lots of info here today… starting with key lessons learned in making your 1st outbound team successful…

last week i was up at Jason Lemkin’s SaaStr Annual conference (maybe with you?), moderating some panels, on building a 1st team, managing teams and scaling to $100m.

the most popular topic was “Building Your First Outbound Team: How To Get It Right The First Time” (our speciality here)…

i hosted three experienced sales dev leaders: Alicia Anderson (@ Captivate), Andrew Berger (@ Square), and Ryan Donohue (@ Venminder).

here’s Ryan Donohue, looking fancy…

i don’t believe it was recorded, but Hoala Greevy, CEO Paubox, wrote up some useful notes from it and other panels at his post Takeaways: SaaStr Annual 2017 Day #3.   Hoala – hope you don’t mind me pasting a few here:

  • Playing minor league baseball (which Andrew Berger did) is just like being an SDR. It’s a grind.
  • Building first outbound team can take longer than expected. Answers ranged from 2-3 months, 4-6 months just to see data, or 9-12 months for Square.
  • Go buy Aaron Ross/Jason Lemkin’s book: From Impossible to Inevitable.   Audiobook version here
  • Ryan Donahue is a demo junky (lol).
  • Get your process down before building the team.
  • Make sure you have the right person running the team. Hard to do.
  • Email templates: Not the most important thing! The action afterwards is more crucial. 
  • Pick up the phone. Don’t just email all day.
  • “The phone is the #1 tool an SDR has.”

and here are a few other points we didn’t get to:

* centralize your prospectors/SDRs as much as possible at HQ or wherever there are sales/customer experts than can learn from in person.  remote SDRs…NOPE, at least while you’re building or perfecting the system.

* ideally start with two SDRs if you can.  if you can’t, start with one full-time. either way, get a scrappy, entrepreneurial builder who’s good at figuring things out (sharp enough that they don’t need outbound training).  if you can’t start with one full-time SDR, start with someone who can dedicate large blocks of time to it or with outsourcing.

* if you want to outsource to begin, use that as an interim solution (3-12 months) to get started and learn outbound while you figure how, when and if to hire internal people to do it (best long-term solution for growth companies).

best of luck if you’re building an outbound team, & thanks to all of you who came find me to say in person at SaaStr!


aaron ‘air’ ross  
* connect with me: @motoceo  | LinkedIn
learn how our “Acceleration Team” can ‘do it for you’ to get outbound off the ground.
* the best tactical outbound training for scrappy teams/co’s: PredictableUniversity.com

ps: Ryan Donohue related article: how Ryan, at a prior company, helped Agility grow outbound 4x]

pps: packed room for our “Build Your 1st Outbound Team” session…

and my son, Maverick, getting ready for SaaStr 2030…