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A Sales Development Process Q&A with Chris Pham and Kevin Dorsey

6 min read
May. 5, 2016

The sales development process is evolving, and power players like Birst’s Chris Pham and SnackNation’s Kevin Dorsey are helping lead the charge. Salesloft’s Kevin O’Malley spent an action-packed hour webinar with the two pros to hear some of their wisdom around outfitting a killer SDR team.

Spring training has officially come and gone, and a new season is upon is to make sure we’ve got the right team, the right playbook, and the right sales development process in place to charge ahead with a winning team.

The webinar was a home-run, but the Q&A session at the end of the hour was the real diamond in the chat with these two sales development champions. Check out their compelling answers to some of the most burning questions around the sales development process, playbook dos and don’ts, and the biggest trends in persona-based selling:

Give us the scoop on persona-based selling. How are you using buyer personas in your Account Based Sales Development strategy?

Dorsey: At SnackNation, we will go after multiple personas at the same time, but we personalize cadences, email outreach, and even scripting, based on the buyer persona.

We sell healthy snacks to offices, so for the office manager, the scripting, email cadences, and templates are more about ease of use, more variety, making sure the team is fun, excited, and easy for them. To the CEO or founder, it’s more about productivity, culture, and retention — keeping up with the Joneses.

We absolutely use the buyer personas for different email templates — for different voicemails throughout the whole process.

Pham: Having a cadence strategy is huge. At Birst, we’re attacking enterprise a little bit differently. We have Chief Data Officers (or Head of Business Intelligence) that are our mobilizers, and people that we’re trying to get to.

But another thing to be wary of: not only does the messaging for us need to change, but also the call to action. If I’m going bottom-up, talking to a sales buyer persona, and someone’s trying to optimize sales by optimizing lead conversion rates, the call to action isn’t going to necessarily be, “Hey, let’s start a project here with the Sales guy or Sales VP.” We get the right referral to someone who would be able to take care of that.

It’s not only about differentiating on your messaging, but also differentiating on your call to action and your goals, then delivering that through cadence and a whole different cadence strategy towards an account.

If you’re using physical copies of your sales development playbook, you must be constantly replacing it! How do you manage the playbook update and revision process?

Dorsey: The latest and greatest playbook lives in our Dropbox. When new reps start, they’re given the most up-to-date, hard-copy version. But if we do make massive changes to the playbooks, because it’s on the drive, I’ll notify the team to check out the new section. I’ll even ask them to give me feedback to make sure that it’s all in alignment.

Pham: There’s always a need to test when you have big revisions in your playbook. Just like when come out with the original, I do versioning. So when I feel like there’s a big change, we’ll go to Version 2.0 or Version 3.0, and smaller changes on a month-to-month basis might be a 2.1 or something smaller. When I feel like we’re leveling up 2 to 3, we’ll do major changes, and we’ll do a test and a certification around the new knowledge (or even from the old knowledge that’s in the playbook).

Personally, I keep a version up of two playbooks. One for my managers — one for my SDRs. I keep both versions up in a Google Doc (which I am constantly revising on a day-to-day basis depending on feedback), and then we’ll review that once a month to see are there enough changes to make. If there are, we’ll publish a new one back to the team. Then, like Kevin’s team, we print out the newest version for the rooks.

Chris, you’re showcasing the rationale for investing in sales development with the 10x method. Can you go deeper into the metrics that prove the value of sales development?

Pham: That multiple is the biggest metric, for sure. The secondary metric that I look at is the close rate from opportunity acceptance. Once you pass it on to the field, you want to make sure that the pipeline field that you’re pushing into is closing at a decent clip. Anywhere between 8-15% would be relatively successful. Making sure that you’re not only able to scale, but you’re just as efficient prosecuting that type of demand that you’re creating, as well.

Lastly, after you’re running the test, the big question is: how much revenue did you source and how much did that cost you? If it all lies there, and that multiple is there, then people are much more likely to invest.

And, over time, that multiple changes. When you’re early on, it might cost you a little bit more. There’s more management overhead. It’s the first time you’re buying all of this tooling. You might only get an 8x or 9x out of your team for the first year or so, but as you scale and get more efficient and figure out the process that works for you, you should baseline yourself around at least 10x.

The movie Moneyball identifies the metric that allowed them to center around how to pick and coach the right players. What metrics do you use to get an early indicator that a rep is looking promising?

Dorsey: There’s two big ones that I look at, here. One, as granular as it is, is call volume. What it shows me is how hungry and how little fear that this individual possesses, especially if they’re new to the game. If they’re picking up that phone, dealing with that rejection, and continuing on — that’s a big metric that I look at when evaluating new reps.

The second metric is lead conversion. Out of all of those calls, how many are actually turning into opportunities? I don’t want them just burning through leads. I look at the call volume first, because it’s more of a character thing than a skill thing. But then I look at lead conversion because that’s a skill thing. That’s something that we can work on.

For a more comprehensive look into Salesloft’s internal SDR process, download the second section of our newest playbook trilogy, The Sales Development Playbook: Executing. In this section, we share the ins and outs of efficiently using Salesloft to call and email prospects. Download our free white paper and optimize your sales efforts to start crushing your sales development goals today.