Having managed Sales Development teams from a young age, Emmy Johnson is a recognized expert in turning around underperforming teams. She graciously agreed to talk to Tenbound about creating a positive culture for your Sales Development team, the future of Sales Development, and more.

Inspiring Loyalty in your Sales Development Team
When managing a Sales Development team, Emmy works hard to create a culture of loyalty in the team. Part of that means helping them understand the importance of their role. They’re the lifeblood of the sales organization and the company needs to let them know they’re appreciated. 

Emmy organizes surprise SDR appreciation days for the team; the previous one included a video from everybody—including the CEO, CRO, and all the sales reps—telling the SDRs how much they appreciated their hard work. That’s just one reason Emmy has been dubbed the Culture Queen. 

Being an SDR means facing a lot of rejection, so it’s important to try and make the experience as fun and as possible, as well as providing for their long-term goals. At ZeroFOX, the company looks to the Sales Development team first to fill any new roles, giving SDRs a career path within the company. 

Sales Development Challenges
Every Sales Development team will face challenges, but some industries are harder to sell to than others. ZeroFOX’s primary buyer is in information security and, as a result, are especially hard to get hold of. They’re skeptical by nature, that’s their job, so they won’t often take cold emails or calls. 

Operating in a newer space also brings its own challenges. Four years ago, ZeroFOX was having to explain to people that digital risk protection was even an issue. Now their most common objection is that it isn’t a priority, so a big part of their work is showing prospects that this is a real problem that they need to deal with now. 

One common challenge is getting the buy-in from your team. A lot of SDRs are young, maybe right out of school, so it’s important they trust you and trust the process—even if they don’t fully understand it. When you have that buy-in, then the whole team will get the results you want.

Investing in Technology

When Emmy came to ZeroFOX, they recognized the importance of providing the tools needed to be successful, even though they were still a startup. The current stack includes popular tools like Salesforce, Outreach, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator

One of their new favorite tools is Orum, a parallel dialer that makes up to ten calls at a time, dropping the others once you get a connection. Not everyone is allowed to use Orum as users have to be very prepared—they never know who it’s going to connect with. However, experienced team members are now able to make more connections, have more conversations, and book more meetings. 

Sales Development in 2020
Emmy predicts that we’ll see more specialization in the near future. SDRs are often drawn in too many different directions. If you’re asking your SDRs to deal with cross-selling and upselling within the current customer base, that’s much easier than cold calling. They’re going to focus their time there and neglect their core work. By helping your SDRs specialize, they’ll have a laser focus and be able to do their best work. 

Managing a Sales Development team has its challenges, especially in industries where people are more suspicious of cold calls or emails. However, by developing a positive culture and specializing your SDRs’ roles, you can still get great results.

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

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