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.
What’s your biggest challenge in hiring SDR’s?
It depends. Right now, my biggest challenge is finding SDRs that can sit in Mountain View, California. Utilizing my own Eightfold.ai platform, I can find a ton of qualified candidates. I’m hiring, so let me know if you are in the South Bay!
At previous companies I struggled finding “vertical” SDRs. You will always have a challenge; it keeps us on our toes and allows us to get creative when it comes to sourcing.
For cold outreach via email, what are effective ways to catch prospects’ attention?
Be humble, stop referencing what college I went to, I remember I was there. Give me two one-liners to sum up your product and how it will help me. Focus on my persona. I do like it when the SDRs reference “oh we met at an event” simply because I forget how many people I meet. In fact, reminding me where we met even face to face is helpful!
Tell us about your biggest Sales Development challenge and how you addressed it?
One of the biggest challenges of being a SDR leader is keeping every SDR satisfied. Every SDR has a unique set of characteristics and motivations. Providing a clear career path and providing the SDRs with training seems to be a way to overcome the “quick-split” that is associated with this role.
How will Sales Development be different in 2020?
I am hopeful that in 2020, we can rise above and the SDR role can stand alone.
With a strong leader, you do not need to report into Sales or Marketing. This department is the tip of the spear and SDRs support both departments well. When you report into one or the other, there is always a pull. Let’s stand alone, stand strong, and let’s hold Sales and Marketing accountable.
You're Chapter President of AA-ISP's Silicon Valley Chapter. Tell us about that?
The AA-ISP (Silicon Valley Chapter) has been “home“ for me since 2009.
I was blessed to have an extraordinary leader when I started in Tech Sales at Aruba Networks. I came from a finance background and he took a chance on me. I soaked everything up that he taught me and introduced me to.
I have attended numerous meetings and events locally for the AA-ISP and was a member, then a Chapter Board member, and then I was asked to be Co-President. Being a member of this organization has exposed me to different tactics in selling, introduced me to leaders and individual contributors across the Valley, and has been a foundation for me through the ups and downs of my career. I highly recommend finding an Association that facilitates your growth and ambition.
Your LinkedIn profile notes that you enjoy flipping homes. Does your background in Sales Development help you in this activity?
Probably! I hadn’t thought of this before! I have no problem asking for discounts at vendors, or asking for a free item. The real correlation lies in my motivation. I am always doing more, working harder and finding other ways to solve problems.
I love seeing how a home starts off and what it can be, I guess that’s how a SDR is when they start my team; they are new to their careers and by the time they leave the nest, they have a solid foundation and their net worth is much higher.
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