Erik started his career in the marketing department at Gatorade as part of the ‘Mission Control’ team. As he spoke to more salespeople though, sales seemed more appealing and he changed paths. He hasn’t looked back since and today heads up Sales Development at SocialChorus. He shared his thoughts with the Tenbound team on implementing change, making the most of your tech, and picking the right Sales Development strategy.
Managing change in your Sales Development team
Erik attributes his success as an SDR to the strategies he builds through structure, process, and personalization at scale. However, when Erik started his current role, there wasn't much structure or process, and personalization was an unknown term. Additionally, the team was completely focused on quantity over quality, believing the best way to hit quota was more calls, more meetings, and more opportunities. As a result, he ended up reversing everything the team was doing.
Within the first couple of weeks, he replaced their hybrid lead model — a structure in which marketing-generated leads are distributed to SDRs who are also expected to simultaneously reach out to cold contacts and accounts —with two distinct processes and strategies for inbound and outbound prospecting. This enabled a focus of expertise with linear visibility into two separate funnels of sales opportunities.
This time in our Leaders in Sales Development series, we interview Nick Liemandt, Sales Development Manager at Instapage.
Tell us about your role at Instapage?
I manage the Sales Development team here at Instapage.
We’ve got a terrific group of SDRs who love to learn, hustle and genuinely want to help each other succeed. We were lucky to have a large flow of inbound demo requests and free trials when I started, so building out an outbound engine is my primary focus as we move up-market.
At Instapage, you were promoted from Team Lead to Manager of the team. Tell us about that?
My role as Team Lead started as a player-coach role, but quickly evolved into a focus on the leading. As we continued to grow the team from three to seven people, I was asked to focus all of my time on coaching, processes, and strategy as the manager.
This time in our Leaders in Sales Development series, we talk to Katherine Andruha,
GTM Sales Development & Strategy at Eightfold.ai.
Tell us about your role at Eightfold.ai?
Eightfold.ai is a talent intelligence platform that allows companies to place the right people in the right roles utilizing AI to find those candidates. Therefore, at Eightfold.ai my role is to grow the pipeline and company brand by equipping the SDR organization.
You’ve held Sales Development leadership positions at multiple companies. What’s been similar and different regarding Sales Development across those roles?
Each company has a different vision for their SDR organization.
When I start a new role at any org, big or small, I think about scale, operational excellence and how can the SDRs bring value. I don’t care about metrics and their daily KPIs. I always measure an SDR org by pipeline.
Pipeline brings a measurable, consistent value to every department. Sales teams measure pipeline to predict their revenue. Marketing teams measure pipeline as event or MQL ROI. Sales Operations uses pipeline to determine territory and commission plans. It’s a win-win: bring the value to the organization.
Sales Development continues to excel in strategic importance as a key driver to growth and success for high performance companies.
Insidesales.com recently ran a poll to determine who to follow this year in the Sales Development space in order to grow your own career by learning from the best.
Check out the graphic attached for the who's who of our industry.
Next week, we’ll be hosting the first ever conference 100% focused and dedicated to Sales Development, at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. September 21st.
When I originally thought up this conference, I had no idea what the response would be.
Was I the only one who thought it was time to start treating Sales Development with the respect it deserves in 2017? Was I the only one who thought this topic was important enough to warrant an entire conference dedicated to it?
Collectively, can we push this practice forward a few steps?
Well my fears have been totally allayed as the response has exceeded even my wildest estimations.
The hunger in the Sales Development world for fresh knowledge, leadership, networks, and research has been overwhelming, and even though the conference hasn’t happened yet, I already consider it a success.
Last week Tenbound held our first publicly available training seminar focused exclusively on Sales Development Management strategy and tactics. The seminar was attended by 6 super bright Sales Development Team Leaders, Managers and Directors from some of the fastest growing SaaS companies in Silicon Valley.
The target audience for this seminar was current Sales Development Team Leads, Managers and Directors who wanted to up their game, as well as SDRs (BDRs, ADRs, etc) who wanted to step-up to Sales Development Management in the future.
Overall, the seminar went great and it was awesome to be able to close the door with these leaders and laser focus on what makes a world-class Sales Development program tick, along with the many, many pitfalls to avoid in putting one together. This was for hard-core students of the Sales Development craft, who wanted to bring this practice to the next level and in turn, elevate their own value in the marketplace.
TOPO’s research has shown that 100% of high-growth organizations have Sales Development organizations. We know for most businesses it's critical have a team consistently prospecting and following up on leads to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Sales Development can drive quality pipeline for your Sales team, and provide a Talent pipeline to build the future of your company.
We also know a key to a successful program is strong leadership. The right leader can make or break a Sales Development team. Sales Development is expensive; it involves people, processes and technology, and it needs to pay off fast. We're pouring thousands into the program each month. We know if we don't have the right leader in place, the whole thing goes off the rails.
But how do we treat the leadership function in Sales Development? From what I've seen, two ways. One, find a high performing SDR and promote her to SDR Manager. Or, find someone from a big name company who raised up the ranks in a few years and bring them in to run the team. In both cases, there's little training, coaching or support given to the Manager. They're on their own.
I’m officially declaring 2017 The Year of the SDR Manager.
Ah, the SDR Manager, that beleaguered soul who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the contribution they make the health of your business. Beat down from so many angles; Sales VPs, their own SDRs, Senior Execs, Marketers, HR, Vendors… the list goes on and on.
In some companies, scant respect and little recognition, unless of course things start going wrong. No clear career path. Not making as much money or getting as much stock as other managers...
It’s a tough, and at times, thankless job.
And yet, their function is vital to connecting marketing spend to real sales results. To creating predictable revenue. To preparing your next generation of Sales leaders. So, what’s going on?
Let’s look at the day in life of the SDR Manager. On any given day they are a career counselor, psychiatrist, sales trainer, analytics guru, firefighter, and interdepartmental translator.
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