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TOPO Sales Development Council Event #2 – Recap

Expanding on the success of the first TOPO Sales Development Council, we were excited to bring together an even larger gathering of 35 top sales development practitioners. It was a morning of sharing best practices, examining trends in the industry, and collaborating on strategies to take sales development organizations to the next level. We learned last time that putting the best and brightest in a room together yields incredible results, and this time was no different.

Here are the highlights:

  • 35 SDR managers, directors, and VPs were in attendance.
  • Companies like Zendesk, CallidusCloud, Intacct, Jive Software and Okta were represented.
  • Our three speakers were Kristina McMillan of Five9, Russ Hearl of DoubleDutch, and our very own Craig Rosenberg of TOPO.
  • Our exclusive sponsor Salesloft partnered with us to make the event a success (thanks Kyle!).
  • The Rosewood Sand Hill had us back for everybody’s favorite croissant breakfast sandwiches.

Key Sales Development Trends

While it is impossible to reduce all of great content shared to a few bullet points, some interesting trends did emerge:

  1. Good SDRs are naturally competitive, but you need to keep them motivated – Kristina McMillan of Five9 shared her strategies for keeping her team successfully motivated. With achievable quotas that 90% of her team hit, morale remains high as the SDRs are confident in their ability to meet and exceed expectations. This allows her team to stress less about job security and enables them to be more confident and, most importantly, creative in their role. To challenge top performers, Kristina created a “Hall of Fame,” by which her current SDRs can stack themselves against the historic best performers. Thus, the bar is raised to not just hit quota, or even be the best on your team, but to be the best SDR of all time.
  2. SDRs don’t stay SDRs for long – The short lifecycle of an SDR and the importance to onboard and ramp rapidly proved challenging for many. Kristina tackled this topic by discussing the importance of hiring the right people for the position, and making SDRs productive faster through collaborative environments, crowd-sourced peer-training (or “outsourcing herself”, as she puts it), and setting clear expectations early on. The benefit of having Five9’s product in-house, to enable reps to listen and learn from any call at any time, is a specific benefit I think we all wish we had.
  3. Great team design produces great results – Russ Hearl of DoubleDutch impressed the crowd with his story of scaling his SDR team from 0-35 in 18 months. They are now contributing to 75% or more of the company’s closed revenue. A large part of his success is an innovative team design, based on Theory of Constraints principles,  which focuses on role specialization, a flat hierarchy between Sales Development and Inside Sales, and paired quotas by which two SDRs must collaborate to hit a joint quota. That coupled with a killer training program, “DoubleDutch University,” has helped Russ create a best-in-class team.
  4. Sales Development needs a process – Craig Rosenberg, TOPO’s Chief Analyst, shared some of his latest research, the Sales Development Touch Report. The report identified three primary drivers for improving SDR conversion rates: the number and quality of SDR touches, response time, and live call quality. The study looked at SDR teams at high-growth companies to discern best practices in such topics as SDR response times, average touches per lead, types of touches, and pursuit duration. For example, 31.5% of companies are now following up with an inbound lead in less than 5 minutes. Craig went on to share tools to enable the practitioners in the room to design their own multi-touch pattern based on the data.

The continued success of these councils has us hard at work on a series of future events. Expect the next Sales Development Council in the second week of November. In the meantime, I think we have plenty to think about. Stay tuned!

About the author: Bryan Gonzalez is the Sales Development Analyst at TOPO. He has helped two high-growth companies launch their SDR teams and define the role and strategy. With TOPO, he is excited to help others design, build, and optimize their own sales development organizations to accelerate their growth. He has been an SDR, he knows the grind. Follow Bryan on Twitter.

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