Everything You Need to Know to Master Sales Development

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By Kyle Porter, Founder & CEO at SalesLoft


At Salesloft, we’ve bootstrapped our company to $3 million ARR this year and we’re growing our team fast. One of the key ingredients to our growth is how we treat our sales development reps (SDRs). Below are the good and bad things that teams do when they’re building their SDR teams.

  1. Prioritization
  2. Hiring
  3. Training and On-boarding
  4. Process
  5. Compensation

Prioritization (Bad)

  • Treat sales development like lower class citizens
  • No time or budget allocated to SDR team.

Prioritization (Good)

  • SDRs are considered equal class.
  • SDR team is visible to CEO and executives.
  • Time and money is budgeted to the SDR team.

We make sure that people know that SDR is a priority for our team. We treat them on equal footing with our sales and marketing teams, and they report up to our CEO.

Hiring (Bad)

  • Hire anyone and believe they will fit in with the team.
  • Do not focus on culture.
  • Make exceptions just to fill seats.

I see this all the time. Companies will hire a person right out of college that isn’t a good fit for their company and doesn’t have the right qualities. Hiring alignment is critical.

Hiring (Good)

  • Culture as a top priority.
  • Hire top 1% of individuals in their field.
  • Hire reps who can punch above their weight class and have an entrepreneurial attitude.

We’ve listed out the top qualities that we’re looking for with our hires, and we’ll ask people questions that are relevant to these categories.

I believe that culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage you can have as a business. We look for people who are positive, supportive, and are self-starting. We’re looking for people that would classify themselves as being the top 1% of being positive, supportive, and self-starting.

Training & On-Boarding (Bad)

  • Hire reps and let them know what to do.
  • Ride along training

Training & On-Boarding (Good)

  • 1 on 1’s for one hour every week
  • Team environment
  • Defined playbook for quick ramp-up time
  • Significant phone call role play

If you email me, I’ll give you Salesloft’s playbook for success for new reps. Whenever a new rep starts, I’ll give them my cell phone number and have them call me. I’ll coach our new SDR’s.

Process (Bad)

  • Massive list buys
  • Spam blasts
  • Overloading transactional emails in marketing automation software
  • Reps with too many prospects

In the IT industry, there is massive turnover. Most email marketing lists that SDR ‘s work for really suck. Also, marketing automation systems often use transactional email systems to send out emails. These get market as Spam, Promotions, etc., and have terrible open and CTR.

Process (Good)

  • Find contacts from professional profiles
  • Use manageable chunks of prospecting each day.
  • Develop a rhythm and cadence.
    • This is going to be specific to your customer and industry.
    • Build a rhythm and cadence around your market.
  • Manage based on specific metrics.
    • Make sure everyone knows the KPIs.

LinkedIn is better than most. 27 out of 27 of our employees have accurate LinkedIn profiles. 3 out of 27 have accurate Data.com profiles. We recommend using LinkedIn to obtain accurate contact information.

Compensation (Bad)

  • Copied some other team’s compensation package.
  • Compensation packages are opaque.

Compensation (Good)

  • Pay reps based on metrics that are super applicable to them. For SDR’s this is demos completed.
  • Test and find the best compensation plan for your team.
  • Be transparent with new hires.