Interview with Sean Kester – The Head of Product at SalesLoft

The Sales Hacker team is interviewing our speaker lineup for the upcoming Sales Hacker Conference on April 30th in New York City. We’d like to give you perspective on who our speakers are and insights into their B2B startup experience, covering a variety of Sales topics such as Hiring, Building, Measuring, and Scaling sales.

Next up in our interview series we have Sean Kester, former Director of Sales Development and the new Head of Product at SalesLoft. SalesLoft is SaaS company based in Atlanta, Georgia and they make tools for Sales Development teams. Sean helped build the sales process for both inbound and outbound prospecting that helped drive SalesLoft’s incredible 2000% growth in 2014!

Some of the Topics Covered in the Interview:

  1. How to Scale Sales Development
  2. Big Goals for SalesLoft
  3. Best Advice for Building a Sales Process
  4. What it’s like Selling into Sales


What’s the Right Way to Scale Your Sales Development Team?

There’s five ways you have to do it:

  1. Realize you don’t know anything
  2. Identify the top five people that do know everything
  3. Figure out what they’re doing that makes them successful (Usually there are 4-5 core principles they all do the same).
  4. Rip-Off and Duplicate (R&D) those core principles
  5. Start building your sales process from there

SalesLoft went out and found all the Sales Development leaders in the Sales Development space and mimicked they’re programs. People like Craig Rosenberg, Trish Bertuzzi, John Barrows, and Aaron Ross.

What’s the Big Goal this Year for the SalesLoft Team?

SalesLoft recently raised funding from Emergence Capital that they’re going to use to springboard the company to the next level. SalesLoft is ramping up their teams investment across the board into their marketing machine, into their engineering machine; and into their key hires along the way.

What’s Your Key Piece of Advice for Building a Sales Playbook and Process for the First Time?

Always Test – There’s no silver bullet when it comes to building a sales process. Figuring out the best place to start is hard, but you have to start somewhere. For example, we use a 7×7 outreach method in our Sales Development team, but that isn’t necessarily going to work for another company who is going after marketing folks.

You have to identify who that ideal prospect is and what is going to be the best way to get in contact with them. Is it social media? Phone? Email? Text!? Who knows! You just have to identify what that method is. From there you build touch points off of that.

Do You Test as a Company or Individually?

It is a little bit of both. Usually the newer folks come in and say they want to try all of these things, but we try to get them to stick to the playbook. Once they understand the playbook and why we do things a certain way they can iterate from there.

What’s it like Selling into Sales?

Game respects game. If you’re selling to salespeople and you’re good at what you do, it’s hard for them to deny you of what you’re asking. But sometimes you get shot down, and when you do you get shot, you get shot down really hard.

What’s the Balance Between Automated and Personalized Outreach?

There’s a divide in the sales industry right now between sales automation and sales semi-automation. Full automation for salespeople is dangerous because there are things that are out of your control with technology. There are bugs when using automation. You can destroy all the rapport you’ve built with a prospect if an automation rule goes wrong.

What are the SalesLoft SDRs Measured On?

Immediate measurement and how they’re paid is based on demos completed. So, for every demo that is scheduled and the guy shows up. We have a SLA that defines the hand-off between Sales and Sales Development. That hand-off is crucial because at one point the Sales Development rep owns 100% of that prospect and then it transfer ownership to 100% ownership to the Sales rep. Having that clearly defined helps that process, so if there is a fumble you know who owns it and who is responsible to that prospect.

Are Your SDRs Specialized?

At SaleLoft there are both inbound and outbound SDRs. Inbound SDRs are responsible for taking authority and need qualification of the +/- 1600 inbound leads per month to demos. Outbound SDRs are on a 28 per month quota on outbound demos completed.

What’s a Preview of Your Session “Growing 2000% in 2014” at the Sales Hacker Conference?

A lot of the secret sauce of that growth is that we share every single thing that we do. From the very beginning SalesLoft’s CEO, Kyle Porter was good about sharing thought leadership content. They share their playbook online, their internal process, and their SLAs.

Craig is the Director of Marketing at Sales Hacker and the Founder of Red Bridge. A marketing agency focused on helping B2B Tech Startups accelerate their growth.

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