🎙️Transcript: Modern Sales Power Hour

🎙️Transcript: Modern Sales Power Hour

Modern Sales Pros Power Hour
Peter Kazanjy, Ralph Barsi
August 12, 2022

📺 Watch on YouTube

Pete Kazanjy:
Yo, Ralph. Hello.

Ralph Barsi:
What's up Pete?

How you doing?

I'm great, I'm great. Thanks for having me on today.

I'm super pumped, man. We're going to have a rollicking good time here talking about SDR awesome sauce.

I think that's what I said. I said we promised the Power Hour audience an SDR awesome sauce and we will definitely deliver.

So while folks are kind of joining us here, I know that you have a band, what is it called again? Segue?

Ah yes. My band is called Segue, S-E-G-U-E.

Oh yeah, the silly personal transporter kind of messed that up for you guys, like, "goofballs."

Yep. Silly is a great word. It's also misspelled.

Exactly. Did you guys have any shows recently?

Yes. In fact, we played a week ago, Friday. We played in Lake Tahoe at the Crystal Bay Casino. It was the first time we'd played in some time and it was a blast.

That's awesome. Where's Crystal Bay? Is that Tahoe City area or is that the northern state line or what's the deal is that? Oh, it's a casino. So I guess that's obvious.

Right, Northern State line, just next to the old CalNeva that was recently bought by Larry Ellison.

Larry Ellison bought the CalNeva?

He bought the CalNeva. Look it up.

And he's just going to knock the damn thing down and build a house for himself or something because he probably already has like...

Good question! Honestly, it's just a piece of property that's just abandoned sitting there with a giant fence around it. I don't know what he's going to do.

Oh, it wasn't operational anymore? I had no idea. I think I went to a conference there a while. I think actually Lever might've had their SKO at some point there, but anyway, that's hilarious.

It's tumbleweeds now.

Oh man. I guess Segue's not going to be playing there. Awesome.

Yeah, no.

Not so much. Killer. Alright, well we'll get this party started.

So hey everyone, thanks for joining us for Modern Sales Power Hour. I'm Pete Kazanjy.

So just for a little bit of a context for folks, the idea of this event is to make sure that we have good audience participation. So please do use the chat panel.

We've got Ralph here, we've got myself here, to answer all of your burning SDR operational excellence questions or any other kind of questions.

Maybe like how to tune your guitar, the best way to deal with scheduling gigs, all those sort of things. But so do please use the chat.

Do use the Q&A panel. For folks who are maybe not familiar, Power Hour is hosted by Modern Sales Pros.

MSP is the world's largest revenue leadership community for those in sales management, sales, revenue operations, sales development and related disciplines.

And so the community's mission is to create an environment for our 27,000-and-growing members to answer questions they've struggled to solve on their own, help them see around corners they may not know about just to get better.

That's what we're all about, getting better. And so the way that we do that is through great live sessions, like what you're about to experience here, through a robust online forum, and also in-person events.

And so for those who weren't previously admitted, we'll be adding you to the community after this. And so before we get started, Power Hour is a fairly unique format.

It's not really a specific piece of content that we're talking through. The idea here is to answer any kind of burning questions that you might have.

We had a bunch of questions that were submitted ahead of time, but you're here to learn.

So please do use that Q&A, please do use the chat panel, and, of course, you can just listen as well.

So with that, let's go ahead and head into some introductions here. My name's Pete Kazanjy. I am one of the founders of Atrium. We make data-driven sales management software that exists to help managers use data to improve team performance.

So AE, SDR, AM, CSM managers and leaders to use metrics and data to improve the performance of their reps and their teams.

One of the cool things about Atrium is super easy to set up. You just log in with your Salesforce credentials and within five minutes Atrium will show you how your reps are performing across hundreds of metrics.

So we're big sales nerds over here. Also, I'm the founder of Modern Sales Pros, as kind of noted earlier, and previously wrote a book on startup sales called Founding Sales.

So that's a little bit about me. You guys have heard about me before. For those who haven't, now you know me. Hi, what's up?

I'm super pumped to have our illustrious guest here today, Mr. Ralph Barsi, who is absolutely fantastic, the guru of sales development himself.

Ralph, you want to give folks a little bit of a rundown of what you're spending your time on now at Tray, and a little bit of your background before that, and then we can kind of get into some of the topics.

Happy to Pete. So first things first, thank you for all the contributions you've made to our profession, not just with Atrium, but obviously Modern Sales Pros, the book, just your relentless involvement in what we're doing.

On behalf of a lot of people, thank you for doing what you do and thanks for having me on.

Just a bit about me, I center a lot of my work in the sales development world, as Pete said. I've been in sales for close to 30 years, so I'm aging myself a bit.

But pretty much the first half of my career was spent as an individual contributor and the latter half was spent mostly on building and leading sales development organizations.

I am at Tray.io in San Francisco. We're in the integration-automation space and I oversee the sales development organization at Tray.

Prior to that, I was at ServiceNow, where I built and led their global sales development organization, which was quite a run and quite a ride.

And prior to that, held a number of different sales development leadership roles at some popular SaaS companies here in the Bay Area.

And have had the privilege to be able to advise and consult a lot of companies outside of work, which has really been fun. So it's great to be here. I hope I can help the audience today.

Well, I think one of the things that's particularly compelling about, I mean it's aside from your shirt, and the fact that you're such a talented musician, and of course the haircut is...you and I have matching haircuts.

I just have a hat on.

It ain't easy, Pete.

Yeah, aerodynamic. I think you've had experience with all sizes of sales development organizations. So the Tray one right now is a dozen folks or so, I think.

Tray is post Series B or post Series C I want to say. So there's that. And of course ServiceNow is crazy, right? Many hundreds of sales development folks or sales development reps.

So I think that a lot of the times people kind of pick a lane and they're just on their merry way. And so the fact that you've seen it all, because there's different things at different points in time when you're small, it's like chaos and you're trying to drive any sort of consistency and when it's large, it's about alignment and paint within the lines and don't actually be necessarily be super innovative.

I need you to do these things right here. So I'm particularly pumped about that. I guess to start things off here, I think else if anybody's a Twitter person, Ralph is a fantastic follow because he's such a positive human being and we could all use more positivity and gratitude in our lives.

So Ralph is a fantastic Twitter follow in that regard, so definitely do that. But you think about a lot about leadership and a lot about coaching. What are some of your favorite leadership topics like sales leadership topics as of late?

Appreciate that. I think you hit it right on the head when you talked about the different sizes and phases that companies and teams are in.

So it kind of depends on the chapter that you're at in your career, or in your life, or what section you're dealing with, or what phase you're dealing with right now.

But what's funny, you asked about leadership topics, and it always comes back to the same ones:

• It's like how do you maintain a culture of performance?
• How do you maintain high morale on the team?
• How do you ensure that everybody knows which way north is?

That's agnostic with respect to the different chapters.

You will always land on those topics. So they remain some of my favorite ones to talk about and work on.

And so I think that's a good one. Let's just use culture of high performance as an example. What are some of your favorite tactical mechanisms by which to engender? It's like engender and then persist.

Yeah, a good one.

It has be consistent. It can't just be like a spike and be like, "Alright, cool." It's got to be like a habit. What are some of your favorite mechanisms by which to engender that and persist it?

Well, I think it's really important, like I mentioned earlier, that everybody knows which way north is, and it sounds pretty easy, but it reminds me of a seminar I went to many years ago with Dr. Steven Covey, who wrote, what was it? Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

He gets up in front of the audience and he says, "Okay, I want everybody to just put your left hand over your eyes and with your right hand, I want you to point north, then drop the left hand from your eyes and look around the room."

Yeah, there you go, Pete. And everybody, however, is pointing everywhere. They're all over the map.

And he said, "Look, this is how so many different organizations are run.

We walk around through the organization - through the quarter, through the year, et cetera - thinking we know which way north is and what the mission is to get north, when we couldn't be more further from the truth."

And so one of the first things I like to do when I parachute into an organization is establish which way's north, where it is we're headed, and why we're headed there.

And then other mechanisms that I'll implement, along with my leadership team, include Standards of Excellence.

We want to raise our standards, we want to lead by example.

And so we break standards into four pieces. They all start with the letter P. There's Performance, there's Process, there's Proficiency, and there's Professionalism.

And we actually measure and manage our entire team in those four areas. So those are examples of some things that I look to just ensure everybody is lifting all boats.

When I think about some of the things that can trip up an SDR organization...we literally just went through an OKR exercise with my leadership team the other day.

So I'm thinking about it from a leadership standpoint. But then, of course, for most of us here talking today, it's like I've got a 6-person SDR team, I've got a 20-person SDR team, I've got whatever.

Probably some of the places where people kind of get confused on north is like, "Cool, what are we here to, what does an ideal opportunity look like, right?"


What are the criteria? Like really crystalline.

I'll give you an example, right? We actually have a scoring algorithm. I'm overstating the case, but literally we have an ops scoring mechanism where our SDRs know that an ideal opportunity for Atrium is going to be a sales organization that is on Salesforce because we only support Salesforce as a CRM integration right now, but a sales organization that's on Salesforce that has "where SDR + AE is greater than 5, but less than 500, because once you get up into super crazy land, you end up with messed up CRMs and all sorts of craziness.

And then, moreover, so that's the first thing.

Those are minimum qualification criteria, like inclusion in and then kick out. And then the second piece is how good is this opp?

And so literally what they'll do is they look at how many AEs, how many SDRs, and then how many sales operations people there are in the organization because it's super trivial to just look at that on LinkedIn Sales Nav, just do a little bit of math.

I think it's multiply by two for AEs, multiply and then multiply by one for SDRs, and then every sales operations person is a plus five or something like that.

And it gives it just a very rough opps score there. And we have this all templated out in a Guru card or whatever, and then they just paste it.

And when they're creating an opportunity, they just paste it in the New Opp creation notes, which of course, then travels along to the account executive, it fires out via the New Opportunity creation notification, fires out via email, fires out via Troops, et cetera.

But the point is that it's very crystallinely defined, like, "What's in, what's out?" And then also, "Hey, show my work such that, a) I can be aware of it, but then also my downstream account executive or whatever can be aware of it as well," like what program they participated in, et cetera, et cetera.

So that's an example of something where I think a lot of times organizations can trip over themselves by just not being very crisp around what's acceptable versus not.

Where are other areas that people kind of trip on themselves and ways that you've seen remediating said tripping?

Yeah. No. So first of all, I love that formula. I am reminded of my friend Craig Rosenberg. His company...his former company, TOPO.

Craig's the man.

One of their mantras was "specificity wins." So if you can't be specific about which way north is and then backing into who a qualified opportunity is to our business, it's going to be a steep climb.

So make sure you nail that. And then you brought up another great point about showing your work.

So if I'm going to pass the baton to you, Pete, as my account executive, and I've just teed up an opportunity for you, but I've not shown the work I've done in the conversations I've had, I liken it to, you go to visit a physician and the physician's assistant comes in, takes the blood pressure, temperature, weighs you, all that jazz, writes it all on the document that then goes to the doctor.

So when the doctor comes in to visit you, if they don't have all that stuff on their medical record for you, they're like, so, "Hey Pete, why are you here today? What are we doing?"

It's like, "Dude, I just did all these tests with your assistant. That's why I'm here." So the SDRs have to do that diagnosis, at least get things started, so that when you do hand that medical record to the AE, they could pick things up from they left off.

And it also is going to delight the prospect and their experience. You know what I mean? So yeah, those are some things that we do.

Yeah, the SDR-AE handoff is always hilarious because what we, so there is the recording of the information.

So first we got to know what our ICP is, and I love that about the specificity wins. You saw that Craig just got a new gig at Scale Venture Partners, right? Did you see that?

I did just see that and they're lucky to have him.

Awesome. Oh my gosh. I know. I'm sure he was bored out of his mind at Gartner. Sorry, I didn't say that out loud.

What's not over there? What is that?


Oh man, that's going to be so awesome because he's over there and then Brandon O'Sullivan is over there helping out some portfolio companies as well.

Scale is definitely making moves with respect to GTM excellence, which is pretty great to see. Actually, Craig is going to be speaking at the MSP Virtual Summit in October. He is going to be on an operating partner panel with him, Doug Landis, Travis Bryant from RedPoint. It'll be a goat rodeo.

All great. All good ones.

Yeah, but the funny thing is the recording thing of it, it's like, okay, that's all well and good, but someone's got to read the goddamn thing.

And I think that oftentimes AEs can really screw that up. And so one of the things that I enforce, and I guess this goes to alignment, one of the things that, so specificity wins.

I'm a big documentation guy. And it's funny, you had mentioned a standard of excellence, which of course is like a Bill Walsh phrase, and I know you grew up in the Bay Area, so you must be a Niners fan and I'm a huge Bill Walsh.

The Score Takes Care of Itself, process, trust the process.

Coaching Tree.

Yeah, I'm a big acolyte of all that. And so I'm a big documentation guy. And so of course we have our first call document, our first call process documented for our AEs like crazy.

And a really important component of it is pre-call planning. Pre-call planning means consuming the new operation notes because guess what? The SDR didn't just do that for funsies, right?

They did work when maybe they did some lightweight, we actually do this thing that we call "pre-disco" where once we get somebody on the hook, we actually ask them about their priorities.

Like, "Hey, do any of these ring a bell right now? Like resonate? Any of these top of mind?" And 50% of the time they won't reply, and that's fine. And 50% of the time they will reply and they'll just be like, "Actually, I just hired 10 account executives. And what's really, really top of mind for us right now is instrumenting the health of their ramps."

So then that of course goes into the new operation because that's a key Atrium use case. And so then the AE needs to consume that and be like, "Okay, got it. I'm setting an intention before the snap happens here, that I'm going to make sure to really hammer on ramping, or daily driven one-on-ones, or fill in the blank there."

But the AEs have to do that. And so we're big on making sure that that's documented. The compliance authentication on that is maybe not as theirs as you could be.

And I guess that's actually where Gong trackers or Chorus trackers and kind of things like that come in where you can see if things are being mentioned or whatever, but it's like if you're going to ask these guys to do the work down here, we got to ask these other guys and gals over here to make sure that they're, they're actually taking the handoff and running with it as opposed to fumbling the ball.

Yeah. Wow. There's a lot we can get into right there. The pre-mortem I think is very underrated and, not only for the handoff between SDR and AE, but let's say you're doing a land and expand play, and two years go by, and a contract might be up for renewal and you think there's an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell this prospect.

The CSM's going to go in, and the A-player CSMs are going to take a look at those pre-mortem conversations from two years ago. And if there is no documentation or chronicling of the conversation, again, you're starting from scratch, you're losing value in terms of credibility and rapport with the client, and they're likely going to churn.

So you have to keep that long-term in mind. It's super critical. Another thing you brought up is, well, one thing that it brought up in my mind, rather, is we want to mitigate funnel constipation. You know what I mean? We don't want all these early stage opportunities...

Oh my God, can we make a t-shirt or a hat that says Funnel Constipation? I think I know what emojis would be on it. Okay, keep going...

Me too, me too. It would definitely get attention, but yeah, you don't want the top of the funnel inflating and swelling up with all these discoveries that have not yet happened, even though the criteria has been met.

You want to make sure that it continues to move through the funnel. And that is what happens when an account executive really takes a good pre-mortem to heart and runs with it.

So you see the funnel constipation problem, you see a low win rate, you see a problem with churn, you see a problem with landing and expanding, and the smart operators are going to line check that system and they're going to double-check that compliance was adhered to early stages in the early conversations.

So the documentation's critical, the criteria being specific, that's very critical as well. And like you said, showing the work, doing the work, having the internal conversations after the pre-mortem, which is called a post-mortem, super, super important if you want to streamline your operation.

Yeah. The thing on the CS thing that you mentioned, it's not just making sure that that documentation was there initially.

One of the things that I tell my team about all the time is set future you up for success. So there's us right now and then there's us in three months or six years or nine months, 12 months, or whatever.

And so it's like take actions now such that when you wake up in a year, you're going to be like, "Oh my goodness, Ralph, back in August, 2022, he was so thoughtful. He set me Ralph up for success."

And so one of the things that we do in that regard, we have these...So most of our CS function are either former sales operations people or have been trained in sales operations.

Because essentially what we do is people buy Atrium in order to help their sales organizations be more data-driven.

And that's really kind of like, what do the kids called these days? A vibe, right? It's like a whole thing. It has to imbue the organization.

So people will buy Atrium for very specific use cases, like, "Hey, we want to implement metrics scorecarding for our SDRs, such that our managers can use it."

It's like, "Okay, wonderful. We'll start with that, but there's so much more that you could do around it. Okay, what about measuring the ramp of your SDRs, the quality of their execution or, like, their multi-threading, or filling these things or, okay, what about the AE team and are they prospecting or they're...How do you do QBRs with metrics?" "We don't." "Okay, great."

And so what ends up happening is our CS organization...So that's why, it's like, you start with a single use case and then you kind permeate the organization.

It's a vibe, dude!

The vibe. It's just got to be everywhere. It's a vibe. It's a way of life.

And so what's really important though is as you're doing that, you have to know what has been deployed and what has been cared about...and so what they do...

And so the important thing is to make it easy AF to do that. So one of the ways that we do this with our CS team, and I think this is something, if there's anybody, if there's any sales operators who are with us today, it's just thinking about how to make it as easy as possible to record these things.

So in our case, we have this concept of a, it's a task, it's a Salesforce task of sub-type, customer success play, and then we have another picklist field that's like 50 different play types or whatever.

And instead of having to manually go and record those tasks, we literally have a Salesforce flow that's like there's a button on the Contact object.

They get off a call, they're like, "Cool, we did these two plays. We did an AE ramping play, and then we also deployed a pipeline, couple pipeline hygiene assets that are now being used in one-on-ones, and broadcasting to the team is like record, record."

And so what ends up coming...They come back in 12 months and they're like, or sorry...They come back in six months to do the QBR, and it's like, here's all the awesome sauce that has been...

But I think the important thing is you want to make it as easy as possible for your team to do these things.

So if you're talking about SDRs, you got to make sure that they have a template for that New Opp creation. And if you're talking about AEs, it's like being crisp.

Our AE team uses a Scratchpad and then in order to update all the relevant fields over in the opp and what have you, or if you're talking about you just want to make it as easy as possible because then those folks will actually record it versus it just going off into ether.

On the backend, it's certainly going to help because obviously you could run reports from those picklists and then you could spot trends, gaps, et cetera.

But I think the real issue, which is what you're talking about, is just actually inputting all that data and making that simple to do. That's really tough.

I mean, when I was an AE back in the day, I would carve out 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Saturday mornings to input all my data into our CRM, and it sucked, but it really paid on the backend.

And it speaks to something you talked about earlier about kind of making sure that you honor your future self. Same applies to the business. You want to honor your customer two years from now and your company two years from now, and you reap what you sow.

So if you're not planting healthy seeds now by inputting the important data and doing a lot of the heavy lifting, it's going to hurt everybody in the long run, and you certainly don't want to do that.

Yeah. We have a really good question here from John. So I'm going to throw this out here because I know that you'll have opinions on this, Ralph. I know you will.

Ok. What's up John?

Essentially account-based, right? So a lot of ABX vendors out there, et cetera, et cetera. What are good resources to help people transition from a lead-based thinking to account-based...to account-based thinking?

And let's just constrain this to top of funnel. What are some good mechanisms that you would recommend for folks who are moving away from lead-centric to account account based? What does Lars call it? Account-Based Sales Development?

He does. ABSD. Yes, he coined the phrase.

ABSD sounds like a little close to BDSM, but yeah, I mean it's Lars, so what do you want?

He knows what he's doing. With respect to mechanisms on ABM and ABX, it's kind of old school, the way I approach it and the way I've seen it done well.

Essentially, it's sorting by vertical, it's sorting by persona, and it's keeping things simple.

In other words, don't try to boil the ocean by selling to 10 different verticals maybe for this month or this quarter or even this fiscal year, you focus on two to three verticals and you immerse yourself in the critical business issues and trends that those verticals are facing.

And then you drill into the specific personas and the challenges that they're facing. When you're approaching an account, for example, don't think of one persona, think of the three to five personas exactly that either benefit or hurt from the systemic impact of decisions made by your key persona. That way you can have a number of different conversations.

Another thing that's old school is, you might even want to grab a stack of Post-It notes and your top 10 accounts, you actually write them down, or you print out the logo on your printer, and you tape them on your laptop monitor or your mirror in your bathroom, and you don't take that logo off until you've booked a meeting there, had a good conversation with that persona, or account, or with that vertical, however you want to slice it, but you got to kind of get old school. I've seen that work at multiple organizations, that kind of approach as it relates to ABX.

I love it. Yeah, I think the way that, so I talk about this a little bit in the prospecting chapter of Founding Sales around how do you identify your accounts?

And so, one of the ways you can identify accounts is based, you can I call it account first or human first. People always make fun of me for using the word human, but it's okay.

So it is like how are we identifying the account that cares about this? The organization is going to be the thing that buys, but then the humans within the organization are going to be the things that care.

And so that might be, like you were just talking about certain verticals that you might start with. It might be, "Hey, this account has these technological characteristics." It might be "they have these technographic characteristics because they've got," gosh, I don't know what would be, let's say that we're qualified or drift or whatever.

It's like, okay, cool. If you've got Marketo live or you've got Salesforce Pardot live, or if you've got HubSpot Live, we care about you.

If you don't have any of those live, we don't care about you, or we will care about you eventually, but not right now. Okay, bye.

And so that might be the first thing then. So then once you know who the accounts are that we potentially care about, then it's about identifying the personas who are within that account.

So I'll use Atrium as an example here. We know that an organization that we care about would, as I said earlier, have SDR plus AE is greater than or equal to five all the way up to 500. Probably the sweet spot is SDR. Where things start getting really kind of fun is when you can no longer keep your reps in your brain.

So it's like SDR plus AE is greater than 10 at that point. Now you got to start now you really got to start managing biometric because you can't just do it by vibe. You can't just do it via osmosis.

So then what we'll do is then we'll identify, so then we know who the human personas are. Those are the ones who care, and that's SDR manager, SDR leader, AE manager, AE leader, sales operations, sales enablement.

And so we actually have an offshore mechanism that does this. So we'll just take accounts, kick it off to the offshore team who do all the contact identification. They have a LinkedIn SalesNav.

Actually, there's I think a half dozen of 'em, and it's just like they go through and just identify the contacts in question, rip the contact information that comes back over the wire to go to the SDRs or the AEs or whatever, and it's just like here.

And so then what you can do is you multi-thread across those folks, sorry, at least the ingredients are there. And then what they have to have is the relevant per persona sequence there in order to go after those folks.

Because if you're going to do the calories there, you might as well pull it all the way through and not hit these folks with a generic sequence. That's just silly pants.

You're able to, and then the next thing you got to do is you got to measure that multi-threading. And that's, so one thing is a writing and a scripting in an Outreach or a SalesLoft. Are you guys an Outreach or a SalesLoft shop or something else?


Outreach, yeah. So that's that exercise, and then there's the measurement component that's like an Atrium or a BI thing or whatever.

It's like, "Okay, cool. I'm doing all this work to give you all these contacts. Are you then taking the actions that are required to multi-thread them? Because then I would see that in your metrics that your average contacts engaged per account is 3.5, which is what we expect and, uh-oh, Bobby's at 1.7. Huh? Why are you only hitting 1.7 contacts per account?"

So that's how I think about it is who are the human personas? Make sure that we have the relevant messages. Sorry, who are the human personas that ought to be identified? Are we identifying them, such that we can actually shoot at the ducks on the pond, and then do we have the relevant communications lined up for them, and then are we delivering those relevant communications?

That's kind of how I approach that. Did you have something you wanted to add to that, Ralph?

Just that it makes perfect sense to take that approach. An old sales leader of mine used to call that "orging it out."

You've got to org out your key accounts. And I think something that's a little underrated in what you said that I want to emphasize is the copywriting aspect and the communication aspect, so, that the relevant sequences for each persona are taken a little more seriously.

I think we could be, as a profession, better writers. We could be a little more succinct, a little more concise, and a little more pointed and relevant to the personas.

I think...I can attest from my own experience, I see a lot of sloppiness at high volume, which is frightening because there are so many sales development reps that I take to heart as representative of me and of my team because we're in the same profession and a lot of people make us look bad.

That's like where Richard Harris talks about..."accelerating the suck," right?

Yeah, drives me nuts.

All you're doing is accelerating the suck.

Yeah, I think that's fair. On the topic of making sure that the content is aligned, though, you and I were kind of talking about this before we started, a little bit, about SDR living in sales land or SDR living in marketing land.

Our SDR team lives in marketing land for us. And I mean, part of it's because we're a small organization and our VP of Marketing is very capable.

And so he just is taking that because I had 13 account executives reporting to me because, I don't know, I like to be mean to myself. Don't have that anymore.

We have a new VP of Sales who's amazing, but I think it can be a superpower because the more content and the more plays you're able to run, and the more micro you can get, of course, now your conversions are going to get higher.

So instead of having a generic sequence, we have five sequences, one for each persona, and in fact, maybe actually we have four sequences for each of those five personas based on the use cases.

"Oh, you said that thing" like, "Oh, I saw that you just hired a bunch of SDRs, Ms. SDR leader."

"Oh, I saw that you guys just hired a bunch of SDRs, Mr. Sales Operations Manager." "I saw that you just hired a bunch of SDRs, Ms. Sales leader."

And then they have different ramifications to the SDR manager's like, "Man, I bet that's chaos for you, and you're busier than a one-legged kickboxer."

For the sales ops person, it's like, "Oh, I bet you're probably being asked for a bunch of reporting and instrumentation." And for the sales leader, it's like, "Man, you probably really want track the ramp of this to make sure your investment's coming back."

So now you've got this content matrix, and so obviously marketers are the word people. And so the more complicated your motion is in that regard, maybe the more it makes sense for it to be in marketing land. Where have you seen, I think you said that you've done both.

I've done both. And my disclaimer, Pete, is that there's no silver bullet. I've seen pros and cons to both.

Rolling into marketing is very viable, in that marketing is a key contributor to the revenue pipeline, as is sales development just as a standalone function. It's a major pipeline contributor.

On the flip side, it's great for sales development to roll into sales because most, not all, but most sales development reps are aspiring to become individual contributors. They want to be account executives and carry a bag.

So there's benefits to both. Sales is relying a lot on those pre-mortems we talked about and illustrating maybe a selling methodology that the entire company uses, not that marketing isn't, but sales really has emphasis on that selling methodology, finding that critical business issue early in the process, et cetera, and uncovering the problems and impact of doing things the way they're doing it today.

And I can see a lot of sales development reps adopting that early in their talk tracks, and then obviously carrying it into an AE role in the future. So I mean, they both work

The way that...

There was something else you said.

Sorry. Sorry, Pete, sorry to interrupt. There's one thing I wrote down when you said the marketers are the word people. They are, but we've got to change that. I mean, the salespeople have got to be the word people too for crying out loud.

Oh, they're the word people. Yeah. No, we're communicators. That's what I tell my reps all the time. They're like, we are professional communicators. We either, we do it this way like runtime with our mouths, but also this way it's yin and yang. Totally.

Amen, brother.

How do you make people better at that?

Well, you focus on it. It's like you're not focusing on your left ear lobe until right now. I mean, because I said it. That's how easy it is.

So if you present to the team as a sales development leader, like, "Hey, we've got to get better at copywriting, and we're going to start paying attention to how your sentences are crafted, and we're going to shed light and provide some guidance when and where needed, but we're going to finish this month better writers than we were last month and last quarter, and we're going to highlight the winners.

We're going to highlight the ones who are really implementing what we're trying to do because you are representing the entire company, and its brand, and the brand of our team. So let's get good at writing."

And that might mean issuing a book On Writing Well by William Zinsser, or Writing That Works by Raphaelson and Roman, or On Writing by Stephen King himself.

There's just a number of different ways that we could start to shine a bright spotlight on the craft of writing.

Yeah, I think that's a really good point. I was saying, "Oh, they're the words...they're, they're the writing people."

It's like, no, man, that's like saying that it's not everybody's responsibility to prospect. It's not everybody's responsibility to block. If you're not actually the ball carrier in any given play, guess what? You're a blocker.

In fact, the quarterback, the quarterback's a blocker as soon as...the kicker is a defender, as soon as he's done kicking. I think a couple of the different ways that we help with that, and we've seen our customers do that, is one thing that we do in our organization that's kind of fun is, I get a lot of prospects emails. Weird.

I imagine you do as well, and we will put 'em into our SDR team Slack channel and just be like, cool, and just workshop it, right? They're like, "Hey, what do you guys think? What do you think about this subject line of this text preview?"

Ah, that's beautiful.

They kind of go off on it, right?

Yeah. Or do the content as well, I swear to goodness. And so now it's a thing that we do. Anybody who gets a prospecting email will just dump it in there.

One of...our senior marketing manager had one, our VP of Marketing gets 'em a lot too. Sometimes you can pick up good things like, oh my goodness, the SDR...

Probably the best SDR experience that we had recently was an SDR from Qualified, the chatbot company. I forget the woman's name, but it's not surprising because the gentleman who used to run SDR at Qualified, a guy named Ilan Kopecki.

I know him well, great guy. Former Salesforce guy.

Yep, Salesforce, Yammer, et cetera. Yeah, he's over in Atlanta now, but he's just extremely, extremely competent in the craft.

We essentially are having a love fest for this SDR in our pipe gen Slack channel because she had not only...she had multi-threaded our organization excellently, and each multi-thread was very, very, very good. Her messaging to the senior marketing manager, her messaging to the VP, a VP of Marketing, was all a) very personalized, but also tied to the relevant need.

And then we took away...You take away bad examples like, "Hey, don't do that." Oh my God, there's literally "Checking-in" is in the preview text.

I know it's brutal.

Why are you even trying? And then like, "Hey, guys, this is a reminder. If you go to the type the word 'Checking in,' just slap your own hand." There's bad things like, "Hey, as a reminder, everybody don't do this." And then you pick up good things, too. So that's one thing that we do. Oh, go ahead.

To your point, when you're highlighting A-players out there, like the one from Ilan's team, you are subtly raising the standards of your team.

That way when the 'Checking in' one comes across the wire, you don't even have to post it in the group chat.

Everybody, they're already aware of it and keen to it because all they've been looking at is the good copy and aspiring to write better themselves. So it'll happen through osmosis that way. If you're just focusing the effort on what great looks like they're going to fly in formation sooner than later.

The other thing that we see ends up being pretty kind of a key use...a more sophisticated...but, a key use case for Atrium is identifying the secret, the secret sauce of what makes somebody a high performer.

And so usually what ends up happening is you have a high performer that they, say, let's say in SDR land, they have a high opportunity creation rate, or from an account executive standpoint, they've got high bookings or whatever.

And so then what end up looking at is, actually, I think I've sent some of these to you, Ralph, or maybe given to you when we've had lunch. Yeah, you just look at the various metrics and you can kind of see where it's coming from.

So an example of this would be SDR...the SDRs are the highest email engagement or the highest responsiveness rates. What are they doing there?

And oftentimes, it's like they're doing kind of thoughtful variations on the sequences there. Either they're doing really good personalization or they decided to maybe go a little rogue and not a super rogue, but like, "Oh, I'm just going to put a little like this in the recipe this time," not completely different.

And then great things come out of it and you're like, "What's going on here? This person's doing the same volume of email outreach, but their email responsiveness rate is two points higher than everybody else. Like WTF, what's going on there?"

And then you pull on that thread and say, "Hey, Susie, what are you doing here?" "Oh..." And I'll give you an example here. One of the things that we identified when doing outbound prospecting...so ramping is a key use case for Atrium, so a new hire trigger is really powerful for us.

Turns out if you put the name of the new hire in the subject line, pretty good open rate, pretty good open rate, right?

"Hey, Ralph, I saw that you just hired Frank Williams, or sorry, Frank Williams," and then Ralph's like, "Wait, what did he do this time?" Open it up, Frank. Yeah, open it up.

And he's like, "Ralph, oh man, congrats on the hire. Can we send you a copy of leading sales development for your team?" Oh, okay. Right. So identifying those little variations that then drive higher, and then you standardize it across the team, and now everybody's response rate is 6%, instead of it being like 3%.

And that example about Frank is guess what? It's not about you or your product or your company's history. It's about them. It's about their team and a move they made and something that's bolstering their operation and making them better.

It's facing outward and focusing on the recipient of that email, and that's why those reply rates, response rates, and ultimately win rates are going to increase.

Yeah. Ms. Garrett's question here. Ideas on helping avoid SDR burnout. Ralph, I imagine you have some good opinions on this. Maybe pre-Covid, pre-work from home, kind of pre hybrid organization and maybe post as well?

Yeah. Wow. The burnout one is a, that's a good one. I have found the burnout one to be very individual focused.

If you're detached from your purpose and your mission and your why, you're going to get burned out really fast.

If you don't take time to create space and actually zoom out and see where you talked about earlier, Pete, where you intend to end up in a given timeframe, then the mundane, monotonous, repetitive work that sales development functions require will burn anybody out.

Rejection from people. We're in tumultuous times, but guess what? We were in tumultuous times five years ago, 10 years ago, and 20 years ago, spring always follows winter and summer always follows spring.

I mean, it's going to happen over and over again. So the burnout is, you need to take a deep breath, you need to get back in touch with why you're doing what you're doing, you need to actually stop thinking about yourself and maybe start thinking about those in life who made a sacrifice for you to get where you are today in your career and in life, and start to pay that forward.

Honor the work that they did to get you where you are, and you'll start to be kinder to people. You'll start to be a little more empathetic if you're dealing with people who are rejecting you or not being cool with you, when you do engage with them, and you'll just be a little more zen about things, and that burnout will get mitigated pretty fast.

Yeah, I think those are all great. Yeah, they're very Ralph. Let's be more zen. Let's

Be more grateful. Yeah, you got to be zen. And I guess my message is, I don't know what Garrett's role is, but I appreciate that question. But for those on the call right now and those listening to the recording, this is directed at the leaders.

A lot of the times, leaders, you're the problem. You are the ones who are in the way of the reps from being very successful.

You're cracking the whip on making numbers, and we understand that that's a very realistic pressure. But you too need to pause, zoom out and take stock of the humans and the people who are on your team and try to do the stuff that doesn't scale and get to know your people as individuals as best you can, regardless of how big your team is.

If you have to do it in cohorts, meet with everybody, get a litmus test of how people are doing and how they're feeling and what it is they're trying to accomplish.

I guarantee when you start seeing yourself at the bottom of the org chart and you start serving the people that are in your organization, you're going to go pretty far together.

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, some kind of really tactical examples that I like to use there. And also some of these are my own innovations and what is it?

Good artists borrow, great artists steal, love to just steal. This is one of the nice things working a) at Atrium, and then also on Modern Sales Pros, you just sit in the middle of all the sales excellence. So a couple tactics, quarterly dinners with your reports to the extent you can do that.

I've actually found that Zoom dinners are not terrible. I mean, they're not amazing, but they're not terrible. They're not actually terrible.

And I literally just had a dinner with one of my sales managers last night at Perry's on Embarcadero. It was lovely. We're looking at the bridge. I know, exactly. Perry's is his favorite spot. Yeah, exactly. So definitely do that.

How about thank you cards. Send 'em a thank you. "Hey, Pete, I know a lot of people aren't going to tell you this, but I recognize the hard work that you're putting in day in, day out. I know it's a bumpy road. It's not as smooth as we all want to see, but I recognize what you're up to, man. Keep it up. You got a lot of resources internally here that can help you get where you're going. Thanks for doing what you do." Done.

Yeah, yeah. And super low...I'm going to run over. I'm on the sales floor and I'm going to run over here. So our SDR team broke their opp creation record last month, and so we were just like, alright, cool. Let's just get them cute little Yetis Making it Rain Opps, right?

Like, here's what's on my desk...

They were like 30 bucks.

Blank thank you cards. It says, Thanks a Ton on the front, and then you open it, it's blank, and you take a thick black sharpie pen, "Pete, you're the man I'm watching you Keep at it." Boom. Pretty simple.

I love it. Yeah. So then when you have to start thinking about is when you get bigger, you have these programs ideally scale in some sort of capacity.

I know Salesloft, gosh, this was an MSP thread, it must have been like four years ago, because Kyle Porter wrote a response on an MSP thread, which now's, oh my God, okay, he's got way more important things to work on right now.

But he was talking about the micro promotion stuff that they had going at Salesloft, which was super awesome, where I think after your first number of opportunities, you got the fancy pants headset, or maybe it's a wireless headset versus a wired one. And after the next set of opps, you get your college flag goes above your desk. And a lot of these things were things that other people could see on the floor. They're like, they just got theirs. They're like, oh, where's yours? Right?

Little badges.

Yeah, exactly. Then that, and actually what we did do, I have 'em on, I think I actually gave 'em all away, and I have to order more from Amazon.

So what we do is add every, there's opp creation threshold, so at like 50, 150, 300, you get a little desk swag where it's like, because everything at Atrium is like fox-themed, and so these are these onyx foxes that then go on people's desks.


So I think doing things like that where you can just systematize it in a way that a has way points along the way that breaks up time, and then also can be a nice little badge of honor, I think those things can be really powerful as well.


Actually, kind of related to that, I know that you guys have a fairly remote or a totally remote SDR team right now. Any kind of points of view on managing and, also, I mean specifically teaching and training junior staff in a remote environment, because I think one of the things that I find is that a lot of SDRs are like they're fresh out of college or fresh out of maybe the career switchers.

They're coming out of hospitality or what have you, and there's a lot of stuff around the edges to learn that are a lot easier to learn when you're sitting next to somebody and can lean over.

What are some things that you found that have helped with that?

One thing that's really helped us is we actually interview for it. We, in the recruiting phase, we're interviewing for professionals who are going to demonstrate self-sufficiency and self-discipline.

Again, getting in touch with the why and what their mission is, what it is they're really trying to accomplish in their career arc.

And then when they're in the role, we're very prescriptive about what we expect for each day, each week, and we're usually listing the outcomes versus the inputs.

"Pete, 8:00 AM, we want you on phones." No. Instead, we say, "Hey, Pete, by end of week, we'd like to see you here."

And then beneath that, we get into making sure we gather frequently as a team, making sure communication lines are always open via Slack or otherwise, the Zoom calls you talked about, and Zoom lunches are always important, but we also want to be very clear with everybody that, "Hey, we're not going to be sprinkling these into your days and weeks constantly because we actually have work to do and we're trying to run a business here, but these are going to be available so that you've got that sense of camaraderie you need, you've got the guidance you need, you've got a sounding board, you can hear what's good, what's not."

One of our sales development leaders at Tray, for example, holds daily standups Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and those standups are attended by the entire sales development team.

They're no more than 15 minutes, and oftentimes one of the SDRs facilitates or hosts those standups. So everybody's now accountable for kind of pulling their weight, and it seems to really help.

Yeah. Yeah. I like the standup. I mean, our operating rhythm for our SDR team is, we've got 9:00 AM standups every day.

We've got an SDR pipe gen meeting, SDR-specific meeting on Monday morning at 11, and then they also roll into the sales team meeting as well, just so they can have proximity to see what's going on with AE land, what's going on with all of that.

And it's a non-trivial amount of time, but it's important for aligning people. And then also there's good professional development in it.

If the SDR team understands the implications downstream, like, oh, I'll give you a good example.

So one of the superpowers of Atrium is that it takes three minutes to set up an account. So any person within an organization, if you're an SDR manager, an AE manager or sales operations person, you can just go to Atrium and click "Turn on an account," sign in with a Salesforce, and you're on your merry way.

And so we call those data lights internally. That's our kind of phrase. And so the SDRs always hear about, in our sales team meeting, we're reporting on how many data lights there were last week, and how many per rep and where we're at this month because it's a good precursor to data lights a day turning into Closed Won in 45 days.

But then now they know upstream. They're like, "Okay," that's like, yeah, "I'm putting opps on the board," but better, even better, we want them to light up data.

And so you have better cohesion there. So much so that some of the SDRs had a realization. They're like, "Hey, when we do those pre-discovery questions, why don't we just recommend to people that they turn on an Atrium account before they have their meeting?" And it was like, oh, duh. That's a really good idea, guys.

And they're like, oh, okay. So that's like a CTA. That was an additional CTA in that pre-disco thing.

It was like, "Hey, let us know about your priorities. Also, if you happen to have five minutes, you can just turn on an Atrium account ahead of time and you'll be able to tour through it with the AE when you meet up with them."

And of course, so that was a benefit of that cohesion there. It's also good from a professional development standpoint as well.

I know that we're running up on time here, but one of the things I wanted to ask you is when there's a lot of folks who are new to management and new leaders, what are your biggest recommendations and what have you to new leaders?

To new leaders, make sure you're very clear on the level of standards you plan to drive in your organization and be prepared to illustrate those standards.

Take stock of your disposition, and your attitude, and your demeanor around your team, and particularly in hairy situations, because that whole team is observing how you respond to things.

And if you're losing your mind, and you're frantic, and you're stressed, your team will be as well, and they'll end up taking credibility points away from you because you can't handle your business.

So stay calm and in control, but understand the standards you plan to illustrate and the outcomes you plan to drive.

I love it. These are excellent recommendations.

Well, Ralph, thank you for taking the time to hang out today, folks. We have a really great guest coming in next week as well.

Emily Carpenter, who's the VP of Commercial Sales at Heap. She's super rad. She used to be at TripActions. I forget where she was immediately before that, but she's just awesome sauce.

This is one of the benefits I get of working in Atrium is not only do we get to meet lots of great sales leaders, we're able to figure out very quickly which of them kind have their act together versus the ones who are maybe less Modern Sales Pros.

What I call old school sales pros. Yeah, Emily's absolutely fantastic. So please join us next week and Ralph, have an awesome weekend, okay, man?

You too, Pete. Thanks so much for having me and thanks everybody for joining us today.

Okay, see you Ralph.

See ya.