Learnings from our first Sales Development Management Training Seminar

Published May 27, 2017
Last week Tenbound held our first publicly available training seminar focused exclusively on Sales Development Management strategy and tactics. The seminar was attended by 6 super bright Sales Development Team Leaders, Managers and Directors from some of the fastest growing SaaS companies in Silicon Valley.

The target audience for this seminar was current Sales Development Team Leads, Managers and Directors who wanted to up their game, as well as SDRs (BDRs, ADRs, etc) who wanted to step-up to Sales Development Management in the future.

Overall, the seminar went great and it was awesome to be able to close the door with these leaders and laser focus on what makes a world-class Sales Development program tick, along with the many, many pitfalls to avoid in putting one together. This was for hard-core students of the Sales Development craft, who wanted to bring this practice to the next level and in turn, elevate their own value in the marketplace.

As the moderator, I personally had a lot of fun and felt like I got as much out of the class as the participants. The discussions were robust, the issues where real and the people in the class had great attitudes. Each walked away with an overall understanding of the critical aspects involved in setting up and running an high performance Sales Development program and will definitely elevate our profession moving forward.

So far, 100% of the post-training survey respondents have agreed with the statement “I’d recommend the training to someone interested in Sales Development Management”.

But life “ain’t all sunshine and rainbows” and I came away from the seminar with a few observations and things to work on for next time:

1. I should have sent out a more robust pre-training survey versus just an email asking what they wanted to get out of the class. It would have been good to know if there were some specific metrics the leaders could bring in that they were trying to improve within their programs, such as conversion rates, attrition rates, onboarding time for new reps, etc, so we could spend more time on those, and perhaps do a before / after training comparison. I really want the agenda for these to be about what the participants want to focus on specifically, not only what I think is critical in making a high-performance program.

2. In that vein, the seminar material consists of 21 important aspects to keep in mind in setting up and running a high-performance Sales Development program, grouped by 4 major buckets. It was developed using 20+ years of Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing and Sales Development expertise, all of it boiled down to 4 hours of content. That’s a lot of stuff for half a day. Some of the feedback I got in the survey said they wished we could dig in some of the topics more, and have more time for breakouts and activities. This is true; each of the 21 points could be unpacked and discussed for hours each, but I was trying to fit it to a half day so the time commitment wouldn’t be too daunting for participants.

Had I really pushed the pre-training survey, I could then have put more focus on what’s most important to the class and powered through or skipped other parts. Moving forward, I’m now thinking that the current version is actually a half-day “Turbo Framework Bootcamp” good for people who can only spare a half a day out the office and need to get an overview they can take back and build on. Then developing another class based on the 4 buckets in their own 4 hours each, spaced out over 2 days. I don’t know if people will sign up for 2 days out of the office, but I believe that would be an ideal. 

3. The number of people in the class (6) was perfect for the first one. We could probably go up to 8-10, but having 6 gave everyone a chance to comment on the material as we we went along, without anyone feeling like they couldn’t contribute. Before, I was thinking we could get up to 20 in the class, but now I’ll cap the next one at 10 people maximum. Also, setting up everyone in a U-shape worked out really well, versus lecture style, and we set up an invite-only Slack group with Guru integration to stay in touch after the training, to ask questions and to capture useful information, which has picked up some traction and will continue to grow with new cohorts.

4. I got a bunch of inquiries from people in different parts of the country and overseas, or who couldn’t get out of the office or to San Francisco for a half-day live training, so I’m now working with TalentLMS to put the whole thing online. Although the classroom interaction and bonding was what made the class great, online is more convenient and available for anyone out there running a Sales Development program or thinking of starting up and needs that framework. We’re also researching cities that have a lot of SDRs, Sales Development Managers and others who are interested in this to put some more public seminars on the calendar in fall and winter. We will be doing the next one in San Francisco again in July, but if you want to do it live somewhere else let me know and we’ll put something together.

Final thoughts: Businesses have done a great job investing in the technology of Sales Development over the past few years, but what about the processes and people? What about the leadership, strategy and tactics to ensure our Sales Development programs are set-up and lead correctly to produce the required business outcomes of more sales meetings, pipeline and revenue? We need to start investing in the people and processes just as much as the technology. People need help figuring out how to do this job. I hope these seminars can help fill that need and create a strong community of next generation Sales Development leaders.

 Big thank you to my lovely wife Katherine for putting up with me in general and being instrumental in the success of the launch, Chris Ortolano for all the training tips and techniques, and Chris Sears, curriculum design maestro and all around great dude. Of course a huge thanks to the participants in the class, you were amazing to work with and I love seeing your comments and questions in Slack group.

A bit about me… I’m a Sales Development program building specialist with deep experience building highly successful SDR programs from scratch for technology companies. Currently helping Sales Development teams achieve higher performance through training and consulting at 
Tenbound.

I’m also the host of the 
Sales Development Podcast, the only audio forum 100% focused on Sales Development program leadership and management. Check it out.

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