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.
When it comes to Sales Development, Faith has seen it all. From her first sales position while still in high school to working for a stockbroker where she had to make 300 dials a day (all without the aid of a dialer), she knows exactly what it takes to succeed.
She took time out of her busy schedule to talk with the Tenbound team about having the right attitude, the sales challenges startups face, and what the future of Sales Development looks like.
Having the right attitude
For Faith’s first staff position she had to get three sales in each shift—one sale every hour. Faith quickly realized your attitude and energy had to show through in a phone call. Her manager made everyone put mirrors next to their phones and she would walk around saying “let them see you smiling.”
Faith has held many different sales positions since then, but the key theme has been that she loves interacting with people. She loves getting to know them, understanding their story and how she can provide real value.
Rob Morris is a man with Sales Development in his veins. Currently the Director of Inside Sales at Simplus, he’s been working in Sales from day one. That’s why we were so excited when he agreed to share his insights with the Tenbound team. Read on to learn how Rob got his start in Sales Development, the main challenges teams can expect in 2020, and the future of Sales Development.
Starting with door-to-door salesRob started his career in sales doing door-to-door sales years ago, a job that he loved. When his mom got sick though, he realized he couldn’t do 12-13 hours days anymore.
He learned about an SDR role at an appointment setting company and decided to give it a shot.
In three months, he was promoted three times.
Later, he got an offer at another company to do Sales Development, and he’s loved it ever since. Now at Simplus, he’s built their process from scratch—a process that is continually evolving. As a result, they've hit or exceeded quota for 26 months in a row.
Having managed Sales Development teams from a young age, Emmy Johnson is a recognized expert in turning around underperforming teams. She graciously agreed to talk to Tenbound about creating a positive culture for your Sales Development team, the future of Sales Development, and more.
Inspiring Loyalty in your Sales Development Team
When managing a Sales Development team, Emmy works hard to create a culture of loyalty in the team. Part of that means helping them understand the importance of their role. They’re the lifeblood of the sales organization and the company needs to let them know they’re appreciated.
Emmy organizes surprise SDR appreciation days for the team; the previous one included a video from everybody—including the CEO, CRO, and all the sales reps—telling the SDRs how much they appreciated their hard work. That’s just one reason Emmy has been dubbed the Culture Queen.
Being an SDR means facing a lot of rejection, so it’s important to try and make the experience as fun and as possible, as well as providing for their long-term goals. At ZeroFOX, the company looks to the Sales Development team first to fill any new roles, giving SDRs a career path within the company.
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.
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.
David Cancel, CEO of Drift, is on a mission: to help a million people achieve their potential. I was lucky enough to get a chance to speak with him on the Sales Development podcast, where we spoke about how people’s low expectations fueled his success, staying humble, and the key to a successful business like Drift. Here are some of the highlights.
No expectations mean nothing to lose
When David was growing up, he had no idea what was possible: “I didn’t even know it was possible to start a company.” No-one, not even his parents, expected him to achieve anything. However, David saw that as an advantage. With the freedom that came from zero expectations, he had nothing to lose. When people told him what he couldn’t do, he’d set out to prove them wrong. Rather than letting self-limiting beliefs hold him back, he was motivated to keep pushing forward. Now he wants to help a million people from having to learn the hard way what’s possible.
Taking a beating from your customer
What’s the difference between successful companies, like Drift, and the 99% of businesses that fail? For David, the key is humility. That means setting aside any personal pride in your work and listening to the customer, even when it’s hard. Sometimes, when the customer is telling you you’re wrong or laughing at your ideas, it can feel like you’re taking a beating. However, any kind of growth requires discomfort. Most people will shy away from that, but by leaning into the discomfort and taking that daily beating, you’ll have a strong advantage over your competitors.
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.
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