Learn how TOPO helps sales and marketing grow faster at www.topohq.com

Sales Development in the Security Market: An Interview with David Dulany

TOPO is committed to bringing the sales development community the latest trends, data, and best practices from the world’s fastest-growing companies. Today, we interview David Dulany, the Manager of Sales Development at OpenDNS. He’ll share his thoughts on sales development best practices, goals, challenges, technology, and metrics.

David will be speaking at our upcoming Sales Development Council meeting on April 10. 

Include sales, marketng, and product in your interview panel for SDR recruitment

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

I made a huge priority of getting really smart about recruiting. Being surrounded by A-players will make you better and get better results for the company. To identify A players, I recommend that sales development leaders create an interview panel made up of people from sales development, sales, marketing and even product. Once your panel is set up, then have each panel member agree upon a set of characteristics each interviewer will look for and supply them with questions and terminology to pull those answers out of the candidates. It is important to make it easy for the panel to document their thoughts (we use Jobvite) and make sure they give you detailed insight on each candidate. If you’re not getting the feedback you need from a panelist, then replace them with someone else. Finally, if the panel agree that a  candidate fits the characteristics you need, go after them.


When sourcing SDRs, look for the best of the best and fight hard to bring them on to your team. It is essential to spend a good part of the day (and night) live networking, participating in social media, cold calling candidates, talking to administrators at university sales programs, and trolling Linkedin. Recruiting is one of the most important aspects of your job so don’t rely just on your sales recruiter if you’re lucky enough to have one – do it yourself. You will need to identify the characteristics for candidates who are the right fit to be successful in your target market. Sales assessment tests such as Chally, ProfileXT or Objective Management Group are very helpful in this regard. One of the best ways to find A players is to ask your team rock stars to recommend the best people they know and hire through referrals. When you find someone you want, pay the most you can possibly afford and fight hard internally get more money for your top candidates. Once in the door, treat your new hires well and set up a very defined career path tied to the key metrics important to your business. After you train them and observe their work, be prepared to hire slow and fire fast. Beware of the bozo explosion where hiring one bozo causes another bozo to show up, who recommends another bozo, and suddenly you’re drowning in bozos.

Simplify the life of an outbound SDR so they can concentrate on qualified meetings

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

The biggest challenge is the fact that our outbound SDRs are juggling multiple priorities.  As the sales development leader, I want to remove complexity and empower SDRs to feel confident in their abilities to speak intelligently about our value proposition and ultimately set up more qualified meetings. Having the team members scrambling, switching focus, and not being efficient drives me crazy. Our outbound team receives requests and inputs from a variety of sources including individual sales reps with lists, marketing campaigns, their own follow-up lists, data enrichment program lists, etc.  It becomes too much and then too much time is being spent pouring over spreadsheets, opening windows, looking for names, and wondering whom to call next. Spreadsheets and outdated cadence systems are not set up for life in 2015.  SDRs get confused with all these priorities, and next thing you know, half of them are playing ping-pong and not making any calls. My #1 priority in 2015 is cleaning up the outbound process.

Manage the prospects SDRs are targeting in a logical and efficient way

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

See answer #2! I want to reign in multiple priorities to create a single pane of glass for the SDRs to access the known universe of possible ICP targets without any bottlenecks. I want to be able to manage the prospects SDRs are targeting in a more logical and efficient way.  In 2015, I plan to have a managed, account-based marketing approach with the SDR team being a key feature in helping the prospect move along the buyer journey. We have a new process sketched out, have demo’d a number of vendors to help with this, and have narrowed down the number of vendors to a few (our business operations team is now taking over the vetting process to ensure the solution melds with our current Salesforce setup).

Use metrics to get your sales development program down to a science

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

We track meetings set/accepted: qualified pipeline revenue generated from SDR sourced meetings, and deals closed/won that were sourced by the SDR team. We have it down to a science. If we hire right and train an SDR a certain way, and they execute their activity plan, then they will produce the requisite number of meetings which ultimately becomes pipeline and pipeline becomes closed/won. We also know our conversion rates, so we can reliably predict our revenue by lead source. I track the daily number of emails and phone calls in order to make sure people are pushing as hard as they can every day.  But for me the most important activity metric I look at is the individual SDRs’ number of quality conversations which is known as “call connects” in the old Salesforce vernacular. The more quality conversations we have every day, the more relationships we’ll build and the more meetings we’ll get set up. Once the meeting is set, a service level agreement with sales ensures the meetings are high quality and can be accepted or rejected by the sales team.

Invest in technology that individual SDRs want to use

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

We’ve invested heavily in the tools our SDR’s find the most useful. We use the following:

For our market, Discoverorg has been an outstanding source of high quality contact information. Our SDRs love the org charts, in-depth account information, and first rate customer success team. As mentioned, I’m also pretty deep in vendor evaluation for a new touch management application.

Today’s Author: David Dulany spent his early Sales career at AchieveGlobal, the world’s leader in Sales, Customer Service and Leadership training, as an Inside Sales Rep and Team Leader consistently making Pinnacle Club. After being heavily influenced by Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and meeting Sales Legend Ralph Barsi at an AA-ISP event, he started the Sales Development program at Glassdoor and set the groundwork for the current juggernaut program lead by Eric Gonzalez. He now leads the Sales Development program at OpenDNS in San Francisco, CA. David lives in Daly City, CA with his wife and two sons and enjoys running, reading and all things Sales Development.


Your Free Membership

Join the 100s of high growth sales and marketing teams that depend on TOPO. Your free membership includes:

  • 1Free Research and Data
  • 2Access to TOPO Councils
  • 3The TOPO Weekly Brief