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TOPO Sales Development Council #5 – Recap

The TOPO Sales Development Councils have been a tremendous success. At each council, we bring together sales development practitioners to listen to presentations from a TOPO Analyst, as well as two sales development leaders. The room is filled with some of the best sales development leaders in the business and the conversations are lively. This event had 40 attendees who shared best practices and collaborated on high growth strategies for sales development organizations.

Here are the highlights:

  • 50 SDR managers, directors, and VPs were in attendance.
  • Companies like Google, Zendesk, Polycom, Marketo, and Clarizen  were represented.
  • Our three speakers were David Dulany of OpenDNS, Michael Mansour from Marketo, and TOPO Analyst Bryan Gonzalez.
  • Our sponsors Salesloft and ConnectandSell partnered with us to make the event a success.
  • The Rosewood Sand Hill once again provided a great venue for the Council.

Sales Development

Key Sales Development Trends

Speakers present for 30 minutes and very rarely get through their whole slide presentation because Council members are so interactive. TOPO Sales Development Council #5 was no exception. For example, Mike Mansour from Marketo was still on his first slide 20 minutes into his presentation because he got some many questions. As usual, some very interesting trends emerged:

  1. There are two major challenges facing sales development leaders today – At the beginning of every event, we poll the audience to find out what their current “hot button” issues are. The vast majority of sales development leaders mentioned hiring/retention and sales development alignment with sales. As if it was planned, two of the speakers, Bryan Gonzalez and David Dulany, focused on alignment while the other speaker Mike Mansour presented some interesting ideas on hiring and retaining SDRs.
  2. A clearly defined sales qualified lead definition is key to alignment – Bryan Gonzalez kicked off day talking about best practices for driving strong alignment between sales development and sales. His first tip was to have a clear, agreed upon sales qualified lead definition that outlines the demographic (company size, title) and behavioral (has pain or challenge) parameters that must be met in order for a sales qualified lead to be passed to sales. In TOPO’s recent research, 97.8% of respondents said they had a sales qualified lead definition, but 34% don’t adhere to it. The sales qualified lead definition creates “black and white” expectations with sales that are essential to successfully working together.
  3. Develop a closed loop process to manage sales – Bryan then described the importance of having a closed loop process. The closed loop process details the sales qualified lead handoff and feedback process. The feedback process is essential to sales and sales development alignment because it provides a way for sales to provide instant feedback on the sales qualified lead.
  4. Use transparency via reporting to build trust with sales – David Dulany devoted his entire presentation to alignment with sales and centered the conversation around trust and how important building trust is to the relationship. He talked about the importance of having a common framework for the sales development to sales process (OpenDNS uses the Sirius Decisions waterfall) and then having airtight reporting built around that process.
  5. Start unproven SDRs as contractors before promoting them to full time – Mike Mansour had a lot of amazing best practices and insights to share with the group. One of those best practices was to start unproven SDRs as contractors for 3 months before hiring them full time. As Mike said: “I always have a bench of SDRs ready to go when my current SDRs get promoted or leave.”

We have a number of Council events planned for the coming months including:

  • Our inaugural Sales Technology Council meeting
  • Sales Development Councils #6 and 7
  • Demand Generation Council #4
  • An exclusive event for inside sales leaders

Stay tuned for more information on these upcoming events.

About the author: Craig Rosenberg is a co-founder and Chief Analyst at TOPO and blogger on the Funnelholic sales and marketing blog. To learn more about how TOPO helps the world’s fastest growing sales development organizations, contact us here.

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