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Sales Development in the Mobile Industry: An Interview with Jorge Soto

TOPO is committed to bringing the sales development community the latest trends, data, and best practices from the fastest-growing companies in the world. Today, we interview Jorge Soto, Head of Inside Sales, MoPub at Twitter. He’ll share his thoughts on sales development best practices, goals, challenges, technology, and metrics.

Be transparent in the sales development hiring process

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

We have been blessed with having hired high performing SDRs over the past few years. I’d say that the biggest impact has been creating a transparent and comprehensive hiring and on-boarding process.

Transparent SDR hiring – Being transparent during hiring means painting the picture for what the role is going to be and explaining that it will be harder than the candidate thinks. I personally want to hire a team of fighters and courageous leaders. I want to paint a picture of a very tough day-to-day that challenges the SDR operationally but even more so mentally. I want them to be ready for the days and weeks that suck and rejections of their emails and phone calls.

jorge soto

I want them to be willing and ready to fight through those periods and find ways to overcome via a mixture between trusting in our system/process, being scrappy and fighting through the funk, and being a mental/emotional champion. I prepare them for the moments when they will want to give up and quit. I am real with them and explain that we all confront these moments and it’s up to us to power through and maintain control; and that they are capable of being as great of a producer as anyone else, IF they want it bad enough. And if they don’t want it bad enough that’s ok too. This just might not be the role for them, as we only want to build a team that consists of people who want to succeed within this role badly.

I am also very real about that fact that we are building leaders and that SDR role has an expiration date. When they reach that date, they should feel comfortable enough to approach me as their coach so we find the best possible next step for them.

Last but certainly not least, I let them know what my intentions are and who I want to be for them within my role as their “manager”. I am raw and real about my own humanity and what I am likely go be challenged with as their leader. I go on to explain what I need them to hold me accountable to and that that this is a partnership not a dictatorship. Their success is my success and vice versa.

Comprehensive onboarding – I have also found that it’s immensely important to be as comprehensive as possible when on-boarding a new SDR. I’m talking about getting deep around product knowledge, soft skills, philosophy, tactics, etc. We leave no stone unturned. I want the SDR to understand the entire sales and marketing process and funnel, even though they will be only focused on one part of it.

We use a variety of methods from more visual diagrams to structures presentations. SDRs are trained by multiple stakeholders across the entire team, not just myself. It’s critical to document this onboarding process and iterate on that process based on feedback and results.

Account for regional nuances when scaling internationally

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

Our biggest challenge is scaling internationally and understanding the nuances of sales development within each region. We have spent a lot of time planning around what our efforts look like in APAC versus EMEA versus what we do in North America. For example, are cold calls or emails effective and executed similarly across all regions? We have found that there are indeed nuances to regions. In EMEA , the region is so concentrated that going to local events as an SDR and sourcing leads across a few countries is pretty effective. We find that our brand is more developed in some regions than others and that this influences the SDRs role, meaning in some cases an SDR is doing more educating than sales-qualifying.

Adjust SDR expectations based on the current stage of your business

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

Now that we have been at Twitter for over 1.5 years we have a solid understanding of how to operate within the larger organization and, more importantly, understand what the strengths and weaknesses are. Our big initiatives for 2015 are international markets, as well as evolving the SDRs day-to-day tasks with the needs of the outside sales/closers reps and the broader the market. Our SDR’s day-to-day has varied based on the stage of our business (when we were a seed stage startup versus a $100 million run rate business), the boarder market’s state, and how to best support the outside sales/closers reps.

Track SDR turnover to determine sales development success

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

The top 3 metrics we use to determine our sales development team’s success are:

  • Net new leads generated based on a set of qualifiers. Because an app might be not qualified today based on its performance numbers but gain popularity and become qualified tomorrow we spend a lot of time monitoring the app stores via our database tools.
  • % of an SDR’s leads that go-live (a nuance of ad serving is that signed contracts don’t mean much until ad requests are live).
  • Turnover – I have never had someone on my team quit. This means we are trending positively as a team.

Invest in market intelligence apps as part of your tech stack

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

The technologies that have made the biggest impact on our business both from a rep and manager perspectives have been:

  • App Annie – For lead gen and market intelligence around mobile.
  • MixRank – For lead gen and market intelligence around mobile.
  • Yesware – For email templates, outreach, and CRM sync.
  • Rapportive – For verifying emails and social profiles in email.
  • Domain Tools – For finding contact information using domain ownership lookups.
  • Linkedin – This is a no-brainer, especially for prospecting and outreach.
  • Salesforce.com – Another no-brainer. This is our CRM of record.

Today’s Author:  Jorge Soto is the Head of Inside Sales, MoPub at Twitter, Advisor at Dashtab.co, and Head of Startup Sales Education at SalesHacker.com  He is a serial entrepreneur and sales junkie. Over the last 12 years he’s sold everything from consumer products door-to-door to enterprise software. In 2013 he joined Twitter via the MoPub acquisition as Head of Inside Sales for their new Mobile Exchange team. Jorge was the first hire at MoPub focused on building their outbound prospecting and inbound lead management efforts while also wearing various other hats. He also was the founder of Sales4StartUps, which before selling to Sales Hacker Media in 2015 taught nearly 2000 founders and early employees how to sell and design sales processes through workshops and digital content.  Today Jorge in an advisor to startups like Dashtab, SpiderBook, and Mobile Action.

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