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Sales Development Council #14 – A Recap

Over 20 sales development leaders from the Bay Area’s fastest growing companies once again convened last Friday for TOPO’s Sales Development Council #14. 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.

As usual, we started Council with a lightning round of introductions and asked attendees to share a “hot button” issue. Some hot-button issues that were raised include:

  • As new products are added to company lineups, how do we insure that SDR’s are trained and kept up to speed?
  • Balancing calls, emails, and social outreach: which one drives the biggest ROI?
  • Using comp plans to drive pipeline movement

Highlights From Our Speakers

Our first speaker was Robert Koehler, Head of Consulting at TOPO, who was focused on Best Practices in Sales Enablement.

The key takeaways from Robert’s session:

  1. Sales enablement should be aligned to the sales development process steps.
  2. Use real world exercise plans to enable and streamline your SDR’s success.
  3. Make sure your technology supports your process and objective, not that it drives them.

Discussion points that came up during the session included:

  • Creating a list of qualification questions for SDRs and providing a list of the types of answers that satisfy those questions, so the SDRs know how to recognize relevant answers from “not quite interested” answers.
  • Training SDRs on objection-handling is critical, but must be supported with regular exercises to help them with finding the right answers and on the fly.
  • Making training a priority for your team, even with differing time zones, and finding personalized and accessible ways to train on a regular basis.

Our second speaker was Kim Brown, Sales Development Manager at Catavolt, who was focused on the value of the sales handoff and the iteration of that process she’s overseen at Catavolt.   

Interesting topics that came up during her session included:

  • Designing an appropriate handoff process focused on ensuring clear qualifications for handoff and established next steps.
  • Finding an account-based approach that balances volume and personalization. Kim shared that for her team this involves a combo of buyer-specific templates within a power-dialing infrastructure.
  • Effectively gathering and using feedback about Sales processes, and how to assess and redesign when needed.

We than heard from Ashley Kelly, Director of Sales Development at Zenefits, on the Sales Enablement function pre Z2 and post Z2 introduction at Zenefits.

Interesting topics that arose during Ashley’s session:

  • Valuing your on-boarding, sales productivity, and mentoring functions in order to set SDR’s up for success as they enter into a rapidly changing organization.
  • Encouraging SDR’s to take small deals based on organizational set up.
  • Finding the right compensation and attribution for inbound vs outbound.

Interested in learning more about TOPO’s councils and discussing how your organization can tackle these topics? Send us an email at sales@topohq.com.

About the Author: Kristina McMillan, Director of Research

Kristina has spent over 10 years helping organizations build and accelerate their Sales Development efforts. As a consultant, she developed the sales development programs for successful SaaS companies such Taleo, Eloqua, and Coupa, along with many others, and ran Sales Development for Five9 (IPO 2014). At TOPO, Kristina manages the research organization behind all of TOPO’s practices. She works with TOPO’s analysts to develop best practice frameworks and actionable research that help clients cultivate world-class demand generation, sales development, and sales organizations.

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