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Ryan: Hello. This Ryan Reisert, your host. This going to be a very different podcast series than anything you’ve experienced on the market. What I’m trying to do is change things up a little bit – rather than having a special guest and one topic with great conversation that goes away, we’re going to host a series of experts and others who have perspective on different topics over a period of time, gather that in a series of episodes and roll that out until we’ve really exhausted a topic. So hopefully you enjoyed this podcast and thanks again for listening.
Okay, so we’re back with a new sales topic it’s been a while. This one is I’m a brand new outbound SDR. How do I start? And so I’m really excited to introduce Juan. Juan, do you want you to introduce yourself to the group for today’s conversation?
Juan: Absolutely, Ryan. Hi, everyone. Good morning. Thank you for joining us. My name is Juan Correa. I’m a senior sales manager at Cloudtask. I’m so happy to be here and share some different perspectives and ideas with you guys.
Ryan: Yeah, fantastic. Well, I’m really excited to get your take on these series of questions around, again, if I’m an outbound SDR especially in today’s climate how do I get started. And your perspective at an agency is really interesting, but you also have perspective from managing a team in the past too as you mentioned.
Ryan: Feel free to interject, right? So some of these questions don’t necessarily have to be current state. If you want to bring in some of your previous experience, that’s always helpful. But let’s get right into it. So how big is your current team that you’re managing today, your outbound team over at Cloudtask?
Juan: So right now we’re about 250 employees with a global footprint I’d say about 200 of them are doing outbound work specifically. And myself as a former SDR leader I’d manage a ratio between 1 to 15 SDRs.
Ryan: Okay, that’s a lot. That’s a big ratio, 1 to 15.
Juan: Definitely, yeah.
Ryan: So that sounds growing and expanding fairly quickly. And the second question here in terms of experience obviously when you think about who you serve and how you serve them there’s two answers you can provide here, right? Because there’s (1) primarily of Cloudtask and then the other is like maybe generally the types of campaigns that you might run. And the purpose of this question really is for folks to get a sense of these benchmarks we’re going to talk about, like everyone serves different types of buyers and has different campaigns. So at Cloudtask who do you serve, how do you serve them?
Juan: For sure. So primarily we serve company owners, we serve sales leaders within the SaaS industry, Ryan, but not exclusively as we can go healthcare, technology, retail. And the idea is to basically augment their outbound sales efforts. This done via a highly trained remote SDR team, we give them tools such as sequencing, CRMs, playbooks, content omni-channel approaches. And there’s also an entire support staff, including sales enablement, QA, business intelligence. The works to be able to support these clients and the people doing the work for these clients.
Ryan: Perfect. And so you do have experience across a lot of different industries, verticals I’d imagine.
Ryan: Size of organizations, etcetera, but for the purposes of … maybe it’s a hard question to answer there, but in general where is your core expertise or maybe before Cloudtask, was there a specific type of persona that you were serving specifically and what types of products or solutions are you most comfortable representing from an outbound function?
Juan: Oh, man, that’s a great question. I think most comfortably I think sales VP, sales leaders, coming from a sales perspective we can kind of relate to each other, we know what’s going on, we know what struggles we have especially with the whole people working remote and things of the sort. There’s a lot of things we can do to help sales leaders.
Another interesting group of people that we’ve been able to work with are financial leaders, controllers, people, CROs, COOs, people within the C-suite that are managing a technology company or a company that’s going through migrations, adapting to technology. We kind of bring a lot of tools to their table and bring propositions that can help them achieve something better, allow them to continue making progress. So I’d say sales VP is a big one, CEOs, anyone along the lines of finance, communication.
IT, IT is a big one. There’s a lot going on ever since this year. The cloud was something that we would talk about, we would look up and say, “Yeah, that’s very interesting. The cloud’s there, we somehow at some point we’ll get there.” 2020 came in and it’s like, “We have to get on the cloud,” for many reasons, right? So a lot of IT leaders are looking to have security, flexibility and just be able to take care of the work at hand, the things … that infrastructure so that they can focus on innovation which is what they like, so that’s what we like to do.
Ryan: I love it. So lots of perspective here. So again, let’s get back to where we’re at, right? And we’re assuming I’ve gone through whatever your on-boarding, your great training is, to be up to speed and I should understand the fundamentals here. But do you expect me as an outbound SDR on your team to be building my own list?
Juan: Oh, man, so this kind of a … this a two-sided question because I have my own perspective on this idea. But inside the company, no, we don’t. We normally have a team that handles most of this and I can give more light on that as we continue. But personally I do believe that as they grow their brand it should be encouraged, right? I mean, you’re talking to people, you’re putting your name out there, you’re getting known and you’re putting content out there that’s relevant. And other people are coming towards you, right? So why not add them to your list and have conversations that are worth having? So I do give my reps as much freedom as I can to keep it real, because that’s what it’s missing a lot, which is the reality, the authenticity.
Ryan: I like that. So let’s dive in a little bit more into that because you mentioned that you have two sides of that, do you want to walk me through how a list is put together for the reps and then we can double take in what you mean by as you build the brand. But like how … if the rep’s not responsible for the list, how do you provide that list to the reps?
Juan: For sure. So we do have an internal lead-gen team inside of Cloudtask. Basically they use different technologies like Apollo, Zoominfo, Bombora, right? Things that we know can give us perspective and insights. We take things into consideration such as persona, your industry, employee size, if they’re using any sort of CRM like Salesforce which may be compelling to one of our clients or not.
Once this done then there’s like data scrubs and then there’s a process of human validation where we have some business development associates. They call you, Ryan. They kind of say, “Hey, I’m running a survey,” but they just want to make sure you pick up the phone and that you are the person that picks up the phone. This thing gets kind of like a checklist. And then a list is built. But that’s just part one.
Part two, and in order to make that strategic, Ryan, is that as a manager we get together. And before any of that work is done we interview our client, right? Who is the solution working for already? Who does it work for the most, the least? When is it a good to have, when is it a nice to have, when is it not enough? That way we can get an idea of who the right people are that we should be spending more time having conversations with.
Then we follow an approach that I think you’re very familiar with, Ryan, which is buckets. We start segmenting these lists into different tiers. You have a tier which is your most priority list, it’s a particular role, particular technology, particular compelling event – that’s tier one. Those are the babies and those are the ones you want to take care of, you want to craft really relevant and personalized messaging. Then we have tier two which is more like this mid-size and would still have to personalize and be relevant, but you can get away with a couple of things. And then you have tier three which is managed drive volume, the more you drive volume on those tier three especially as a new BDR you’re coming in, which is the whole notion of our conversation, you want to start with those tier threes, you want to get your work in, you want to put your reps in. Once you get to your reps, you’re like, “Okay, let me go into the middle bucket. Then let me go into the tier one bucket.” And that’s normally how we create a list.
What I mean by saying I do encourage my reps to do so is we follow an omni-channel approach, Ryan, so there’s a lot of LinkedIn work. And we like to inspire our reps to do research because that’s what makes sense, right? You don’t want to talk to somebody about something you don’t know and somebody you know nothing about, so it’s like do your research, find out what this person cares about, find out what their company does, find out what the role is in charge of, this person’s role, and what the person as an individual cares about themselves. If you can do that, use it, right? And that’s when it comes to build your own list. If you have people that are just coming to your LinkedIn because you’re posting valuable content, you’re creating videos, you’re creating awareness you don’t have to wait for us Cloudtask to say, “Hey, here’s another 100 contacts, go out there.” You’re farming and you’re hunting, this your realm.
Ryan: Got it. And so this is specific for … when you’re thinking about the team that’s responsible for new business development on behalf of Cloudtask, are your reps doing that on behalf of your customers as an outsource agency? That’s just kind of a sidebar question.
Juan: Like getting leads for the client as well?
Ryan: No, are they looking and feeling like they are a part of say I signed up a Cloudtask outbound SDR, are they a part of Reisert consulting or are they Cloudtask SDR? How do they look and feel to the market?
Juan: That’s a great question. That’s a great question. The ideal is that you’re a plug and play to Ryan Reisert Consulting, you are a plug and play. So if you have a sense of culture, if there’s a way that you tend to do things the main idea is that we try to replicate that way of doing things. But a lot of times that’s not the case, a lot of times a lot of people hire us because they don’t know how to make progress anymore, they’re kind of stuck or they’ve never considered an outbound program and they’re kind of skeptical, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to spam people. You guys are near shore so you’re not even in Boston or New York, you’re kind of like in South America, in the UK, all over the world. I don’t know. You’re too far away. What if I have to call you at 4:00 in the morning,” right? Kind of like how we’re talking right now. “What happens there?”
So we make sure that we adjust everything so that it fits your world, Ryan. So if you work at 4:00 in the morning everyone behind you will also start at 4:00 in the morning if that’s what you want.
Ryan: Got it. So just to make sure … the point of this question too is for folks to understand just different perspectives on this. When you say that you’re providing that list, you’ve interviewed the customer, you understand who a good customer is, you understand who maybe not a good customer is, you have some tears – what makes that list … like do you do you actually sign off from somebody within the company or do you guys generally just say, “Okay, this criteria is good,” and then we don’t know until we have a conversation?
Juan: Well, we have benchmarks, right? Since we’ve been in business for a while there are things we do measure again and try like, “Hey, if we’re calling VPs of sales, what conversations do they tend to be more open to have? What kind of content are they more open to engaging with,” and things of the sort. And then we can benchmark that and say, “Hey, let’s call these people. They tend to pick up the phone the most. Or this group of people tends to rely on the email side of things, this group of people is way more social than everyone else.” So kind of keeping those benchmarks, then we do just go with it and then we provide feedback, right?
So to give you an idea, back when I started in Cloudtask we would have a client briefing and the client would give us their goals, right? “Hey, I want you guys to get eight meetings a month per BDR, etcetera.” And we would be walking into something like some sort of element [unclear/cross talking 12:29]
Ryan: That always start with the meeting, right? Always starts with the meeting, yeah.
Juan: Yeah, you’re right.
Ryan: I want meetings.
Juan: Yes, that’s it. “I want meetings. I want eight,” right? “That’s how I get my ROI.” And then in the beginning we’d say, “Yeah, definitely. We’ll go for it.” But then we learned it’s like, “Wait, software development is a little bit different than selling Cloudtask or selling Get Accept or Panda Dock,” as an example, right? It’s way more complex. So I think we need to restructure the way that we’re shaping these goals instead of just saying, “Hey, yeah, we’re going to give eight,” but then we go to four and then we tell you, “This why we couldn’t reach eight. This why we can get to six.” And then progressively kind of achieve those goals.
So what we opted to do was, “Hey, we’re going to have a pilot stage. We do have a benchmark, right? So Ryan, this is what we’ve been able to …” For example, if you’re going to come in and say, “Hey, I want to do a partnership program with Cloudtask.” I would tell you, “Hey, we’ve had two partnership campaigns in the past. This the average of the results we’ve been able to deliver based on these variables, right? I’m not saying that we can do the same for you, but this a benchmark. Now what we do want to do is say we’re going to start this project, and depending on the results we start seeing I can tell you, Ryan, ‘Hey, we can hit it. We can definitely do eight per month. Or, you know what? Eight is too little. We’re going to do 12.’”
So we learn to instead of saying we’re going to hit this without even experimenting it, we’ll first get the ball going, get everyone moving, get the messaging going, check open rates, check how people are replying on the phone, check calls versus connections versus pitch, right? How many times am I actually able to have a conversation? And then based on that we can do some sort of math of sales and say, “We can hit this numerically.” Now qualitative, that’s something that the managers will take care of.
Does that make sense, Ryan?
Ryan: Well, it makes sense for me. You’re speaking my language.
Juan: Oh, okay.
Ryan: All those words, they’re music to my ears. So let’s skip ahead a little bit then. So quota and activities, it sounds like you guys have a methodology, it’s not like you’re going … you’re sticking your thumb in the air and saying, “Hey, eight meetings. And good to go.” You got a process there. And so to get started is there a benchmark on the number of activities you expect your SDRs to do every day, maybe?
Juan: Yeah, definitely.
Ryan: And actually it sounds like the leads you researched from a separate team, but dials, emails, social activities, how does that go?
Juan: Definitely, and this another interesting question because there’s different perspectives in this pact. And so basically contractually there are numbers we have to adhere to, right? As a client say you say, Ryan, “I want to get a meetings,” but we’re not getting there. You’re like, “At least I want to see 100 phone calls being made. I want to see some work being done. I’m not able to get there, but what’s happening in the background.” So contractually we do have certain benchmarks, I would say that’s around 150 activities per day. Those 150 activities get divided between phone, email and LinkedIn work. Sometimes it’s about 80 phone, 40 email, 30 LinkedIn conversations, things of the sort. But it varies depending on the client, some clients are very successful on LinkedIn so we rather approach that channel as the main channel and so forth, right?
But one of the controversial parts about this is that the reps tend to think I numb … like I kind of numb myself out making dials, right? But I’m not really getting anywhere. A lot of people just go to voicemail, especially in the season everybody’s out of office, I just dial, “Okay, I did my 100 calls. I’m done,” which is not the intention or the passion or the purpose you should have, right? The purpose is to have conversations. And if you can have meaningful conversations that’s even better. So let’s first focus on the activity.
I tell my team, “Quantity creates quality. If you don’t get the reps first you’re not going to be able to get good at this, right? But once you do get good at it, once you’re having conversations, I need you to slow down and I need you to be tactical about this. I need you to go in at 4:30PM, whatever shift that is, depending on your region, and pick your top 10 people that you’re going to talk tomorrow, right? And say, ‘Hey, you know what? Ryan Reisert he does this, he has these different companies, he’s co-written a book. How can I kind of use some of this information, find the gap and say, hey, this how we can be a fit for you, Ryan.’ In a way that makes sense, right? And I’m not just going to call you and, ‘Ryan, yeah, you do consulting. What kind of consulting?’ It’s like, ‘No, man, it’s sales consulting. You did your research for a reason.’”
So that’s why we kind of take a stop. So at first it’s drive it man, drive, drive, drive. I don’t care if you’re talking to anybody, drive, get your fear out of it. But once you do, once you’re having conversations you need to slow down and then I think like Josh Brown says, “Match your buyers speed limit,” right? And be smart about it, don’t just senselessly dial, because there’s no purpose in that. So that’s what I tell my team as we continue progressing.
Ryan: I like that, so quantity produces quality. That’s your mantra.
Juan: That’s right, yeah.
Ryan: Quantity produces quality. And what’s your take on the follow-up? So you said conversations, meaningful conversations. I actually stumbled across one of my mentors, a good buddy of mine, Noah Goldman, you guys can’t find on social anymore because he’s like a nomad but he’s still out there. I used to do the enterprise sales podcast, a super smart guy. He sent me this book a couple months ago, telephone sales in the 80s, and there’s literally a page in there and it’s like, “It’s not about the 50 dials or the 100 dials, it’s about how many completions.” So that really opened my mind up, right? Because I always say conversations as well, the meaningful conversations, but this idea of completion just like totally makes sense. And you hit on this earlier around how you’re tracking through the metrics, like not only how many dials connect but you were saying …
Ryan: Pitches, right? Like, the bronze stuff, right? How do we get through the funnel? So this idea of completion is not only did they pick up but they heard what I had to say, there was an exchange of some information, and it could have been a yes, it could have been a no, it could be a not now, right? It could be whatever.
Ryan: But we got through, there was an exchange. And so now that you have this idea of completion, so you can call it a meaningful conversation or whatever, you have a you have a KPI, a new KPI, that allows you to really track momentum within a conversation. How do you feel about follow-ups on those quick hang-ups, right? Like, “No, I’m not interested,” click, or whatever, it could be explicit.
Juan: Got you.
Ryan: But how do you guys look at that data?
Juan: That makes a lot of sense, because I thought you were going to go for the side of, “We’ve already had a conversation, but it didn’t close. How do you follow up then?” But this is we didn’t really have a conversation. I just called you. “I’m not interested,” and hung up. How do I see that? Hey, the person is probably not in a buying mode. The person is probably really busy. I think your timing might have been off. Are you looking for the right signals so that you can actually talk to this person at the right time? That’s hard to do, right? I think that’s some pro stuff to do. When you kind of match relevance to timing, wow, you got it, right?
So what I would say about that is you have to keep trying. You can’t give up. I’ve seen it work. I know a lot of people may disagree, but I’ve seen persistence work, Ryan. I’ve seen 12 … like just like this, it starts in January 18th in LinkedIn and then it ends finally on March 28th with the person saying, “Yeah, you know what? Let’s talk about this.” But 12 messages were sent without … you were completely ghosted until you gave some relevance, right? Or context, right? Context – this what I do, this why I’m reaching out to you. Should we talk? Should we not? Either way it’s fine if we don’t, but this what we do. After that 12th touch it seems like people do respond.
So I wouldn’t say spam people, right? I would say be intentional. Be intentional, not like marketing because marketing sends you kind of emails every now and then, and then you kind of just skip them. But if I could for example create a pattern to you, Ryan, and say, “I’m going to email Ryan every three days.” And then Ryan will start picking up like, “Hey, this guy’s emailing me. Who is this guy?” Now I just broke through the traffic if that is because of my own pattern of delivery. And if you tell me, “Hey, you know what? Stop.” I’ll stop. It’s something that … let me recollect why, why should I stop? Can you give me any feedback? Where did I lose you? Get some lessons from you so I can then apply it to the next person I’m going to talk to.
But my point is don’t spam people. Just do it consciously. If you know consciously you’re going to help someone, if you know that your intentions are there, and what they do and what they’re trying to achieve with your solution can help them get that job done – keep trying because people are not always in buying mode. People could be in training mode, people could be in meeting mode, people could be in their holiday mode. So just be aware of that. Have social awareness is what I tell people.
Ryan: I like that, this concept of in buying mode. I don’t think anyone’s ever really in buying mode. There’s some content, I’m not quite sure who I saw post this recently, but it’s like we’re professional sellers or if you’re a new … if you’re talking about new outbound SDR, you’re training I guess to become a professional seller for the first time, or maybe not, maybe you’ve been selling and this is your first time in an outbound SDR role. But regardless you want to be a professional sales person. This what you do day in, day out – you are bringing new ideas, innovations, fresh approach, something different from what they’re doing. They already have something in place, regardless of what it is there’s work being done.
Juan: Right, exactly.
Ryan: Whether it’s with your competitor, they’re making progress, right? They’re doing something already today. They are a professional whatever they are – a marketer, financier, whatever. Like, they’re doing their job. That conflict between this is my full day approach to life versus I’ve got other shit going on. You’ve got to be able to match that. You talked about timing and relevance, but it’s also just, like you said, it’s not just emotional intelligence, social intelligence, but also just understanding the day in the life of, right?
Juan: That’s right.
Ryan: The work or the life of that individual. And I love that idea of persistence. Now the thing that makes me cringe a little bit, just that this my own personal opinion which is it’s okay, I’m only one of many, because everyone prepares their messages in a certain channel. But if you email me every three days you get put on my spam list because it’s in my … that’s just how I work. But to your point, if I keep seeing an indicator of, “Oh, wow, there’s an email, an email, an email, missed call, missed call, missed call, voicemail.” And this one where I think a lot of people get argued … they argue about this, but call, voicemail, email, social – wow, you’re going to get a response.
Ryan: Now that response, the response might be fuck off or I’m not interested or whatever, right? It could be that.
Ryan: But you’re going to increase your chances of a response, and I think that I’d love to hear your perspective on this, but a lot of people … because they’re still in that activity metrics, right? It’s like they’re not optimizing for the right thing. They think they can magically create this experience that’s like, “Oh, because I sent you all this ‘value,’” and like you’re just spamming me with your shit, really that’s what you’re doing.
Juan: It is.
Ryan: You’re going to magically get a positive response – that’s not really the case. But like I’d love to hear your perspective on it because I always tell people …
Juan: 100%. So for example, using you as an example, Ryan. My apologies. If I go into your LinkedIn website and I just quickly scrub through your content, what you do and even your about me. You kind of make it very clear that, hey, if you send me a bunch of emails I’m going to put you on spam, right? So as a professional salesperson and if I know that I have something that’s going to help you and connect and sell or your consulting company keep making more progress or continue to stay relevant, I’m going to … for example, I’ll reach out to you on LinkedIn and say, “Hey, dude. I know I can’t really send you emails. You kind of cut me off of a channel there. I don’t want to do that either. I don’t want to be that guy. But this is what I want to talk to you about. Here’s a little voice note,” right? Kind of play with the psychology of curiosity. You might click on that voice note and say, “Hey, this actually does make sense. Thank you.” Or it doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t, right?
And then at that point I kind of used a little bit about what I know, probably make you laugh a little, like I’m not going to go ahead and waste my shot on email because I know it’s already dead. Let me try on LinkedIn, I’m going to … what if I call you, man? Can I call you every two days until you pick up?
I’ll give you an example. I was talking to my wife yesterday about this guy that’s following Elon Musk and he wants to do … I think he wants to create a movie about us going to Mars or something like that. And he said, “Elon, I’m going to write you every single day for the 365 days of this year until I get a response from you.” That seems very persistent, but it may show Elon like, “Hey, this guy is actually working hard to do it,” right? “Let me give him some time. Even if it’s a no, I’ll let him know, hey, I don’t want to be in your movie,” whatever it is. But at least the person didn’t waste another 100 days trying to get that happen. But they put in the work.
So if somebody puts in the work, I value that. But you got to put smart work. Like you said, don’t just send this PDF out of nowhere that makes no sense to the person. Like, for example, you have IT leaders. IT leaders love learning, they’re continuously looking for information. And then you’re like, “Here I’m going to send you a valuable PDF that you probably already read 10 times.” It’s not really valuable, right? But if you can teach them something new or say, “Hey, you got a bunch of infrastructure work going on right now, you’re migrating because I could tell from the news on Google that you’re going from an in-house migration to a flexible remote work thing. We got something that can help you do that easier and then you can focus on innovation. Is this worth talking about?” “I want to be persistent about helping you. I don’t want to be persistent in annoying you.” I think that’s the biggest difference in the approach.
Ryan: Yeah, I love that. We could probably talk for hours around some of this stuff, Juan. I love it. I think it’s key to realize that because we’re talking about quotas and activities for a second here just so people can understand, like the purpose of all of that is to get to what? We’re trying to get to a meaningful conversation in your words or a completion. We want a yes, a no or not me, a not now. But like just a response, a response that allows me to say, “Okay, I’m not in the right place,” but then the next thing, so that if you’re new to this role, there’s a fine line between being persistent professionally and being annoying and obnoxious because you don’t get it, right?
Ryan: And that’s a little bit of an art form too. There’s no science behind that, you just have to have it in your gut. Because to your point, trying some humor, trying some things like that, publicly stating, “Hey, I’m going to try every day.” That might resonate well for some people, it might not for others, so don’t get discouraged.
Ryan: But also don’t push the line too much. Just have some awareness around where you’re … each individual is different, right? There’s a different person and so you got to try to take that into consideration.
Ryan: And be yourself, right? Some people, by the way, it doesn’t matter how great you are unless you’re a super chameleon; there’s a lot of different personality types, mainly about four. And so your approach, Juan, is going to work with folks that like that approach. My approach is going to work with people who like that approach. But there’s going to be a mishmash, like a Venn diagram, of some that just would never ever respond to me but would love to respond to you and vice versa.
Ryan: So just keep that in mind as an SDR around some of these ideas around being persistent, having a cadence, all these little things – they all make sense, but they also have to feel comfortable to you and the delivery because if it’s unnatural and it’s all awkward and weird and you’re like saying the words but they don’t actually like sound that way.
Juan: 100%. And this a great point, Ryan, because I tell this to all my reps like, look, this year I had a friend of mine in Boston, he called me, pre-pandemic. He’s like, “Hey, dude. Looking to XRP and Ethereum.” I’m like, “What is that?” “It’s a cryptocurrency.” “Well, what is that,” right? Like, I just heard of Bitcoin, I don’t know what that is it. He was like, “Dude, just look into it. Do your research. Invest in it.” Didn’t tell me nothing else. He wasn’t like, “Hey, would you be opposed to hearing about how Bitcoin can make you a billionaire? Hey, I want to have a conversation about cryptocurrencies.” It doesn’t work that way, right? Say like, “Hey, dude. I care about you, a lot of stuff happening in the world. Look this up. If you find it interesting, invest in it.” And I did, right? I’m a curious person, I’m a student of sales and I follow that from you, like I want to learn. “So what is this? What is Ripple? What is Ethereum? What does that mean? I only heard about Bitcoin all my life, so let me do some research.”
I did some research. I put some money into it. And looking at today I’m like 3X where I started just because I did some research, but he didn’t bombard me with, “Hey, look at this, look at this, look at this.” Because I did have other people in my life, “Hey, you should invest in this because it’s important.” And I’m like, “I don’t want to hear it that way, right? I want to just do my own type of research.” So what I tell people is, “Talk to people like you talk to your friends,” in a professional way sometimes, you don’t want to go like let’s say like, “Hey, what’s up dude? I’m calling you from Cloudtask, one of the …” Like, no, it’s not like that, but you do want to go in like, “Hey, we have something going on. It’s freaking awesome. It’s something way different to what you’re probably used to. I want to show you what that is. At the very least you can come up with fresh perspectives and insights, and you can keep that in your back pocket. It doesn’t have to be now, it doesn’t have to be us, it doesn’t have to be me,” right?
So if you detach yourself from that outcome I think that purpose is meaningful and it makes all of that follow-up work, whether it’s very intense, whether it’s programmed, whether it’s random, it makes it meaningful to you because you’re doing it out of a sense of I want to help this person, not just I want to help myself get 10, 20, $30 commission for every appointment I get.
Ryan: Well said, and that translates really nicely into all right, now we’ve got a sense of the why, the activities, the quotas, what we’re doing as an SDR. But how are your SDRs compensated? Because it’s just like if my goal is to set appointments but you’re telling me to do all this other stuff, right? Like, how do you compensate your SDRs?
Juan: This a tough and interesting question, with all sort of shared individual perspective, Ryan, which is the compensation is simple, right? You have a base salary, you sign up for it, this what you’re going to get paid for it, but you also have commissions per meeting that gets completed, right? So it’s not just I sent Ryan 100 meetings but only 10 got completed, well, you’re only going to get paid for those 10.
So I think in that sense it’s very simple, but I think there’s more to that. I think in my perspective and I think some people may share this perspective, the SDR job is one of the hardest jobs in our whole industry and sometimes I personally think it’s not compensated enough, right? I think it needs to be … maybe there should be some sort of reverse between the SDR and the AE role at least in compensation for some reason. I just think that you’re putting a person that’s coming in fresh with the least experience to do one of the toughest, most technical jobs in the industry, and you’re not paying them their due diligence most of the time.
So if they’re doing the work, if they’re putting in their 110%, I think parallel to that we should do the same and incentivize them to say, “Wow, this could actually be life-changing. If I’m changing somebody’s life I’m getting an equal exchange, that I can change my life also.” And what that may mean to people is very different. Changing my life, for example, as a parent as I shared with you, Ryan, is I want to buy my house. So if every time we set commissions and these commissions actually close and they become an opportunity to the company we’re working with – hey, you know what? You’re going to get 1% of that residually as long as the account goes on. That is amazing. Because I know that I’m going to count with this, I’m going to put that into my apartment. That can change my life. I’m excited, right? Because of my family, because of my goals.
But if you’re telling me, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to put all this work. I drove $89,000 in one meeting opportunity for this client, but I get $20.” That’s not very life-changing, right? So I like to make things life-changing. If you’re going to change someone’s life the equivalent exchange should also kind of be similar to that. You should have a way of changing yours. So I don’t know if that answers your question accurately, Ryan.
Ryan: Well, yeah, I mean, it’s just … I think you’re addressing two sides of this, the point of the question in these interviews is outside of compensation, outside of all this is a lot of times outbound SDRs are the entry-level roles, we said, “I’m brand new. I’ve never done this before.” However, it’s also a really challenging role especially if you’re trying to sell technical strategic solutions into big, big companies with large deal sizes. Why are you putting someone who knows nothing about the industry and the products or services in the front lines to go and have conversations with executives at your dream accounts? Like, that’s where the conflict typically starts.
Ryan: It’s just like there’s a misalignment of, wow, this work that we know we need to do. You talk to anybody who’s really serious about sales; they know they need to be cold calling into these big accounts. If they can’t break into them they should be doing that work, but they won’t. Most of them won’t, for whatever reason, entitlement, whatever, right? And so then they’re like, “Well, let me go get a junior because I’m too good, I’m above this work. I’m above this work to go and do the …” To your point, and again, we’re in the industry so we feel this way.
But it’s a very important role because you’re the first point of contact to establish what will be the eventual relationship if it’s going to work out. And then the compensation is just so misaligned, it’s like the folks that today’s world, and I dealt with this quite a bit at connect and sell as a full … helping them as a full stack SD, as they call it there as an AE role. When I was calling and closing like the whole process was a lot easier than when one of the inside sales reps handed it off to me, because there’s always this like weird disconnect.
Juan: There is. And for the client as well, right? It’s not just as a seller, but the client. It’s like, “Okay, I just talked to this guy. Now this other guy’s going to ask me the same question this guy just asked me.”
Ryan: Well, exactly, but it’s also … the handoff’s always interesting because it’s just like, “Well, what did you guys talk about? Like, I listened to the recording, like why are you here?” It’s like it’s always weird.
But the other thing is like it’s very transactional at that point too, even though connecting sales are pretty complex, so just either, “Well, hey, I had a problem that it sounds that you can solve.” Like, “It’s like great, let’s do a test drive.” And it’s like … and then if they buy, they buy. If they don’t it’s like, “I didn’t really do much.” It’s like, “Hey, like we do this cool thing.” The ISR called you a million times, talked to you, convinced you to take a meeting with me and then all I had to say is like, “Cool, we have this test drive. Do the test drive and then go buy now.”
There’s some more nuances there, but not really, right? Like, not really. The compensation, the difference between the compensation is interesting, but that’s for a whole another segment. We can talk about that later.
Juan: For sure.
Ryan: But I like your perspective on that. I personally believe that when I built my teams in the past I would always have a base, a meeting, because you got to make your nut on meetings, but, again, meetings held a quota. But then I also try to put a tail on a percentage of the closed on business just so there’s alignment.
Juan: That’s right, that’s right.
Ryan: And then also creating pods around sales, sales development and account management. And they’re all working together continuously, so the person that’s responsible for the initial engagement, closing and then servicing but they’re all working together, so if something weird’s going on you always have that person who’s not afraid to get in there and continuously get things back on track especially for up sells, renewals and things like that.
Juan: And that makes a ton of sense, Ryan. It makes a ton of sense, because like normally it tends to be pretty disconnected, right? You kind of have the SDR in the corner, you have the AE in another corner, you have operations in the back, you have marketing somewhere in the sides, right? Everyone’s kind of disconnected. So I’m with you in the point that if you must put in the SDR system in there and you want to hire these entry levels, that’s fine. But give them the tools and give them a meaning to say, “Hey, if I’m going to put in this work, let me get some equal retribution in a way, right? Whatever that may be to me. And then I could make that happen more purposely and passionately.”
Ryan: I hear the little one in the background, that’s awesome.
Juan: There’s a little one, yeah.
Ryan: Yeah, there you go. So let’s land the plane on this one, Juan. Just outside of outbound it sounds like, and you mentioned this from the very beginning, omni-channel approach, right? But what other channels bring leads that … this could be in the context of Cloudtask, but what other channels perform well? And how does outbound stack up against that? Because I know that’s always an important question for folks that either thinking about outbound for the first time versus maybe that’s the whole part of their business, but how does it look into your guys’ context?
Juan: Definitely, and that’s a great question, Ryan. I’d say a lot of it comes from different channels, I’d say LinkedIn which is a unique channel in its own. Podcasts, right? There’s a lot of work being done through marketing. We have referral programs or like partnership programs where if you kind of sell us and we sell you there’s benefits to be had there. And if you do think about it, Ryan, it’s all kind of outbound work because it’s proactive work. That’s how I see it, from a proactive perspective – you want to get yourself out there, you’re creating video, creating content. And all of this brings kind of inbound or clients into Cloudtask.
But I would say that our main channel is always outbound. Outbound beats them all, bar none, because it’s primarily what we do. As a company we sell outbound programs, right? Services, fully managed. And in order to get those programs we do a lot of outbound work because (1) you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. And it also gives us lessons so that we can benchmark and consider for our clients. But I think a lot of that BDR work or outbound work creates awareness, but what we do in the company is what creates points of consideration, right? I like to think about it kind of like an umbrella army which is timely and relevant, right? A lot of times people know that it might rain, there’s a chance it might rain, there’s a chance that you’re not going to make progress but you don’t take an umbrella out because you just … it’s going to be an inconvenience, and then you get wet, right?
So what we like to do is we’re the BDRs out there with the umbrellas just waiting for that moment, that time and that relevance so that we can get next to you and say, “Hey, we can help you continue or get to where you want to go without getting wet,” if that makes sense.
Ryan: I like that visual. So Juan, thank you so much for joining us this morning. I know you bring a tremendous amount of breadth and experience to this conversation and topic, so thank you so much for sharing your feedback here. If folks wanted to reach out to you, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Juan: I’d say LinkedIn, I’m super active on LinkedIn, I’m always welcome to connecting with people. I love sharing and I love learning, and I think that’s the reason why we primarily got into LinkedIn, right? It’s just to get perspective from different people, so I’m there. I think that’s the best way to find me. I’m also on Instagram, right? Different Discord channels, but I think that’s the easiest way to reach me – LinkedIn. I think, and what is my link? I think you just search Juan Correa and then I think you guys will find me.
Juan: Thank you for having me, Ryan. Man, this was great. I love having these questions. I love to talk about these things and share perspective especially with new SDRs coming into this world. It’s an interesting world. It’s a fun one, it’s a great one and it’s one that will actually allow you to learn a lot about yourself where others just kind of keep you in a robotic stance. So I love this world, I love the psychology behind it. So if you’re a new SDR coming into this world, welcome. And just get good, become memorable, become remarkable. There’s not a lot of traffic down there. So that’s my biggest recommendation for you guys.
Ryan: Thank you, sir. Have a great one.
Juan: Hey, Ryan, likewise, man. Thank you so much for having me, Ryan. Have a happy New Year, dude.
Ryan: Happy New Year, cheers.
Juan: Take care, bye.