In the latest Move the Deal episode, host Greg Moore talks with Predictable Revenue Founder and Co-CEO Aaron Ross. A pioneer in the evolution of the sales development representative role, Ross started at Salesforce.com as an inbound SDR and then moved on to create their outbound SDR process, helping them grow from $5M to $100M. Aaron wrote two best-selling books Predictable Revenue and From Impossible to Inevitable (co-authored with Jason Lemkin) and continues to help all kinds of companies find the right path to scalable, sustainable growth.
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The Rise of the SDR Role
Ross shares why the SDR role is a hot job in the sales industry and how sales leaders can approach managing inbound and outbound roles and processes:
- It creates a bridge between sales and marketing: An inbound SDR can qualify and pass along the best leads from marketing to sales. This key step creates a bridge between the two departments so that leads receive better follow-up, the CRM has more accurate data and salespeople gain access to better leads.
- More channels to add qualified appointments: Ross argues that sellers can’t prospect and manage accounts and close deals effectively. But an outbound SDR focuses on prospecting, which gives marketing consistent updates and takes pressure off sellers so they can spend their time doing what they do best: closing business.
- The shift towards sales specialization: By evolving roles from generic “sellers” to outbound SDRs who prospect, inbound SDRs who qualify marketing leads, account executives who close and account managers who dedicate themselves to making customers happy, sales organizations will find themselves on the path to success.
The Sales DNA of Top-Performing Inbound and Outbound SDRs
Both inbound and outbound SDR roles have plenty of growth opportunities within organizations. Often, SDRs come to an organization with very little experience, but they bring great qualities like an eagerness to learn. Ross shares what to look for when hiring for both roles:
- Inbound SDR: They should have a good head on their shoulders, open to coaching and ready to learn more about sales.
- Outbound SDR: They should have one to five years of sales experience, and have a proven track record of getting things done.
Too many companies view the metrics of inbound and outbound SDRs as the same, which is a mistake. Their metrics may look similar, and their sales process may be similar, but the activity goals and conversion rates for each role differ.
Being an SDR manager is not an easy task. It’s hard to find people who are used to a complex sales system and that understand the metrics that are important for improved sales performance. The key to successfully managing SDRs is to understand their metrics and coach them based on their activity.
Now is The Time to Implement an SDR Team
Ross ends with advice for CROs who are looking to develop or expand their SDR teams:
“If you don’t have an SDR team or an outbound SDR team, put someone in place to understand your plan and ROI. Having an SDR team is a lever to control how fast you can grow.” If you have an SDR team, clean up your dashboard to ensure your metrics are accurate. An audit process ensures that all prospects are claimed.”
Find the Right Work-Life Balance
Ross is a dedicated CEO and family man. As a father of 9 kids, as well as a best-selling author and public speaker, throughout his career he’s been able to find the right balance between his professional and personal life. He leaves listeners with this:
“Treat work time as work time and family time as family time. It’s important to keep the two seperate as much as you can, but don’t be afraid to find intentional and creative ways to combine the two.”
Outline of the Episode
[2:00] Ross on what’s changing the sales development representative role
[7:30] The ideal profile of an inbound and outbound SDR
[14:02] What makes up a modern SDR manager
[20:04] Ross’s advice to CROs looking to expand their SDR teams
[23:23] How to manage competing priorities in your professional and personal life.
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