PODCAST 08: The Most Effective Sales Sequences to Build Your Pipeline

On this episode of the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk with Derek Grant, VP of Sales from SalesLoft about building a successful pipeline with the best sales outreach strategies.

What You’ll Learn

  • What types of sequences to use to predictably drive pipeline development
  • How to build and lead sales teams and how to build the next generation of managers
  • The keys to effective SDR engagement
  • The perfect sequences as defined by a scientific study
  • When your SDRs are being too persistent and when they aren’t being persistent enough
  • How to make sales relevant in a world of content overload

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

1) Show introduction [00:10]

2) About Derek Grant and SalesLoft [0:44]

3) Finding his way into sales [4:20]

4) Skills that an high-performing account executive has [17:00]

5) How to do effective outreach to grow your pipeline [19:56]

6) A closer look at the SalesLoft sales team [27:31]

7) Quick-fire questions [31:50]

8) Sam’s Corner [43:59]

Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Gong.io

Sam Jacobs: Before we start, a quick thank you to this month’s Sales Hacker podcast sponsor Gong — the #1 conversation intelligence platform for sales. Gong helps you generate more revenue by having better sales conversations. It automatically captures and analyzes your team’s conversations so you can transform your team into quota-shattering super-sellers.

And now on with the show.

About Derek Grant and SalesLoft: Baseball Card Stats

Sam Jacobs: Hi, everybody, welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast! It’s your host Sam Jacobs. We’ve got a great one today. We’ve got Derek Grant who leads SalesLoft’s Commercial Sales organization. Welcome, Derek!

Derek Grant: Sam, thanks a lot for having me on here! This is going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited you’d have me.

Sam Jacobs: Derek, you’re the VP of Commercial Sales as I mentioned. You work for SalesLoft. Tell us about SalesLoft very quickly.

Derek Grant: SalesLoft is a technology company here in Atlanta that overlays Salesforce.com and it helps you codify your go to market strategy.

SalesLoft is there to help you define your play and help reps to drive forward to the thing that’s going to drive the most revenue for their businesses. We just announced a $50 million funding round from Insight Venture Partners and also LinkedIn!

Sam Jacobs: Well, congratulations on the funding! Roughly how big is SalesLoft from an ARR perspective?

Derek Grant: We’ve had an 800% growth in the last two years. That’s at a breakneck pace! It’s a great testament to marketing, market timing, and a great product team behind us.

Sam Jacobs: How big is your team?

Derek Grant: My team is 50 across SDRs, AEs, sales engineers, managers, and so forth.

Finding His Way Into Sales

Sam Jacobs: How long have you been in startup land and how’d you get into sales specifically? You’re one of the folks that a lot of us know about, so how’d you find your way into sales?

Derek Grant: I’m an accidental seller. I worked the night shift at a company in Tallahassee during my time at Florida State and did tech support. I was one day walking down the hallway and the sales manager stuck his head out the door and said, “Hey, you want to do sales?”

He convinced me to take a job on the road.

My wife then convinced me to move to Atlanta. I was super lucky to have been on Craigslist at the time. I found Pardot on there—I was their fourth employee in 2007.

Lessons from Pardot

Sam Jacobs: How did you make it through all of those different transitions? What are the lessons that you took from getting acquired by ExactTarget and ultimately running a global team of 200?

Derek Grant: I found that there’s a difference between doing, managing the doers, and managing the managers. That was something I didn’t understand at the time. There a ton of different skill sets here.

There has to be a distinct role clarity for everyone. Something we’ve done at SalesLoft is to focus on role definition. I owe it to my managers and our leaders here to not go around but through them to get to their reps. But back then, I was a paralyzing manager.

What ends up happening is your manager stops being accountable for anything because they know that you’re just gonna go directly to the reps. I wanted to help so much that I was a mile wide and an inch deep and I couldn’t help anybody. I had become this blocker to things getting done.

As much as I want to be the adrenaline junkie at the stick driving the deal forward, that’s not really where I should be.

Skills That a High-Performing Account Executive Has

Sam Jacobs: You mentioned DISC profiles. What qualities of a human being that make them effective sellers and account executives? What do you think stands out?

Derek Grant: Every sales leader out there listening to this is going to hire the first D (Dominance) because they tell an incredible story.

The old joke was they’d throw their mother down a flight of stairs to get a contract signed. That’s your classic D—the life of the party.

I’ll tell you that the best seller I’ve ever seen was a C—compliant. But you don’t want to hire Cs for sales. If you find one and they’re good—they’re a unicorn but you don’t want to hire those. You want your Ds and Is (Inducement), just be honest about what they’re bad at too.

How to Do Effective Outreach to Build Your Pipeline

Use the double tap

Sam Jacobs: What are the best and most effective ways to get meetings?

Derek Grant: We looked at all these 200 million interactions—phone, email, all these other sales touch points. We then found simple tweaks you could make for a more effective go to market process. For example, start with a call, follow it up with an email on the same day. That’s called a double tap.

Topo talks about a triple tap using social in there as well. I want to touch them in whatever inbox, whatever channel is the easiest for them to respond because all I want is the conversation.

Quit being robotic

Derek Grant: If you hit your prospect’s inbox 10 times in 10 days, you’re on them like a wet blanket. That’s not what you want them to experience! You want to hit them over a span of 60 days with messaging that’s broken out. Your outreach should grow gradually—your intervals should be spaced out but you hit them consistently.

Get past the short bursts

Derek Grant: Get past the eight touches and keep going to 10, 12, 15. Figure out a way to keep being in that person’s scope of consciousness.

A Closer Look at the SalesLoft Sales Team

Sam Jacobs: You’ve got a team of 50, so how is that broken out?

Derek Grant: We have 23 SDRs and 23 commercial AEs. We’ve broken those into a couple of things. We have our AE1—our promoted SDR. They then move to an AE2 role which is a higher base and then they’re off and running from there. So 23 and 23. And, we’ve got one sales engineer.

Also, we’ve got directors on the AE side and so they’re our first line managers. Finally, we’ve got managers on the SDR side.

Defining the sales cycle and the SDR promotions

Sam Jacobs: What’s your sales cycle like? Do you ever see it where SDRs hold onto opportunities in anticipation of a promotion?

Derek Grant: We actually tell them to do that. In their last month as an SDR, we then say that you’re going to begin giving out demos. So they source 10 for the team and they get the last five for themselves.

Our AEs also have an outbound prospecting expectation. There’s nobody at our company who doesn’t prospect. Our SDRs do it but, they are not the only ones who are out there hustling to make meetings happen. Our AEs earn 30% of their own pipeline as well.

Understanding the AE quotas

Sam Jacobs: What’s the AE quota? Are you doing it monthly? Quarterly? Annually?

Derek Grant: We think about it in terms of ARR but we do optimize it for multi-year contracts. Our commercial reps carry $600,000 quota. They have quarterly goals. Although, I think on a monthly rhythm.

My thought process is, it’s hard for the rep to make the quarter if they don’t make the month.

Quick-Fire Questions

SalesLoft’s sales tech stack

Derek Grant: Apart from SalesLoft, Salesforce, and Pardot, we use EverString. It’s really powerful and helps us with propensity scoring. If we’re calling a healthcare company, it pops up another three suggestions to help us name-drop.

Then there’s Vidyard—so good! We use these 37-second (approximately) videos on the third email touch.

Top influencers

Derek Grant: My spirit animal is Scott Leese—SVP Sales at Qualia. Then there’s Mark Roberge—former CRO at HubSpot.

How to get in touch with Derek

Derek Grant: You can reach me on derek.grant@salesloft.com

Sam Jacobs: That’s fantastic. Derek, thank you so much. You’ve been a real pleasure. It’s been great to talk to you and I can’t wait to see you!

Derek Grant: Thank, Sam!

Sam’s Corner

I really liked Derek’s comments about sequences. I think there’s a lot of tactical information there that you can glean. Derek’s research and the research from the folks at SalesLoft tells us that the traditional sequences of an eight by eight or 10 by 10 should continue past those 10 days or eight days.

The other thing that he said very specifically was always start with a phone call. That’s really good feedback and it’s always important to underscore the relevance of using the phone to set up meetings.

Don’t Miss Episode 09

To check out the show notes, see upcoming guests, and play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, visit gtmnow.com/podcast-subscribe

You can also find the Sales Hacking podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. If you enjoyed this episode please give us a share on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Finally, a special thanks again to this month’s sponsor, Gong. If you want to get in touch with me, find my social handles in my bio below.

I’ll see you next time!

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