Identifying, Training and Managing Sales Development Talent

Author:

Dave Sherry
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

134

Identifying, Training and Managing Sales Development Talent

Aurelien Mottier

Co-Founder and CEO at Operatix

Dave Sherry

Senior Manager, Business Development & Sales - EMEA at Gong

In an age where LinkedIn is at our fingertips, building a stellar team of sales development representatives may seem easy, but it is far more complex than it appears. There is much more to the task than simply scrolling through people’s prior experience, recruiting the most qualified candidates and leaving them to their own devices.


Rather, defining and identifying key characteristics is vital – but that’s only the first step in creating a successful sales team. Your job is not only to find the right fit for the team, but also to shape and mentor them to truly reach their potential.


In this episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, our host Aurelien Mottier (Co-Founder and CEO at Operatix) sits down with Dave Sherry (Senior Manager Business Development & Sales – EMEA at Gong) to discuss identifying, training and managing sales development representatives.


Join the conversation as they dive into what traits make a great SDR and how to find them, as well as how to help them develop their skills.



Identifying Sales Development Representatives



When it comes to recruiting sales development representatives, it’s important to go beyond someone’s previous experience and look at core competencies. This begins by defining non-negotiables to look for during the process, including:


  • When are you trying to get the talent onboard?
  • What skills are you looking for?
  • What core competencies and values are essential?


Dave collates this by creating two different types of profiles, typically using LinkedIn to gather more information:


  • Profile one: someone who may not have experience in an SDR role, but has gone to university or has shown entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm towards sales. This could be via training and self-development, using courses to give them a step-up.
  • Profile two: this person has more relevant experience in sales – they’re more polished and confident in the field. They’ve had training and have a background in sales


After defining these profiles, both Aurelien and Dave then outline the core competencies they believe are key to talented sales development representatives. This includes:



  • Curiosity – someone who is undeniably passionate and curious. They’ve taken time to research the company and people behind it, as well as having an authentic and urgent curiosity to understand the ‘why’ behind everything.
  • Coachability – a candidate that can absorb and willing to take on feedback, as well as training. They’ll have the ability to grasp knowledge, particularly about what they’re selling.
  • Accountability – often overlooked as competency, accountability will ensure the candidate holds themselves responsible for meeting their targets and their actions.
  • Resilience – sales can be a tough job full of objections and rejections. Only a resilient person will be able to preserve and succeed through this.



While some of these can come with time and training, others are soft skills or personality traits that can’t be taught. Anyone can hone their skillset, but it can be harder to ingrain these natural characteristics in someone, which is why they’re so important to seek out during the recruitment stage. 


“Firstly, I would start off by asking a question around an objective they set themselves that they failed to achieved. You want to see if they’re humble enough to accept it. It shows self-awareness.”


Dave Sherry, Senior Manager, Business Development & Sales – EMEA at Gong


Recognising these key personality traits will allow you to base your questioning around them, helping you to dive deeper beyond what is on the candidate’s LinkedIn profile and ensure they are a correct fit. Assess not only their answers but also their reactions to the questions – this can reveal a lot about a candidate.



Training and Managing Sales Development Representatives


Motivating sales development representatives is a key part of managing them – you have to uncover what keeps them driving forward. What motivates one employee may not be the other, and this goes for career paths. One may want to be an AE, while another may want to go down the path of customer success. Rather than putting all of your SDRs in one box, try and understand what their aspirations are.


The best way of doing so, of course, is finding out directly from the source. Losing a great SDR to another role is always bittersweet, but you’d much rather them stay within the business and remain an employee than go elsewhere due to lack of career progression. Plus, giving them performance guidelines to follow in the meantime is sure to keep their performance high.



“The best and worst days for me are when people move into other roles. It’s like a graduation, so it’s brilliant, but we’ve also lost a top performer who has been instrumental to the team. That’s a consistent theme for a lot of folks.”


Dave Sherry, Senior Manager, Business Development & Sales – EMEA at Gong


Career progression is a motivator for the majority of employees, which is why Gong is working on putting together certifications and training to help their employees fill gaps, helping them make the transition into their next role. Having a training program in place not only fills the desire to grow, but makes for an improved company culture.



“When you get to the nine-month mark in an SDR organization, make a call and ask them where they have aspirations to move into. If their performance has been going well, start working on a plan to get them into that area of the business.”


Dave Sherry, Senior Manager, Business Development & Sales – EMEA at Gong



Likewise, Aurelien has created an internal career path as with clear guidelines to help sales development representatives progress without going elsewhere. Not only that, but the business runs its own training program, the Operatix Academy, to ensure its team can hone their skillset internally.


“Having certifications or something else in place is important. You can’t promote people just because they are good at their previous role, that doesn’t mean they will be good in the new one.”


Aurelien Mottier, Co-Founder and CEO at Operatix


To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to B2B Revenue Acceleration on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.


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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

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Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

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Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

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Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

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Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

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Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

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Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

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Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

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Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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