The TOPO blog is committed to bringing the sales development community the latest trends, data, and best practices from the fastest-growing companies in the world. But it’s really great leaders that take those insights and drive action from them; that lead their teams to perform like the best in the business. Over the next several weeks, TOPO will be posting an interview series with the world’s best sales development leaders and practitioners.
To kick us off, Ralph Barsi, Senior Director of Sales Development at Achievers, shares his best practices, most impactful decisions, goals, challenges, metrics and the most effective technology his team is using today.
Ralph will also be moderating TOPO’s upcoming webinar, 11 High Growth Sales Development Strategies.
Hiring enough good salespeople is one of the most important things a company can do. That’s because the rate at which you hire salespeople is one of the primary factors in determining how fast you’ll grow revenue. At it’s most basic level, sales is about establishing a company-wide revenue target, assigning an appropriate quota for salespeople, and then hiring enough reps so that you can hit the company-wide target. In other words, individual quota assignment multiplied by number of sales people = company bookings or revenue target.
Sounds simple, right? Not really, especially given the large number of dynamics that can derail your sales hiring. While some of these dynamics are obvious (e.g. hiring bad salespeople), others are less obvious. In this post, we’ll analyze four non-obvious sales hiring traps that can derail your sales team’s quota achievement, including:
- Accessing a large enough candidate pool;
- Shortening the average time it takes to achieve full quota;
- Knowing when to accelerate or decelerate sales hiring; and
- Covering rep attrition with your sales hiring plan.
Here’s the scenario: You’ve identified a lead you want to talk to. You have crafted several thoughtful emails, left impactful voicemails, and maybe even retweeted a prospect’s latest update. Finally, FINALLY, you get the prospect live on the phone, and that’s where the trouble starts: the buyer comes in with objections.
The ability to effectively manage live calls is one of the most challenging aspects of being an sales development rep. It is also one of the most important. TOPO considers live call management 1 of 3 essential pillars for SDR success. SDRs that do this well have mastered the ability to overcome objections from the very beginning of the call (the classic, I’m busy right now, just send over some information), all the way through to close.
What makes a good sales pitch? If you’re like most salespeople, you’d give a two-part answer to this question – a well-designed set of slides and effective delivery of those slides. While that answer is technically correct, it understates the impact that a great sales presentation can have on moving buyers through the top of the sales funnel. It also fails to capture the dozens of elements that makes for an effective sales pitch, from preparation to delivery to closing for next steps. Use the following tips when designing and delivering your sales presentation to ensure that your driving the highest conversion rates possible.
In today’s selling environment, the ability to deliver an effective sales email is absolutely essential to prospecting success. The phone is still a critical channel, but it is highly inefficient. According to to the outsourced demand generation and training firm, VorSight, it takes 22.5 dials before you can have a meaningful conversation. As a matter of fact, Coca Cola just disconnected their corporate voicemail. This has made connecting via email more important than ever, and the industry is responding, as evidenced by the rise of sales email applications such as YesWare, ToutApp, and SalesLoft. However, corporate buyers are getting more emails than ever before, with the combination of sales emails and those being sent via marketing automation. This means, while email is essential, your email will be ignored if you are not able to pierce through the high volume of emails your prospects receive daily with compelling email copy that provides value to your prospect.
In October, the Sales Development Practice completed our Sales Development Benchmark Report. The read-outs have begun, and our participants are benefitting from understanding how they stack up against their peers. Additionally, we are preparing for our Sales Development Council event #3 on November 14th and are thrilled with the group we’ve assembled. As always, we have new and exciting client advisory projects and appreciate the opportunity to help such great clients build and optimize top-notch Sales Development teams.
September was a landmark month for TOPO’s Sales Development Practice. Our analysts published new research on underperforming SDRs. Leaders from the sales development community gathered for our 2nd Sales Development Council. The addition of several amazing customers has us hard at work continuing to build leading sales development teams at the world’s fastest-growing companies.
Expanding on the success of the first TOPO Sales Development Council, we were excited to bring together an even larger gathering of 35 top sales development practitioners. It was a morning of sharing best practices, examining trends in the industry, and collaborating on strategies to take sales development organizations to the next level. We learned last time that putting the best and brightest in a room together yields incredible results, and this time was no different.
Here are the highlights:
- 35 SDR managers, directors, and VPs were in attendance.
- Companies like Zendesk, CallidusCloud, Intacct, Jive Software and Okta were represented.
- Our three speakers were Kristina McMillan of Five9, Russ Hearl of DoubleDutch, and our very own Craig Rosenberg of TOPO.
- Our exclusive sponsor Salesloft partnered with us to make the event a success (thanks Kyle!).
- The Rosewood Sand Hill had us back for everybody’s favorite croissant breakfast sandwiches.
It’s as old as sales, the pitch, but I am shocked at how frequently salespeople stumble through it. Every rambling cold call, every flustered kid at an event booth, every email that reads more like a novel…it all stems from the same inability to simply articulate what you sell and why it matters.
So, let’s begin with a redefinition. Today’s best salespeople aren’t so much “pitching” as they are delivering a “value proposition.” The difference, while subtle, is important. A pitch is typically self-serving and remains the same each time you deliver it. It also tends to devolve into a features-and-benefits sell: “Let me tell you about this really cool product. It does this and that and all these great things!”
A value proposition, by contrast, is buyer-centric, and thus adapts to each situation. “Our product has been helping companies like yours with value 1, 2, and 3, by doing X.”
34 demand gen professionals joined TOPO last Friday for our first Demand Generation Council event. The event was only our second ever, but like our Sales Development Council event last month, the half day session turned out to be an excellent forum for some of the world’s fastest growing companies to share demand gen best practices. Much of this success can be attributed to the design principles that we’ve adopted for these events. First, we are laser-focused on the patterns and best practices that high growth companies exhibit. Second, we only allow marketing and sales practitioners to speak and attend TOPO events. Third, we tell all of our speakers and attendees that specificity wins – thought leadership/pontification does not play well at these events.
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