Daniel DeFilippo started out as a public accountant. However, he soon found himself bored out of his mind. The breaking point came when he fell asleep at work and a highlighter bled through 400 pages of inventory. He made the jump to sales, where he’s thrived and built an impressive resume.
Now he’s Director of US Sales Development at Mimeo, where he loves helping people and seeing junior reps grow into polished, solution-oriented sellers: “There's nothing better for me... That's what gets me out of bed every day.”
He sat down with the Tenbound team to discuss recruitment, outdated tech features, and his philosophy for creating a top-performing Sales Development team.
Challenges in Sales DevelopmentFor Daniel, the biggest challenge he faces is finding and retaining talent. However, he’s found that talking about a career progression plan from the very first interview helps retain that talent. There's a common misperception in Sales Development that SDRs are just feeding the sales funnel. The real value of an SDR team is creating and molding your next class of AEs or CSMs.
After graduating, Robert decided to go into Sales; a good fit as he enjoys meeting and talking to new people. Following the advice of his family and mentors, he combined this with his love of technology and went into software sales.
Since then he’s worked his way up the ranks at companies like Outreach, before becoming Senior Director of Inside Sales at AuditBoard—#3 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500.
He sat down with us to discuss the Sales Development challenges they face, creating the best possible tech stack, and their plans for growth in 2020.
Building a strong Sales Development teamFor Robert, the top challenge he faces is keeping everyone on the team excited and motivated. It's a challenge, trying to convince a stranger to give you time out of their day to take a meeting and look at your product or service, so Robert wants to make sure his team is having fun and feels valued.
For Kelly Cabatuan, sales is her second career. Fresh out of college, she started a business with her husband-to-be, which they successfully ran for 10 years. However, with a family to look after, Kelly started looking for a job with more stability. This led to her first sales position.
Now, as the Senior Manager of Sales Development at Alteryx, Kelly has drawn on her experiences to energize their sales team. She spoke to Tenbound about the challenges they face, the tech that powers the team, and how they use their SDRs to support existing customers.
Sales Development challenges
For Kelly, the biggest challenge is the ability to connect and have meaningful conversations. Getting accurate phone numbers is a lot harder than it used to be. The team has been able to use LinkedIn messaging to supplement those calls, but it’s not a perfect solution. For an SDR to grow, it’s essential that they’re connecting with prospects and having those meaningful conversations. Without that experience, it's difficult for them to improve. It’s also difficult for managers to properly coach them.
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.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to talk with Peter Kazanjy, the founder of Atrium Sales Analytics and the Modern Sales Pros community, on The Sales Development Podcast.
As sales professionals, we all have a part in advancing the science of sales, with innovations and new technology coming along all the time.
For Peter it’s exciting, fun, and intellectually challenging to be at the forefront of this movement, both from a product development standpoint at Atrium and with the community at Modern Sales Pros.
We spoke about how sales is changing, why the MSP community is so important, and how Peter made it the success it is today.
The rise of the “Sales Nerd”When Salesforce came along, it introduced a shared database where sales organizations could store prospect information—from lead to close.
This was huge. Clever entrepreneurs started pulling data from the CRM and picking out different use cases, creating an opportunity for people to piece together a thoughtful sales stack.
David Gimbel knows Sales Development. He’s the Sales Manager at RigUp, the energy industry's largest marketplace for on-demand services and skilled labor. He has also headed up Sales and Sales Development teams at Trendalytics, Impact, and Yotpo. David graciously agreed to share his thoughts on outsourced sales, how to train your Sales Development team, and who your real competition is.
Outsourced Sales Development
Sales Development is the first line of communication between your business and your potential clients. If you're relying on outsourced teams with random people dialing for dollars, rather than giving your prospects a top-class experience, that's a definite misstep.
Sure, you might get some opportunities come in, but if that opportunity has been set up poorly and the handoff is poor, that’s not going to be a great experience for your client. If you're trying to sell something in this day and age, you need good communication. You have to be fully informed on what you offer and be able to answer questions intelligently. You never want to bring in a prospect who isn’t going to benefit from your solution. They’re just going to churn.
That's not to say outsourced SDRs don’t have a market. However, if you're offering any kind of SaaS solution or partnership, you want to start that relationship off in the best way possible, which means having an in-house team.
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