Editor’s Note: This value-packed panel at Sales Stack 2015 discussed the secrets of high-performing and high-tech SDR teams. Moderated by Aaron Ross of PredictableRevenue.com with contributions from Brian Walton from LinkedIn, Kyle Porter from SalesLoft, and Armando Mann from SalesforceIQ.
The smartest thing you’ve done or a big fail in using technology?
Brian Walton: The smartest thing we’ve done after failing is really listening to the reps and what they’re using. There’s a temptation initially to decide what your team needs at the leadership level and then impose those ideas on the rep. Eventually, you go out on the floor and realize no one is actually doing that and they’ve actually deployed an entirely different portfolio of tools and that’s sort of the secret to their success. We’ve started to really listen to the reps themselves and use their ideas to drive decisions.
Kyle Porter: One of the mistakes that we made was early on, I was really scrappy with the business and didn’t want to spend a lot money so we delayed on SalesForce.com, we delayed on LinkedIn Premium, but the minute we started using those products, it advanced us quickly. I think in startup land, a dollar in the bank is worth less than a dollar of revenue, because of valuation and the way companies grow. One of the things that turned out really fortunate for us is that we wanted a product that would allow us to do some of the execution of the steps in the sales process, and we couldn’t find what we wanted so we built one.
[Tweet “I think in startup land, a dollar in the bank is worth less than a dollar of revenue. @kyleporter “]
Armando Mann: We’re heavy on technology and if we can automate something, we do. I think the best thing we’ve done over the last few years is to bring marketing automation to the SDR role. We automate a lot of the outreach and a lot of the sequences through that.
What is one of your go-to apps?
Armando Mann: I’m a fan of a little company called aText. It’s amazing, it’s super cheap, and it’s one of the things that the reps brought in. Everybody should be using it. They should be at the conference. It’s a little app that allows you to write a shortcut and it inputs a bunch of text. You can use it on the web, on your desktop applications, anywhere. Super simple, super powerful.
Kyle Porter: aText used to be my hidden gem, we love aText. We use an app called 15Five that I’m a big fan of. At SalesLoft, culture is the most important to me as a CEO, so 15Five is like a weekly pulse check on the company. So it’ll send out a survey on Thursday to the individual contributors and ask them some questions. Then roll that to the management team on Friday, roll that to my COO on Saturday, and then I see on Sunday the whole organization’s feelings about the company at that point in time and it allows us to interact and do cool things.
What are the one or two main techniques for outbound teams?
Kyle Porter: Routine routine routine. Hard rhythm around phone calls, emails, social drips, and then rinse and repeat. It’s important to have a process that you follow and to execute on that process with rigor, and then get the analytics to improve upon it. So, we’re on LinkedIn, we’re on the phone, we’re sending emails. Phone is the most effective form.
Armando Mann: We have a label on the phones that says “ATM”. If you want to make money, pick up the phone. Whenever the phone is ringing and someone is out in the bathroom or something, I pick up the phone because you never let the ATM throw money at you and not pick it up, right? For us, every email is about getting on the phone, you never close over email. You never do discovery over email. You never identify pain over an email.
[Tweet “We have a label on the phones: ‘ATM’. If you want to make money, pick up the phone. @armandomann”]
Moderator Aaron Ross: With five minutes on the phone, it’s worth fifty emails. All roads lead to the phone.
[Tweet “Five minutes on the phone is worth fifty emails. All roads lead to the phone.” @motoceo]
Any tips on hiring great SDRs?
Brian Walton: We developed a program called the Business Leadership Program which essentially recruits right out of universities around the world and they go through rotation and learn a lot about the LinkedIn platform, the customer, and so on and then they feed into sales development.
Kyle Porter: I want some sales history in their upbringing. From a professional perspective, I absolutely love ex-recruiters because recruiters get hung up on, told no, and they just gotta keep on going. My biggest tip is to know your culture and have defined your core values and use those when hiring.
If you’re outbound prospecting to IT, do you do anything different?
Kyle Porter: I think so, yes. You have to connect with people in the way they need to be connected. I saw an example, one of our customers was sending emails to prospects and basically writing Aesop’s fables to these prospects that related to what they did as a business. You’ve gotta connect with these people in a way where they walk away from that call or email saying “I’ve just gotten value from that person.” You’ve gotta add value so you’ve gotta understand them, know what they love and care about, and then give it to them.
[Tweet “Understand them, know what they love and care about, and then give it to them. @kyleporter”]