None of our SDRs were making quota....
Rewind the clock a few years, I was at a Unicorn, everything should have been going great.
But our 25 SDRs were struggling. Each week we gave them over 3,000 fresh MQLs, but none of them made quota. We just fired our 2nd CMO and 3rd SVP of Sales, both of whom were successful at previous companies.
I was asked to step in and “fix” it.
What the hell was happening? We were a billion-dollar SaaS unicorn, the movie wasn’t supposed to end this way.
The problem it turns out was simple. Most of the prospects filling our funnel were not prospects at all.
The 3,000 MQLs had been ‘qualified’ using basic Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) criteria like # of employees, industry, and annual revenue. While helpful for sizing, this ICP told us nothing about what our prospects actually wanted or needed.
Jason started off studying biology, but quickly realized he didn't want a research job. Instead, he wanted a career where he could interact with people and solve problems. Specifically, he was always fascinated by how people make their buying decisions. That fascination has helped him excel in Sales Development.
In this interview, he shares how his team is raising awareness of a new industry, why they no longer use data enrichment tools, and how they keep their messaging relevant.
New industry challengesSegment is a customer data platform that allows companies to capture the complete customer journey by tracking their first-party touchpoints, then leveraging that data to provide personalization at scale in a way that respects users’ privacy needs. It’s a new approach, so some education is needed.
To meet this challenge, Segment is serving as a thought leader in the space. They’re talking to companies and introducing the idea of a customer data platform, explaining what challenges it solves. The category is defined by their messaging, so it’s important that their message is clear and consistent.
From her first retail sales job to building and leading a global Sales Development team, Karlie Morien has had plenty of experience at all levels of Sales Development. In her interview with Tenbound, she shared her process for closing more retail sales, the lessons learned over nine years in Sales Development, and why she wants to redefine the SDR role.
Getting to the third NoKarlie learned a lot from her time in retail sales. When you're standing in front of someone who is either going to buy something or not, right there, there’s very little time to help them. That’s when Karlie came up with her process of ‘Getting to the third No.’
If you ask someone if they want to try on a pair of jeans and they say they’re not interested, our default reaction is to leave it at that. Sometimes, though, you just have to talk to them and dig a little deeper to figure out what's going on. Taking that interaction a couple of steps further—past that initial no—and learning a little bit more about them can often get us a better result.
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.
Lauren didn’t have a traditional start in Sales Development; After studying molecular biology and theology, she spent four years researching termites. However, meeting some sales professionals on a trip to San Francisco changed her life.
Starting out as an SDR, she has worked her way up to Head of Global Sales Development at Segment. In our interview, she discussed the importance of personalization, how her background has helped her, and her goals for 2020.
The importance of personalizationWhen Lauren started her first SDR role, her team was sending 100% automated emails with zero personalization. However, she started attending conferences where speakers like Ralph Barsi, Steli Efti, and Sean Sheppard were talking all about the importance of personalization.
After eventually convincing her boss to let her try some personalized outreach, she booked three times as many meetings in her second month than any SDR at the company had before.
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.
From his first job as a box office cashier, Stephan has always had a taste for sales. Drawn to the consultative approach, he took on many different sales roles before becoming the Sales Development Manager at SteelHouse.
He spoke to Tenbound about the challenges his team face, how sending physical gifts helps them stand out, and much more.
Sales Development challenges
For Stephan, the biggest challenge is getting in front of the right people. A lot of decision-makers today still don't want to take the phone call or reply to the email, even if they know it's something that they're looking for.
Once you’re in front of the right person, how do you stand out? Just how much more creative can you be? While there’s plenty you can do in terms of research and personalization, sometimes that still isn’t enough to get a response. Finding new ways to make your message even more relevant is a constant struggle.
First released in 2018, the Tenbound Sales Development Market Map is now in it’s fifth release, and continues to expand.
This version is accompanied by The Tenbound Sales Development Directory, a handy tool for tracking all the companies on the Market Map. Can’t find your company? Add it here.
Meant as an overview of all the tools and services available to Sales Development Leaders and Reps, the Market Map can now be augmented with a full .csv of all the companies listed on the map available in the Tenbound Research Center.
OBSERVATIONS ON VERSION 5:
New quadrant alert: Communities
We’ve noticed a phenomenon growing in the Sales Development world; new and established communities to support Sales Development Leaders and Reps. These communities help provide content, learning and events for Sales Dev pros to gather and grow.
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