Revenue Rockstar: Brandon Redlinger from Engagio

Revenue Rockstar: Brandon Redlinger from Engagio

It’s no secret that having a healthy pipeline can help you exceed your revenue goals—but what is it that keeps your pipeline healthy? SDRs!

Sales development teams are responsible for initiating their business’ sales cycles, and those who run these hard-working pipeline machines are known as sales enablement leaders. Or, as we like to call them, Revenue Rockstars.

In this series, we chat with a few of these revenue rockstars to understand how they’ve gotten to where they are now, and find out what keeps their team focused as they work towards success.

Brandon Redlinger is the Director of Growth at Engagio.

1. What makes a killer SDR?

The number one thing that makes anyone in general successful—not just a sales rep—is grit. Angela Duckworth at University of Pennsylvania is a leading psychologist and thinker on the topic, and she defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” This is someone with high drive, motivation, and determination to succeed.

Next, the best reps think critically and ask the right questions. If you aren’t asking the right questions, then you’ll have a hard time finding the right answers. It’s a huge part of the SDR’s job in qualifying leads and accounts at the top of the sales funnel. Some of the best SDRs (and sales reps in general) are the most curious people I know.

Communication is another major part of the sales development role. It’s an SDR’s job to communicate effectively all day, every day. They’re constantly on the phone making cold calls, writing emails, tweeting, etc. Rockstar SDRs can communicate their ideas, both verbally and in written form, clearly and concisely.

Lastly, they have good time management skills. All SDRs have 24 hours in a day. The best reps spend their time on the right things. An SDR’s time is highly valuable. In fact, the true cost of an SDR is much more than you would think. The ability to know where they should be spending their time, then being able to focus their energy and resources there, is a huge advantage.

2. How do you motivate an SDR team?

First and foremost, the SDR has to join your team for the right reason. They have to believe in what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Motivation and drive are key traits that I look for in a sales rep. It’s an uphill battle if you have to constantly worry about how to keep your salesforce motivated. Naturally driven people tend to stay driven on their own—they don’t need external motivation.

Having said that, there are things you can do to avoid reps dropping into a slump. No matter who you are, everyone has an off month, so put the structures into place to minimize the harm. When SDRs are given regular coaching and training, it’s easier for them to get over the slump and back to their quota-crushing selves. Also, making sure the reps know they’re valued, their voices are heard, and they’re given the proper recognition will keep turnover low and numbers high.

3. How do you maintain the culture with a high turnover rate position like an SDR?

The cutthroat, boiler room culture dramatized on the big screens is, unfortunately, a reality at many companies. However, it shouldn’t be.

Culture starts from the top. I’m not talking about the sales leader, I’m talking about the company leader—your CEO. Your company’s culture defines the environment, which dictates how people behave at work. There are many things that contribute to culture, such as vision, values, norms, systems, language, assumptions, etc.

This is the number one reason I believe that Engagio has a huge success story right out of the gates—Jon Miller and Brian Babcock defined and clearly articulated their core values before writing a single line of code.

To directly answer your question, we maintain a healthy culture by openly communicating to the SDR function; and, more broadly, the sales function—that this is a team sport, and we’re all in it together. Everyone, from marketing to customer success to engineering, knows that they must support everyone else, including sales.

4. How do you celebrate wins on the SDR team?

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about SDRs (and pretty much anyone), it’s that they respond to incentives. A good sales SPIFF goes a long way. A good manager knows when to use an individual SPIFF versus a team SPIFF, but I’ve always felt that team incentives were more effective.

We also have a pretty unique deal bell—it’s a high-striker. Think of those games at carnivals to test strength whereby someone uses a mallet to strike a lever, which sends a puck up a tower to ring a bell at the top. After the AE rings in the new deal, he or she acknowledges and thanks everyone involved closing the account.

Revenue Rockstar: Morgan Ingram

Revenue Rockstar: Morgan Ingram

It’s no secret that having a healthy pipeline can help you exceed your revenue goals—but what is it that keeps your pipeline healthy? SDRs!

Sales development teams are responsible for initiating their business’ sales cycles, and those who run these hard-working pipeline machines are known as sales enablement leaders. Or, as we like to call them, Revenue Rockstars.

In this series, we chat with a few of these revenue rockstars to understand how they’ve gotten to where they are now, and find out what keeps their team focused as they work towards success.

Morgan Ingram is the SDR Manager at Terminus and host of the SDR Chronicles, a YouTube channel that provides advice and tips to fellow SDRs.

BF: What makes a killer SDR?

Morgan: Three things make a killer SDR. First is curiosity: curious enough to ask questions and learn, and curious about everything that you do, because when you get on phone calls and you are not curious about that person’s business, you aren’t going to ask the right questions. And if you’re not curious as an SDR, you’re not going to ask the right questions to your leadership.

Secondly, they need to be willing to go hard every single day—willing to get in early and stay late. It may sound cliché, but that hard work will translate and push you to the next level. If you’re not afraid to hustle, if you’re not afraid to get after it—that is something I always see killer SDRs do.

And finally, they’ve got to have a willingness to face adversity. They need to be willing to prospect, get into the trenches, and be better everyday despite goal changes or higher quota goals.

These three attributes—along with a winning mindset—will get you where you need to go.

BF: How do you motivate an SDR team?

Morgan: Figure out what motivates your SDRs individually and use those motivations to inspire them. I know what motives each of my reps, and I use that as their fuel or their engine to get them to the goals they need to hit.

SF: How do you maintain the culture with a high turnover rate position like an SDR?

Morgan: We are super fortunate here with our SDR team in that there’s a family feel. Everyone is part of a family through highs and lows—we pick each other up. I think you always have to keep morale high and know that when you are failing, you’re all in it together—you’re not all on your own islands.

BF: How do you celebrate wins on the SDR team?

Morgan: We do a lot of things. We go out to lunch together every Friday. We have individual walk up songs that play when a demo is set by that SDR. We ring the gong when a demo we set closes as a deal. This helps us keep morale high and keeps us celebrating our wins together, which keeps us together as a family. That is the culture we built across the team and you keep that going every day by just getting and staying involved.

BF: As an SDR thought leader, what is something fun and unique about your team?

Morgan: The most unique thing on our team is that we each have a nickname—my nickname is Ming. I think it is unique that we are willing to joke with each other, but we all work really hard. There is a time to joke around and there is a time to focus and put in the work.

Revenue Rockstar: Max Altschuler

Revenue Rockstar: Max Altschuler

It’s no secret that having a healthy pipeline can help you exceed your revenue goals—but what is it that keeps your pipeline healthy? SDRs!

Sales development teams are responsible for initiating their business’ sales cycles, and those who run these hard-working pipeline machines are known as sales enablement leaders. Or, as we like to call them, Revenue Rockstars.

In this series, we chat with a few of these revenue rockstars to understand how they’ve gotten to where they are now, and find out what keeps their team focused as they work towards success.

Max Altschuler, Founder & CEO of Sales Hacker, is well known for his thought leadership and innovative sales strategies.

BF: What makes an SDR a ‘revenue rockstar’?

Max: Someone inquisitive enough to ask the right questions, someone organized enough to remember to follow up, someone passionate enough to make people believe, and someone smart enough to realize they need to cut their teeth before they can expect to have a cushy corner office job.

BF: How do you motivate an SDR team?

Max: First, they need to buy into the mission of the company and the product they’re selling. Second, they need a good reward, whether in the form of compensation or promo pathing, or a mix of both. Make sure they are uncapped and have expectations set in a way that shows them when and how they can move up, even if it’s just Jr. to Sr. level, or SMB to MM to ENT within the SDR function.

BF: How do you maintain the culture with an SDR position, which can have a high turnover rate?

Max: Make sure people are being promoted and paid. Even if they are turning over, that turnover should be positive and vertical, not horizontal. It’s bad if they leave to go be an MM SDR at a similar company if they were just an MM SDR at your company. It’s not as bad if that SDR job is a stepping stone to a much better or higher position within your company. If you can, make sure the leads are flowing and your people are making money.

BF: How do you celebrate wins on your SDR team?

Max: Spiffs are good, and leaderboards, too. I think mainly you just want the energy to be high and positive, and whatever you can do to get that energy up is a huge plus. Confidence oozes when things are going well, and your buyers can sense that and thrive on it.

Should Sales Development Report to Marketing? 5 Reasons Why It Makes Sense

Should Sales Development Report to Marketing? 5 Reasons Why It Makes Sense

As the idea of sales and marketing alignment matures, there is an underlying question that is becoming more pronounced—is sales development a sales or marketing role? Recently, BrightFunnel decided that sales development should report to marketing. I’ll admit that at first, I was extremely apprehensive. How would this allow me to progress in my sales role? What did to reporting to marketing even mean? How would I get the 1:1 time with sales leaders that would help me move into a closing role? Did this mean “sales development” as a role was dead? It’s been a little over one month since I started reporting to marketing. In that time, I’ve realized the following:

 

1. Sales development requires thinking like a marketer.

As I prospect and develop my outbound strategy, I find myself thinking like a marketer. I am constantly adopting ideas that come straight out of the marketing playbook, such as targeting by persona, obsessing over the perfect email hook to grab attention, or figuring out how can I break through the noise to grasp a prospect’s attention.

2. Marketing has the data and the content I need to engage accounts.

Marketing is in charge of creating content that informs and engages our target audience. As I look for more and more content that I can use to educate prospects, I end up looking to the marketing team. We also use our own technology to understand how an account has engaged with marketing, so when I start prospecting, I can look up a company to see which efforts have resonated well in the past. Working closely with and reporting to marketing allows me easily access the engagement information that I need to be effective in a sales position.

3. Marketing leadership goals align perfectly with sales development.

Marketing leadership is focused on creating pipeline, filling the funnel with high quality leads to be passed off to sales. This is in line with sales development’s strategy, which is to focus on creating sales pipeline and filling the sales funnel with opportunities. I’ve come to notice that marketing’s tactics work to filter out the bad, keep the good, and increase velocity for the great—something sales development also has to do in order to help the larger sales organization.

4. Marketing teams are pros at capturing engagement.

It’s no surprise to hear that marketing and sales development need to work extremely closely if they want to see success. Sales development centers around converting engaged prospects, which means they need highly engaged prospects to be passed from marketing. If sales development is reporting directly to marketing, there’s an opportunity for seamless communication and a more efficient marketing-to-sales hand-off.

5. Direct mail campaigns are a sales necessity performed with a marketing mindset.

ABM is bringing sales and marketing even closer together. Sales development plays an important part in this by becoming a sort of hybrid sales/marketing role. A great example of this is direct mail campaigns. In my current role, I took on BrightFunnel’s first direct mail campaign as a way to engage top accounts as a sales rep. During this effort, learned how the mind of a marketer works, and saw how effective marketing efforts can be in engaging named accounts. Sales and marketing departments are more connected than ever, and sales development is spearheading the charge. Marketing is of course involved in the entire customer lifecycle, but its main focus is on driving engagement, and this is sales development’s priority as well. Because SDRs and marketers share this same goal, it’s incredibly effective to have sales development report to the marketing team. In the long-run, this helps a more robust marketing team develop a dynamite ABM strategy, execute better campaigns, and better align over the bigger business goals.