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Building a Sales Development Engine: An Interview with Daniel Barber

TOPO is committed to bringing the sales development community the latest trends, data, and best practices from the world’s fastest-growing companies. Today, we interview Daniel Barber, the Director of Sales Development and Operations at ToutApp. He’ll share his thoughts on sales development best practices, goals, challenges, technology, and metrics.

Put your SDRs’ goals ahead of yours

Question 1: What decision did you make that had the biggest impact on your sales development team’s success?

Put the SDRs’ goals ahead of mine – it’s that simple. I’ll take a page from Aaron Ross here:

My mission as a leader is to:

  1. Choose people carefully
  2. Set expectations and vision
  3. Remove obstacles
  4. Inspire your people
  5. Work for your people
  6. Improve it next time

SDR hiring should be treated like demand generation

Question 2: What is the biggest challenge your sales development team is facing in 2015?

Hiring. Top talent requires rigor and I need to apply maximum leverage to ensure we hit our aggressive targets. I recently wrote a post on this topic that presented my learnings from 1000 interviews. In short, leaders need to treat hiring like demand generation. Leave resource allocation to human resources and invest in talent to create future leaders.

Build a sales development engine that will fuel bookings growth and your internal promotion program

Question 3: What are the sales development team’s biggest initiatives for 2015?

Taking from Eric Ries (author of the Lean Startup and investor in ToutApp) here: Build, Measure, and Learn. We are building an engine that will not only fuel our bookings growth but also our internal promotion program. Our initiatives are as follows:

  1. Build a framework from our customers (i.e. why did they buy ToutApp, what challenges are they looking to solve, etc.)
  2. Expand our Total Addressable Market (TAM) via effective measurement
  3. Test and learn to deliver optimal content, messaging, and refine our internal process

Measure SDR sourced pipeline to ensure you are targeting the right companies

Question 4: What are the top 3 metrics you use to measure your sales development team’s performance?

We are beyond the era of meeting setting. Therefore, I address pipeline generation in three areas:

  • Dollar value of pipeline (this serves to ensure we are chasing the right companies)
  • Number of meetings
  • Dollar value of closed business

I am a firm believer of placing 80% focus in areas you can control (dollar value of pipeline and # of meetings equate to 80% of the weighting), and 20% is applied to the dollar value of closed business.

Use technology to define and identify your ICP at scale

Question 5: What technology is having the biggest impact on your sales development team’s performance?

With the evolution of the sales stack, there are a number of technologies that can drive top and bottom line growth. This year, I am most excited about advancements in organizational databases – specifically Mattermark. The days of using the yellow pages are over, and leading companies use technology to define their ideal customer profile at scale. There are similar services that have emerged to address this area, including Spiderbook and PitchBook.

daniel barber

Today’s Author:  Daniel Barber is the Director of Sales Development and Operations at ToutApp, where he is building the newly formed Pipeline Development team. Funded by Andreessen Horowitz and Sigma West, ToutApp is centered on the sales person, and provides the ability to test and optimize content delivery at the individual and collaborative level. Prior to joining ToutApp, Daniel led the worldwide Sales Development team from $100M to $200M at Responsys (acquired by Oracle for $1.5B in December 2013).

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