companies have a referral fee. That means that the employee will get a referral bonus if they introduce a candidate to the company and they get the job. This is why networking is so important.
Connect with employees on LinkedIn and join mutual group chats like on Twitter or mutual Slack groups (e.g Sales For The Culture,Vendition, SDReady, TenboundPlus)
When preparing for your interview, one of the most important things you can do is investigate the company’s upcoming projects. Therefore, you’ll be prepared to provide valuable insights to the company on what products they can utilize to ensure their project’s success.
At the basic level, be sure you know the CEO’s name. Furthermore, research relevant leadership teams and offer to reach out to them in order to provide relevant product information pertaining to their projects. If you’ve come prepared, you’re already off to an excellent start.
Find out what kind of person the company is looking for in terms of traits and values. Understanding the company’s core values is a great place to start. You can take this one step further by practicing sharing what those core values mean to you.
Nailing the Interview
Remember, you’re still applying for a sales position so showcase your skills during the interview. Stay calm and keep control of the narrative.
Teams love when you answer questions in a concise and articulate manner. Some managers value thoughtfulness, curiosity and grit. Teamwork is another major trait that is useful. Oftentimes these are asked about in behavioral interviews. These looks like; “tell me about a time when you. . .”.
Feel free to go on that company’s Glassdoor page and research some of the top questions asked during interviews. Practice, practice, practice.
More than anything, stay consistent with your search. Make a plan, seek out help, and learn as much as you can after each interview. Transitioning into tech won’t always be easy, but it can be worth it.
These are proven steps that we’ve seen work over the last 5 years. If you are interested in learning more about the industry or want to check out an SDR course, take a look here.
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