The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Elevating the SDR Role


An assumption that management often has about SDRs is that the role is simply filled by junior sales reps. Not so — not if it’s done right!

Today we are joined by Nissim Yves Ohayon, Director, Global Business Development at OCTOPAI, to talk about elevating the SDR role to its proper function.

Join us as we discuss:

- Management’s assumptions about SDRs

- What SDRs actually do for sales reps

- Peer to peer learning strategies

- Helping SDRs develop a career progression

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hey, y'all, welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This is your host, Caitlyn Kelly, senior manager of sales development at outreach, a MIA, as well as cofounder of str anonymous. For today's episode, I am super excited to be talking about all things sales development around elevating the str role and really talking about, you know, the future of growth and how it all starts from this position, and I cannot be more excited to have today's guest. No seam and director of sales development over at Octopi to see. I'm going to pass it over to you to tell us a little bit about your career path and what really inspired you to lead in str team. So yeah, thanks very much for having me on the show. It's really exciting to to get a chance to kind of tell the story from my perspective, and my perspective is a bit different than most people. In Zr. I went from mostly I'm pretty much my entire career is always been in sales and enterprise sales, mostly SASS sales. It's always been since I guess we'd have to go back to two thousand and four or five. So we were, you know, excited to kind of embrace the the remote selling model early on here in...

Israel with a few of the startups that have started that have worked at being fortunate to have a few great successes in so far as exits from these great startups in as well. So really it's been it's been fun and for the most part I've either been playing an individual contributor role in enterpress sales or sales leadership role from you know, various different levels and in these different companies. So it's been a lot of fun, but I've never actually until recently, taken on the SDR roll. I've never actually been in charge of it or been in it directly until most recently in a previous company, getting that entire side of the business set up and then hiring an SDR leader to take it over. And then at this company I kind of got the bug from my previous company and this company to occupy. The VP of sales was actually a good friend of mine and he was like ask me, so how do you do this and how do you do that? So I thought, you know what, this is interesting, let's have it, let's have a conversation and maybe we'll, you know, we'll take this on full time, and that's exactly what happened. So that's how I ended up in Sdre, you know, in charge of SDR, where normally have been in mostly in charge of the sales function. So, as yours exciting and what we want to talk about, I think in this in the session, is put a little bit of focus on it. It's not just a stepping stone to to a junior sales role. Yeah, I think that's super important. Kind of what you just mentioned. There is not seen it really as a stepping stone. I think like that, as to our function has some like core skills that you're able to develop that do help you, you know, further along in the sales cycle, but it's a super important function of, you know, the entire sales cycle. So kind of when you think back to that and you know you kind of are scratching that itch now of getting the opportunity to lead a sales development team, how are you kind of instill in like that mindset around, you know, future career growth and helping people, helping your team especially, understand the opportunities that can come beyond sales development? Well, the...

...first thing I want to make sure is that it's clear that quite often people do get into an SDR role because it's like it's kind of the easier role to get into if you want to get into sales and it does make sense and it does make sense that some people will want to use that as a stepping stone. But what I have also experienced and observed is really fantastic as DR leaders out there that, to the really take this role on seriously and do not have any intention of moving on to into an a roll and really manage the the str function for these companies that they work for. So basically what I'm saying is that when somebody is is kind of deciding is this, is this the kind of role that I want to get into, just be honest with yourself as to why it is that you're there. Right, if in fact it's just kind of a stepping stone to sales. So great such a self for goal as to how long you want to be in that role. But be careful because organizations don't necessarily want you coming in and going out so quickly. Right. So you want to make sure that you're delivering value doing that period and it quite may very well be that during that period that you'll actually get the bug and understand that filling the top of the funnel is so important, because the sales executive, the count executives, when they're just, you know, kind of dealing with what's in their funnel, if they're not, they're not getting more, you know, business kids fed to them in their funnel. Quite often they're actually disconnected from the the lead sources. So, aside from doing their own individual sales development, of their own building their own funnel, at at some point getting the references and everything else as an AE should, they're quite often cut off from the actual feel of from the actual feed of the additional leads that are coming in. So what that means is essentially they are beholding to what's coming in from the pipe. So... is so critically important that the sales organization realizes the importance of the SDRs and invest in that function, invest in that rule and and there are specific things that you can do to invest in it. One of them is obviously here we are in the sales enablement podcast sponsored by by outreach. So I definitely make a plug for outreach because it's really transformed the ability of the SRS to make sure that they can actually get to so many more leads in the day meaningfully. It's not just automation that's blind and walk away, it's actually they are meaning that they're managing a much more robust pool of leads in a meaningful way. Yeah, no, one hundred percent there and kind of when you're talking a little bit more about that, this kind of brings me on to, you know, how are we able to really elevate that SCR role so people don't really see it just as a stepping zone or as you know, they're just here to kind of feed the sales team. When you think about the sales development role, now that you kind of have some experience leading one rather than being on the receiving end of one, what is kind of of the perception to you and how have you seen this kind of evolve over the last year or so? Well, the perception for management, obviously, is what maybe not obviously, but the perception that I see that management quite often has about the role is that they're just junior sales reps and they're, you know, they're just doing the easy stuff and and that is calling people that inquired about your software or whatever solution and just get them to a meeting. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it's, you know, nothing be further from the truth. I mean, there's they little they're the ones that are getting, you know, a massive amount of rejection all day long. You got to be thick skinned. So promoting that is to basically make sure that the organization from the top down understands the value of making sure that the top of the funnel is full with people that can actually get through the the you...

...know, the maze of so many people that are just, you know, kind of kicking tires and yeah, it's a lead in the system, but you know, this one needs a little bit more work before we can bring them to a meeting and so on. So the you know, the people that you hire obviously have to be pretty thick skinned. They got to be prepared for a lot of nose before they get a yes, and they got to do that with a smile on their face and they got to, you know, really understand that. Ultimately, there's a lot of people that frankly request information just because the curious, but they have absolutely no intention of buying. So you're going to get those, they're going to tell you to go away and they're going to not necessarily be be polite. If you can handle that, then already your you've got one foot in the door. But for this, for the individual, how they can kind of promote their own position is to make sure that they are not just throwing, you know, this is the throwing stuff up against the wall and expecting that some of them are going to get qualified, some of them are not going to get qualified. Just keep throwing meetings against the wall and eventually what happens is the AE's are going to look down at that position or look down at that's that rep and say everything that comes in from these guys or from this person or whatever is dubious and I'm probably going to disqualify this anyway. But let's go through the motions. Right. So you don't want to be that that guy that qualifies too many rejected Intros. Right. So, if that's the case, then you're actually your kind of hurting your own potential by not being a little bit more careful to make sure that the quality of the meetings that you're that you're setting up is there, because of effectively what you're setting up is they're going to have a preconceived notion before the meeting starts and there's a very chance that they're just going to decline this meeting, even if it's got great potential, even if they have a little bit of additional leg work that they might need to do. It might not qualify perfectly, but by virtue of the fact that you've scheduled to so many that weren't qualified, you've actually set that standard low enough that they basically want to reject more than they accept. Yeah,... careful if you're an acre, make sure that you're qualifying that you're scheduling really quality opportunities. So there's really no question in the mind of the AEA's when there's when they're coming to a meeting for you, that they actually know that you've actually done your homework notes their turn to take over. Yeah, there, definitely there. I'm so kind of just to recap a little bit what you had just said. It really comes down to elevating nasty year olds, but educating other orgs within this within your company, on the Gurttiness in the work that they're putting in there so that they actually have, you know, a clear perception of what they're going through every single day. And then, on the backend of that, it's really getting the stars to be invested and and buy in to the opportunities that they are generating. If they're putting if they're throwing stuff against the wall that they don't even have the conviction on or they don't believe is the best opportunity, it's going to be really hard for that relationship for them to continue to build with their AE. So that is such such a great point there that you'd made. Yeah, it's critical and into and it and and it's pretty transparent. What sometimes happens, and I was on the receiving side of that, by the way, I knew that, you know, in previous companies that when I got calls from a certain someone who's prolific and scheduling but not prolific and getting qualified's, it just meant that I felt like I was spending a lot more time on his calls than I needed to be, because, you know, I would prefer to get one of the few calls scheduled by the guy who does his homework very, very carefully and I know that that's going to be a qualified call. I know that I'm going to invest that that time into the meeting and I'm going to do some research in advance. Yeah, so, coming from your experience where you're on the receiving end of it now leading a sales development or I can imagine your team is probably quite tight on qualifying the opportunities and passionate about the ones that they're putting forward. Definitely, yes, and they're aware of the fact that when they're when their numbers go down and so far as qualified versus rejected, that that they're risking getting labeled. Yeah, which is...

...really the message. Definitely. So when you kind of think about creating that environment where you're able to provide kind of clear feedback and have kind of this peer to peer learning. What does that kind of look like for you and your team at octopy? How have you been able to kind of structure this so that your ups are learning from each other, so that you're continuing to evolve? So it's a real challenge, especially during this pandemic world that we live in, everybody working from home so much. We try to work from the office a lot more. Now the things have opened up a little bit more in Israel, so we're working from the office more, but there is still a lot more work from home than they're than it was in the past. And in our role it's pretty straightforward. I mean you can work from home, it's not a big deal, but the bouncing ideas off of each other or hearing each other, that kind of thing, that that's kind of lost. So you do need to work hard to create that, that the camaraderie, that sharing world. So yeah, we, you know, we use teams in the Organization of used to you know, slack and other tools as well. We use a lot of whatsapps as well, and we're basically constantly sharing on an ongoing basis. But one of the things that I do like to do, and I don't do it enough, but I think it's it's really good practice, is to start off your Monday morning meetings with share something that that you know, a hack that you came up with or that you constantly, you know, share a hack. Each one of you share a hack, right, because it's constant life hacks that we're doing. You right, you, it's like created a shortcut on my tool bar just for this little thing, right, or when the customer says X, I say why? Those kind of things are just amazing, because it's essentially you know that it's your you know your teammate that is that is faced with the exact same thing as you and he did something that that's going to really directly affect your ability to perform a little bit better. So yeah, that's that's,... know, a couple of quick examples. And the other one is we're constantly listening to podcasts. I think the team was to some extent listen to podcast before I came, but now we're all kind of all over these different podcasts. Yours is one of them. Bunch of others as well. So we constantly, you know, sharing links to to this podcast in that one is like hey, listen to this, hey listen to that. We got the AE's on it as well. So the e's are now sharing podcasts as well and listening to Ebooks, audio books. So there's a lot of that going on. Yes, that kind of that like reminds you of like it's amazing how much information is out there and if you don't have to listen to it, all right. But I love your idea of like share a hack or kind of creating that feedback loop so that people are like, Oh, I heard this in this podcast, I don't try this, or I heard this off this book, and you're kind of able to, yeah, share with everyone's like everyone can start to see the results on the back end of it from there, exactly. Yeah, yeah, amazing. So kind of when you think about elevating your str role on higher team, you've been able to on board and develop them to promote them off your team. What are three ways that you've been able to help educate your team on different opportunities outside of that steer Org so they know where to go? So in are one of the ones that I do recommend you know, regular one of the ones with your team. Let them, let them set the agenda and they should come with an agenda. I try to make sure that they come with, you know, the their their aspirations as to where they're going in their career. Right. So quite often it is about going into sales and other times it's like no, no, I just want to perfect what I'm doing here now, right. So, what are you doing to perfect here and now? I haven't seen too much of the SDR team types moving into a client success. I can see that happening for sure, but it's not not something I've witnessed that much. But definitely either, you know, staying in str for whatever period of time and or moving into as a type of rules. My recommendation to them is to invest, investing yourself. Yeah, don't wait...

...for somebody to tell you to set up for this course or whatever. It's just like you should be out there looking for every podcast it's out there that can that can enhance your your daytoday. Definitely be reading books. I mean, for me, the top book that I would recommend in this world for as Dr is fanatical prospecting by Jeb Blount. I mean and it's like it's it's completely applicable to everything that you do in Sdr, but to so many books, so many so many sales leaders out there that have written fantastic perspectives on things or even just things that are a little bit more kind of outside of the norm, books that might be specifically to your personality. Like, for example, I would consider myself, despite the fact that I'm, you know, being a career salesperson forever, I'm actually an introvert. I would, you know, the describe myself more as an introvert than an extrovert, which is kind of odd for most people when they think about sales, just like a think that salesperson is going to come in, he's going to take over the rooms like now, that's not really the way I m I operate a much more, you know, I'm listening for queues and I'm listening for for ways into into this or that situation. I do the same in sales. So there's a book that I would also recommend for anybody who's probably not sure about themselves and so far as being the extrovert in the room, is a book called quiet by Susan Kine. It's really an amazing perspective on how introverts contribute to society in such a way that we don't really think about. Like, for example, if you and almost any invention that you can think about, the change the world in the last, you know, a hundred years was probably by some scientist who was probably, you know, kind of sitting in a corner as an introvert with his smock on and, you know, creating all kinds of Grazia, crazy idea. These are not the you know, the they've changed the world and they're actually not the extrovert who's you know, kind of takeing over. Not all salespeople are created equal and there's...

...different strings that come with each personality type. HMM, fantastic. So I love those book recommendations and, you know, when we think back to kind of everything that you've been able to do over an Octopi what is like some of your big inities that you're looking to implement this next year? To continue the development of your team, working closer with marketing, to really define the the the kinds of events and and and campaigns that we've seen now with some good history, to to be the most likely to produce the best types of leads, so get more in kind of integrated with a marketing team. I guess the the other thing that I would say is that the SDRs themselves are kind of upping their game now that they have reached for a few months already. They're starting to understand how they can tweak the sequences to their benefit and they're starting to develop their own little snippets. So I see that becoming a much more integrated function in our in our process. And Yeah, I mean we're, you know, we're considering, you know, tweaking the whole sales process over time. So there's a lot going on in that area. So it's never perfect, it's never you know, it's you know, is it good enough? Yet? There's good enough at all times right whatever is, whatever you've developed and making sure that that it's a that it's as good as it can be. Definitely make sure that you've got a process that is working right now. But is it perfect? Absolutely not, and we're going to continue to build. Yes, of course. So in the seem there's one thing that is transparent throughout our conversation today is always be a student of learning, of sales, own aircraft and know you and your team at over an Octopier, constantly doing that up, leveling each other along the way. If any of our listeners wanted to connect with you and talk shop or implement some of the processes that you've been able to drive success from, where would be...

...the best place for them to reach out to you? By all means send me a linkedin connect request with a with a quick note telling me why you want to connect. That's usually the the best way to start start that process and yeah, that's that's probably that's probably the place to go. All right, fantastic. Thank you so much. You heard it here first. Have a great day. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach. That ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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