🎙️ Transcript: Scalin' Up Sales Development

🎙️ Transcript: Scalin' Up Sales Development

Scalin' Up Sales Development: SDR Management for Rapidly Scaling Orgs
Modern Sales Pros (MSP) "Mega SKO"
Debora Fernandez, Gil Abramov, Travis Militzer, Ralph Barsi
January 23, 2023

Debora Fernandez (00:02):
Hello, welcome Modern Sales Pros community. Thank you so much for joining us here. I've got some amazing guests and we're going to be talking about "Scaling Up Sales Development - How SDR Managers Can Grow Their Organizations" and what it takes to really do that in an efficient manner.

So, joining us today are Gil of CHEQ, Travis of Intellimize, and Ralph of Tray.io. My name is Debora Fernandez. I am the sales development manager here at Atrium. A little bit about me. I actually was a hospitality professional for over 10 years before I made the switch.

I've been at Atrium since my career changed and I started off as an SDR and I was promoted to SDR Manager, and I'm excited to learn from these veterans as I continue on my own sales development career. So I'm going to give the floor over to Ralph over here. Please introduce yourself to our community and then we'll go Gil and Travis.

Ralph Barsi (01:12):
Thank you. Hey everybody, it's great to be here. This is Ralph Barsi. I lead the Global Sales Development organization at Tray.io in San Francisco. We specialize in helping businesses integrate and automate the massive tech stacks that they work from and work with.

And what else did you want to know, Debora?

Debora Fernandez (01:35):
Let's see, where were you born? Just kidding. That's a great intro.

Ralph Barsi (01:41):
You just want a little background?

Speaker 1 (01:43):
I'm sorry. Yeah, a little background would be great. Sure. How did you end up where you're at?

Ralph Barsi (01:47):
Yeah, sure. So I've been in technology for close to 30 years. I was an individual contributor for the first half of my career. The latter half of my career, however, has been committed to the sales development and top of funnel function.

Prior to Tray, I led the sales development organization at ServiceNow. We had a team of over 230 people when I left in 2019. I joined Tray because of its phase in the maturity cycle. We're in our Series C round at the moment and we're continuing to scale and it's super fun.

Debora Fernandez (02:27):
That is super exciting. All right, Gil, introduce yourself and tell us a little bit of how you ended up in sales development.

Gil Abramov (02:34):
Sure. So I'm Gil Abramov. I head up sales development in the Americas at CHEQ. We have a kind of unique product where we are go to market security.

That means that we sell cybersecurity to marketers, so we have to kind of juggle a few things at once, learn how to talk to marketers. Two, learn how to talk about cybersecurity, and three, learn how to talk to marketers about cybersecurity.

It's an everyday challenge, but it's fun. I actually should say I stumbled into the role about a decade ago. I was in SDR, funny enough, my wife was my first manager and then for a while we were both heading different teams in different industries, but I've kind of always been in sales my entire life.

And as soon as I found a role where I could sell and I could be on the phone, I could talk to people just all day every day. It was just like I fell in love with pretty instantly. This is my sixth team that I'm building from the ground up. It's something that I've done and I, I'm very passionate about it.

I like to talk about it a lot. I could basically strike up a conversation with anybody about sales development, what it's like to be an SDR, to be a BDR, how do you position yourselves in the sales world, tips and tricks, things like that. So it's just something that I guess is running through my blood at this point.

Debora Fernandez (03:50):
That's awesome. Last but not least, Mr. Travis from Intellimize.

Travis Militzer (03:56):
Thank you. Good to be here. So yeah, I'm Travis. I head the SDR org at Intellimize. We're also selling to marketers, Gil, but what we do essentially is we solve a really, really interesting and important problem of everyone comes to a website and marketers spends so so much time and energy getting them to the website, and then everyone gets kind of the same base experience when they're on a site.

And that's the problem we solve is making it so using first party data, using AI, we're able to make it so that experience, someone has a landing on a website, it's very unique to them and drives more conversions for the marketers we're selling to.

So yeah, that's Intellimize. In terms of my career trajectory. I also did the IC thing for good five, eight years, and then the last four years I've been leading sales development teams and that's where I've really found my passion. I love working with hungry, young sales reps and teach 'em the fundamentals so they can take both in this role and really to any role the rest of their career. If you can learn these skills, it's so so transferrable and that's one of the things that I love about it.

Debora Fernandez (05:05):
Thank you guys. Those were killer introductions. I have questions already, so why don't we just dive right in. Let's ask with the ever controversial question, what is the most effective channel for your SDRs?

I know that that changes all the time, so let's talk about present day, what you found to be the most successful and how are you guys booking the most meetings? Let's just get that out of the way.

Ralph Barsi (05:31):
To ask Happy to go first. Oh,

Debora Fernandez (05:32):
Okay. Yeah, go ahead, Ralph.

Ralph Barsi (05:35):
If we're talking about inbound lead qualification, really successful channels for us, typically, or when someone proactively inquires about our offering - so that could come in by way of a Contact Us or somebody attending one of our weekly demos and then inquiring afterwards.

Those are typically what we would consider hot opportunities and hot leads. And then on the outbound side, typically we find a lot of success when we're engaging with accounts where we already know someone that's at the account. So we're always looking to see who we know that knows someone in that account before we go ahead and try to engage. And we seem to find a lot of consistent success going that route.

Debora Fernandez (06:23):
Can you dive a little bit into that? Sorry to interrupt, but when you mean someone that's already, that was already familiar with you - now, are these people that moved jobs and previously used you and then move into a new company? Is it a personal connection of any member of your team or even leadership? Can you dive a little deeper into what that looks like?

Ralph Barsi (06:47):
Sure. It's all of the above - everything you just mentioned. It could be a personal connection. It could be a connection at the board level or at the C-suite level where someone from my company may have worked with Travis or Gil in a previous life.

And if I am privy to that information internally, I may want to go ahead and request them to broker an introduction into Travis or into Gil, and I'll tee up a message for them to then tailor and edit and forward to who it is that we're ultimately trying to talk to.

Or maybe there's somebody that Gil works with, or Travis works with, that's someone I know - they can help me contact Gil or Travis and maybe we can get a warm introduction from the two of them into the person that we're ultimately trying to reach. So there's a number of channels that I mean by that.

Debora Fernandez (07:43):
Travis, you had something to say?

Travis Militzer (07:45):
Oh, you read my mind. I was going to say, should we get into the weeds on using things like first degree connection searches and TeamLink? But no, I think that was helpful.

Debora Fernandez (07:56):
Well, awesome. To follow up on that because I think it's really interesting. It sounds like your outbound is not cold at all. How about Gil or Travis? Have you been experimenting with, I guess warmer outbound and is that taking the place of cold, cold outreach?

Gil Abramov (08:16):
Well, we're creating a category right now. So aside from referrals like Ralph May have mentioned, people that we may know or people that we know, the people that we want to know, that might be nice generally speaking. But we do need to talk to people about things that they haven't looked at or things that are going to be cold to them. It's not a solution that they're looking for in most cases.

So I would say that 97% of what we do is pure, pure, pure cold outbound. Best channel has still been the phones. A lot of people say cold calling is dead, but it's not.

I mean, you just got to do the right prospecting. You need to put yourself in front of the right people and you need to be confident enough in what you're going to be talking about. Obviously there's going to be rejection along the way.

It is a hard role and there's always going to be rejection, but I'd rather have somebody on the line with me that rejects me that I could fight the objection versus somebody who just decides to stop reading my emails or block me and then I'm kind of dead in the water. So yeah, phones have always been the best for us.

Other things work. A lot of LinkedIn, a lot of video messaging, a lot of voice notes. That's been helping tremendously in the last few months. But overall, if I look at the last year and a half at CHEQ, phones have always been the most efficient and the most effective.

Travis Militzer (09:37):
I laugh at that Gil, because there's perception that one of the hardest parts about the job is dealing with rejection and objections, and so often it's no response...is can be the most frustrating part.

So getting 'em on the phone, building up that thick skin, those at bats are way, way better than pouring your heart and soul and then getting nothing returned.

But yeah, I guess what comes to mind for me on most effective channel is certainly prioritize an order of operations. Your demo requests, all the stuff that's really warm, but when it comes more to the cold outreach, we found it so important to have a buttoned-up process for triggers.

And so there's not quite as many new gigs out there right now, but widening, it's still looking for things like funding, even just looking for promotions. And I say that don't lean on what you see so many reps, every rep is sending the, "Hey, congrats on your new job" and maybe a $5 Starbucks card that's not going to differentiate you.

What will differentiate you, though, is understanding that those new gigs are a sign of something else that these people have been brought on to manage new projects, to expand a team to evaluate current technologies.

So it's not leveraging those triggers just as a reason to reach out, but understanding that there's usually a cost behind some of those triggers and prioritizing those towards the top of the list has been some of our most effective sequences.

Debora Fernandez (11:09):
I love that. Using triggers to understand the need as opposed to just, "Hey, congrats by the way, and I'm going to tell you about something completely irrelevant."

I love that. I think that's a really important thing to understand from as a young SDR and even the veteran SDR, is that every time that there is a change in the prospect that there is going to be a change in their list of priorities. And are we still aligned with that person? Is our product still the best thing and should we be reaching out to them at this moment in time? So I'm so glad that you brought that up.

Yeah, I actually had a question about how do you shift about building these thick skins when we are dealing with rejection. I agree with all of you that the hardest part to get over is silence or having your perfectly-crafted personalized email not reaching the person, or simply gain archived.

So, as you guys have experimented and talked to your teams about developing these thick skins, I think, Ralph, you can probably speak to this a lot. I would love for your thoughts on it, but how do you build that mindset of resilience with your team and how quickly can you get that mindset of resilience?

Ralph Barsi (12:37):
Good question. How quickly? That's a tougher one to answer because obviously it depends on the individual, but it's certainly something that I would encourage leaders to recruit for and ask about in the recruiting process.

You want to find somebody who maybe has a proven track record of where they've illustrated having a thick skin. Maybe they were part of a sales team prior to this one, or maybe they were an athlete, or maybe they were an entrepreneur.

You kind of have to uncover where they've shown a thick skin in the past so that you kind of know what you're working with when they come into your organization.

To pick up where Travis left off, I mean a great example is how reps handle triggers. He's a hundred percent right that you've got to kind of peel back the onion one layer to get an understanding of why that trigger has taken place.

And when you have context, or some fair assumptions around the context and color behind a trigger, and you can then raise that as a conversation point versus just the trigger, it's already showing that you've been engaged in researching their company; that you're not so much focused on your offering and your company as much as you are about them and their company and what it is they're trying to accomplish.

And when you get ghosted, for example, you have to remind and coach reps a lot that a) you can detach emotionally from the situation and just look at it objectively as a business transaction or potential business transaction. And secondly, it might be a call to kind of check your email copy or check your approach, kind of line check your system to see how are you coming across, be it on LinkedIn, or what kinds of voicemails are you leaving. If you are leaving a video message, are you actually taking a look at what it is you're sending out before sending it out? Are you practicing?

A lot of tells that executives can figure out quick. They know whether or not you're a potential trusted advisor and, to Gil's point earlier, that you kind of really know what you're talking about with respect to their world and they'll weed you out pretty fast, fast unless you've been rehearsed and practiced and measured in your effort.

So those are a couple of things that are on my mind when it comes to the resilience and not taking things so emotionally and seriously.

Gil Abramov (15:07):
I actually want to add to that a little bit. So, I mean I think some reps, or even just in general, not everyone realizes that an SDR/BDR role is a sales role. I mean, you do need to sell.

And us as leaders, we are selling to our reps all the time. I mean everything that we do we're selling and developing. That thick skin might even start because we don't always hire people who have experience and we can vet out and we know that they've been whatever resilient. But not everyone's going to be an ex-athlete, which is great, but when they are, but not everyone is, I start to build their expectation or just their mindset.

Even in the interview stages, I start to plant the seed of, "Hey, these are the numbers. This game is a losing game. Most people that you call won't answer, most emails that you send won't be read" and starting to shift their mindset towards every no gets you closer to a yes, you need to be happy.

When you get that note statistically, you're going to get more of those, you need to start getting prepared for that. So I talk a about that with reps even when we first interview.

And then when we have our sales academy, these are things that they have to start understanding the numbers so that they can plan themselves backwards. If you want to have, you want to set one meeting a day, how many dials do you have to make because how many people won't answer you before that one person does? And out of the 10 people that answer you, how many of them are really going to be relevant?

You start from the end and you chop it down and then you see how many times you have to do that per day, per week, per month, per quarter. But it's about mindset, developing that thick skin

Travis Militzer (16:44):
And setting the expectations with him. I like that. One tip that comes to mind for me on this is don't do 20 cold call roleplay, start to finish, break it down, just stop. We're going to work on the intro, stop 'em five times in a row. Nope, I don't think that hooked him enough. Let's try a different way and do that rep 10, 20 times without the full role play.

And same thing works when you're helping an SDR prepare for an AE role, when they're practicing their demo prep or running a whole discovery call, you don't want to do a whole bunch of 30 minute calls, break it down and say, "Hey, this is the piece where we show the reporting side. How would you do that?" And those little bite-sized chunks I think is a really helpful way to coach and build confidence.

Gil Abramov (17:28):
And when you run the whole thing, the one thing you run more times than not is the intro. So they might become amazing at the intro, but five minutes into the call is uncharted territory. They don't usually get there. You need to run pieces of it separately. If you always run from the beginning, the beginning is what they're going to be getting the most practice at, not necessarily the middle or the end.

Debora Fernandez (17:49):
Yeah, my team knows me as someone who's very mean on the phone to them precisely for that reason. It's like, I want to give you a new scenario every single time, otherwise you're never going to be comfortable handling the unexpected. So I love that.

Gil, you mentioned learning. You mentioned a little bit I think most people know is backwards math. You start with the number of the pipeline that you need to create and then working it down to what the goals from the individual contributor should be. And then that individual contributor should be looking at how many nos it takes to get to a yes.

What I love to understand is as you guys develop, if you go to your SDRs, how is your organization prioritizing the efficiency of those styles? Because it's one thing to know your number and then another thing to lower your number or learn how to make those numbers better for yourself.

And then how is that impacting your day-to-day management, and how is that impacting your day-to-day for your reps as well?

Gil Abramov (18:54):
Yeah, so two things there really. One, if an SDR BDR is performing, I don't look at their KPIs. Somebody is getting me four meetings a day. I don't know if they're sending a thousand emails or flying blimps outside offices. I don't know what they're doing, but it works and I don't care, honestly.

But I try to drive when I do talk about KPIs to drive, not for the drive metrics, I don't care how many times you dial, it doesn't matter. You could call a thousand pizzerias and get a thousand pickups, wonderful, but that's not our ICP. That doesn't help us.

So I try to go for the by-products. I try to aim for the conversations, how many meaningful conversations have you had? So that will go towards how many dials you had, how many pickups you had, how many people picked up the phone, and were willing to stay with you on the phone for more than two minutes.

Some of that stuff that you control and some of that stuff that you don't. And if I just look at dials, that doesn't tell me anything. You could be dialing your parents a thousand times a day, that doesn't help.

So I look for the by-product and these are the things that kind of matter more when it comes to what we're driving for at the end of the day, which is going to be developing a strong sticky relationship with a prospective client, somebody who's going to want to talk to us, somebody who's going to care about solving what we can offer, and not just a quick call or not just a long call or not just a pickup or not just a dial. So driving for those by-product KPIs.

Debora Fernandez (20:24):
And how are you measuring that? How do you measure the quality of those? I mean, you said if somebody's doing a thousand dials a day, but they're getting you four meetings and they're meeting their quota, they're exceeding their quota, then you don't care.

But at the same time, if they're being successful potentially in this hypothetical, those thousand dials, there's definitely inefficiencies that they could potentially be focusing their effort into other avenues that could get them to three more meetings. So how is that measured for you or on your team? How are you looking for that?

Gil Abramov (21:02):
So it's kind of measured in two different ways. One, we, I use Atrium and I have the efficiency metrics there for everything, for emails, for dials, I see all the numbers of dials, numbers of conversations. That way I can see how many conversations does it get each rep until they get a booked meeting that goes as far back as how many people do you have to dial until you have how many answers?

And then from those answers, how many of them convert into conversations and then how many conversations convert into meetings?

So I have the benchmark that I've tweaked over the years, but I know is relatively, I guess the baseline for what I try to go with. And then I compare the entire team to each other and to themselves month over month and quarter over quarter. And I see who is dialing more than others just to even get somebody to even pick up the phone.

And then from the people who pick up the phone, how many can you keep on the phone for X amount of time? So that's just running that data all the time. I think I said there were two points, but I don't remember my second one now. Well, it's two points because I use two things for it.

I use Atrium and I use Orum. And Orum helps us with our speed dialing and some of their metrics also just they show me exactly dials, connects, conversations. So it makes that super easy for me.

Debora Fernandez (22:20):
I'm going to push a little before this tech. Think back in the stone ages, how could a manager who doesn't have this tech available, what would be your suggestion or your to how they could potentially keep track of that if they don't have these tools for them right now?

Gil Abramov (22:43):
So before this tech, I mean, if I think back 6, 7, 8 years ago, I would look at just length of conversation.

If I had 10 reps and they would have a hundred calls each and one rep would only have one minute long calls out of a hundred calls, 80 of them would be one minute long.

They have a problem with the intro. If somebody else had 80 calls that are 20 minutes long, they don't know how to get to the point. They know how to talk. They keep somebody on the phone, they build great rapport, but they just don't close. And if somebody keeps losing people at around the 3, 4, 5 minute mark, that's where they start to pitch and that's where they lose.

So just by seeing a pattern, you can sort of tell where someone's struggling or what's working. So that's historically how I've done it. And today it's a little bit easier. It's just right there for me.

Debora Fernandez (23:33):
No, that's actually great. Great advice. Ralph, you've been smiling there, so I know you have something to say.

Ralph Barsi (23:40):
Yeah, no, I'm smiling because Gil's hitting on a lot of great points. And the activity level, to his first point, is probably one of the last things we look at, unless we have to. If we're seeing consistent low performance, of course we're going to steer our attention to activity levels.

But, to Gil's point about talk time and who's talking more in the conversation and what's becoming of the meeting, that's definitely what we look at as well.

Quantitatively, we tend to look at opportunities that are created by our sales development reps that have gone past, say, stage three or stage four in our pipeline. Those are great leading indicators to us that their initial conversations hit on the right points, uncovered the right problems that we can help solve, et cetera.

And that opportunity is now maturing in our pipeline. And then qualitatively, we want to hear sentiment from the account executives that our SDRs have passed opportunities to, when they're in the discovery phase or even later in conversation with prospects. It's going to help us uncover if we were qualifying properly in those initial phone calls.

And we'll also take sentiment from our sales engineers. We'll listen to the SDR manager on the front line will tell us whether or not this SDR is qualifying properly, et cetera.

And then ultimately the prospect, you can learn a lot from the correspondence between an SDR and a prospect, as well, as to whether or not the right conversation points were had. So it's kind of just complementing what Gil was saying. That's why I was smiling.

Debora Fernandez (25:29):
I love that.

Travis Militzer (25:32):
I think a common example that I see a lot of a way to look backwards from numbers is most times you're seeing the opposite. Most times your reps are hungry and they have the output. So then we analyze, well, what's going on? If they're doing the job, they're making the analysis. If they're sending the emails, then where's the misconnect?

And I think one great example of where to dive into that, that I use a lot or my team uses a lot is new contacts added. And so while chatting, we also use Atrium, but you can do this in your Salesloft, your Outreach as well, by just isolating net new people put into sequence.

And that barometer is such a good one for are we having people bunched up in pipelines? Are we constantly adding fresh blood or are reps just banging out tasks? Just crazy volume, same people repeating the process. A lot of times the symptom of that is reps that hit quota a couple months in a row and then go cold a couple months in a row. So isolating those pieces.

Do we have healthy distribution of people across all steps in the pipeline? Are we always adding net new to the funnel is a great way to look at some indicators other than just total output.

Debora Fernandez (26:46):
Yeah, that's very true. You can't expect different results if you're not adding new people every single day. Everything's about to create every SDR should think of themselves, have created their own funnel. I think that the sooner that people can get into that mentality, the better it is.

Speaking of which, Travis, you've mentioned a little bit earlier that you were in a hiring spree, so to speak, and making sure that people are ramping fast so that pipeline is generated quicker was something that's top of mind for you.

And I want to get your thoughts on how you're measuring your speed-to-ramp. What does that look for you? You mentioned people need to be adding new context every single day, but as you're ramping, what does that look like for your team for an SDR?

Travis Militzer (27:45):
The reason why I brought it up is I was hoping to get advice from the three of you.

Debora Fernandez (27:48):
Well, perfect.

Travis Militzer (27:50):
No, just kidding. I might've spoke a little bit too early on that. I mean, that is such a big one for me. When I look at just building confidence with new ramping reps, you got to start small and show 'em those little wins. So showing 'em, "hey, last week you were only able to sequence 10 new contacts this week, you're ready at 15, next week it'll be at 20."

Just showing that step-by-step progress doesn't feel from a manager like you're KPI'ing them. It's you encouraging them that look at how much more efficient you're getting at this and what you'll eventually get to with more time and practice.

The other main piece is, we all know that we're past the days of the super auto-sequence send-all, so ramping reps up to look at a two minute drill I like to call it, of looking at a website and saying, how do they make money?

What are their different business models? What would be important to this persona versus that persona? And can you do that in a two minute drill of just great attention grabber, great understanding of what call-to-action or value prop they care about without having to reinvent the wheel of writing completely blank canvas emails.

But finding a way to show that value and understand what the business caress about within that kind of two minute drill of looking at a website.

So yeah, love that exercise. And then they kind of get those lights going off as well of "I'm starting to get this, I'm getting more business IQ, that's going to build me more confidence on the phone. It's going to get me faster to get more output."

So I think when I'm interviewing number one thing is like this is the muscle we're going to have to work the most is your business at EQ and here's some ways that we can develop that muscle.

Debora Fernandez (29:37):
Gil, I'd love to get a story from you. I feel like you've had your, you have a strong, you mentioned earlier that you want to set expectations very clear from the beginning and clear from the interview.

So I'd love to hear a story from you where when you're setting that expectation and getting your best outcome rep, what was it about this particular rep that really made your system work? You're like, you know what? This is the way that I'm going to do it from now on because I have to test it out with the rest of the people.

Gil Abramov (30:22):
S,o one of the things in terms of I start as early as the interview to start planting little seeds in their heads, pretty common question that comes up in many interviews.

They always ask me, what does the top rep do that nobody else does? Sometimes I use real examples. Sometimes I use things that I would've loved to have seen but nobody's done. And I tell them about somebody who's just never happy or who are you looking for? Well, I'm looking for somebody who's crazy, somebody who's just never happy, somebody who's super creative.

Now, being resourceful is an SDR is probably one of the top traits. And I explained to reps on the interview that my dream is to run an interview where I send the invite and it's missing the link to the meeting and I want to put it somewhere in my LinkedIn profile hidden somewhere. And if you can find it and you made it into the meeting, you're hired.

Now, I'll never do this and HR will probably murder me if I even mention this, but I tell them the story to explain to them what I want them to do. Always think outside the box. And I see that when I do that with reps early on, then they are willing to push the envelope and everything that they do.

One of our recent deals that we worked on at CHEQ was one that I think that most people would've just dropped it. If you're trying to prospect this account, there's nobody on LinkedIn.

It's all very unclear. It's all some subsidiary of a different, it's just not clear what's going on there. And the rep that I had working on that account just started almost, I should almost say with caution, almost started to talk to the wrong people. But from that she discovered that although our ICP did not exist in that company, people do care about the problem and they might have a different title than what we would usually go after.

And she was able to source hasn't closed yet, but by far the biggest deal in check history by 6x from a company that I pretty sure most people would've given up on just because if you look on LinkedIn, it's pretty small, not really clear who does what.

And I'm saying easily 9 times out of 10 people would've just moved on to the next one. So just learning how or teaching them how to just never stop, always ask, always try, always. It's okay to fail. That's how you learn. And just giving them that environment that they could make mistakes in.

Debora Fernandez (32:54):
That sounds amazing. Give Rasha, what's her name. So it sounds like the most important thing from what I've heard from all of you is that training from the get go, whether it's training them to do things in increments, whether it's from practicing reps of cold call, parts of the call script, the mindset, the research, and then understanding how to build your own resilience over time is the most important thing.

So as a manager, what would you say, keeping that in mind is the highest leverage activity that you can be engaged in, day in and day out. What are you spending your time doing that helps your team move the needle forward?

Ralph Barsi (33:46):
What are we as leaders spending time doing?

Debora Fernandez (33:49):
Yes, and I'm really glad you're the first one to answer, Ralph, because I'd love to get your expertise.

Ralph Barsi (33:57):
That's a great question. People may argue this, and that's okay. In my experience, I have seen someone like a third line leader, someone who's a vice president, for example, really focused on mindset and vision, as we talked about earlier for the organization.

I've seen directors really focused more on strategy.

And I've seen managers who are on the front line focus on tactics, and yes, they interchange roles every now and then depending on the situation. But for the most part, a lot of their focus is on the respective area that I mentioned.

So, for example, a frontline leader really needs to focus on, well, what are the metrics of today? Who got the most calls? Who converted the most leads? What were the sources of those leads? What parts of the tech stack were leveraged, et cetera, et cetera.

It's very tactical, very in the weeds where a director focusing on strategy might make it a point to talk to their teams about the cadence of communication, both internally and externally, learning how to work up and down and across the chain of command, encouraging the SDRs to send out weekly updates as to how their week went, how close were they to hitting, what they set out to hit and what's on tap for next week?

What resources and levers do they need to pull to get to their number with the remaining time that's left in the month or quarter, et cetera.

Whereas, that third line leader that I mentioned talks about, "Hey, this is a reminder of what our company's North Star is, where we're all headed collectively and why we're headed there and how this pertains to us, to our team, and then to you individually." So things like that is what I think about.

Debora Fernandez (35:55):
Can I follow up with that? On the second level, leadership, having SDRs hold themselves accountable to their managers, to their leadership in the way that you described.

To be honest, it's the first time that I've heard of it, but I'm super curious to learn how you've been able to systematize that and what the results of that have been for you.

Ralph Barsi (36:19):
Well, the systems range. It really depends on what tier you're talking about or who the endpoint is that you're talking to.

If I'm an SDR, I have a twofold objective: I create revenue pipeline for my organization. I meet or exceed quota consistently. I become someone who's seen as a great collaborator and team member; and I aim to earn a promotion to subsequent roles.

I think it was Travis who was mentioning earlier, there's a myriad of skills and competencies that SDRs learn in the SDR role that are transferable - not just to an individual contributor role, but to a number of different roles.

If they ultimately want to lead their own team or run their own business, you need to know how to network. You need to know how to pick up a phone and do a cold or warm call, et cetera, et cetera. So building systems and processes around those types of competencies and skills is what's absolutely critical and paramount, frankly, for SDR leaders to do.

Travis Militzer (37:32):
Ralph, I wanted to chime in real quick. So we rolled out what I think I heard you say earlier of the end of week recaps, and I'll say upfront, a little pushback from the reps felt administrative, a little extra thing that they had to do, but one I guess intended consequence, but that we came out of it is they were starving for more recognition and more exposure to upper level leadership and felt a little administrative at first, but the by-product was tons of shout outs on the great weeks of the penetration.

And then also just those good feelings of like, "Hey, a couple off, short of my goal this week, but I have four conversations. Here's what I learned, here's a highlight."

And I think just those dialogues that occur because of it gives them that extra exposure and kudos. So yeah, love that. You mentioned...

Ralph Barsi (38:25):
Love that you shared that Travis.

Gil Abramov (38:27):
I'm going to chime in also and say that we've run that kind of end of week, how is your week and letting them fill out that sheet for themselves.

And there was pushback in the beginning and there's actually a pushback even after the beginning because it felt administrative and it felt redundant and it felt like we already have so many things that we have to do, but when they started to see the patterns, they started to see their own data like, Hey, this is how many no-show I had this week compared that to last week.

Compare that to last week, compare that to last week. Is there a pattern? Am I doing well? Am I doing better? Am I stuck at some place? Is this something I could work on? And not everyone stuck to it, and I would say that happens, but one of the things that we saw is that those who did were also the top performers.

So when other people started not doing it, it was very easy for me to come and say to everybody else, Hey, here's the other pattern that you're missing. Those who fill this out, not by filling it out are doing better, but because they fill it out and they are on top of their entire funnel because being in SDR Bs, like basically running a small business within our business, if you know how to run our business, you'll do better.

And here is proof. And it just worked out that way for me. So that was great.

Ralph Barsi (39:40):
A hundred percent. I love hearing that as well. And I do think communication in general is a very underrated competency. And what I have found in my experience, not only doing my own weekly updates, but when the team is doing theirs as well, is they're basically chronicling their experience in this role.

And when it comes time for them to be eligible for promotion, they've got a great narrative now that they're bringing to the interview process and they're showing their track record and they're articulating the problems and how they saw their way through those problems, et cetera, et cetera.

And they're also bringing with them a lot of the recognitions the Travis mentioned that they've gotten over the last several quarters because of their communications. So I just see nothing but upside and I understand the initial pushback, but it's great when they have the epiphany and they understand the whole purpose behind the consistent communication.

Debora Fernandez (40:41):
This is awesome. Like I said, I haven't heard of that before, but I'm going to start doing that for my team. That is great.

Now I want to talk a little bit about, I would imagine this is separate four on one-on-one, but is this something that you also, are these metrics or things that you reviewed during one-on-ones, or what are you guys doing or is it separate from it? How do you guys merge or don't merge these two things together?

Gil Abramov (41:15):
I would say that for the most part, I don't merge them. I mean, again, KPIs, if you're doing well, I'm not going to talk to you about KPIs and the one-on-one, it's going to be more strategic and whatnot.

But I would also say that my one-on-ones, every single person has a different one-on-one and with person A, it'll look the same every week, but it's going to be from what person B sees every week. So most of them, it doesn't fit to talk about numbers.

It's more about I really want them to bring things to me in the one-on-one, it's, it's not my time to grill them. What do you want to work on? What do you need help with? Where are you stuck? What are you happy about? Most of my reps call me like they're psychologists at some point I sit there and I just let them talk for however long and we solve whatever problems and everyone has different problems and we solve them in different ways. So probably not looking at numbers with 'em at one-on-ones, ones

Debora Fernandez (42:11):
Good to know. Good to know. Awesome. One last little thing here. When we're talking about getting people ready to make the, we talk about SEOs becoming the next closer CSMs of the world, but what is it that makes good and great SDRs stay focused, stay ambitious, and stay hungry?

Besides the promotion, what are some of the tactics that you guys have been employed when you are feeling that the people are on the edge of burnout, for example, what is it that, Ralph, I love to hear your thoughts on this first, but what are some of the techs that you've been employed over time to get, continue to keep people motivated to perform at a high level?

Ralph Barsi (43:10):
That's a sensitive topic. I'm a fan of a great quote from Navy Seal, Jocko Willink, which is "Motivated, doesn't matter. Go!" That's the quote.

I mean, at the end of the day, we're running a business here. We have to bring in revenue, we have to build pipeline in order to yield that revenue. You're either in or you're out.

Yes, we all have rough patches that we go through, and if you want to get into the emotions of it and what's going to inspire and motivate you, then I would encourage you to start with your why and get very in touch with your purpose as to what it is you're trying to accomplish in life, why it is that you're at this company, and what contributions you'd like to make, and what you'd like to learn from and who you'd like to learn from.

And I think it's questions like that at a much deeper level that, not just SDRs, but the leaders themselves need to be asking on a regular basis. "Does this resonate with my purpose? Do I feel pulled towards the target versus pushed towards it?"

That way, in those rough patches and those tough times, you could recall why it is you even got there in the first place, and that typically will naturally pull someone forward.

So I don't know if I'm the best person to ask when it comes to the whole motivation piece.

Debora Fernandez (44:37):
No, I think one of you had a different answer than I think most people expect, and I actually really appreciate that. I think it, it's easy to get caught up in the emotions part of it, but at the end of the day, if you're not building a team, in my opinion, if you're not building a team that is going to be putting their best foot forward and you're going to have to be the armchair psychologist every single day to get people out of a rut, then that's not fair to the rest of your team, team who's trying to perform at a high level, in my opinion. But I'm sorry, Travis, I cut you off.

Travis Militzer (45:13):
No, you're spot on. Managing emotions is part of the role. So I think I actually segued well between the one-on-one question because what came to mind for me is if we should be dedicating a good amount of the time to understand what their career ambitions are.

And a lot of times what comes up is I want to feel confident and ready for that AE type role majority of the time. And so one way to really kind of tie that into motivation is spend time on one ones or spend time building trainings that are just getting them ready for the next step and tip between us leaders.

A lot of times those trainings get them better at their current job. They feel the warm and fuzzies, because we're working on disco prep and all these things to make them prepared for AEs.

But if you're getting good at objection handling and perfecting the pitch and all those things, that gets them better for the job now. So it's a win-win situation to help build those scenarios so that you're helping them towards their career goals and you're bettering them now in the position for your team.

Debora Fernandez (46:18):
I love that. I love

Gil Abramov (46:20):
Somewhere between the two where...

I'm all about, listen, if you're either here or you're not, but at the same time, these are people and they will have a rough patch and not going to sit down and cry with them, but you can't also ignore it.

Things that I like to do is just if I see that someone's starting to struggle to make them feel seen and heard, and if it means maybe not talking to 'em about disco prep, but maybe give them some task, run a morning meeting for us, run a huddle.

How about you teach everybody that great thing you do with prospecting or just giving them a little bit of that confidence back? Help me with this interview, come talk to this person.

For me, I think it goes a long way because these are people that I work with for probably a long time. I know and love them. They have a lot of strengths, and I want them to know that even if they're struggling right now with this quality, there's still all these other qualities I believe in them for.

So, somewhere in the middle. Obviously, if somebody's not performing for months and months, that's a different problem, but you catch it early on and do small things just to get them out of the rut.

It's not necessarily going to solve their sales issues or not hitting KPIs, but at least get them feeling good and then everything else will follow.

Debora Fernandez (47:42):
We are in the business of humans at the end of the day, so I really appreciate you guys so very, very much. Thank you for all your insights and for joining me today. I'm going to invite back the MSP team to take over, but thank you again, Gil, Travis, Ralph, so very, very much for this chat.

It has been lovely. I certainly learned a ton. So MSP team, come on back. Thank you guys so very much. Thank you. And thank you all for joining us as well. Thank you.