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What’s Now, What’s New, and What’s Coming with the SalesLoft Platform

9 min read
February 23, 2016

Up until now, the modern SDR didn’t have a platform of record.

They didn’t have a place where they could go and manage their entire workflow in one single pane. We wanted to give them an application built to educate, empower, and build a community around sales development to accelerate their process and execution.

Last week, we had the opportunity to host a webinar with our own VP of Product Strategy, Sean Kester, who was there to give us a recap on the latest and greatest from the Salesloft platform. He chatted with Salesloft VP of Demand Gen, Kevin O’Malley, about the platform updates that affect the hottest SDR trend to date: Account Based Sales Development.

The historic “lead-list-scorched-earth” approach to sales development is seeing its decline. SDRs and sales organizations are getting smarter about their approach, and many are transitioning to the Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) model.

And while Salesloft has worked to stay ahead of this ABSD transition, we’ve gained a lot of clarity about the process along the way. Check out the conversation below (or watch the full webinar recap here) between Sean and Kevin to learn more about the platform updates that are influencing the ABSD workflow for the modern SDR:

How can you relieve the anxiety of an SDR team shifting to an ABSD strategy?

It’s a paradigm shift at first. In a lead-based model, if you’re converting at the same percentage, then you just put more people in (and that nets more opportunities). But in the ABSD model, you have a qualified opportunity, and you have to find the right person in that account. There’s a lot more research on the front-end around understanding who, what, and why — and the specific business needs of that account.

The good news? ABSD turns SDRs into better-prepared reps, because they have to build a relationship. They have to understand the pain points and their context, so it’s more of a consultant sale than just an execution. Understanding the context of that business is critical.

How does the Salesloft platform effect the ABSD workflow?

We’ve taken all of the data that’s most important to an SDR, and left all of the noise in Salesforce so that the rep can simply see what they need to know, when they need to know it.

You can now execute Cadence steps taking place on any page. You can have multiple steps that can be executed manually at the same time — multiple e-mail pane windows can be opened and minimized in a very Gmail-esque workflow.

But what we’re most excited about is this: when run a Cadence step from the dashboard, you usually hit “preview and run.” Now, we’re going to have this pane pop up on the side of the page, with the same card view that you had before, but of all of the people that you have in your Cadence. These are all of the people that are due, and you can still filter and sort as you could before, but you can then click on that person and run to their page.

What’s great about this feature is that it doesn’t take you to another page. It’s incorporated into where you are right now, and you decide what you want to do next.

“As a manager, you can quickly dive in there and see the activity across the account. This is really where great coaching opportunity comes in. This where you start seeing some opportunities to target some more people, or maybe it’s your ideal client profile isn’t showing up in the leads that they’ve brought in.” – Kevin O’Malley

What is the impact of some of these features in terms of the expected performance enhancements?

The core reason we made these changes was for flexibility. We wanted people to be able to see exactly what they needed, to get that what we call “just in time data.” Whether it’s a past interaction with a different person at that company, seeing the data on that company, or being able to navigate through old messages or colleagues of those prospects, this directly enhances performance based on the amount of ease and personalization reps can put into their messaging.

There are times when it would be a lot easier just to click send all. We wanted to give that option, but maintain the ability to quickly grab insights and contacts. This way, they can add those one or two sentences to the personalization. We’ve seen exponential increase on reply rates and conversation rates when you add that level of intentionality and personalization.

We’ve talked a lot about the workflow, but we want to talk about the analytics and the reporting, as well. We had the unique opportunity to gather all of that data when users are executing all of their workflow within our platform. We wanted to aggregate that data into actionable insights for our users so that they know how to perform better. They can be more educated on their workflow and their process, and understand what’s happening and how to double-down on what’s working (or scale back on what’s not).

How do SDR analytics play into this model?

We have a call leaderboard and an email leaderboard. We wanted to highlight more than who sent the most emails or made the most calls, but who had the most conversations. Because the number is not what’s important — it’s conversations. That, in essence, is the goal of an SDR: to have conversations that they can qualify and then convert. We’ll see a positive conversation on the call leaderboard, and this is due to the dispositions and sentiments built into our dialer.

Whenever an SDR has a disposition of “connect,” and they had a sentiment of “interested” or “demo scheduled,” or the timeline was pushed out for a couple of weeks — that’s a positive conversation. This is opposed to someone who is disqualified or has no interest. Similarly, on the email leaderboard, we record the number of replies — not just reply percentage — but the overall number of conversations that they’re having. We wanted to highlight the number of positive conversations because, at the end of the day, that’s what gets you conversions.

“You may be doing a lot of calls, and you may be an effective rep, just not effective phone numbers. Your data might be hurting you. This information can help you dive a little bit deeper, where you need to maybe better understand what’s going on with each individual rep.” -Kevin O’Malley

As we move forward and progress on these reports, we’ll be adding the ability for reps to log whether their conversation or email response was positive, negative, or neutral, and we’ll be able to display those analytics on that leaderboard, as well.

What is the difference between a call disposition and the sentiment, and why does it matter in ABSD?

This is where it all comes together — where you see the disposition of your calls, and then the sentiment of the outcome of that call. Only once connected do you have a sentiment, because, if you’re busy, or the phone number was rejected, you went to voicemail, or there’s no answer — there’s no sentiment to that call. You didn’t have a conversation. Sentiment is the direct result of that conversation.

Interestingly, when we started measuring the positive conversation number on the team vs. the number of overall calls, they went having 20% of appointments being set on the phone, to now over 65% of demos set on the phone. That’s because they’re driving to one metric and that is positive conversations.

With all of these new features, what should we expect next for the ABSD model and the sales development cloud?

This is the rise of the sales development cloud.

We’re extremely excited about the partnerships that we’ve made. How can we be an application of record without integrations? We’ve focused a lot of this quarter’s efforts on creating long-term partnerships and enabling all the other tools that an SDR would use, that ecosystem to live within our application. It is a seamless platform, starting from data, so we’ve integrated with multiple data providers that will push into Cadence (some of them will even live inside of Cadence) so that they can start off and understand the basic ABSD question upfront: do I have all the data I need?

We’ll have coaching integrations that allow managers and admins to see the data around calls. We’ll have some new social integrations. I just wanted to highlight what’s coming out in the next six weeks, step by step, so that our users understand our thinking process.

When running a product team, it’s important that we have visibility within our own organization on what’s happening, but more importantly, to have our users and our customers understand where we’re heading. This is the vision for why we’re doing things, and what we hope to accomplish.

We’re listening to our users and understanding the pain points they have, and the context in which they have them, so that we can then create a solution that empowers them to be more efficient, be more intelligent, and ultimately schedule more appointments and create more opportunities for their company.

Watch the Full Salesloft Platform Update Webinar Here:

The needs of the SDR are to identify, connect, qualify, and convert their prospects into opportunities.

The Salesloft platform was built with the intention that reps can set more appointments, create more opportunities, and drive more revenue for their businesses.

The reason that we exist as a business is to solve the needs of the Sales Development Rep, and with everything from to connecting with prospects, all the way to setting qualified appointments, our goal is to create an environment for positive sales development relationships.