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All About Inside Sales and SDRs w/ Sally Duby [Episode 452]

Sally Duby, West Coast General Manager of the Bridge Group, Inc., and inside sales and sales development expert. In this episode, we get deep on sales ops, covering how inside sales and SDR teams can be more effective and better enabled.

Key Takeaways

  • Sally sees hiring and retaining talent at the SDR level as the biggest challenge facing sales leaders today. A lot of younger people start without experience, but companies are not setting them up for success, so they leave.
  • Hiring people as SDRs, with little business experience, and providing them little or no training or onboarding (except for about how great the product is), sets them up for failure.
  • Inside reps and SDRs are staying about six months at any company, and then get recruited to the next hot company. If they’re not happy where they are, they are open to moving.
  • Sally says it’s a shame VPs of Sales do not have a career path for SDRs. There should be levels within the SDR group, as well as opportunities beyond that function. It takes about a year of SDR experience for a hire to be productive.
  • SDR is not a sales role, but 70% of the time it reports into Sales.
  • SDR can function as entry level to sales, but the functions are less than the skills needed in sales. In order to be promoted to sales they need training and development.
  • Sally says onboarding training could be about the buyer, not the product — what the buyer looks like, and the value the SDR can bring them. Sally says with knowledgeable discussions, the SDR could set more appointments.
  • Sally discusses misdirected and inaccurate email campaigns, and how they waste everybody’s time.
  • Sally discusses AI, and Chad Burmeister’s claim that an AI app can do 75-90% of the SDR role with greater consistency. So far, AI cannot engage the buyer on the phone with intelligent questions and conversations on the buyer’s needs.
  • Sally looks at the role of SDRs in the near future. The sales team still needs to be fed, and sales reps are the better resource for customer engagement. She doesn’t see a lot of immediate change.
  • Besides tech, Sally works with other types of companies. She finds them open to new ideas. She cites
    Trish Bertuzzi’s Sales Development Playbook, and helping various sales teams to use the methods in the book.
  • Outside the tech world, many companies are not utilizing data tools beyond basic CRM. Sally talks about tools that circumvent learning and curiosity by giving immediate solutions. A fool with a tool is still a fool.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul  0:00  

I’m excited to be joined on the show today by Sally Duby. Sally is the West Coast General Manager of The Bridge Group, and inside sales and sales development expert, Sally Duby. Welcome to the Sales Enablement Podcast.


Sally Duby  2:27  

Thank you so much, Andy. I’m really excited to be here and I’m honored to be talking with you. I feel like a bit of a superstar.


Andy Paul  2:34  

Thank you so much. I feel honored to speak with you. So we’ve chatted several times but never recorded anything. So question four, it just sort of starts off as in your mind today. You when you look at the clients, you work with them and you’re working primarily in Silicon Valley. So what is the single biggest challenge you see facing sales leaders today?


Sally Duby  2:55  

I think that it’s an all encompassing one of hiring and retaining talent. And predominantly at the lower level, we see people struggling because the market out here is so hot, and it’s hard to find experienced people. So we’re bringing in a lot younger people with less experience, which is awesome. But we’re not keeping them and we’re not setting them up for success. So a lot of the teams that are less experienced groups, such as sales development reps, and maybe even inside sales teams, we’re seeing tons of turnover. We’re seeing people that get very dissatisfied with the job, the company because they’re not being set up for success.


Andy Paul  3:56  

And so what defines what that means as not being set up for success?


Sally Duby  4:01  

Yeah, so basically we’re hiring these people, again, without a lot of experience, knowledge, even just general business experience. And we’re putting them into a position with very little to next to nothing training or onboarding. And so we’re not bridging that gap and we’re not focused on our onboarding about our buyers and why we’re really here as a company, we’re not making that transition. And we’re not giving these new people any idea as to what’s the right messaging, who they should even really be going after from a target company why’s a buyer why’s scenarios and you know exactly what are we going to say to them that’s going to resonate, that’s important to them to show that we can help solve their problems. And so consequently, when people you know get started in their job, they’re all gung ho they’re excited. And they’re, on phone call after phone call or email after email, hopefully a combination of both phone and email, and they’re just getting nothing but crickets. Because they don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what to say. They don’t know how to attract attention to the buyers. So that builds a resume. So that’s what I mean about. 


Andy Paul  6:14  

Well, so there’s multiple parts to your answer. I mean, one is  this idea of the rapid turnover we get within the SDR ranks, especially within the tech sector, if you’re seeing it’s hard to attract people. But if people are leaving, primarily because they’re dissatisfied, are they landing at a place where it’s better? Or do we have service wandering cohorts of SDRs or moving from company to company because it’s perceived to be sort of a disposable job position.


Sally Duby  6:47  

I mean, it’s very common to be interviewing SDRs and inside sales reps that move every six months to a year. And so they’re continuously job hopping. And they’re prime, they get a little bit of training experience and a recruiter calls them and says, hey, you know, we’ve got the next hot company, they’re going IPO, you can make a million dollars, you know, or whatever. And it’s that bright, shiny object. And so they’re not happy where they’re at, makes them very open and interested to talk to another company and say, hey, you know, maybe it’s got a chance of being better there that I can be more successful because I don’t see it here. Or the other thing that a lot of them are leaving for is a really well thought out and defined career path, because they want to know that they can move up. 


Andy Paul  13:03  

So let’s talk about it because, you know, start by talking about that as we’re setting them up for failure. So how do we set them up for success?


Sally Duby  13:11  

Yeah. So I think during the onboarding, the one of the best ways to start is during the onboarding, is to not just train them about you as the company and how great you are. And you know all about your product, but to start entering in and really focus the training around who’s buying our products, right, and make it much more about the buyer. What does the buyer look like if you get a lot of these people into a company and let’s say they’re a security software company, they may not even know what a season is, right? A chief information security officer, they probably have never heard of that term and didn’t even know it. And so what do they do every day? What’s their job about? What’s their responsibility? And how is that person looked at as a success and doing their job properly? It’s not about product features, speeds and so on. It’s about the value that you bring to the buyer and how do you have those moments more business solution oriented conversations with your buyer, so you can raise it up the level.


Andy Paul  21:24  

Where do you see it headed? Is it something to see that it’s their responsibility to the role because they’re going to creep a little further into the selling cycle into the buying cycle? Because you know, now we hear from some companies you know, he’s an SDR even to do discovery calls.

Sally Duby  21:46  

Yeah, you know, we’ve been doing this I mean, that is actually nothing new. I’ve been in consulting for 20 some years. But every time you kind of play around with this, you there’s some trade offs. So there’s less going to the sales team, which in some cases could be good, but the sales people still need to be fed. And I think at the end of the day, the sales team is still probably the better source of really being able to ask and understand those questions as and to understand more about who really is a viable prospect and has a need and who should we be carrying on additional conversations with you know, so I, we still haven’t seen a whole lot of headway and changes for the most part. In that, I think, again, they’re very different skill sets, and especially as we’re hiring younger and younger with less experience, I think that that gets harder and harder to do. If you want to go out and pay somebody you know, $110,000 120,000 that maybe was a salesperson at one point in time and for, you know, lifestyle personal reasons, whatever, they don’t want to be in the sales function. Maybe you could do that. You know, but it depends on I think your product, who your market is, your average deal size as to when that works or not.


Andy Paul  23:30  

Right. So when we’ve talked, mostly serve in the tech context, in terms of SDRs, and so on, I mean, are you working with companies that are in the tech sphere? And how do you see them implementing the SDR role differently or the same as companies in the tech sector?


Sally Duby  23:47  

Yeah, so outside of the TAC, we are getting into and have worked outside of the tech and we love actually working with those companies, because they are very open and receptive to learning new ways.


Andy Paul  25:52  

Excellent, excellent. That’s good to know. 


Sally Duby  26:04  

We are living in a bubble. 


Andy Paul  26:06  

And yeah, and so much of what is talked about in terms of what’s happening in sales these days is really what’s happening in tech, and doesn’t really reflect what’s happening outside of tech, which is the vast majority of our economy. So it’s good to hear that things are starting to change. And the reason I asked the question is, you know, there’s a new book that came out recently that I read about, where the author was saying that our productivity and economy is at its lowest ebb since World War II, productivity growth, for sure. And that one of the sort of unintended consequences some of our technology has is that we’re actually becoming less curious.So there’s not as much discovery involved, and as much curiosity as you get this answer. And so that’s why it’s good to hear that you see companies embracing this, I think more has to be coming part of this wave, because, you know, I talked with the companies fairly often on the show, but, you know, one clan, I was working with the big inside sales team that has no tools technology at all. Other than the CRM system, but that’s it.So email tracking and just the basics they don’t have. And I see that as not as unusual as people think it is. People don’t think that Salesforce is ubiquitous. Well, actually, it’s not.


Sally Duby  27:48  

I think that we’ve gone sort of over the edge, we’ve gone from having nothing but a CRM to, over 2000 tools available just in the app exchange, right. And, literally, I mean, there’s so many that we don’t even know about. And we do have a couple customers that they’ve been really awesome at. Their rule is for any new reps coming on board, you can’t have access to a tool until you’ve been there at least 90 days, and you have to earn access to additional tools. By doing certain things, because they found you really don’t understand if you automate too much or have a tool just like what you were saying. You don’t even understand what you’re doing, or how things are working to know until you go through it manually. And so I think we’re seeing more companies sort of cutting back until we really get a handle on this. And if you don’t have a good process manually, you don’t have a good message manually by adding a tool to that. 


Andy Paul  29:50  

Yeah. Well, Sally, it’s been great to talk with you. 


Sally Duby  29:59  

Oh, thanks so much. Andy, I’ve loved doing this.


Andy Paul  30:31  

So well again, Sally, thank you very much, and friends, thank you for spending this time with me today. Make sure to come back again tomorrow or the next day to join us again. Until then, if you have a chance, I’d really appreciate it if you go to iTunes, take a second leave a review, and subscribe. We want to hear what you have to say and what we can do to help make this a better experience for you. But until then, thanks for joining me and until next time this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.