The Sales Development Playbook - Trish Bertuzzi
Inspired to write the modern day version of Predictable Revenue, today’s guest Trish Bertuzzi wrote a book about achieving accelerated growth through inside sales. Entitled, The Sales Development Playbook
it’s designed to avoid the same old techniques that keep insides sales teams in their comfort zone; unleashing their potential to skyrocket revenue. Trish reminds us that the inside sales team provides leads that feed the entire company and outlines how to unleash their power. Trish is motivated by her passion for inside sales. Her team of consultants at The Bridge Group, Inc. are committed to their clients success. Through problem solving and strategic change they unleash powerful sales teams in each of their client’s businesses. Trish’s extensive experience and passion for sales combined motivated her to write her book. In the Sales Development Playbook she introduces the six elements for building a sales pipeline. She believes that no matter you’re starting taking profound action and self analyzing are the ways to master all six elements and achieve massive sales success.
- Can the process be applied if outsourcing sales development?
- The difference between at bats and qualified opportunities
- The emergence of account based marketing
- Creating a learning environment improves employee retention
- Importance of the Sales Development Leader role
- Knowing when to hire a Manager vs. Director
The Bridge Group Inc. The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales Follow Trish on Twitter LinkedIn Group – Inside Sales Experts
Marylou: Ask anyone who’s met Trish Bertuzzi and they’ll tell you, she is passionate about inside sales. Trish is President and Chief Strategist at The Bridge Group, an inside sales consulting and implementation firm. For more than two decades,Trish has promoted sales development and inside sales as a community, as a profession, and an engine for revenue growth. Trish is also the author of The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales. Her book has already climbed close to a hundred reviews in eight short months. The best part is the average review rating for her is 4.9 out of the possible 5. She presents six elements for building new pipeline and accelerating revenue growth using inside sales as the engine. In this podcast, Trish reveals tips for noticing the difference between add backs and qualified opportunities, insights into staff recruiting and retention plus why they’re important, the differences between hiring a manager or a director for sales, and she also highlights best practices for getting the most out of the sales development playbook. Writing a book is not easy, it takes a lot of effort compiling a ton of information. You’re doing a lot of case studies, you’re in the field. I know that you’ve been at this for it says three decades already doing this type of work, but what was it specifically that you said to yourself, “I need to get this out.” Regardless of you want it to be a bestseller or not, what was the motivation? Trish: It was predictable revenue. I was so symmetrically opposed in the fact that people literally thought that what Sales Force did in 2004 was a one size fits all strategy and it would work for them. I’m like this is insanity. Marylou: Describe for me what was in people’s heads because I’ve heard very similar reaction. In fact when I had my interview with Darren, he said that the book really did a disservice because it painted a picture of a way to generate sales qualified leads that is not reality, essentially. Trish: That’s what he’s saying now. But for years, he built businesses on it on this is a one size fits all strategy. It’s not. I have to say it was definitely the [00:03:18] for me to write this because I even started a hashtag about it, #variablesmatter. What I wanted to communicate was you have to think your way through this. Here is a variable that come into play and here when you make your decision on that variable, here’s the path it leads you down. When you get to your next variable and you think your way through that, here are some other alternatives for you. Some sections of the book deal with those variables and then other sections of the book are really just a framework for execution. Marylou: The book itself describes six elements for building new pipeline. Are those elements mix and match, are they puzzle pieces, or do they start at element one and work through element six? How would you describe the way you wrote that book for that purpose? Trish: I wrote it for a variety of different reasons. I wrote it so you could go to the element where you felt you were weakest and begin there. That section is a stand alone section. If for instance the first element is strategy, if you’re rock solid on your strategy, you might want to read that section just to see if it’s interesting but you might want to focus on a challenge you’re having around say recruiting and retention and there’s a whole section on that. There’s a whole section on recruiting, there’s a whole section on retention. It really depends where you are in your life cycle of building out your sales development team. Marylou: Does the book also talk about the phenomena of outsourcing versus inside sales teams? Does it discuss anything like that relative to playbook? Trish: It really does not. Marylou: Can you apply this process whether or not you’re outsourcing your sales development? Trish: Here’s the interesting thing. I used to be the VP of Sales in an outsourcing company so I certainly understand the outsourcing business. I would hope that you would look at the execution section and then work with your outsourcing partner to develop best practices around process and methods so that they’re as productive as possible. Hopefully, you’ve picked a vendor that will allow you to have that level of input. If not, by the way, you probably picked the wrong vendor. I think parts of the book most assuredly pertain to that. I also think the first section or element which is focused on strategy—when people think about outsourcing, a lot of times they just think oh, I’m going to do pay for performance meeting setting. It’s not really what they need, they need qualified opportunities, that’s a whole different vendor. But in the outsourcing world, they all kind of sound alike unless you know better. For anyone that was going to consider outsourcing, I would most assuredly have them read the first element or the first section, really think through their strategy, and then go find the vendor that specializes in that. Marylou: Would you tell us then the six elements of the book and give us an idea of a description of each and what is the benefit of us reading that section as a reader? Trish: This is the first time I’ve had this exact conversation so this will be interesting. The first element is strategy and it’s how you think about whether you need at bats which are introductory meetings or whether you need qualified opportunities. It’s critical that people think this through because so many executives just go to their new company and replicate what they had at their last when what their sales team actually needs is something totally different. At bats are great for when you’re ramping a sales organization and may need to have as many conversations as possible to become fluent in your message and your sales process. Qualified opportunities on the flip side of the coin are also organizations that have robust pipelines and want to just focus on high probability accounts. They’re two different strategies for two different types of sales organizations, or sometimes we recommend that you combine them both. If you have existing reps with robust pipelines that don’t have time and want only qualified opportunities, that’s what you need to deliver to them. But if you’re ramping a lot of new sales reps, you need to get them at bats. What that particular element does, the strategy element, is allow people to think through what do I really need, not just how have I used sales development in the past. Marylou: Right, begin with the end in mind. What’s the end goal for this particular part of the pipeline. That’s great. Trish: That’s a great way to put it. The second section focuses on specialization, something you should be extremely familiar with. Big fan of specialization. In this element, we talk about when to do it, how to do it, what are the benefits, people are doing it in a variety of ways and we give very specific stories of companies that are doing it, we interview different practitioners about how they made the decision to specialize in the way that they did; lots of stories around specialization and once again, obviously, we followed along the lines of predictable revenue in that we totally agree, the specialization is a launch pin to productivity but how you do it and when you do it are critical success factors you need to think your way through. Marylou: Yeah, this has been for me after Pier and I parted ways in 2012, I moved back to my comfort zone which is more corporate level so $5 million to $50 million plus companies with a lot of moving parts. Generally, there is Director of Marketing, CRO, all the roles are there. The hardest thing that I have worked on with clients is the specialization. Big companies still want to hold onto this concept called targeted accounts or named accounts where they want their account executives to prospect as well as close. It’s so hard to convince them that if we off load some of that, the habit of prospecting which is a lifestyle in my opinion of people, a certain type of person does really well with the prospecting because they have a habit as part of their DNA. I love the idea of specialization but sometimes you just have to throw in the towel and start off with a hybrid model with the hopes that we can get to specialization because that’s really where the rubber meets the road, in predictable revenue anyway. Trish: That’s a great point, Marylou. The other thing that I think we need to keep an eye on around where that whole specialization level, especially around strategic accounts and named accounts is going to go is the emergence of account based marketing and account based sales development. I think that’s starting to change the complexion of how we go after named accounts or strategic accounts and it’s going to be really interesting to watch how that evolves. Marylou: I agree. I’m already seeing that and there’s already been some implementation attempts. Trying to do it under a framework that’s really more geared for assembly line which is what predictable revenue was, it’s really opened my eyes to the importance of planning. I love the way you set up the elements here because each one has a unique end result. You really have to understand and complete it to the point where you’ve got almost an AB kind of setting, depending on what’s going to happen when you actually start activating this pipeline. Trish: Thank you for that. Marylou: Let’s go to the next one, I think it was recruiting. Trish: Recruiting is incredibly hard nowadays. It’s hard because demand far outstrips supply. I was just at a client yesterday and they had a phenomenal young woman as a sales development rep. Her entire career on sales development was eight months, she’s been in it eight months. She got recruited by one of the leading analyst firms to move into account management, eight months. Wow, right? Recruiting, people tend to think of it as an activity when it has to be part of everyday, you need to always be recruiting. We talk about processes for recruiting, we talk about lots of great examples in that section about who’s doing it well, how to use video, how to create a job description that isn’t a list of what the rep is going to do all day but that sells you, sells your company, sells your culture. If you are dating and you walk into a dating pool, you want to be the prettiest girl in the room, at least you’ll make an effort. We’re going to do the same thing when we do recruiting. It’s a candidate’s market and we have to be in sales mode throughout the recruiting process. We give people great ways to do that including their social profiles like Glass Door. Glass Doors are a huge competitive advantage if you use it right. G2 Crowd, there are some social sites that people should be using as part of their recruiting and retention strategies. We talk about them in those sections. Marylou: In terms of recruiting, if one were to follow though I’m not going to tie it down to any statistics or what. I know from working with clients that the best recruiting that we’ve ever been able to do, we still lose a third to half of the folks we hire over time. It could be very quickly because they just can’t cut it even though they passed all the tests or as you said they get recruited out and move up or out of the organization for whatever reason. When we start implementing a recruiting strategy like you’re describing in your book, are the numbers more favorable that you’ll be retaining good recruits? Trish: That’s what we talked about in the retention section or the fourth element. First of all, I always say to people who are hiring, “You have a 50/50 shot at making a good hire.” You do, you have a 50/50 shot. Let’s assume you make a good hire, how do you retain that person? There are so many things you can do especially if you’re hiring for sales development, first or second job out of college. Creating a learning environment is one of the most critical things you can do. Millennial especially want to add new skills to their resume. Giving them the opportunity to do that and creating a learning culture is the best way to make people stay with you. We’re just not investing in retention, we will kill ourselves and spend a fortune on recruiting and then spend zero effort and zero dollars in retention and that’s why we lose people. It’s not that hard to create a learning culture, it’s an investment. You also have to think about things like micro-promotions. It’s up or out for a lot of these sales development reps. Marylou: It is. Trish: When we think about up, we always think about giant leaps forward. Micro-promotion, they could focus on different accounts or partner with different people or take the account a little bit further; there’s a million ways you can do micro-promotions that will keep your people invigorated, learning, and feeling like they’re moving the ball forward in their career. Marylou: In the sense of the demographics, there’s been a lot of discussion about millennials and how millennials are very community oriented, they tend to favor less monetary versus community and social. What have you seen in terms of these micro advancements? Does it matter from a monetary perspective now or are there other things that are more meaningful? Trish: Of course. It matters from a monetary perspective, what’s the average debt for a recent college graduate? Marylou: $300,000+ Trish: Of course it matters. It matters in their base pay because they’re like I’m paying off my college loans. Monetary matters but other things matter to them as well. Those are some of the things we focus on. Marylou: That’s great. I think the predictable revenue strategy was more of your SCR then you moved to an AE role. It’s actually an inbound rep to an STR role to an AE role then to account management if you want to continue on. I like the idea of—everyone likes to be acknowledged. What you’re discussing right now is giving people ideas of how to acknowledge on a more regular basis which builds loyalty, which builds trust, and that’s what keeps employees on staff longer. Trish: Here’s the other thing to think about regarding retention. Because we’re in sales, we have sales brains and we have sales blinders so we see the sales shiloh. If you have someone who’s an amazing talent and you want to keep them but they’re not into sales development, they don’t want to be in sales, they didn’t wake up, graduate from college, and go, “Hey, give me a lift, give me a phone, I want to make phone calls.” God knows how they landed in the flood. But if you give them the opportunity to explore other parts of your company, and we do talk about this in the retention element. Let them go hang out with marketing, let them go hang out with finance, let them go hang out with the SCs. Keeping great talent in the company is a win-win all around, we got to start thinking outside of the sales shiloh. Marylou: I’m 100% in agreement with that. We’re moving onto execution which is sort of more my real house of actual tactics of implementing, assembling, activating, optimizing. Tell me about that piece, I’m interested to hear. Trish: That piece is where we talk about some of the fundamentals. What does your cadence look like for outrage? How do you use voice mail effectively? Voice mail is our friend. I think it’s becoming much more our friend than email and people in our inbox inundate. What is the pillars of a great voice mail? What does a great email look like? We give a ton of examples of both a good and bad so that people begin to understand we’re starting to template ourselves into a bad place. I just saw someone write a blog post the other day, five templates for building trust. How do you build trust? It’s not an oxymoron jumbo shrimp or something like that, right? I think we’re starting to automate the human out of the process. In execution, we show people how they can be relevant, interesting, and human in their communications with their prospects and it doesn’t take 20 minutes to figure out how to do that, it’s pretty simplistic. That’s what execution is focused on. Marylou: The last one is leadership which I know that you know that we’re in the process of writing another book and I have a co-author who just loves all of your work. He especially loves the leadership section because it’s something he said he hasn’t read anywhere else. Tell us about that. Trish: That’s great feedback. The leadership section is based on a lot of conversations that I’ve had from within my client base and when talking to prospects. People get confused about what it takes to lead sales development groups. One of my client said something super interesting to me. What she said was, “I think you should hire better and pay more for the person that leads your sales development group than for the person that leads your inside sales group,” meaning the quota carrying group. When I asked her what she meant by that, she said, “First of all, they spend a lot more time recruiting, retaining, coaching. They turn this raw person into amazing talent that then feeds the rest of your organization and they should be rewarded for that.” The really interesting spin—anyone who carried quote hours got all the glory. I’m starting to see a transition now, that now the glory days are coming over to the sales development team because it really is the farm team for talent for entire organizations. I thought that was interesting. The other thing—we talked about quota, we talked about comp, we talk about a lot of things in the leadership section, a lot of it based on our research. The other thing that I think people struggle with is I’ll be talking to a company and they don’t have a repeatable process, they have nothing foundational done for their sales development team. They’ll say, “Okay, I’m going to hire a manager.” Why would you hire a manager? They’re like, “What do you mean? I need people to hire my reps.” I said no, you need a director. Managers manage, directors set vision and they have the expertise to identify what’s not working, correct. You don’t need someone to just take attendance and do a little bit of coaching, you need someone strategic enough to know is our strategy right, do I have the right people in the right seats, what do I need to change, why are buyers not reacting. We spend a little time there helping people understand what level in the organization they need to hire at. Marylou: Very good input. I was sitting here thinking if I’m listening to this conversation as a director or even as a business developer, I would want to know if Trish could wave a magic wand around my organization and give me that wisdom, what’s my next step? I heard something that really hit a nerve, what do I do next? Trish: If I had the answer to that, I wouldn’t be writing books and still working. I’d be a gazillionaire and be retired. I don’t know, I think what you have to do—everybody’s good. There’s six elements, right? You might’ve nailed two of them, you might’ve nailed three of them. To be wildly successful, you need to nail all six. That’s why there’s not a one size fits all answer. What I’m hoping people do with the book is say, “I’m super comfortable on these three or four, I’m going to focus here and I’m going to make profound change here,” and then get that implemented then maybe do some self analysis and go to the next. Marylou: That’s a good point, especially when you said self analysis. How does one measure whether they’ve completed an element successfully? Trish: It’s in the results. If you’ve committed to delivering x% of their pipeline and you’re not hitting those numbers, it’s time to really look at your strategy. Or if you’re not getting the kind of conversion rates you want from either inbound conversion or outbound reach, it’s time to look at your execution. Or if you have a lot of attrition, it’s time to look at your recruiting strategy. It’s based on your results, real world results, and not some arbitrary ROI calculator or check box. Marylou: Very good. In terms of predictable revenue now as we mentioned earlier, a lot of that book was associated with one sales study, salesforce.com, that’s a SAAS company selling a product. Since we’ve been out in the field, we have a lot of professional service companies who don’t think their selling cycles fit the mold, whatever that means. For The Sales Development Playbook, is it anyone who is a direct sales company, anyone who has those types of people, can they benefit from this book? Or is there a certain configuration of the sales organization that blends best for a book like this? Trish: In all fairness, my audience and my focus for the last 30 years has been B2B tech. A lot of my stories, my research, my use cases were born out of B2B tech. Having said that, we now have clients that are out of other industries. I think that the book applies to any direct sales organization where the top of the funnel is not getting the attention it needs. If you have a sales organization who’s living off of their existing customers, they’re not doing anything for green field, you’re not growing the business the way you need to because you’re not bringing on new accounts, you should probably think about your strategy, specialization, and building a sales development team. I think it depends on everyone’s got to do the self analysis and say, “How important is the top of the funnel to me and is it getting the attention it needs and how important is it for us to generate new business and how important is it for us to grow and not grow at 15% but grow crazy.” Like we say in the book, growth that they can see from a weather satellite, those are the kinds of things that people need to think about. Marylou: Very good. Let’s switch gears for a moment. I know you had said that this book was really your wanting to get the word out that a book by the name of Predictable Revenue may not be the end all. You said it’s really not your primary focus. Tell us more about what gets you up in the morning and what it is that you’re trying to solve everyday for clients. Trish: What gets me up in the morning is my business, I’m so passionate about Inside Sales, using the umbrella term, and I have been for so long. I just think it’s such an exciting field that that’s what gets me up seven days a week to focus on my business. The reason I think it’s so exciting and what we try to do for our clients is unleash the power of inside sales. So many people are putting either sales development or their inside sales teams in a box. They’re comfortable with the way they’re doing things and they don’t know any other thing that they could do, change, or think about that would really unleash the power. That’s what we do for our clients, we help them figure out do you have a strategy problem, execution problem, leadership problem, coaching problem. What is it that’s going to unleash this for you? There’s a variety of services wrapped around that but that’s what gets me excited, that and working with my team. I have the best team on the face of the planet. Love my team. Marylou: Tell us about the team. Trish: Amazing people. All of our consultants, except for one, have been either directors or vice presidents at technology companies building inside sales teams not once, not twice, but multiple times. Lots of experience. Super articulate, just as passionate as I am. We’d kill for our clients, we have great relationships with our clients; I love my consulting team. My son, I don’t know if you noticed but I did dedicate the book to my son max, has been amazing. I say to him in the book that without him, I wouldn’t have a business, brand, or book. He really has allowed me to think outside the box as it comes to content, as it comes to research, as it comes to the community that we built. We own the largest inside sales group on LinkedIn. The last time I looked, it was over 51,000 global members. No spam and no self promotion is allowed there, it’s a wonderful place for people to engage. We give our research away for free. The book is just an extension of the community, it was our vision to build and our privilege to build for anyone interested in inside sales. Marylou: How would one get a hold of you, your team? What’s the best way to contact you for more information or if they want to start a relationship with you? Trish: email@example.com Marylou: What is the name of the LinkedIn group? Trish: It’s The Inside Sales Experts group. Marylou: How many branches do you have? You sound like you’re distributed, so do you have different offices located around the US? Trish: Two primary locations. One is Boston which were our roots. I have half of my consulting team on the East coast. About a year and a half, almost two years ago, I had the pleasure of bringing on board Sally Duby who is our General Manager for the West Coast and she runs a pretty large consulting team out at San Francisco. Sally has a great network, been around high tech inside sales forever. Her and her achievements just brought a whole new dimension to the business. Marylou: That sounds great. Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it. Trish: Thanks so much. Marylou: Bye.