They discussed the complexities and challenges that modern sales development teams face. From the saturation of outreach efforts to the intricacies of managing remote teams, the discussion was a treasure trove of insights.
The Saturated Market of Sales Development
In today’s digital age, the sheer volume of outreach has led to what Lou Petrossi calls “prospect fatigue.” Imagine this: the number of emails sent out has increased by an astonishing 68 billion compared to five years ago.
That’s not just a statistic; it’s a wake-up call for sales development teams everywhere.
So, what’s the solution? Petrossi suggests a focus on quality over quantity. The days of “spray and pray” are long gone. Now, it’s about crafting messages that reach the inbox and resonate with the recipient. Email deliverability is no longer just an IT issue; it’s a sales development challenge requiring meticulous message crafting.
But the hurdles don’t stop there.
The sales development landscape has been further complicated by factors like the shift to remote work, the “great resignation,” and technological disruptions like AI. Sales development teams can no longer afford to be just good; they must be excellent.
Excellence here means being agile, adaptable, and firing on all best practices to create a pipeline that’s not just robust but also repeatable.
The Leadership Quandary in Sales Development
In the startup ecosystem, SDRs are not uncommon to report to the Sales or Marketing departments. Lou points out that this often results in a “consensus leadership team,” where multiple stakeholders have a say but lack the time or expertise to guide SDRs effectively.
This lack of focused leadership can lead to mistakes across your sales development supply chain, from poor tool selection to insufficient data and ineffective messaging.
The Hidden Costs of Poor Leadership
Petrossi argues that the reluctance to invest in a dedicated sales development leader can be more expensive in the long run. The lack of focused leadership leads to inefficiencies and mistakes that can be costly.
For instance, companies may have the wrong tools, poor data quality, and low attainment goals, which can be more expensive to fix later.
Risk vs. Investment in Sales Development
Collin highlights the delicate balance companies try to strike between risk and investment. While being cautious with spending might seem prudent, it can lead to a “penny wise and pound foolish” situation.
Case in Point: The Shift to Profitable Growth
The industry has recently shifted from “growth at all costs” to “profitable growth.” While this seems like a positive development, Stewart warns that some companies may be over-optimizing on profitability at the expense of their SDR teams, missing out on email deliverability, or lacking essential data like mobile numbers.
The Toolbox: Data Stack, Power Dialing, and More
When it comes to tools, both Lou and Collin emphasize the importance of diversifying your data stack. One data provider is rarely enough to cover your Total Addressable Market (TAM).
Quick Tip: Power Dialing for Efficiency
Petrossi strongly advocates for power dialing tools like Orum, which can effectively turn each SDR into 1.5 to 2 SDRs from an activities perspective. He also stresses investing in multiple data tools and teaching your sales or revenue operations team to mash up data for maximum effectiveness.
The Importance of Testing and Experimentation
Running tests and experiments is crucial for improving sales sequences and messaging. Collin even suggests starting with as many as 100 sequences to gather enough data for refinement. This is not just about throwing things at the wall to see what sticks; it’s about a concentrated effort to crack the go-to-market code.
Cold Calling Roadblocks
Cold calling often gets a bad rap, but dismissing it as ineffective overlooks the underlying complexities contributing to its challenges. Issues range from poor data quality to the reluctance of SDRs to make calls.
Even the lack of appropriate tools can be a significant roadblock. Streamlining data operations can be a game-changer in this context. It’s surprising how many organizations fail to map their data fields correctly, leading to inefficiencies that could be easily rectified.
Data Operations in Cold Calling
The importance of robust data operations, particularly in cold calling, can’t be overstated. Companies often overlook the basics, like differentiating between various types of phone numbers, corporate lines, direct dials, and mobile numbers.
This seemingly minor oversight can lead to significant inefficiencies in outreach efforts. For those looking to take their operations to the next level, considering additional vendors may provide the advanced capabilities needed.
The Role of Technology in Sales Efficiency
In today’s competitive sales environment, leveraging technology is not just an option; it’s a necessity. Imagine equipping your sales team with an Iron Man suit of tools and data operations. Such an arsenal can significantly enhance performance, giving teams focusing on data operations and growth hacking a distinct competitive edge.
The urge to achieve perfect data integration is substantial, especially when setting up a new SDR team.
However, the focus should be on balancing rapid deployment and long-term sustainability. The stage of the company plays a role in this. For early-stage startups, even a spreadsheet might suffice as a CRM.
But as a company matures, the need for comprehensive integration becomes more pressing. Yet, this should not hinder the speed of initial progress or negatively impact team morale.
Successful Email Deliverability in Outbound Sales
Many companies stumble in this crucial area, often lacking the necessary infrastructure to prevent their emails from ending in spam folders.
One common mistake is sending volumes through the core domain, which can significantly risk the company’s reputation.
Spin up redundant domains and programmatically warm them up, all while maintaining tight front-end sending disciplines. This approach safeguards your core domain and ensures that your emails are delivered to the right inboxes.
Allegrow stands out from the crowd regarding tools that can aid in email deliverability. This innovative tool improves your reputation by plugging into Gmail or Outlook and integrates with Salesloft and outreach, providing a safety net that prevents spam from going out. With Allegrow, you can create a buffer for your core domain and ensure all outbound activity is ported onto redundant domains, maximizing your email deliverability.
List cleaning and Balancing email volume is vital for email deliverability.
Tools like 0 bounce and mail reach are excellent options for keeping your list clean and free from bad actors and known honeypots. While 0 bounce is a popular choice, mail reach, despite lacking integrations with sales engagement platforms, is an excellent option if you have a strong ops team.
Google and Outlook constantly look for spikes in email sends, which can trigger their spam filters. The best practice is to coach your SDRs to send out even amounts of activity from Monday to Friday, with a recommended volume of 15 net new emails daily.
Visual content in emails, such as gifs and screenshots, can effectively capture the recipient’s attention. However, they may also impact email deliverability. It’s best to lead with interest-based CTAs and add visual content only after receiving a reply.
This approach ensures that your emails are not flagged as spam while providing value to your recipients.
The balance between junior and senior talent is crucial.
Many companies face the challenge of placing new hires in a lengthy training program or putting relatively inexperienced SDRs onto clients. The solution? A model that incorporates more experienced SDRs to ensure a more efficient and effective team.
But what does it take to create a revenue-efficient team?
According to Louis Petrossi, starting with a strong leadership team paired with senior SDR talent is the key. This combination allows you to solve higher-value problems more concentratedly, avoiding issues such as tooling, insufficient data, messaging, and the “Wild West” of sequencing. This approach helps you crack your go-to-market code much faster and build the minimum viable infrastructure needed for success.
Once you have your senior team in place, you can then plug in more junior talent, where they are more likely to succeed.
Investing in data and technology, such as a power dialer, can also significantly enhance the efficiency of your senior SDRs. They can make more calls, connect with prospects, uncover the best cold-calling scripts, and book more meetings.
Being data-driven from the start
Tools like Outreach.io‘s sequence attribution package can help you understand which sequences contribute to revenue. Good dashboards and a data-driven approach will help you identify the right plays, personas, and areas to focus on, ensuring a focused effort right from the launch phase.
The sales development landscape is filled with challenges, from the saturation of outreach efforts to the complexities of managing remote teams. However, there are clear solutions and best practices that can help teams navigate these challenges and achieve success.
By focusing on quality over quantity, investing in the right tools and data, and prioritizing strong leadership and experienced talent, sales development teams can build a robust and repeatable pipeline that drives revenue and supports the growth of the business.
The insights shared in this episode are invaluable for optimizing their sales development strategy and achieving profitable growth in today’s competitive market.
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