Leap From SDR To Account Manager (In The Shortest Time Possible)

David Dulany is a sales development representative expert and in this episode of the Salesman Podcast, he is explaining the steps to standing out as an incredible SDR and making the leap up to an account manager position as quickly as possible.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - David Dulany
Sales Development Representative Expert

Resources:

 

Transcript

Will Barron:

Do you want to learn how you can set yourself apart as an SDR sales development rep and move to a higher paying account manager role? Well, this episode is for you. Hello, Sales Nation. Welcome to today's episode of The Salesman Podcast. On today's show, we have David Delaney. We are diving very specifically into how you go from an SDR role sales development role into a account manager or AE role, the steps you need to put into practise, what you need to do outside of the sales role, outside of the SDR role to make that leap, and a whole lot more. You find out more about David over at tenbond.com. With all that said, let's jump straight in. David, welcome to The Salesman Podcast.

 

David Delaney:

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate it.

 

The Truths and Misconceptions About the SDR Role · [01:20] 

 

Will Barron:

You're more than welcome. I'm glad to have you on. We're going to do a show today which will cover SDRs, AEs, but it's to give the SDRs in the audience some love, because I'm always, not avoiding talking about that role, but I don't have an experience there, and so I find it more difficult to pull guests together, pull shows together to serve them. But this one with you, David, with a pro in this space is all about the SDRs. We're going to talk about how SDRs can leverage their skills, how they can set themselves apart from all the other SDRs, and how they can get promoted into that AE role. But the first question is, is the SDR position, for everyone who's listening who's in that role, is it just and only a stepping stone to account management, or are the people listening who have skill sets and are earning enough money and are in the right position at the right time to want to stay in that SDR role for the long haul?

 

David Delaney:

No, absolutely. You know, I think that there is a misconception right now because there's kind of a playbook that's been replicated over and over, especially in technology companies that says an SDR comes in and they're a new recruit, they get trained up, they work as an SDR for six months, eight months, 12 months, and then the expectation is that they get promoted to an AE or potentially another part of the business, or they're managed out of the business, unfortunately, if it's just not a good fit. That worked. It worked for Salesforce, it worked for Oracle, it worked for all these big companies, so a lot of companies are just trying to replicate that.

 

David Delaney:

But what I tell people is let's take a step back, throw out the dogma, throw out the old playbook, and really take a critical look at your business and your buyers and the pipeline that you need and things like that, and then build the SDR programme backwards from there without having that stuck in your head. So, to your question, I think that it is a great entry point if you don't have a lot of experience, and if a company is following that usual playbook, great. Great way to get into the company, make an impression and move up. But I also have a tonne of respect for your lifer SDR. I think that they make a tremendous contribution to the business.

 

David Delaney:

They're reliable, they're cost effective for a business, and they kick out a tonne of great opportunities and provide leadership and training for new recruits. So, there's absolutely nothing wrong in my view with being an SDR forever if you're good at it and you like it and it's something that makes you happy. I think that's great. I would love to have a group of very productive lifer SDRs who don't turn over every six months on my team.

 

Why It Doesn’t Make Sense to Promote High-Performing SDRs Into Account Management Roles · [03:53] 

 

Will Barron:

Because there's two elements to this, which I've touched on in the show before. I have only ever been the sales rep that does everything, the prospecting, the demos, the going in and speaking to the customer support of them after, training surgeons and medical devices on how to use equipment over the long term. So, I've not done this super narrowed down specific role of SDR or account manager or customer success after the fact. I've got a mix of all of it. So, some of it I don't have the experience to comment on. But anecdotally, it always seems daft to me that we're going down this route of specialisation, especially in the SAS software technology world.

 

Will Barron:

We're going the route of specialisation to increase the experience, the skill set that one person has at doing one job so they can do it really well, but it doesn't make any sense to me then that we get people who are really good at being the SDR and then the best SDRs, then move on to something else, because I think somewhat of the skill of prospecting, cold emailing, cold calling, that side of things to set up appointments and to build a pipeline is different than the skill set needed to account manage. Is there something to that? Should we be encouraging and paying SDRs to lead gen? Because that is just as important, right? As the closers on the far end of the sale.

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. I mean, I think that you're starting to read some blogs and people talking about this, and I completely agree with what you're saying. I think one of the hardest things right now to do is actually get attention of people long enough to accept an appointment. It's one of the hardest parts of the sales cycle. Again, we look at the playbooks of these really successful companies, and they have it set up where you come in and you do the SDR position for six months, and then you move up or out. Does that really make sense anymore? If you look at the outsourced SDR programmes, a lot of them are based in the Midwest and in cheaper markets, and they emphasise getting people in who just want to be SDRs.

 

“The longer an SDR does the job and the more skilled they are at brokering that initial introduction and locking down the appointment, the more valuable they become for an organization.” – David Delaney · [06:15] 

 

David Delaney:

They think that it's a great opportunity if you're out in the middle of nowhere and you're making a good salary and you have a good steady paycheck with a health benefits, it's a pretty damn good gig. They realise that the longer that an SDR does the job and the more skilled they are at brokering that initial introduction and locking down the appointment, the more valuable they become, especially if you start to verticalize that they become fluent in the… you gave the example of medical devices, if they become fluent in that lingo and they know the right people to talk to, and they know how to get that introduction brokered, they're tremendously valuable for a company.

 

“I did a study with a consultant in a former company, and numerically, an SDR had to be in the chair for at least 24 months, 18 of those months needed to be productive in order to pay for themselves. So, if they're coming to you and saying, “I want to get out of this position in six months,” from a business perspective, that doesn't make a lot of sense.” – David Delaney · [06:59] 

 

David Delaney:

So, why would you encourage them to leave that position when they're starting to add a tremendous amount of value? From a business perspective, I would, I did a study with a consultant in a former company, and numerically, an SDR had to be in the chair for at least 24 months productive 18 of those months in order to pay for themselves. So, if they're coming to you and saying, “I want to get out of this position in six months,” from a business perspective, that doesn't make a lot of sense. So, yeah, there's different ways to look at it, for sure.

 

Will Barron:

I totally agree with that. I guess the context of the amount of time it takes for them to earn their way back financially internally through the ramp up stages of the training and the vertical awareness and all the slang that we've got to use to be able to communicate with buyers in the way that they want to communicate, all this good stuff, that makes total sense. So, again, it blows my mind some of these business decisions. Again, anecdotally, I'm no expert in any of this. I'm only looking at it from the outside in, but it seems like a lot of these decisions come from, for example, Aaron Ross, Salesforce, when a lot of their growth was because they had a crazy awesome product as well. I think Aaron is a genius.

 

Will Barron:

He's a good guy. He's been on the show. But I think sometimes he gets too much credit for the fact that the product would've sold no matter what kind of sales process they were using, because it was just such a great, innovative product at the time. Clearly this is just a beast right now, Salesforce as an organisation. But you said something here, and I want to wrap up the ego stroking and the sucking up to SDRs with this, of you said they don't get the respect that they deserve. I couldn't… I could, for a short period, I could force myself to do most things I think. I think I could man up and get on with it, but I wouldn't enjoy it. I couldn't sit in an office all day sending emails, making calls. It wouldn't be using my strength, so I probably would suck at it, which would demotivate me even more.

 

Will Barron:

I don't think I could do an SDR role. I think it would drive me crazy. I think I would want to be doing other stuff. I'd be procrastinating. So, when you say they don't get enough respect, I respect them, because I enjoy the closing the deals, I enjoy the account management side of things. As I said, I don't think I could do that role for any serious period of time. So, anyone who's done it for that 18 month, 24 month, three year period who becomes successful at it, I think, again, just a final stroke of an ego here because I don't give them enough love as what I should do, I think SDRs, if you're in that position, you're crushing it and you should be super happy with what you're doing.

 

How To Differentiate Yourself From Other SDRs and Leap Into an Account Management Role · [09:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Now, turning the whole conversation it's head for a second, David, the SDRs that listen to this that want to get into that AE position, they want to become account managers, they want to go into sales ops, they want to go into training, they want to do something else within the organisation, and they have used it as the traditional starting point, what do they need to do to differentiate themselves within the team to make themselves look great? Is it just a case of getting more appointments than anyone else and doing what's in your contract well, or do we need to go beyond that to get the recognition that allows us to move up to these quite “better roles”?

 

“There's absolutely nothing wrong with being proactive and wanting to move up in the organisation and get to the bigger and better things and bigger bucks. That is great for everybody involved, because you get that energy on the sales floor, and people can move up in their career.” – David Delaney · [10:09] 

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. Just to preface this, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being proactive and wanting to move up in the organisation and get to the bigger and better things and bigger bucks. That is great for everybody involved, because you get that energy on the sales floor, and people can move up in their career. So, if that is the aim and your organisation is supportive of that and they have some kind of structure built up where there's positions open potentially in account management or as an AE, I jotted down a few notes. I think that there's four big things to think about. One is making the right decision at the beginning as far as what company you're getting involved with.

 

“You're going to be spending 40, 50, 60-hour weeks working on something. If it doesn't do anything for you except to supply your paycheck and a t-shirt, then you're probably going to be miserable and then that's going to be a downward spiral.” – David Delaney · [11:37] 

 

David Delaney:

It's tough when you're out there on the job search, you don't have any experience necessarily. You're applying for all these SDR jobs, and you see one, it's got a cool office, they've got a ping pong table and a cool t-shirt that they gave you for taking the interview, and you just jump in. I would just caution everyone, and if you're already in a position like this, then something to think about is do you really understand the product? Do you understand the problem that they're solving? Are you passionate about that, or can you get passionate about that? Can you get excited about it? Because you're going to be spending 40, 50, 60 hour weeks working on this. If it doesn't do anything for you except for supply your paycheck and a t-shirt, then you're probably going to be miserable and then that's going to be a downward spiral. So, thought number one, make the right choice in the vehicle for your promotion.

 

The Benefits of Working For an Industry Heavyweight as an SDR · [12:01]

 

Will Barron:

Let me jump in here before you give us number two, because, and I'm grinning as I say this for everyone who's listening rather than watching, this is probably the only opportunity in 400 episodes I've ever recorded where I get to give a story about myself that wasn't me screwing up. This is something I've done well with all my sales roles. I've only ever worked for the best companies in the industry. That wasn't by fluke. I don't know where it comes from, but it's having a set standard of I would always… and it's probably something that was drilled into me by a parent or a inadvertent mentor or a teacher to set certain standards in your life, and that's where it comes from for me personally. But I've only ever worked for the best medical device companies in the space, so much so that I went from, I think one owns 50% of the market and the other one owns 47% of the market, and I went from the 47% percenter to the 50 percenter.

 

Will Barron:

Household names one of them is, anyway. The other one, essentially they invented endoscopic keyhole surgery. The person who started the company essentially created all this. So, for the surgeons that I'm selling to, there's loads of history tied to both these companies, and this is why when I talk about the show, I've never had to really cold call, is because when I'd call surgeon and be like, “Hey, I work for X, Y, Z, can I come in and see you?” They would always welcome me. We've open arms, not because I was some genius, not because I'd social sold them, not because I'd warmed up the call or done anything clever or intelligent, it was on the back of the company that I was working for.

 

Will Barron:

So, I set out to achieve this, and in my brain, in hindsight, it was no more difficult to get into one of these companies at the top of the food chain than it would've been for the same amount of interviews, the same amount of interview prep, the same amount of effort, the same amount of research, the same amount of networking would've got me into one of the lower tier companies, but that would've made the sales role much more difficult. It would've made it much more stressful, because you're picking up the phone to surgeons, procurement officers who don't even know the company name, you have to explain who you are.

 

Will Barron:

When you work for a company that has such an incumbent market share, and this is clearly from an account managing perspective more so than a true out and out hunting sales perspective, it's a far easier, a more enjoyable job to the point of on a Friday afternoon, I would not book any meetings, and wherever I wanted to go or spend an afternoon or do whatever I was doing, or if I wanted to be home early, I'd come to the local hospital, I could just show up at the theatre door, knock on the knock on the window, show them my little badge with the logo on, and I'd get in every time.

 

Will Barron:

Even if they didn't know me, they'd know the company's badge, brand, and there'd be this company's equipment all over the theatres, so people who were less interested than the surgeons, perhaps the nursing staff, the ODPs, the people who aren't decision makers, but I'd still be trying to spend time with, they'd let me in just on the brand alone. This rant, I just wanted to put it in there of I think this is truly something that is underrated. If you work for the top dog in the industry, it just makes life so much easier, right?

 

“If you're not feeling the industry or the thing you're selling and talking about all day, I think it becomes tough to motivate.” – David Delaney · [16:16] 

 

David Delaney:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I've talked about this with people before. There's the big brands that are very well known, they've got all the training programmes, they've got the brand recognition, they've got everything dialled in, and if you're coming right out of school and you have no business experience, sometimes it's great to just plug into their system and be moulded and see how that machine is operating from the inside and then do that for a few years and then go out to your startup of two guys in the garage. You know? So, I guess it just depends. The other quick point is for your case, if you had no interest whatsoever in medical devices, and you just were getting to the point where your parents were getting on you because you had spent all this money on university and now you needed a job so you took a job with medical devices, it'd be tough. I would just look back at my career and it's like, if you're not feeling the industry and the thing that you're going to be selling and talking about all day, I think it becomes tough to just motivate.

 

Will Barron:

Just to give a bit of claw on that before we move on to the second or the third and fourth point of this, again, me medical devices, it's a huge space, so there's consumable items. There's literally a dude running around Yorkshire or a woman right now selling latex gloves. Clearly a huge commodity, clearly one end of the medical devices medical equipment spectrum. I, again, purposely, strategically only went for these two companies because they sold camera and imaging equipment and full theatres. I'm a huge nerd. Anyone listening to the show knows I love the GTR because of all the technology behind it, the history, the story of it. Clearly, we've got the studio here of all these monitors. We're always stepping up the game with the production of things. One, because I think that production value impacts the brand and it allows big corporates to be able to put money into us and invest into us to help get an ROI for them, and it reduces some of the potential trust issues dealing with someone who is in some crappy studio with crappy lighting.

 

Will Barron:

As you talked about before, David, if you've got crappy lighting, it gives the vampire effect and it all looks a little bit weird. I think the branding and the technology and everything that we bring to the show adds to all of that. The flip side of it is I love spending the company's money buying new toys, because I've got cameras here, we've got the screens, got the lighting. It's all the same stuff that I was selling in medical devices to a T of I was selling the full camera stack, which was essentially a computer system, an imaging system. There'd be then cables and light cables that carried light from light source on the camera system that go into the patients, I'd then sell all the optics.

 

Will Barron:

So, literally steel tubes with glass rods inside it so the surgeon can see what's going on inside the patient on the screen. This was all strategically chosen by me. I was only ever a B player. I wasn't the best salesperson in any of the teams I ever worked in, but I loved talking about all this. That was my biggest competitive advantage with the surgeons, because I'd worked for both of these companies, I could go in, talk about the products interchangeably, obviously lead and pitch were appropriate for the products that I was selling versus the competition. But it was that enthusiasm that rubbed off on people, because these surgeons are relying on these products. They see them somewhat as toys, and they always want those gradual, incremental… it's like the iPhone. The surgeons always want the latest equivalent of the iPhone within the technology, and that rubs off on them.

 

Why You Need to Sell Products or Services You’re Excited About · [18:55] 

 

Will Barron:

I'm ranting about this and I'm labouring this point because I think in sales and business, perhaps we're a sucker for punishment, but I feel like there's plenty of opportunities to sell a product that you enjoy. If you play drums, go and do wholesale drum sales or equipment sales, or go work for Roland and start selling the super high end, or Yamaha and the super high end pianos or something along those lines. I think we've got plenty of opportunity here to make our lives easier than what we currently are. If we don't like our sales role, if we're in an SDR role because it's the only way to get to the account manager role, well, become an SDR in a company that you give a shit about, right? Become an SDR in a company that you're going to get up each morning and you're going to have a good time and there's a good team and a good atmosphere.

 

David Delaney:

Yeah, exactly. It's hard. I mean, I live in technology central, so there's all these technologies coming out. If you do a search, there's so many SDR jobs that are available. I could see, 20 years ago I'm scrolling through these and I go, “Oh, that looks cool. I have no idea what they're doing or what they're selling, but I really need a job, so I'll just go ahead and jump in.” But I would just take a step back. Are you going to be able to motivate yourself to sell this thing beyond just the superficial fact that you got a job finally?

 

Will Barron:

Makes sense.

 

One of The Most Important Skills Every SDR Should Master · [20:23] 

 

David Delaney:

It kind of goes into my second point, Will, in that the usual training programme of someone at your average company for an SDR is you come in and you do some product training with the product managers, you learn about all the bells and whistles of the product, and then you learn about how to use Salesforce and how to use cadence systems and data entry systems and stuff like that, and then you're kind of on your own and you start sending stuff out and making calls. A lot of times, they're asking you to call on people with like 20 years of experience at the director and VP level, and you were just in college a couple of months ago. You have no context, really, or no value add, and it ends up being kind of a downward spiral of negativity.

 

David Delaney:

So, one way that I would definitely recommend for SDRs coming in that want to move up is go ahead and go through that training programme, but when you have your own time, you want to learn everything you can about the buyer and their pain points that are going to be interacting with your product, because you want to be able to understand their vocabulary, speak their language, go to the same conferences that they go to, read the same blogs, become fluent in their vocabulary so that you don't come at them with just some generic message and set yourself up for failure. I would make that a real study and commitment. It gets back to our first point of do you want to talk about this product and learn all about these buyers every day? Are you really serious about that before you take the job?

 

Traits and Attitudes That Define High-Performing SDRs · [22:15] 

 

Will Barron:

How do we practically, David, do what you just outlined? Because clearly that differentiates us from every SDR in the company who is just there for a paycheck. It immediately differentiates us that we've gone the extra mile, that we care about this, that we're intrigued and curious. But how do we… and clearly it's going to make us better at the role as well, and we're going to have more success from it. How do we practically do that? Is this asking our management to send us to conferences? Is this reading industry papers and white papers and things like that? Is this just trying to network with individuals who we may or may not sell to in the future? What's the practical couple of steps that any SDRs that are listening to this on the way to the office this morning can implement today?

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. I mean, it reminds me a friend of mine named Craig Rosenberg. He's probably been on the show. He puts it that you don't want to separate a gorilla from his bananas. That's the attitude that I would take in getting what you need in order to be successful in your job. Don't let anything get in the way. To your point, ask to go to the conferences, ask to go to the trainings that are involved in the buyer world, ask for resources to be able to learn about it within the company. Now, the boss might say no because you're a brand new SDR and you just started two weeks ago, but there's nothing wrong with asking and wanting to learn more about the world that you're selling in.

 

“Knowledge is proliferating right now. I mean, all it takes is a YouTube search and a few good keywords, and literally you could get inside the mind of your buyer. The question is, do you want to? Do you have the internal motivation to really learn about this world and learn about the vocabulary and learn about what keeps them up at night? If you want to, you could learn anything right now.” – David Delaney · [23:50] 

 

David Delaney:

The other quick thing, Will, is that knowledge is proliferating right now. I mean, all it takes is a YouTube search and a few good keywords, and literally you could get inside the mind of your buyer. The question is, do you want totally? Do you have the internal motivation to really learn about this world and learn about the vocabulary and learn about what keeps them up at night? If you want to, you could learn anything right now, just from using YouTube and, for example, going to one of their conferences and watching the keynotes and jotting down some of the big trends that are happening. It's applicable to anything. If you're selling medical devices, if you're selling rubber gloves or whatever, go in, you got to just become an expert on rubber gloves. What are the things that affect people's buying behaviour, and what are the words that they use? Then become fluent in that and hold yourself accountable.

 

The Skill and Knowledge Gap Between a Newbie and an Expert SDR · [24:53] 

 

Will Barron:

How big is the gap, to get real about this, David, how big is the gap between the word you use then of expert versus the SDR that knows the terminology, medical devices, they know the procedures, they can talk the surgeon through using the equipment, what's the gap between that, an expert, and as an SDR who wants to move on and move up the food chain, where do they need to be within that?

 

“Whatever investment an SDR makes in understanding the buyer and their pain points and the market landscape is a long-term investment. It's playing the long game in that industry.” – David Delaney · [25:27] 

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. Well, that's a really good question. I mean, obviously you can't compact 20 years of experience into two months, but whatever investment that an SDR makes in understanding the buyer and their pain points and the landscape is a long term investment. It's playing the long game in that industry. Eventually, within a few months, if they really, really focus on the buyer and their pain points and their vocabulary, they'll actually know more about the landscape that they're operating in than a lot of the AEs at the company. If they want to get into ops or customer success, et cetera, they're going to want to learn this anyway. So, it's not, “I'm going to learn this while I'm an SDR and then move on.” It's looking at it from a long-term perspective of, “I'm in this industry, I'm solving problems for these people. Who are these people? What problems do they have? Where do they congregate? What do they talk about? How do I insert myself into that conversation without looking like a complete jackass who just pressed a button in Salesforce and sent out 500 emails?”

 

Will Barron:

Because I guess what you're diving into here, and this is new to me, this frame of mind and way of thinking about it, we can almost consider the SDR as your opportunity to build a foundation in that when you're an account manager, if you are not closing the deals, if you're getting bad reviews, there's probably, not more pressure, but there's more targeted and there's more on your head versus the SDR of you've got very easy goals to monitor and measure of number of appointments set or number of emails sent, however they want to go about it and the process for that role. So, it's almost a great opportunity, I guess, when you look at it and frame it from that perspective, it's a great opportunity to, whilst the, not the pressure's off, I don't want to say that, but whilst the pressures are different, to build a great foundation for the rest of your career, especially if you want to spend the rest of your career in that vertical.

 

SDR Roles Are an Exciting Opportunity to Learn Everything About the Market · [27:45] 

 

Will Barron:

I know if I was going to go back into sales, I would 100% go into medical device sales, and I'd probably go down the startup route, because I enjoy this world as well of entrepreneurship, but I wouldn't deviate from there, and I would continue my career in that space because I've got the knowledge, the information back to 0.1, I've got the enthusiasm for it. So, we can almost see an SDR role as a really exciting opportunity if we frame it like that.

 

“If you really get inside the head of your buyer and you understand where they hang out, what they talk about, what their pain points are, you'll be in a better position when a promotion opportunity comes up.” – David Delaney · [28:26] 

 

David Delaney:

Yeah, exactly. You look at it as a learning opportunity. Hopefully you'll stay in it for a year or two as a extension of your business school and use every day as a learning opportunity and try not to get sucked into that negative downward spiral of, “I'm stuck here.” A year or two, it's not a long time. I mean, I know that for someone who's like 22 years old, it seems like, “Oh my God, that's so long.” Dude, a year or two flies by. Then the foundation that you're building, and like I said, if you really get inside the head of your buyer and you understand where they hang out, what they talk about, what their pain points are, you're going to be ahead of your account executives. You'll be in a better position when a promotion opportunity comes up.

 

David Delaney:

The last quick point, Will, as I try to solve business problems myself, I do demo calls with account executives. There's literally, and this is getting to my next point, there's literally no understanding of the fact that I have a problem. Any pain point that I have or any questions, any open ended questions, it's just, “Hey, I got you on the line. Here's my software. What do you think?” And that's crap. You're going to sell a lot more if you just ask a few questions and know something about what I'm trying to solve, right?

 

What SDRs Should Start Doing When Chasing That Account Executives Role · [29:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Should we as SDRs start acting like account managers? Should we focus on… and would this hinder the process or would this differentiate us positively? If we start in our emails, rather than just trying to set up a demo, pass people on, get rid of them, should we start uncovering their pain points? Should we start that process of discovery? Should we start asking better questions so that perhaps when we hand off the demo, the next step to the account managers, we can give them a whole bunch of information and we can help them on their way and help them have success, does that look favourably on us, or should we stick to what we're told and just get demos or just get appointments?

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. I mean, I look at that service level agreement between the management and the SDR and the salesperson who's going to take the appointment, everybody agrees on what the qualification level is going to be. It's really important first to have that conversation. What are we going to accept as an appointment? What do they need to have? Okay? So, everybody's on the same page there. Then you look at it almost like an aperture on a camera. So, if the account executives have an empty calendar and they just want to talk to anybody, you widen out the aperture. Basically, you got a pulse and you're interested and you want to take an appointment, we'll get you in there. You know? If that's happening too much and they're not converting, you lower the aperture and get more qualification questions. So, I think that the SDR should check with their manager and really find out what is the aperture that we're going after? Do we just want a bunch of at bats appointments, or do we want something highly qualified and then take it from there?

 

The Easiest Way to Differentiate Yourself as an SDR · [31:13] 

 

Will Barron:

Two things we will wrap up here. I'm scribbling them down so I don't… and the audience know this, if I don't write stuff down, because they'll see me scribbling throughout the interviews, I don't ask. It disappears from my head two seconds later. So, David, two things to wrap up with here. One, can we differentiate ourselves as a SDR by perhaps even over communicating with AEs? Because seemingly a quick way to promotion is having a bunch of the account managers in your team going, “Hey, I really like this David dude. He's an SDR, but I think, boss, we should totally drag him over into our team, because I think he would add a load of value here.” So, whether you can engineer that purposefully or whether you'd have to wait for that to organically happen is another question. But should we be building and focusing on building great relationships with our account managers as an SDR? Is that a potential pathway to jump up into that position quicker?

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. I think it's tough. I mean, personalities are all over the place and it's hard to please everybody. But the main thing is if you can be an uplifting, positive part of the team, and you're not negative bringing things down and trying to bring up the team on a daily basis and get out of your own head and see if anybody else needs help, and then hitting all your metrics, obviously, that are put out in front of you as far as talking to people and setting up appointments that actually go through, being able to demonstrate that week after week, quarter after quarter, and to your point, getting to know the account executives and getting to understand what they need as far as the appointments that you're sending over, and trying to get as close as you can, to that, I think if you do all those things, you're going to be in a good position.

 

David Delaney:

The account executives turn over all the time. If they don't make their number or they get a better offer somewhere, there's going to be positions open, and you want to be in the right place to get in there. By consistently being on target with those things, you're in a way better position than probably somebody off the street, I would say.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Just to recap here with the final question, we have crushed our numbers, whether that be appointments made or however it's calculated, clearly our bosses like us because we are a uplifting member of the team. We come in, we're positive, we're happy each day, we've got a role where we're selling or set up points for a product that we somewhat care about. We've got at least, at the very minimum, we've got a curiosity, we've got an interest in this space. We are communicating back and forth with the account managers, and in this process, they like us and they have given us, on the DL, on the down low, that there's a new role cropping up.

 

How to Position Yourself for Promotion Into an AE Role · [34:18]

 

Will Barron:

If we put you in that scenario personally, David, you're this SDR that knows this role exists or is soon to exist. What is your move? How do you very practically go about securing that role? Are you going to your line manager? Are you going to the national sales manager or the director of sales, VP of sales, are you going them directly? How are you going about at worst positioning yourself for that role, at best, selling yourself for that role?

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. I think that you hit it on the head. You have to make your intentions super, super clear. I think just like anybody else, the VP of sales and the directors have overflowing inboxes and multiple priorities, and the kids got the flu, and they're dealing with all these things. So, if you're hoping and wishing that they understand that you want to become a sales rep, then that's probably not going to work. I think that depending on your personality, I would make it very, very clear, “This is what I want to do. This is my timeframe. I'm very serious about this,” and then be able to back it up and go through the specific things that you've done over the last six months or year or two years to get to that role.

 

David Delaney:

I've gone to these conferences, I know all about the buyer. I know their pain points. Other couple of things, grab any sales training that you can get. I think sales training for some reason is in short supply. The soft skills training of asking questions and following up and handling objections and things like that, they don't usually offer that at companies, and so you're going to have to go out and get it yourself. You might have to miss a weekend partying or something like that to go and go to some sales training course to learn that. Then finally-

 

David’s Go-To Resources For Self-Improvement · [36:11] 

 

Will Barron:

Just on this, sorry to interrupt you, but just on this, David, is there any books, any sales training methodologies, any training courses? We'll talk about the training you do at the end of the show, but is there any specifics you could point an SDR towards as a great first step to learn the soft skills of selling?

 

David Delaney:

Yeah. I would definitely check out John Barrows. He's very well known, and he does online training courses. There's another guy named MJ Hoffman, which is very well known. He does public seminars in the big coastal cities. But just check his website. I heard great things about that. Beyond that, you've got the big traditional sales training companies that you can find with a quick Google search, and they do public seminars, where you can just drop in. Hey, you may have to pay out of pocket. I mean, your company might not support you to do it, so you may have to decide between 500 bucks on something fun or 500 bucks on a half day training course. But I look at it as a long term investment. I mean, if it can give you the edge and that interview with your VP of sales between you and somebody else who didn't take it, then you get a huge bump in your salary, it becomes worth it.

 

if you really get inside the head of your buyer and you understand where they hang out, what they talk about, what their pain points are, you're going to be ahead of your account executives. You'll be in a better position when a promotion opportunity comes up.

 

David’s Advice to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [37:29] 

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense. With that, David, I've got one final question, mate. I ask everyone that comes on the show, and that is if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them to help them become better at selling?

 

David Delaney:

You know, I wish that I'd gotten into entrepreneurship earlier. I've always been a company man. My dad worked for the same company for a million years. It was just how I grew up is as an employee. I had always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. Maybe this is something we could talk about in a different show, but I had always dreamed about it. I launched it about a year and a half ago, and I've just never been happier. Maybe it was just the right time for me and the stars aligned. But I really feel like I love the entrepreneurship cycle, and I wish that I had an extra 10 years to enjoy it.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. I'm on the same boat as you as I, 27, I think, jumped into the media production world and started Upgraded Media, which is the company that does the podcast, does a bunch of lead gen for some of the world's biggest sales companies, does a whole bunch of other things behind the scenes that the audience don't always realise is going on. I love this role more than any sales role I've ever had, and I really liked the medical device sales roles I was in. I always say this to the audience of I think I did it somewhat sensibly. Probably could have been more sensible, but I used sales as a way to legitimately and ethically pull together a big chunk of cash, which give me then a runway to start a company.

 

Will Barron:

It also gave me the skills that if the company failed, I knew I could get another sales role, perhaps not immediately, but somewhat easily. It's not like I'm a nuclear physicist or a rocket scientist or something crazy niche that there's only two free roles in the country that are high paying and relevant to that particular degree, set skills, whatever it is, pretty much every company on the planet, every reasonably large company, anyway, has a sales team. When you say invest into yourself going on these courses, these trainings, I don't think there's a downside to it. Perhaps as a SDR, you'll need to go on two or three of them, but it sets you up for the AE role. It sets you up for any entrepreneurial ventures.

 

Why You Need to Invest Time and Effort Into Developing Selling Skills · [40:00]

 

Will Barron:

It sets you up for any charity work that you want to do, any fundraising, any foundations that you want to build, anything like that when we look further a feel from this, because selling is critical to all of business, right? There's very little downside to, even if you don't go into that AE role, if you want to stay as an SDR, the soft skills you're selling allows you to do that role better as well. Am I drinking the Kool-Aid here? Am I on the right track to this? Is there a downside to just putting a bit more time and effort into selling as a skill?

 

David Delaney:

No way. Selling is just communication and moving things along in the process. It's critical for all those roles that you mentioned, and it does get a bad rap. Just a plug for your show, I mean, elevating the profession and bringing on experts, anyone who stumbles upon this show, they realise that this is a very serious profession. It's got a bad rap, but it shouldn't. I mean, selling done professionally is critical to business success. It's becoming more critical as robots are taking over everything to have that human connection, and it's going to continue to grow. I think it's a great, great profession, and I think it definitely gets a bad rap.

 

Parting Thoughts · [41:37]

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Love it. Well, I want to thank you for stroking alongside me the egos of the SDRs here, David, because I've not given them enough love. There's probably literally, if we're getting 20,000 downloads an episodes, there's probably a good 3, 4,000 downloads an episode of just SDRs. I need to poll the audience and suss that out, and that might shift some of the content in the future. I'm going to jot that down as I rabbit on here so I don't forget. Poll, good. So, we'll do that in the not distant future. But with that, David, tell us where we can find out more about you, and then tell us about the training that you've got coming up as well.

 

David Delaney:

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. The company that I run is called Ten Bond, T-E-N B-O-N-D.com. If you go /events, we have two public training seminars coming up for our sales development managers or SDRs who want to manage a team. We've got one down in San Jose on October 24th, and then one down in LA on October 27th. So, check it out and appreciate the time today, Will.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I'll link to those in the show notes and the website and everything else as well in the show to this episode over at salesmapodcast.com. Now, David, I want to thank you for your time, I want to thank you for your insights, mate, and I want to thank you for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

David Delaney:

You got it. Thank you.

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