Sales development leaders spend as much as 60% of their role recruiting. They spend significant budget working with recruiting firms, painstakingly define an ideal candidate profile, and spend countless hours interviewing. Ironically, the same rigor put on the recruiting process seldom carries over to onboarding. The result is, organizations dedicate time and resources to getting the best SDRs to join their team, only to leave them hanging once they are in the seat.
Of course, this isn’t true of all organizations, and perhaps this is hyperbolic. But here are the facts of the onboarding problem:
- The average SDR tenure is 14.2 months.
- 72.5% of high growth companies hire SDRs with 0-1 years of experience.
- The average ramp time for new SDRs to hit full quota is three months.
TOPO’s Sales Development Council #8 gathered over 30 of the brightest sales development leaders from the bay area’s fastest growing companies to the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park last Friday. The morning kicked off with a networking breakfast in which attendees made new connections with their peers, shared best practices and challenges, and learned from what each leader is doing in their own organization. The council event officially began with a brief introduction from TOPO CEO, Scott Albro, who announced the three speakers for the morning: Craig Rosenberg, Chief Analyst at TOPO; Jon Parisi Sr. Director of Revenue Development at GuideSpark; and Matt Amundson, Director of Sales Development at EverString.
Consistently generating sales qualified leads in the enterprise is a constant struggle for outbound sales development teams. This presents a significant challenge for the 93.4% of companies that conduct outbound prospecting, and particularly for the 54% of organizations that have a dedicated outbound SDR role. For these organizations, the traditional “numbers game” sales strategy in which SDRs send mass cold emails and make calls with the same generic message no longer produces results in the enterprise.
Effective time management is essential to SDR productivity. 83.4% of SDRs fail to consistently hit quota each month, in large part because they lack this critical skill. The problem is so prevalent that in TOPO’s SDR benchmark research, 33.3% of high-growth companies cite challenges around SDR time management as one of the top three challenges for their organization. These challenges include:
- Prioritizing high value activities
- Consistently achieving activity goals
- Staying focused/not wasting time
- Maintaining process (e.g. following a touch pattern).
Over 30 sales development leaders from the bay area’s fastest growing companies once again convened at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park last Friday for TOPO’s Sales Development Council #7. These Councils offer a unique forum for sales development leaders from high growth companies to learn from each other and share best practices. Each Council features three speakers who share the processes, plays, organizational elements, and technologies they use to drive key revenue metrics. This Council produced a few key themes, including discussions about the hiring and interview process, onboarding strategy, and coaching best practices.
A new technology stack is emerging that is specifically designed for sales development. The emergence of a dedicated sales development technology stack is basically the result of a fundamental tension that’s existed in sales development for a few years now. On the one hand, sales development has become a mission critical element in most high growth company’s marketing and sales efforts. On the other, an abundance of digital information makes it harder than ever to reach and qualify buyers. Sales development leaders are in a continuous battle to manage this core tension.
In February, TOPO customers benefitted from some amazing additions to the customer community, two incredibly successful TOPO events, and two new research documents on the latest and most impactful trends in sales development.
The number one challenge I hear from sales development leaders is how to successfully manage the SDR lifecycle. This can take many forms: hiring, onboarding, training, performance, motivation, internal promotions, attrition, and so on. The average SDR lifecycle is 14.2 months. Given this figure, it’s not surprising that the sales development organization is often described as the “minor league team” for the rest of the organization. This poses a unique challenge for SDR leaders who have to constantly fill seats in the “leaking bucket” that is the SDR team, and get each rep performing as early, as consistently, and for as long as possible.
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 continue our sales development interview series with Lars Nilsson, VP of Sales Operations from Cloudera. He’ll share his best practices, most impactful decisions, goals, challenges, metrics and the most effective technology his team is using today.
The modern sales development organization revolutionized the way companies could think about pipeline and revenue growth. Separating the prospecting and qualification of leads from the later stages in the sales process enables the sales organization as a whole to become highly specialized and more effective. Without the distraction of having to find and qualify their own leads, and with the assurance that their pipeline will be consistently filled with opportunities, sales reps can optimize their own sales process to increase conversions throughout the pipeline. This is all to say, the true value of a sales development team is that it enables sales reps to focus on what they do best: close business.