Episode 38: [Interview] Marylou Tyler and Gabriel Padva – Role of the Sales Development Rep (SDR)

Predictable Prospecting
Interview: Marylou Tyler and Gabriel Padva - Role of the Sales Development Rep
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On this episode, I’m interviewed by my longtime friend and colleague Gabriel Padva. Gabriel is the founder and principal consultant at 30,000 FT Strategies, a company that focuses on helping companies communicate with their prospects. He is also a CRO at Revenue Accelerator Inc. We go in-depth into the role of the sales development rep, including how to hire them, train them, and promote them into upper management positions. We also discuss the do’s and don’ts of cold emailing, my must-have tools, and the best sales advice I’ve ever gotten.
gabriel-padva-2Episode Highlights:

  • Marylou’s process for identifying new prospects and driving sales
  • Why is sales team specialization important?
  • The evolution of the SDR
  • Client metrics
  • Understanding the ideal account profile
  • Building your list
  • Is the phone still relevant for the SDR?
  • How to work the internal referral system
  • Hiring the best SDR: References, interviews, and skill tests
  • Critical KPI’s
  • The do’s and don’ts of crafting cold messaging
  • Must-have technology tools of 2016
  • The best sales advice Marylou’s ever gotten

Resources: Gabriel’s question checklist for checking references of potential SDRs Tool Recommendations:

Predictable Prospecting: How to Radically Increase Your B2B Sales Pipeline by Marylou Tyler

Episode Transcript

Gabriel: I’m really excited today to have a very special guest on the line, Miss Marylou Taylor, Predictable Prospecting. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know Marylou over the years. Marylou is one of my mentors and one of the people that I worked with in the past. I’m  really, really grateful that she’s taking the time to be here with us today. Marylou, perhaps we can just start off by talking a little bit more about our background, your background and how we got to know one another.Marylou: Sure, I’ve essentially been doing this work which is top of funnel, sales process, sales enablement, sales strategy or whatever you wanna call it, it keeps changing as life goes on. I specialize in starting conversations with people we don’t know and trying to get them engaged enough to get them through to a qualified opportunity. Back in 2009 or 2008, I met a gentleman by the name of Aaron Ross. I was working with a client who was looking to put in a lead gen system and I have worked in contact centers for a long time. I was a specialist in outbound prospecting but not necessarily leveraging in the internet in social channels. That got me searching online, found Aaron, and that culminated in creating a book called Predictable Revenue in 2011. Shortly thereafter, we had the opportunity to meet you, Gabriel. We actually flew up to Canada and had a series of meetings with you and worked on some partnership opportunities and so you and I have ebbed and flowed since probably 2011 now, right? Gabriel: That’s right, yeah. I remember when you came up here we went and sat down at Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver which was still one of my favorite restaurants, the incredible meal, it was a really great time with you and Aaron up here. With Predictable Revenue, and similar to your new book, Predictable Prospecting, I’ve basically been highlighting about half of the book cause there’s so much good content in there and you’ve been in this business now for how many years? Marylou: It’s going on 30 when you count the contact center stuff so it’s been a while before the internet, before cell phones. Gabriel: That’s why I love speaking to you about this topic because you really bake in the actual fundamentals of prospecting, it’s not just the latest gimmick or hack. You’re directly connected with people like Jay Abraham and other incredible markers. I feel like when I speak to you, I’m getting the source of true knowledge of what works and what doesn’t because you’ve been there and you’ve done that and that’s such a privilege to be able to learn from people like you. Marylou: Oh, thank you. All grounded in our mantra is always be testing. I’m willing to try all the new stuff and apply it to the framework, that’s the beauty of having a sales process is that it’s like molding your lead gen with these different applications and pieces of software and technologies and methods. You have the superhighway in place so all you need to do now is take a piece of what’s new, flop it in there, give it a test, give it a whirl and run it against your sampling theories and if it works, great, you keep it. If not, then you tried it. Gabriel: Exactly, yeah absolutely. Always be testing and measuring and pull out the data, tell the truth, right? Marylou: Yes, it’s the stress-free way of conducting a lead generation outreach program where you’re trying to close business with high performing, high likelihood of closing, high lifetime value clients. Gabriel: Nice. Okay, what I like to do is dive into basically three or four different topic areas today. We’re gonna do a sales process, sales development reps or SDRs, cold emailing and then some pieces around technology as well. Let’s start at the top with sales process. What has been your process, Marylou, for identifying new prospects and driving sales? Marylou: Well, the book goes in great depth on that because I found as I’ve been working with clients, especially since the release of 2011 of Predictable Revenue, it talked about the ICP, the ideal customer profile, as a foundation for making sure that you’re talking to the right people at the right time. But it wasn’t deep enough so I spent a lot of time, the last five years in fact, fine tuning that ICP. Chapters one through three of the new book talk about how to generate what we call SWAT 6 which is your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and threats and overlay that with some of the marketing methodologies and data rich research that allow you to not only understand who you should be marketing to and selling to but why you matter and why people should change for what they’re doing now in order to do business with you. We start with that and then that dives right into the ideal account profile, we change it to an ideal account profile because a lot of people now are seeing the value of account based selling .We want to make sure that this book focused on that for those people that who are looking at their top 20 per SDR accounts. I have a lot of clients who just have 250 accounts they’re going after and that’s it. We have to make sure that they really hone in on that so that the ideal account profile goes very much in depth in the book. The next chapter is where Predictable Revenue just fell flat in my opinion, and I was part of the book, which is the ideal prospect personas. I think armed with the SWAT, the ideal account profile and prospect persona, these are not the marketing personas that if you are in a bigger company you may have seen a marketing persona. Think about the end result of a marketing persona is to get a marketing qualified lead. The end result for us, a prospect persona, is to get that first meeting, is to have that are we a fit call, is to disqualify them. We’re going further into the pipeline which means we really need to think through what those personas look like and how we attack them so to speak from a sales point of view, from the sales conversation point of view. When I have all those and there’s a few other concepts in the book that talk about leveraging the products that you’re selling by persona, we call them buying scenarios. Then from there, calculating your list, then you have what you need in order to be able to really assemble at least from a list perspective, the right sales process for going after those accounts. Gabriel: Perfect! Okay, that’s wonderful. I know a big topic for us has always been this concept of specialization. In fact, I learned the concept of specialization from you and from Aaron Ross, that’s one of the key elements to my practice what I teach my clients to work with, but in your own words, why would you say sales team specialization is so important? Marylou: If we’d look at the anatomy of the sales person, there are different skills that one needs depending on where a prospect is in the relative position of the pipeline. When we are at the top of funnel, which is where I focus my efforts, we’re talking to a lot more people. Our goal is to really disqualify them into a small subsets of accounts and people that we can continue our conversation with. That requires a very different skillset than someone who is now taking an opportunity and taking it all the way to close one. Because the skill sets are so different and because the amount of records that we’re working with is so different, then we need different skills in the sales roles, thus the role of top of funnel is really one of more consciousness and really going after people on a daily basis in a very habitual way where as we move further into the pipeline then we are really looking at these accounts as unique. You’ll hear people say, salespeople especially say, every sale is different. That’s probably true from opportunity to close but when you’re going from first meeting to opportunity, there’s a lot more to weed through. There’s a lot more systematic approaches that we know work and we can leverage those systematic approaches in order to guarantee a certain number of opportunities that we’re gonna generate each month. If you go even further up which is the marketing qualified folks, the inbound leads, those are people from a level of awareness who have already become interested or are evaluating your product because they filled out a form, they did something to engage with marketing, and they’re coming inbound. But when we’re doing outreach, we have five levels of awareness to worry about, not just the two of interested and evaluating. We have people who are unaware, we have people who recognize there’s a problem but don’t really know solutions out there, and we have people who recognize the problem, know a solution, but don’t necessarily know that you are one of those solutions. If you think about you it, the skills that you need to bubble people up to the top of the funnel so that you can have these conversations is very different that when you are already engaged, very different. That’s why we like to separate the roles. In addition, let me just say one more thing, the SDR role now is even splitting. That’s not in the book either but basically with account based selling versus a fully mass automated selling approach, we have two different types of SDR roles now that are emerging. Gabriel: Can you elaborate on that a little bit more? Marylou: When you are thinking about working your top 20 and you look in your working status, and I’m talking about relative position in the pipeline. The accounts are usually already in working because you identified them as your top 20. There’s probably been a lot more research done of who the targets are and your methodology for reaching them is more hyper personalized. It’s what everybody is talking about saying, “Oh, we need to write emails that are hyper personalized now, that the SDR takes a template and customizes it for each person that they’re sending to.” That’s a beautiful concept but it only works with a limited number of accounts which usually would be your core or anchor accounts. The other 80% of the accounts that are good candidates for you but you haven’t designated as anchor or core, those are treated with as much automation as possible but intelligent automation which is a different SDR role because then you’re going to in the pipe what you’re doing now, you’re doing a lot more of data personalized e-mails, they’re smarter than mass but they’re not quite hyper right in the middle but they’re reaching a good number of clients that are great candidates for you but they may not be your core or anchor accounts. That’s different. The person doing the ABS, account based selling, is going to be also a more phone proficient rep. They’re going to be calling in blocks immersing into the account doing what I call an intra-day phone essentially calling. Whereas the SDRs that are working the more mass personalized emails data driven are probably responding to responses or maybe they’re chasing click throughs but they are not going in and say, “Okay I’m gonna split into my top 20 accounts today and I’m gonna phone in and around this bull’s eye which we discussed in chapter three, of direct and indirecting influencers until I get a meeting.” Gabriel: Yeah, absolutely. Going back to this topic of specialization, do you find that SDRs act as a good farm team to become future account executives down the road? The core challenge here of course is I see a lot of companies wanna spend $80,000 to $100,000 to hire an account executive. It takes six months just to train an anchor on that person before they become a true industry expert. Maybe could you could just speak a little bit to how SDRs in your opinion, whether they can or cannot be a good farm team or future account executives? Marylou: My co-author wrote about this I think in the latter chapter, I think chapter nine. He has a very valid point, he even suggests that when you are interviewing for the SDR role that you mention right up front that this is a position that has room for advancement. I think that it’s desirable to be able to get someone who will come in and do the SDR role knowing it’s more habit based. And then once they have become proficient at it, it’s based on merit, not on tenure, then they have the opportunity to “advance” to an account executive role or maybe they become an account based SDR because that’s a little bit, in my opinion, that position is probably gonna be between the SDR basic role and the AE. And then, they could have all this progression upward, and then there’s the whole account management side of things which is after their client, they also can move over to account management where they’re gonna grow the existing business with upsell and cross sell. It’s not that I don’t think these folks can do all these roles, I think it’s just when you separate the roles, you’re really focusing them like Kentucky Fried Chicken here in the States, one thing and doing it really well. That’s really what you’re looking for is one role they’re gonna do really well and master. That’s not to say that they can’t do the other roles because if you onboard them and test them on the hiring side for the sales aptitude, they should be able to perform all roles and they’ll settle in on a role that really works for them and that they’re happy doing. Gabriel: What will you say the average timeline is before you would recommend promoting somebody from an SDR function to an account executive role? Marylou: I think it’s about 18 months is what I’m seeing, somewhere in that range. Like anything, the more that the roles are separated, the faster they’re going to be tracked and ready to go for an AE. If they get bogged down in other corporate stuff where they’re not doing SDR role daily, then it’s gonna take longer. Gabriel: Last question here on specialization, I personally measure this but I’m curious what your take is. After somebody moves from a higher approach where you have one sales person that’s doing everything, prospecting, account executive work, or account management, and then actually adopt a proper specialized model. What kind of efficiency gains are you seeing in terms of greater sales activities, higher win rates and so forth. Do you have some numbers that you can share with us? Marylou: It’s more guessing cause I don’t take on clients that don’t specialize, that’s one of my non-negotiables. I can only use my solos, the people who are one man shops or one woman shops, and then once they hire their first person, it can be as much as four fold that I’ve seen in that if you think about the four roles being 25% of your time for each and then all of a sudden you are now 100% of the time, then it’s 3x, 6x, some are 10x of what they were doing before. Basically what I shoot for is still the 8 to 10 opportunities a month that Predictable Revenue used because I’m making the assumption that SDRs go further into the pipeline. If you’re a full timer doing all roles, I’m hoping for one to two ops a month. But if we go to specialization, then I’m looking for 8 to 10 or above. Gabriel: Got it. Yeah, and those numbers definitely align with what I’ve seen. I’ve measured before and after scenarios and I’ve seen on average is 300% to 1000% sales efficiency increases. Not only that but actual sales operating costs tend to reduce by about half. It’s really exciting and there’s definitely a business case for it. Marylou: You’re more advanced than I am because of my non-negotiable of working with clients. I don’t want to fight that, I don’t want to fight that particular and negotiate that particular piece because that is the only way I can guarantee the results that I guarantee. I do take some solos here and there, some solo  entrepreneurs but going in, we have an agreement that they’re not gonna get that results that my other clients get. Gabriel: Yeah I know, it makes sense, 100%. Moving on here, you eluded to this a little bit around the ideal account profile and ideal prospect profile, I’m not gonna use the acronyms for it because it sounds kind of funny, IPP, but I love it, I love the idea behind it. When I first read that in your book, it was kind of like this a-ha moment for me. I’m like ugh, such a good idea, of course. For a while there, I was thinking something was missing from that particular equation. Can you just talk a little bit more about how that particular idea came to the purpose behind and just go a little bit deeper on the topic. Marylou: We were with Predictable Revenue, it was a five step process and we would get people assembled and then we would start activating and people will get stuck and gunky in this sell the dream portion of the framework which is when you start having conversations with people and talking about your value propositions, why they should change, why now and why you. It was really out of desperation and trying to figure out a way to get my clients fast tracked faster that I started thinking about when I was in development of all things and developing operating systems code. We used to have personas for our product sales or programming. They were specific to user experience and how people navigated the software. I thought to myself, what in the world, why don’t we have one of these for sales? I started to compile, essentially I started to do interviews, I started to ask my clients to give me everything they had with anyone who touched the prospect inside. I talked to industry experts and I came up with essentially a 15-step development methodology for prospect personas. We dwindled that down that to something more reasonable in the book. What really did it for me was that the personas that are for marketing really generate marketing qualified leads. They get so much a slightly raise of hand. What we’re trying to do is to get someone to want to engage in conversation with us which is a lot beefier, a lot more work than what we had before. This was a way for me to consolidate all of the ideas of working with a prospect, what their challenges are, what did their strategic financial or personal challenges that mattered. We never thought about that for Predictable Revenue but it became very apparent that setting that up allows us to craft our emails, to send voice mails, to create scripts if we’re doing scripts for our conversational pieces, to handle objections. All of that was under discovery when we started putting together the prospect personas and we just didn’t have it before. Gabriel: I love it because it goes into depth. You’re also profiling the company as well with graphics and so forth which is great for list building. Not a lot of people will go beyond this is the industry that we’re going after, this is the general employee account and here is the key title. Marylou: I’ll tell you a good story about this too which is pretty funny. It was with Jeremy, my co-author. He was a client of mine. He’s the one who we wrote the book together. We did a prospect persona definition on Betty. I can’t remember what Betty was but she was some type of a liaison between IT and marketing and they were gonna use their house list. Great, let’s use the house list. We did the prospect personas and then we did a count on the house list of how many Bettys there were, we got a number. And then we went over to LinkedIn and we counted the number of Bettys there. They had 500 Bettys in their house list, there were 50,000 potential Bettys that we could contact in LinkedIn. If we haven’t done that prospect persona definition, our campaigns would have fallen flat on their face if we just used the house list as is. Gabriel: Interesting. In terms of building on the list, let’s say bring a new client and you developed your IAP and ideal prospect persona and now it’s time to go out and build a list. Can you just share some best practices for the ways that you go about doing that? Marylou: Well, I will preface it by saying to your listeners that I work mostly in enterprise accounts so there is going to be an established list typically. This is not speaking for start-ups who are just starting out with their list. What we like to do first is go to the house list, those are opted in names, they’re names that over the course of time have been generated through trade shows, workshops, executive briefings or whatever it is, whatever lead gen channels that they’ve used for marketing purposes we have this list. If as in my client whose co-author, if we find that the list is lacking, the next thing we go to our purchase list, we also look to see based on the persona whether or not there’s enough accounts in those purchase list like a Zoom, Uber versus larger companies and see if there’s enough accounts in there to make our campaigns meaningful and statistically viable. If that doesn’t work, then we’re gonna look towards industry lists, we’re gonna look at creating our own lists through crowd sourcing, we’re going to maybe hire someone off shore to help us generate email addresses and phone numbers. We start with what’s available in the marketplace and we dwindle that or just keep going until we exhaust those and it might be that we have to build our own lists, we’re paying more per lead but the quality won’t be there. I have clients do all the above, basically start with what they’ve got and some end up going off shore and then work out a deal where they’re getting a number of leads per week that they pour into their campaigns so that they have a statistically viable cadence and sequences that they can market against. Gabriel: In terms of statistically viable, what would you say the minimum number is required for statistic analysis? Marylou:          I still use the old [25:17] distributions which seems to work really well. If you have to look at it as a margin of error and it’s gonna be a swing plus or minus. The number 400 emails, 400 contacts gives you plus or minus 10% margin of error which is 20%, 20 swing either way. That is the best number to use. The next one down from that is 96. 96 gives you 80% to 85% confidence rate but there is a bigger swing now, there is a bigger gap between did we do this right or did we not do this right. Those are the two numbers that I use with clients, we try to get per SDR, especially if we are splitting the campaigns by persona. We want to have 400 of the same persona in a cadence so that we can test the viability of our emails and also the cadence itself, when to use the phone, when to leave a voicemail, when to do this ABS type of intra-day calling in and around the bull’s eye of influencers. Gabriel: Got it, alright. Perfect. That was really a viable conversation around sales process. What I’d like to do now is dive into a little bit more tactical discussion around the actual SDRs. With the sales development reps, we elluded to this a little bit, in the world of cold emailing, cold emailing is a very popular topic area nowadays. How important is the phone? Is the phone still relevant? Marylou:          You’re talking to someone who grew up in contact centers. By definition, I’m gonna say the phone is very relevant. I do like to handshake the phone with email and social so you’re kinda warming up the chill if you will with those other levers of contact. And then the phone is used as a follow up mechanism to those social and email channels and ways of starting conversation or warming up that chill. I do use a phone, I think the phone wants you to get in that rhythm of contacting people at the best time to call which is an algorithm that we actually perfected in the call center using predictive dialing in the 90s. It gave us the opportunity to call our prospect personas at the time that they were gonna be in the office. Once we did that, we reduce the number of dials which we got better connects and we also didn’t blowout our list. The list fatigue numbers went way down because we use the phone more. Now with our current sequences, what I recommend with clients, I have 3 different sequences that I use with clients. Some of them are afraid of phone to start so we do an email only, I call it the while you are sleeping campaign because basically you only follow up on responses and that’s it. We try to get to the Predictable Revenue numbers of 7% to 9% response rate. For every 100 emails, we want 7 to 9 people to reply either positively, negatively or neutral. We are looking for 3% positive, 2% to 3% neutral and the rest negative. If we reach that email on an email only campaign where there is no phone follow up other than responses, we think we’ve done a good job. I have some examples that I shared on a webinar recently with the client who created eight emails in this while you’re sleeping campaign and he was able to achieve with his two prospect personas, one of them was 23% response rate overall  in aggregate, emails one through eight, and the other was 37% response. Think about list fatigue. For every 100 records, we heard from 37 people who were in sales and 23 people who were in IT in this case which means our list is gonna be a lot happier because we’re not blowing it out and we’re not over socializing it and mass emailing it. Everyone in those emails, except for one, two and eight were value driven. Emails one, two and eight use the old style predictable revenue emails. I still bumper those, not with everybody but again our mindset is always be testing so I go in with a known entity which is the predictable revenue emails one, two and eight. Basically, email one and two are trying to find the internal referral confirmed that I got the right guy. Two is an in-thread reply to one with adding a little bit of value prop to it, and then eight is what we call the Hail Mary. We say hey, you know I essentially don’t wanna be a pass, I’ve sent you some of what I think is are most valuable content in 337 and I completely understand if this is not a good time, just let me know. We bumper those 337 are fully packed with why change, why now, why us, with testimonials endorsements and it’s really content assets that are viable to that level of awareness we talked about before, trying to figure out where people are in their head in order to be able to engage in conversation. Gabriel: Just to add to that, there is a few lines that I’ve gotten from some clients of mine that I’d like to share. The first is on the Hail Mary, I actually baked this around email four where I say I know there is a fine line between being persistent and annoying and I don’t wanna cross that line. I found that particular message, I learned that from one of my clients in Silicon Valley, and he learned that from his mentor that he learned 20 years ago. It’s such a good email because it just tells people you care about them, you’re thinking about them, you’re persistent, but you don’t wanna cross over that boundary. There is always that balance and I think that when I’m running my campaigns, I often get responses from people saying thank you for your persistence. They thank me for consistently following up. They appreciate the professionalism but there are some people that it just annoys them. I kinda just wanna know so that’s one thing. The other thing I wanted to ask you about, I was having a conversation with somebody this morning, another client of mine this morning. We talked about this concept of internal referrals. Do you think that internal referrals are better placed when they are from a peer or from a superior as opposed to somebody from the bottom? Let’s say you are trying to get through to a VP of Sales. Do you think it is better to go in through the side or through the top or through the bottom? Marylou:          I always like to call above and work my way down. I’ve really not changed my thoughts about that if I’m doing research then I go top, middle, bottom, whatever, to try to find information that I think would be relevant to have that first conversation with my target. But if I’m actually requesting referrals, I will always start at the top and work my way down because I think just from a social-psychological perspective, it does have more of a recognizable sort of “Oh, I should respond to this because my boss said it might be a good thing.” It at least gets them to lean in and think I guess I should talk to this guy. Gabriel: I need to give them the time of the day now because my boss told me to. That’s really interesting. Going bottom up I think can work if you have lots of time and lots of money but often people want to try results quickly. Marylou:          And bottom up does work for research because we use bottom up for our persona research which allows us to get more information about where to navigate around. For ABS, it’s gonna be especially with this gigantic companies that have 57 marketers and if you’re selling into marketing, who do you talk to, it’s not that clear. I love reading these group posts from people saying, “You should do your research, you should know me.” We did a project for a local company here, a $1 billion company that was trying to sell to marketers. They came up with 38 marketing definitions in companies, so how are you gonna know who to call? You have to go in, you have to ask some questions, strategic questions in order to be able to get to the right person because the titles and roles are all different. Gabriel: Diving into SDRs. When you’re hiring an SDR, this has got to be one of the hardest things I think in the world of specialization, atleast for me anyways. Finding good sales development reps is not an easy task. When interviewing, I probably interview over a thousand SDRs in this planet and personally managed over a hundred of them myself and I still to this day struggle with finding the right SDR hire. I’d love to learn a little bit more about your process in terms of hiring an SDR. Do you check references, what’s on your checklist when you’re hiring somebody to ensure that you’re getting the best possible person in that role? Marylou:          Well again, Jeremy is hiring more than I am because I’m working on putting on the frameworks in. I do have a list and I actually a doing a webinar on this very topic. It’s really about everyone seems to do the informal interview, having an interview of the potential candidate. That is like one quarter of what you need in order to be able to hire the right person for that role. In the book, we talk about if you just add a skills test to that, meaning that the day in the life of an SDR. For example, I have a friend of mine here in Iowa who is hiring an SDR and asked if I would interview her. I said yes, I’ll interview her, but that’s only 17% of what you need in order to make a good decision on an SDR. He says, “What do you mean?” I said I want her to write an email, I want her to leave a voicemail, I want her to craft a script telling me a value prop. I don’t care what she’s selling, I don’t care if she’s selling how to make temari balls, I don’t care, but I want her to leave me a voicemail as to why I should get back to her. When you just add those skills in there or find the right person to call or mapping call, that’s gonna bump up to the probability that you’re making a more confident hire by at least 50%, just right there. And then there are other tests that people don’t do that are available that are the aptitude tests for sales. There’s another one that talks about what we talked about before, that consciousness. We need to have SDRs who are habit driven, meaning that if they’ll do the same things, the same tasks over and over again until they perfect them which is what we want. We want to be able to have meaningful conversations a day. How many? Ideally five. Five meaningful conversations will guarantee us 8 to 10 opportunities a month. If we’re doing that and we’re expecting that of an SDR, we need to hear them. I put her through in this case through an email, cold email, she wrote a follow on email, I had her do a roleplay with me where I was throwing objections at her, and it didn’t really matter what the objection was, what product she was selling, it’s just how she handled those objections. The fact that there are four or five we all know we’re gonna get, not interested, I already have something that works, what’s this about? They’re standard rejection or objections that we should be testing for when we’re in the hiring process, and a lot of people don’t do that. Gabriel: Yeah, it is interesting. I’ve done role plays always as a step to my hiring process so I have a checklist then there is roleplaying, but I’ve never actually had people write cold emails or leave voicemails messages or doe some of these other important functions. Marylou:          These are their livelihood, this is what they are doing so if you just chunk down their daily role, you’ve got to test them on each of those components. Granted, they’re not gonna be knowing your product or service but whatever they’re passionate about, like baseball or like me with tamari balls which are balls that you make with thread, just have them talk to you about that. Gabriel: Okay, what about references? Do you check references and how do you do that? Marylou:         A lot of times, the SDRs are fresh outs, they’re out of college. Just the fact that they graduate and they got a good degree, good grades, we check that. But in terms of previous work, I will call references and check on those items relating to the role of the SDR. If they were in a previous position where they had to show up on time everyday, I wanna make sure they have good attendance. If they had some type of task that they did everyday, I wanna ask how they did with that task because repetitiveness is part of the SDR role, habit is part of the SDR role. I look for those traits. If I’m talking to a references or if I have enough references to contact, I’m looking for the traits of the daily role of the SDR within that person. Gabriel: Makes sense. If you could share the webinar information, or at least a link for people to register, I’ll include that in the show notes page. There is also a checklist of questions that I’ve used to check references as well that I modified from talk reading for the actual SDR function. I’ll link to that as well and I’ll share that with you, Marylou. In terms of managing an SDR team, what are the most important KPIs that you look at in terms of a dashboard and I know you are talking about the five meaningful interactions a day. What are the other criticals or KPIs that you like to look at? Marylou:          If we’re looking from an email campaign, we’re gonna use all the predictable revenue numbers which will be the number of responses we get, deliverability, we’re looking at our list fatigue, things like that. In the SDR role itself, we’re looking at the number of meaningful conversations per day, we’re looking at movement interstage. If we’re going from a cold or new cue to a working cue to a qualifying cue, we’re looking to see how many of those records move on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis and we’re looking for consistency. We don’t wanna see peaks and valleys, we wanna see a consistent stream of records moving so we look at that, we look at the ability to add and grow the database especially for account based selling. If we don’t have a lot of the contacts that are designated in our bull’s eye, then we wanna look to see that they’re making an effort to grow the database as well. Those are the kinds of things the actionable metrics get us from stage to stage to stage, inter stage metrics, and intrastage metrics would be the conversations that they are having, the number of emails that they are sending out their own emails for the hyper personalization, is it the right number for the number of accounts that they’re working. Gabriel: Okay, that’s helpful. And then in terms of cold emailing, just going back to that topic, do you have any kind of dos and don’ts for crafting messaging? There are some people that hear about this concept of cold emailing and some of these personalized automation tools and they just go to town. I was chatting with a couple of the outbound vendors that I use. It’s a big problem right now where people are just stabbing, less thinking with the same templates and they are not putting any thought into it and it’s not resonating with the marketplace. What are your thoughts on that in terms of some dos and don’ts? Marylou:      Well, I still follow the Predictable Revenue model which is 50 emails a day per SDR, turn 50 emails a week, so you can’t really spam per se unless you have a large team. And then I look to the compel with content framework that’s in the book which is the ability to craft an email that triggers some emotion, get you to a place where you immediately hit them between the eyes with the challenge that is ahead of them and how life could be the outcome that they could be getting given this challenge, the gap between that, and then from there specificity around the opportunity that lies ahead with them, if they engaged in conversation with you. That whole framework can be done with an 80-word email all the way up to 480-word email and I have examples in the book of that. Gabriel:        I’m taking notes, this is good stuff. In terms of short versus long messages, I know in Predictable Revenue it’s short and sweet, blackberry size messages. Do you find that those still tend to work better or do you find that longer message can work as well? Marylou:      We mix and match and testing against your product and persona, that’s gonna drive. If it’s an IT guy, sometimes their brevity is better. If it’s a marketing person, they like to read a little bit more, it really depends on the persona. Crafting emails as if you’re sitting across the table from your persona, having a conversation with them. Do they like it short or long, do they like you get right to the point or do they like more information before they make a decision? Gabriel:        Perfect! Okay, I got it. Before we wrap up, here’s a couple more of questions about technology and then just final words of advice. What would you say are the must have tools for you, technology tools for 2016? Marylou:      If you need some type of marketing automation system, because we’re leveraging technology, we’re sending emails out. You need something that can help you with that process so that you don’t have to be spinning all these plates as a friend of mine says, trying to remember did I send him email number two, do I need to call him now, you want that to be done for you. Whatever technology can use to help you with your sequence, the cadence within that sequence which is the phone, the email, the social, when should I do what, you need that tool. There are some tools for pre-getting a list, research tools that are lovely to have because they cut down on your ability to get that list going better, faster. But again, you can do the old manual approach and get there. I’m not as critical about having that, but for sure I want some type of automation tool to leverage technology for sending emails, sending voicemails. Then, you need something to collect your responses in. We’re using those sales conversations and the sales conversations we have, we’re recording the data from those sales conversations so that we can recognize again by persona what pain point resonated with them, when in the email sequence did that pain point resonate, and was the pinpoint we started conversation with the same pain point that got through opportunity and close? Why do I wanna know this? Because we’re trying to reduce lag in the pipeline. The more intelligence we know about which pains resonate faster are what we’re gonna put into our email streams. We really need to have this 180-circle back around to our email engine that’s constantly being fed by the conversations the reps are having. This concept of call wrap up is extremely important. That’s a call center term. Whenever an agent hung up the phone, they had to wrap up the call, give a disposition and some kind of code to tell the systems where should I file this thing. I do that with my folks, it’s rudimentary, it’s not as automated at was in contact center but we record the pain point. Gabriel:        Mary, could you backup for a second? The last thing I heard was call, wrap up. Can you just start over that call wrap up and restate what you were saying? Marylou:      What I do is I make sure that my reps do something called call wrap up which is a call center term that we used because we were using predictive dialing systems. We had to be able to disposition a call and then let the dialer know where we wanted that call routed for the next time it was placed. I do the same thing with the SDRs, we track a few key items and I have quotes for those that I can send them to you, Gabriel. We basically are looking at whether this pain point that resonated was still the same pain point throughout all of our conversations or if it changed during the course of the pipeline. Then, we wanna know essentially any language that they mentioned, that we hadn’t heard before. We wanna be able to record that because we’re gonna use all of that in our marketing email engine, and also voice mail. We’re trying to reduce the lags, we want people to be able to hear a word, or listen to a pain and immediately have it resonate as opposed to waiting to email number seven when it could’ve been email number two where the pain resonated faster. Just like you were saying, you wanna know faster before you were saying you wanna know faster, whether they wanna continue or not. We want to leverage the wrap up so that we know the order in which we should present pain in our sequence. Gabriel:        That’s really smart, I like that. In terms of tools, do you have any specific tools that you would recommend for cold emailing and marketing automation and so forth that you like to use? Marylou:      Like I said, I work higher up with enterprise accounts. Believe it or not, more limited than a SAAS company because the approval process for an IT to approve software takes a lot longer. We’re kind of probably more nimble than I could ever be. For the term outreach, I like the Outreach.io, there’s Tout, there’s YesWare, there’s Sales Loft, there’s all these great tools that help you with that sequencing. I think it’s more function when we talk about this in the book, about tools, there’s more function that we want you to think about. Align that function with the actual tool itself rather than do it the other way around. I think if you master your process find out how you wanna go after this accounts, are you doing key accounts, are you doing core accounts, are you doing anchor accounts, what is the definition of accounts and that would lend itself to which tool is gonna be the best tool to use rather than the other way around. Then, for marketing automation, we use all the top end ones, Marketo, those guys. Gabriel:        I totally agree with what you’re saying. I find that marketing technology, often people that I speak to feel held hostage to the technology that they’re using because it’s so complicated and then they start driving their sales process around the templated sales processes or tools that are these various systems like Sales Force for example. I can’t tell you the number of companies where I come in and I’ve seen a sales pipeline and it hasn’t changed, it’s the exact same sales pipeline that Sales Force is programmed in. That’s one of the most intimate things that a company can do in terms of adjusting their sales-process, those pipeline stage. 100% I agree that the fundamentals are so important and the tools also repurpose but it’s important not to get distracted on those fundamentals. Marylou:      Exactly. Being a software engineer, we used to go up against this all the time. Which programming tool do you like? It’s really based on what is the application I’m designing and once I get through the design of the application, which tool is gonna best fit? That’s how I want you guys to think about the pipeline. Let me design the pipeline, the processes, how I am going to leverage technology, people and process. Once you figure that out, and is really drawing it, it’s like the way I like to do it, then you can plop on the tools themselves as to who’s gonna do what, which does what, and look at it that way. I think that’s the better way to do it rather than stacking up all the stuff and then realizing you’re not using 75% of it. Gabriel:        Exactly, just getting to overwhelm. Okay, last question, what would you say is the best piece of advice that you received on the area of sales and/or marketing? Marylou:      I think it’s really a mindset. It’s whenever you get on the phone, whenever you craft an email, whenever you’re thinking about having a conversation, remind yourself that you are a peer or a colleague of the person who’s on the other of end of that line, the other end of that email. You are as equally important as the person that you’re trying to convince to try your product or service. If you do that, your tonality over the phone is going to increase to a point where they are thinking that they’re talking to someone who is just like them. If you can really think about changing your mindset, that you are a CEO of a company, that you are the director of marketing or director of sales ops when you’re getting on the phone, then, you’re going to be a lot more successful. Gabriel:        That is such good advice, absolutely! Thank you so much Marylou for your time and there’s so many good insights that you shared with us. We would be linking to your book and some of the different resources that we mentioned. Thank you for spending time with me today, I really appreciate it. Marylou:      Thank you, Gabriel. It was a lot of fun.