Building a Successful Sales Development Team, with Neil Bagga of Exabeam

Published July 16, 2020

When Neil was in high school, one of his friend’s parents was a seed founder for Marketo. Neil would pick their brains and ask questions about SaaS and technology, things that the general public didn’t even know about yet. He quickly figured out that the best way into a company was as an SDR. He joined Verisign and made his way up the ladder, gaining skills and experience at different companies. 

Today, he’s the Director of Global Sales Development at Exabeam, a smart Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform that automates the investigation and response to cybersecurity threats. He took time out of his busy schedule to talk about recruitment, Sales Development challenges, and his future plans. 

Recruiting the right candidates 

As a sales leader, Neil’s goal is to recruit people who, like him, may not have a sales or technology background, then give them a meaningful career. 

When Neil first joined Exabeam, the typical SDR candidate profile was a couple of years of experience in cybersecurity and at least a year of SDR experience. Neil completely restructured the onboarding, so candidates no longer need a cybersecurity or sales background. Rather, he’s looking for people that are coachable, adaptable, and hungry. 

It doesn’t matter how good you are at selling; if you’re not coachable, it’s not going to work. You can be the number one rep but if you’re not coachable, you’re not the kind of person Neil wants on his team: “We need people that can adapt and take criticism. Those are the people that make the team better.” If you’re sufficiently motivated intrinsically, that’s the key to success. 

Sales Development challenges 

Running a global Sales Development team comes with challenges. For Neil, there are three particular challenges he has to overcome: 

Data validation. Having segmented their groups, Exabeam has a new commercial team and a specific major accounts team. Now Neil is working on quickly getting the right information to the right people for routing and prospecting. 

Tools. While the team definitely has enough tools, the challenge is making sure everybody’s using them as effectively as possible and in line with the particular strategy they use for particular segments. It’s not a one size fits all solution. The goal is to give all the SDRs both the ability to use the tools they have along with the right strategy for each of their segments. 

General processes. As a startup, things change all the time. With a remote sales team, you need to make sure that every single process update reaches every single person in the company. To help with this, the SDR team has been tasked with sharing company changes and reeducating the rest of the teams, as they work so closely with the remote teams. 

The future of Sales Development at Exabeam

Neil’s mission for Exabeam is to create a consistent, repeatable, and scalable process for adding pipeline to the business, by effectively delivering value-based conversations to prospects. 

They’ve already laid the foundation, sharing the playbook with the team and talking about the different personas they deal with. This has involved more education around those personas and trying to understand what they care about, then focusing their messaging on that rather than simply based on product/feature. 

Now they’re building on that foundation and getting even more granular as they have more conversations, learn more pain points, and improve their messaging.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your Sales Development program and overcome similar challenges, contact us at Tenbound today for a no-obligation exploratory call.

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