🎙️ Transcript: "Dude, Where's My Pipeline?" Podcast

🎙️ Transcript: "Dude, Where's My Pipeline?" Podcast

Dude, Where's My Pipeline?
The PeerSpot Network
Emily Hill, Wendy Perilli, Ralph Barsi
October 18, 2022

Intro (00:06):
Hi, I am Wendy Perilli. And I'm Emily Hill. Welcome to "Dude, where's my pipeline?" Where we're asking the age old question: Where's my pipeline, dude?

On this show, we're talking about all things demand gen and tech marketing from the latest trends to best practices and more. And on today's show, we're chatting with Ralph Barsi, VP Global Inside Sales at Tray.io.

Ralph's work centers on scaling and leading sales development organizations in the B2B SaaS space. He's led teams as small as two sales reps, and as large as 230 extended direct reports. Holy smokes, Ralph.

Having worked at companies during each phase of the maturity cycle, from early stage to acquisition to publicly held, and then a number of different technology markets, his expertise is in helping businesses optimize top of funnel operations to ensure they drive a repeatable revenue pipeline, develop a rich talent pipeline, and become world-class. Welcome to the show, Ralph.

Ralph Barsi (01:00):
Thank you, Wendy. Thanks, Emily. Great to be here.

Wendy Perilli (01:03):
And I know Ralph, because Ralph and I used to work together at ServiceNow, this little tiny company, ServiceNow. Actually, it was kind of smaller when we were there. It's much larger now.

I think it's four buildings, not one. And I always had this fond respect for Ralph because he ran our inside sales organization there, and I ran demand for the company.

And so we had to partner closely to understand how are we working together? Are the leads converting? How is he restructuring his team to make sure, should we structure it by industry? Should we structure it by target account? Should we structure...? How are the groups set up?

And I know you were always kind of experimenting and iterating and optimizing to make sure that we were getting the best conversions. So again, very fond of the work that you've done. Have a great respect for you, and I'm so delighted that you're here. So thanks for being here.

Ralph Barsi (01:50):
Well, the feelings mutual, Wendy, I remember those days fondly as well, and it's really exciting to be here. I'm looking forward to talking with you.

Emily Hill (01:59):
Us too. Yeah. Yeah. I'm excited as well. I know you have a lot of great knowledge to share with us today. Wendy has said such great things about you to me, and she says that you're the king of sdr. So Wendy gave you a great intro, but why don't we get started with you also telling us a little bit about yourself in your own words.

Ralph Barsi (02:17):
Oh, cool. Appreciate it. So I think I'm embarking on, I don't know, my 32nd or 33rd year in sales. The first half of my career, I was an individual contributor carrying a bag as an account executive owning territories. And the latter half of my career, as Wendy mentioned, really has centered on sales development.

My wheelhouse, if you will, is really building and leading sales development teams, working at the top of the funnel and serving, really, as a liaison between that sales development team and the demand gen organization, as well as sale on the side. So bad. On the side. I am a husband, I'm a father, I'm a mentor to several people in the industry. I am an investor in early stage companies, and I'm a drummer. I've been a drummer since I was three years old.

Wendy Perilli (03:08):
That's cool. Okay. How come I didn't know that about you? Now, there's a whole 'nother thing.

Ralph Barsi (03:14):
Yeah, maybe we could do the whole episode on that if you want.

Emily Hill (03:19):
That's the next show for sure. There's next one for sure. So Ralph, thank you so much for saying all of that. It's always nice to hear a little bit also about a person in their personal life too.

We're all more than we are just at work, right? And like I said, you're the king of SDRs, so you're here to talk with us today about what it means to be an SDR, what that's like, and the disconnect between marketing and demand gen folks and SDRs, and really how we can make it better, which is awesome because this is something that I think almost every single company struggles with in one way or another.

So why don't we start with SDRs. Let's uncover the myth for our demand gen marketers out there. What's it like to be an SDR? What are they trying to accomplish? What does their day look like? How do they think about it essentially? Can you put us into the shoes of an SDR, please?

Ralph Barsi (04:12):
Sure, absolutely. So for those unfamiliar with the role, an SDR stands for sales Development rep, oftentimes in companies, you might hear that term as a BDR or an LDR or an ADR, but essentially it's the same role and it centers on that word "development."

This team typically sits between marketing and demand gen and sales, and is responsible for contributing to their business's revenue pipeline.

So again, they're responsible for pipeline, whereas the account executives, or the field sales reps that these SDRs primarily serve, are responsible for closing business and bringing in revenue.

So, in a lot of respects, sales development reps are developing not only the pipeline for the business and the relationships with the marketplace that the business serves, but they're also developing their own skill sets and competencies and career paths.

So, at the very top of the funnel, that's where the SDRs sit, and we can go on and on about what their day-to-day life is like. Is that what you'd like me to do, Emily?

Emily Hill (05:21):
Yeah, a little bit. Just so that marketers, like I said, there's a lot of disconnect about what each other do. So if you could just give us a little bit of insight into that, that way, I think it develops empathy in a way because you can understand where the other person's coming from.

Ralph Barsi (05:39):
Love it. I appreciate that. So, SDRs, in being responsible for generating revenue pipeline, they really do it in two ways: they do it by qualifying inbound leads that are driven by demand gen teams; but they also do it by generating leads themselves through outbound prospecting.

SDRs are usually measured and comped on, for example, the number of qualified meetings they schedule for their AEs. And let's look at the word "qualified." It's really important that SDRs adhere to qualification criteria.

So, you might be familiar with the acronym "BANT," B-A-N-T, which stands for budget, authority, need, and timeframe. Well, depending on the company that the SDRs work for - its size, its marketplace, as well as the segments that SDR calls into or prospects into - BANT might not fit for that situation.

Maybe they just need to get authority, need, and timeframe from a prospect in order to call it qualified.

Maybe it's just authority and need, but regardless, they have to adhere to this qualification criteria when they're creating opportunities for their company. They book meetings typically by reaching out to prospects, engaging the prospects in conversation.

They get to these people by phone, by email, they'll use LinkedIn and they'll message people through InMail. They might be liking or sharing the prospect's social media posts or tweets. They do video messages. They might meet in person at events. They'll send handwritten thank you cards if they actually get somebody on the phone or get help from, say, an executive assistant, and on and on.

So, a day in the life usually requires a lot of what I call "spinning of plates." They've got to make sure that the plates don't crash to the ground, that they make sure that they're operating their entire day with precision and with efficiency.

So, I'll stop there because we can go on and on about a day in the life of the SDRs, but before we continue on, I really appreciate the fact that demand gen leaders like you and Wendy are actually mindful of, "Hey, what is going on in the world of an SDR?"

What do they do every single day? Because that disconnect you mentioned at the beginning of our talk can be mitigated. It doesn't have to be a disconnect.

I think if everybody's kind of working towards the same mission and for the same reasons and knows where north is, that disconnect kind of goes away and people stop asking, "Hey, dude, where's MY pipeline?" Instead of, it's, "Where's OUR pipeline?" You're working as a team instead. And that's really, that's what we're all aiming to do.

Wendy Perilli (08:26):
Yeah, absolutely. I was just going to ask one follow-up question. So, because we're trying to put ourself in the shoes of the SDRs, if you were an SDR, what is that one thing that just is your pet peeve about your job? What is the thing that SDRs go to work and are just dreading that they have to do? Because again, from a marketing perspective, is there something that we can do to make that process better so that we're sharing our pipeline?

Ralph Barsi (08:53):
Great question, Wendy. I would, at least from my experience, one of the toughest obstacles that SDRs face daily is having to interrupt busy people. They have to get people on the phone. They have to engage people by email and the other communication methods I mentioned, and no matter how you slice it, they're interrupting people's day.

And not only are they interrupting, but they have to build credibility and rapport in nanoseconds in order to earn another minute or two with this person in conversation.

And then we start to get to uncovering whether or not there's a critical business issue. We have to get to the value prop of the offering that the SDR is trying to pitch, and then we have to see if it makes sense together to even set up a secondary discovery call for the account executive.

So, waking up every day and knowing that you've got to get through huge lists of people, and interrupt those people, is a huge challenge. And then how demand...the second part of your question...can help, is any and all ways to warm up those conversations is just going to create more win-win situations. It's just going to be easier for all parties to have those conversations.

Wendy Perilli (10:06):
Yeah, thanks. Ironically, right before this call, I was on a training with our SDRs and what we call The Pitch Practice. And so because our company sells to marketing and customer advocacy leaders, we ARE the marketing customer advocacy leaders. So we get those calls all the time, and yeah, there's a lot of empathy for they get hung up on, and they get rude people, and you got to have some tough skin, I think, to be in the job.

Ralph Barsi (10:33):
Amen. Yeah, it's not easy, but the good news is there's so much long-term benefit to kind of grinding it out in your career as a sales development rep and going through those motions and gaining from those experiences.

Because in the process, you're developing skills and competencies that transfer to so many different roles throughout your career, whether you aspire to have a career in sales or not, learning how to prospect learning how to build rapport and credibility quickly, et cetera, et cetera, and being able to articulate the value prop in a cogent way, you can carry that into your role as a CEO of a company if you want. It just, it goes so far, so it's worth it.

Wendy Perilli (11:19):
Yeah, absolutely. So Ralph, yeah, this is "Dude, where's my pipeline?" podcast after all. So, as a marketer, I'm saying you might get a marketer who's like, Hey, I've sent you 40,000 leads, so where's the pipeline on it? Why is stuff not converting? Why are we not seeing the conversion that we want? Are you even calling the leads? I'm sure all of these conversations have happened, right? What's the impact of SalesLoft and automated nurtures that go through the sales team, and how is that impacting conversion?

I think there's been so many conversations that it's the age old sales versus marketing in the boardroom, right? Is it they didn't make the calls or they gave us crappy leads, right? So there's always been this tension. I think you guys sit right in the middle of it, right? The SDRs sit right in the middle because you're on both sides of the fence. And so how do you engage with marketing to address those things, right?

Ralph Barsi (12:11):
Well, that's a huge question. We can be spending the rest of the episode on this, and maybe we will, who knows, right? There are a couple things you brought up in that question, Wendy.

So yeah, there's always that friction, and I think that friction can be very healthy if it's done the right way. If both teams respectively stop pointing fingers and making assumptions and judgements instead of really focusing on seeking first to understand the other side before being understood, I think podcasts like this, at least the title, will go away because we'll be a bigger, happier family and we'll act as one.

But until then, a couple of things need to be addressed. Number one, you talked about sales engagement tools. You mentioned SalesLoft. Outreach is another, and you can even extend it into Gong, Chorus; there's so many different components of a good tech stack that both teams need to realize that these tools are extensions of the sales development rep.

So, if the sales development rep that was recruited, onboarded, and trained is still not a good writer or not a good speaker, then it's going to be amplified through these sales engagement tools.

Outreach and SalesLoft obviously allow you do cadences and sequences of emails, and if those emails are poorly written and don't come across the right way as a true representative of the offering, the company or even the person behind the keyboard, and they're sent en masse, that could do serious significant damage to the brand and imaging of the company that SDR represents.

So, it's critical to get that 101 stuff dialed-in before you even introduce a tech stack to an SDR team. That's number one.

Two, you talked about, hey, there's always discussion between the two teams about, hey, what could we be doing better? Are you even making the calls? Why are the conversion rates as low as they are?

One side of it is it was expressed pretty well early in the year. A colleague of mine in the sales development industry, his name is Tito Bohrt, he is the CEO of an SDR company called AltiSales, and he put a post on his LinkedIn profile back in January, 2022, which was a mock letter to marketing and demand gen leaders from a sales leader. And I happen to have it in front of me, if you don't mind me reading it a little bit.

Here we go,

"Dear Marketing, we appreciate the list of 412 leads you sent us. None of them had phone numbers and 87 had a non-company email address: Gmail, Hotmail, even AOL. We had to discard those as we don't know what company they belong to.

We cleaned the data and of the 325 remaining, 48 of them bounced. So now we're down to 277 leads. Our sales intern opened every LinkedIn profile and found out 32 of these were competitors and 69 were consultants.

Of the remaining 176 leads, 94% are individual contributors or low level managers. So, we're left with 11 leads to reach out to that have any sort of power in order to buy our software.

We then had to go through data enrichment tools, like ZoomInfo and LeadIQ, to enrich the phone numbers. As you might know, the pickup rate on the phone is roughly 4%. So, after four calls per lead, we only talked to two people. One doesn't recall attending the webinar and the other team isn't interested.

So, in short, the $50,000 we spent to put this together has yielded zero meetings. Now, we're not saying this is your fault. We're just saying we might need to rethink this entire flow and agree that our team should only get leads from qualified accounts. How do you suggest we go about this to maximize revenue? Kindly, A Concerned Sales Leader."

Wendy Perilli (16:30):
Conversation that happens everywhere.

Ralph Barsi (16:32):
Constantly. Now, here's what I would like to suggest. That's a bit extreme, I think, but I do think we've seen different versions of this type of conversation.

So, let's write this letter before we even step into the next campaign or into the next quarter or into the next fiscal year, and let's call out what all the risks might be or what all the obstacles might look like so that we can mitigate them upfront before we even embark on the campaign or on the fiscal year.

And if we can sit down as leaders to talk about, "okay, let's look at what the kinks in the chain might be," then we can course correct before stuff even happens or start slipping through the cracks. That way when we do convene in the midst of a campaign, we can refer back to this list of risks that we all agreed on early in the year or prior to the campaign, and we already have some contingency plans in place.

So, both leaders and both teams ultimately can be held accountable for their responsibility and their remit. That's what I would suggest. So I think Tito brings up a bunch of great points, but I guarantee marketing leaders in our industry can write very similar letters.

Wendy Perilli (17:50):
Yeah, it's interesting that you bring that up because I remember a conversation that I had with a leader, I think on your team when we were at ServiceNow on, "Hey, we're sending you leads, and what kind of quality are we getting? What kind of qualities coming from these leads?"

And I remember the reps saying, there's always this cryptic campaign thing. It was called the G Dogs because it was like Google demand gen leads or something. And so that was the acronym that they'd used. And I remember the sales teams were like, these G Dog leads are phenomenal. Send us more G Dogs. Oh boy. And so again, just honing in on what's good and what's bad and what do they see conversion on. But the other thing that I remember was one of your leaders had said, and I think marketing people forget this is when we give you guys garbage, it becomes, we've just passed the admin baton to you to now process garbage.

So now you're going through and you're marking them all unqualified and you're doing that admin work that should have happened someplace else, not sitting in the SDR organization where you guys would be more effective in making those calls, sending those emails, not administratively cleaning out the database that we sent you.

Ralph Barsi (19:05):
Yeah, great point, Wendy and I remember those days. I remember the G Dog stuff. Now, just take it as a phase down the funnel. And now we have account executives who are held accountable for pretty big quotas in the business for closing revenue, and they obviously rely on a viable pipeline that's repeatable, that's predictable, that they know they can depend on in order to make their number.

And if they learn that SDRs in the organization are investing 80% of their time unchecking or checking unqualified leads and doing a lot of that administrative work, now there's hell to pay across the board.

So, nobody's winning now. Everybody's upset. Somebody wants to know who's going to be held accountable for driving the pipeline. So I, again, can't emphasize enough the importance of doing a lot of that preemptive work together as a sales marketing and sales development team. Leverage the triumvirate that you have and optimize for success.

Wendy Perilli (20:06):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So Ralph, take us back into the SDR. So let's pretend I'm an SDR. Tell us a little bit again, we want to have the empathy of how hard this job is.

What is it like to receive a lead? What are they looking for? Again, the G Dogs, what are they looking for that's a good lead versus a bad lead and how they know it's a good lead versus a bad lead?

Of course, if it doesn't have a phone number or a company name, it shouldn't have even gotten to them, but let's assume it's true MQLs, it's true, good quality. What marketing feels like they should have been a good lead?

How do they kind of suss out the good ones and the bad ones, and are they analyzing it even before they pick up the phone or send an email, or do they just kind of blindly go and send it to all of the ones that had an email address? Help us understand some of the things.

Ralph Barsi (20:55):
Great question. The A-player SDRs are, they're going to analyze it, albeit briefly, before they actually reach out to engage. They're going to have a template in their head, a checklist, if you will. For example, if they receive a lead, a couple key things that they want to do just by default is they want to check for duplicate leads.

They want to see if this lead has come in already through the system. They want to see if there's any existing opportunities in the account that's represented by the lead because that account might be owned by somebody and they can get some color and context around the lead before they follow up. You already mentioned it. There's some explicit qualification criteria that they're going to look for. So, what kind of title or role or persona is representative of this lead? What's the size or the segment of the company and does it jive with the segment I'm supposed to be building pipeline for?

Where's the company located? Sometimes that's really important. When your company works closely with a channel team, you want to know what local channel partners might be able to parachute in and help us make this sale. So, those are some high level things that all SDRs, but more often than not the A-player SDRs are looking for.

And then great SDR teams typically follow a methodology called the three S's, and that's S like "Sierra."

So, the first guess is looking at the lead source SDRs who really own their business within the business, have an understanding of, "okay, I know what lead sources have a higher probability of converting to an opportunity than not. And what I'll do is I'll make sure, when I'm receiving leads on a daily or weekly basis, I'm sorting accordingly. I'm sorting them by the highest converting sources versus the lowest. If somebody is a lead that filled out the contact me page on our website, they're likely going to convert to its secondary discovery, meaning that's how I'm measured, that's how I'm comped.

I'm calling those first and all the way down the line to where the lowest converting ones might be, a third party syndication, lead content syndication lead or the downloading of a white paper. Those are people who are tire kickers, likely window shopping, have no authority, and we'll get to them, but we're not going to get to them first. They're not as urgent." So that's the first S, it's the lead Source.

Second S is the lead Score. Obviously this pertains to companies who score their leads. Kent, the best companies do score their leads and how they do it is by way of an alphanumeric score that gets pinned to every single lead. It's usually representing implicit-explicit information and insights. We're looking at demographics, firmographics, the behavior of the lead, et cetera, in order to conjure up a score. And that's A1 all the way to D2.

So, that's another thing that obviously SDRs are going to take a look at next to lead source. They're going to look at lead score. Finally, they will manage leads by way of those Statuses. That's the third S.

So, they're going to look at their open leads first. Then they'll look at contacting ones they've not yet heard from. It's been a one-way street in terms of reaching out to these leads. And then they'll look thirdly at, okay, what leads are engaged? Where I've actually heard back from the prospect, we are in correspondence, but nothing's happening yet. That's how they'll discern and sort what to do first, second, third, fourth. So I hope that addresses what you were asking.

Wendy Perilli (24:33):
Yeah. How do they keep track of that? There's so many leads that come in. I'm always fascinated by, I mean, I can't even keep track of my email. I couldn't imagine keeping track of hundreds of leads coming in and knowing, "okay, I've called these, I haven't called these, I called these, but these didn't respond, or I sent them an email." Is it all in their head? Or again, I think one time when we went and sat with the SDRs at ServiceNow, this one gal had a whole wall of sticky notes, and so she kept it as a tracking system. But I mean, how do they keep track of this?

Ralph Barsi (25:03):
Yeah, it varies, Wendy, and it's a very real issue. If you have a marketing operations team that's tethered to the sales development team, if you have an enablement and training team that's tethered to the sales development team, and if you have account executives and sales ops folks who are working closely and are mindful of the "plate spinning" that I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of tools out there and systems that can drive efficiency and just kind of keep the SDRs calm.

A sales leader I used to work with, likened sales development work to air traffic control towers where inbound leads are coming and you've got to divert planes over here because these planes need to land and you've got a backup of planes that need to take off, ie. these are meetings that need to happen or calls that need to happen. So, it kind of goes to the characteristics, traits, strengths that you look for when you're recruiting SDRs.

You need somebody who stays composed, who is calm, who is in control, who is organized, who keeps their cool, but also thinks deeply enough and thinks on the macro enough to understand, well, what's the cost of a lead? How many events are coming down the pike? How can I preemptively prepare for what's coming so that I can properly structure my week, structure my days structure, my hours for optimal success and for consistency?

And when they have those systems dialed-in and they have, of course, sales development leaders that help them understand that as well, they're going to reach successful milestones much faster. And then again, thinking on the macro how this is going to benefit their entire career arc and trajectory, because it triples in terms of the responsibilities when you become an account executive or a sales engineer, and they have to be aware of that as well and cognizant of it.

So, you got to get all this stuff dialed-in as an SDR. I mean, I'm partial, but dude, it's like the toughest gig on the planet when it comes to the SaaS industry or sales.

Wendy Perilli (27:10):
Yeah, I can imagine. Like you said, air traffic control. I've seen it try to be managed, and it was even chaos then. So I think it's phenomenal how they figure it out.

Ralph Barsi (27:19):
It is. I appreciate that very much. And by the way, they have quotas to hit every month and every quarter. That's how they get paid, and they've got to be consistent in order to become eligible for promotions 15 to 18 months after being hired as SDRs.

So yeah, there's a lot of stuff popping. It happens less and less, fortunately, in my experience, because working with pretty kick-ass demand gen leaders. But when it does happen and a demand gen leader or somebody from marketing parachutes in like, "dude, where's my pipeline? What are you guys doing about it or not doing about it?" You could see how that's taken from the SDRs. Like, well, "do you have any idea what my world entails? So slow your role before you come barging in on me like that."

Wendy Perilli (28:04):
Yep, yep. And the reason for this conversation, right?

Emily Hill (28:09):
Absolutely. Right. Exactly.

Emily Hill (28:11):
Absolutely. So speaking of that, what do you think are some of the best practices that demand marketers should be using to better their relationship with SDRs and the lead handoffs?

Ralph Barsi (28:22):
I love this question and thanks for asking. I think creating a closed loop feedback is probably the second thing I would encourage teams to do. The first was those contingency plans and the risks list that we talked about, but I think that closed feedback loop is super, super critical and that could see its way into holding a biweekly or monthly sync up between demand gen and sales development leaders or demand gen reps and sales development reps.

I think that's really important, and I've seen it work over and over again. I think weekly updates from the demand gen team to the sales development team would really be helpful. And vice versa, just keep each other aware of what's on the radar in the respective teams and be a little more transparent and candid about where a question might be coming from.

So, if you are to parachute into a sales development team and say, "Hey, dude, where's my pipeline?" Instead say, "here's my question and my concern. Where's our pipeline? But let me tell you why I'm asking. We're on the hook to do X. We're already investing Y to produce one lead. We have three more events. If we aren't successful in these events, we're not going to get the budget we got this year. Just give context to one another and I think you'll move north together much faster." Those are just a couple examples that come to mind.

Emily Hill (29:47):
Thank you. Thank you so much. And let's flip the script a little bit. What do you think the SDRs should be doing to work better with marketers?

Ralph Barsi (29:55):
Yeah, another good question. I think they should be learning and educating themselves on all functions of the business, including demand gen.

That way they can connect the dots. So, at ServiceNow, one thing that we did, which was just super helpful to the SDRs, is we would hold Team Tuesdays and on Team Tuesdays, a representative from one of the business functions in marketing, for example, where sales development rolled to at the time would get up and present in front of the team, it would be recorded and then shared across the organization.

So, we got acquainted with one another. We got an understanding of what KPIs Wendy's team was focused on and vice versa, and we got to know each other. So, where this is helpful is when SDRs are calling prospects and they're calling into prospective accounts, they have an idea of what problems their persona might be trying to solve because they were at a team Tuesday last week where this persona in our own company acquainted them with what's on the hook and what's important to them and what their initiatives are so they can have really relevant conversations and get to value much faster because they have a macro understanding of who does what in the organization.

So, that's another example of how you can do that.

Wendy Perilli (31:16):
I'd just like to add something, specifically for small companies. One of the things that I love about our sales team and our SDRs is they're not afraid to ask, "Hey, Wendy, can you jump on a call with us? Or can you be the hook? Could we ask a CMO if they'd be willing to take a call with our CMO?" "Hey, could you reach out and make an introduction for me?" Right? "Can we connect through LinkedIn on some of these things?" Again, marketing people, depending on who your audience is, find who's connected to your audience and let your SDRs connect through you.

Ralph Barsi (31:46):
That's right. And a word to any SDR R or SDR R leader that might be listening.

When you're going to ask somebody, especially a senior leader, to broker an introduction for you, YOU do the work, don't have THEM do the work. Don't say, "Hey, Wendy, looks like Emily, can you put her in touch with me? Instead, you say, Wendy looks like you're connected to Emily. I have framed up this email for you to go ahead and tailor and edit if you'd like, or to preface in forwarding this to Emily so that I can warm up the introduction, make it much easier for you to want to make the introduction, et cetera." A lot of SDRs just, wow, looks like Ralph knows somebody. "Hey, Ralph, get to work. Start introducing me to people" without any help, and I've got things to do. I don't want to stop my world just to make sure that I reach out to somebody that I might not have spoken to in five years to say, "Hey, ultimately so-and-so saw that we're connected and it's just too much work sometimes."

Emily Hill (32:51):
No, absolutely. I appreciate you saying that because I have definitely been asked by SDRs to reach out to somebody who I haven't spoken in five years like you said, and it feels awkward. I want to help them, but I'm also like, how do I start a conversation with somebody I haven't talked to in a long time just to try to pitch our company? That's really...

Ralph Barsi (33:14):
It's a real problem, Emily. So anyway, but that's my message to the SDRs. My message to the leaders is have an email template so that when this ask comes across the wire, because as leaders, we want to help the business move forward, and if I happen to know somebody in my network that I wasn't even thinking about and you found them, I absolutely want to engage with them.

So, perhaps I have a couple bullet points in an email template, and the second I get that request, I fire the email off. "Here are my rules of engagement. If you would like me to consider brokering an introduction." So, do a little work upfront and then help that SDR help you.

Emily Hill (33:52):
Yeah, no, absolutely. So Ralph, these days, 43% of buyers prefer a rep free buying experience, and sales reps have roughly only 5% of a customer's time during their B2B buying journey according to Gartner. And B2B Marketing USA says, "while 84% of buying committees have a champion, you're still not selling to just one person anymore. Buying committees generally include from seven to 10 decision makers." I've even seen like 14.

So, considering there's a whole committee of people to impress nowadays, how do SDRs handle these situations? Can you give us some insight into how they deal with that when marketers are giving them leads?

Ralph Barsi (34:36):
Yeah. Yeah. Here's what I see work: When SDRs call those statistics out right in the open:

"Wendy, Emily, I just saw this metric. This stat said that like 43% of people in your position don't even want to talk to a seller if they don't have to. They'd like to kind of do this on their own. So let's cut to the chase. I'm going to give you a lot of content and material for you to quietly evaluate us. That said, if there's a specific timeline that you'd like to evaluate our offering, and there's a couple people that you'll want to engage with throughout that process, but we want to make this painless too. If anything, it's a first impression of what it's going to be like to work with our company as a customer. You're going to get first class world-class experiences from soup to nuts starting right now."

So. the second part of the question is when there's a lot of people on the committee doing this consensus-based decision work to scale. So, when you send an email like that, or you leave a video message for somebody like that, leave it for the committee. Don't just leave it for an individual.

Say, "I want you to forward this message to any stakeholder that's going to be involved in this decision. So (in bold: This is for the CMO...a couple words, couple bullet points...in bold: This is for the demand gen leader. Like, work at scale, right at scale, talk at scale, and you'll come across giving a great impression that A, you've got your act together. B, you're thinking about the prospect versus you and your company and your team and your number. And three, you're just going to make it easier and simpler for people to buy from you.

Wendy Perilli (36:25):
Kind of building on that, it's a complex buying decision-making process, and obviously in enterprise sales it's even more complex, right? Obviously PeerSpot is focused on enterprise technologies and late stage funnels, which hopefully is something that SDRs would want. Thinking about that and thinking maybe about ABM, how has ABM changed what SDRs do?

Ralph Barsi(36:51):
It's changed it in a good way. In my experience, you've got account-based marketing account-based sales development, coined by my friend Lars Nilsson.

And at the end of the day, what account-based is all about is running campaigns in an integrated fashion; including everybody in the family in your company, making sure that executives are aware of what the high value targets are that you're looking at for this campaign, making sure that marketing knows what talk tracks you're going to need, depending on the personas that you're aiming to engage your sales team is well aware of when you're going to be reaching out to people because they might be able to weigh in a different part of the company that you're calling into, calling into different facets and departments of the company.

And again, you're creating a collective experience working with all your stakeholders internally and ultimately reaching out to touching multiple stakeholders on the other end. And now you're all in this together. Not only is it consensus-based buying now, but with the ABM approach, it's consensus-based selling.

Wendy Perilli (38:02):
Yeah, it feels more collaborative. You have to be right to your point, you can't be stepping on each other's toes to get into there and you want to do more where you're engaging late stage or with relationships or it's not content syndication.

Ralph Barsi (38:17):
A hundred percent. And pardon my interruption, Wendy, I think you're spot on with that, and I think it reminds me of the Fantasia cartoon where Mickey Mouse has his wizard's hat on and he's standing on the mountain and there's all this swirl and craziness going on while he's at the peak of the mountain, but he's orchestrating things.

So, unless you have a quarterback and somebody orchestrating the chaos that can ensue if the integrated campaign falls apart or slides off the rails, it's going to be an uphill climb for everybody. So, make sure you have an owner that's really running the show that all other stakeholders actually respect and will listen to.

Wendy Perilli (38:57):
Good feedback. Who normally is that? Have you seen in organizations? Is that marketing? Is it a sales leader as an account leader, as an executive?

Ralph Barsi (39:04):
Yeah, selling into the enterprise in particular. It is typically the account executive. The account executive runs the show and knows the stakeholders well enough to know when to pull people in and when not to.

Wendy Perilli (39:19):
Yep, that makes sense. That makes sense. Any final thoughts, Ralph? This has been phenomenal. This content is going to be so good. (Right on.) For all of our listeners, whether you're in demand gen or you're an SDR leader or an SDR, final thoughts, words of wisdom.

Ralph Barsi (39:35):
Yeah, I guess final thoughts are start facing outward. Stop thinking about you. Do everything you can to start thinking about your internal stakeholders, your prospects, their world versus your world, and what you're trying to accomplish today or this month or this quarter.

Also, I mean, I would encourage you to actually listen to the recording of this episode again and again, because we brought up a lot of different points about some you don't. But I think the takeaway question you should be asking yourself is, "how good are we at this? On a scale of one to five, are we really good? Do we have this dialed-in, or do we have a lot of work to do?" And that should guide you to prioritize what you need to work on first, second, and third, and by when. Like, light a fire under yourself and your team to get really good at the areas we talked about today.

Wendy Perilli (40:31):
Yeah, I love that. And I would just challenge all of my marketing leader friends. If your team hasn't gone to sit with the SDRs, sit with them for a day, sit with them, listen to them, watch them, watch how they work.

And if you don't know the names of the people on your SDR team or who your SDR leader is, if you don't have lunch with them at least once a month, you're missing a huge opportunity. I think it's so easy to forget there's somebody who's receiving the stuff that we send them, and essentially we need that feedback, right? "Hey, we got one deal out of this and here's why." Right?

So often we don't do that postmortem, and I think that's a best practice. So Ralph, thank you so much for joining us today. You have been phenomenal, as I mentioned before.

Emily Hill
Yeah. Thank you so much. I learned a lot from this conversation, and I know that our audience will learn so much as well. Like Wendy said, from SDRs to sales leaders, to marketing leaders, to demand gen folks, this is amazing.

Ralph Barsi (41:25):
Awesome. Well, thank you ladies, and a big thank you to the whole PeerSpot team. Thanks for doing what you do and just for being aware of what we're all doing out here too. Thanks for having me on today.

Emily Hill (41:35):
Thank you. You bet. So if you have any questions or other ideas to add to the discussion, feel free to reach out to us on LinkedIn or join our community on Facebook Tech Demand Gen Spot. We'll put our info in the show notes as well, so it's easy to find.

Until next time, thanks for tuning in. To keep getting this sweet show and your podcast feed every time a new episode drops, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And don't forget, "tell a friend, dude."

Special thanks to PeerSpot for sponsoring our show Peers. Spot is the buying Intelligence platform where Tech Pros learn about enterprise products before buying. And on top of that peer spot helps demand gen marketers fill their pipeline with high quality bottom of the funnel leads, and create voice-of-customer content for all stages of the buyer's journey. For more info about demand gen and how to fuel your pipeline, check out marketing.peerspot.com.