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TOPO Sales Development Council #8 – A Recap

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.

Some of the highlights from Sales Development Council #8 include:

  • The Sales Development Council attracted sales development leaders from over 30 high growth companies.
  • Sales development leaders from companies like Polycom, VMware, and Zendesk attended the event.
  • Our speakers were Jon Parisi from GuideSpark, Matt Amundson from EverString, and TOPO’s Chief Analyst Craig Rosenberg.
  • Three terrific companies sponsored the event: ConnectandSell, Outreach, and InsightSquared.
  • We hosted the Council at the world class Rosewood Sand Hill on another beautiful Friday in Menlo Park, CA.

Key Sales Development Trends

At the beginning of each Council, we lead a lightning round of introductions, in which our attendees share their latest “hot button” issue; a challenge that’s been driving them crazy this month. While hiring holds steady as an ever-present challenge, some others involved standardizing process across growing teams, dealing with poor lead quality, and launching or optimizing outbound prospecting programs.


Some of the highlights from the three speakers’ sessions included:

  1. TOPO Chief Analyst Craig Rosenberg presented his LinkedIn Best Practices training. Widely lauded as “the best training for salespeople using LinkedIn,” Craig avoided the blog-style pontification of dime-a-dozen social selling articles by providing specific, actionable tactics for SDRs (and any salesperson) to effectively use LinkedIn to connect with buyers and drive demand to you and your company. Craig divided LinkedIn for sales communication into three buckets: personal branding, sales intelligence, and buyer interactions, with best practices in each category included. Some of these best practices included recommendations on how to create a buyer-centric profile, researching buyers before outreach, and sending impactful inMail messages as part of a larger touch pattern strategy.
  2. Jon Parisi, Sr. Director Revenue Development at GuideSpark, offered a solution to one of their most enduring and agitating challenges: data quality. After telling the impressive story of how the company went from 8,000 leads in 2013 to 500,000 this year, he swiftly moved to discuss how he keeps such a colossal database clean and usable for his reps. The project is much too expansive to detail here, but the krux of it was organizing the database such that SDRs could view how many stakeholders in each of the functions they sell to exist within a current account (e.g. 9 records in benefits/compensation, 5 in talent management, etc). More important, they created a team that is dedicated to correcting bad emails and finding direct dials for existing contacts, and ensuring new contacts have both. The results speak for themselves: 73x ROI and quicker ramp time for new hires who inherited this system; they hit 183% of their pipeline and ARR goals.
  3. Matt Amundson, Director of Sales Development at EverString, closed the morning with an impassioned talk on how he successfully scales SDR teams, including his current team at EverString. The recipe? Three things: be an inspiration, become an expert recruiter, and adopt an Account Based Sales Development model. On the first topic, he boasts a 92% retention rate for ever hire he’s ever made. Key takeaways: make it fun, play music, create traditions; and roll up your sleeves every once in a while and make some calls to show your team how it’s done. On hiring, Matt spends 60% of his time recruiting, and has refined a near fail-safe hiring persona. One tip: hire recent college grads from state schools with an athletic background. Finally, “account based sales development is the future”, he says, boasting a 50% increase in opportunities generated per SDR since he switched to this model.

That’s just a small portion of what we discussed at our most recent Sales Development Council. If you’re interested in attending an upcoming event, we have a number of Councils planned for the rest of the year, including:

  • Demand Generation Council #6 in Menlo Park, CA this Friday, 10/30.
  • Sales Development Council #9 in Menlo Park, CA

About the author: Bryan Gonzalez, Sales Development Practice Analyst, TOPO

Bryan Gonzalez is TOPO’s Sales Development Analyst. He publishes research and helps clients design, build, and optimize their Sales Development organizations. Prior to joining TOPO, Bryan was a founding member of two high-growth SDR teams, and helped launch, execute and scale their Sales Development programs.

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