Recruiting and Retaining a Top Sales Development Team, with Daniel DeFilippo of Mimeo

Published March 31, 2020

Daniel DeFilippo started out as a public accountant. However, he soon found himself bored out of his mind. The breaking point came when he fell asleep at work and a highlighter bled through 400 pages of inventory. He made the jump to sales, where he’s thrived and built an impressive resume. 

Now he’s Director of US Sales Development at Mimeo, where he loves helping people and seeing junior reps grow into polished, solution-oriented sellers: “There’s nothing better for me… That’s what gets me out of bed every day.” 

He sat down with the Tenbound team to discuss recruitment, outdated tech features, and his philosophy for creating a top-performing Sales Development team. 

Challenges in Sales Development

For Daniel, the biggest challenge he faces is finding and retaining talent. However, he’s found that talking about a career progression plan from the very first interview helps retain that talent. There’s a common misperception in Sales Development that SDRs are just feeding the sales funnel. The real value of an SDR team is creating and molding your next class of AEs or CSMs. 

It can also be a challenge to relate to your team. Each individual likely has different motivations. Daniel makes a point of finding out what’s motivating each person. So, instead of going through the floor and just telling them to make more calls, if one guy wants to propose, Daniel will say ‘princess cut,’ and if one girl wants to get a beach house, he’ll say ‘beach house.’ 

Being an SDR is by far the hardest job you can have. It’s a grind and it could get really boring really fast. To combat this, Daniel tells his team to do what’s proven and predictable 80% of the time, then for the other 20% have some fun. Do something outside the box. Be creative!

When technology stops being helpful

According to Daniel, teams have a tendency to have too many tools, with features that are no longer effective. For example, he used to pay a lot of money for local area codes when dialing out. At the time, it increased the connect rate. Today, if someone calls with a local area code, people realize it’s spam or a sales call. 

There are plenty of fantastic tools out there, but they have to be used properly. You have to think about the long term consequences for you and your brand. Email automation is great, but it has to be personalized. If someone feels tricked into opening an email, where’s that going to go in the long run? The important behaviors and activities are the ones that grow your revenue. Don’t call just to make calls or email just to get a reply. 

At Mimeo, the SDR team works closely with both the Revenue Operations team (to identify their ICP and buyers) and Marketing (to put them through a warmup campaign). By the time Sales Development gets involved, the prospect knows who Mimeo is and the team can focus on their pain points and how they can help.

Building a Sales Development team in 2020

Daniel’s philosophy is simple; build your team around hard work and honesty. Everything else, you can teach. However, you can’t teach somebody that hunger so they want to go out and make calls, or how to be honest.  

Finally, Daniel believes you should never ask your team to do anything that you’re not willing to do yourself. You have to lead by example. “I’m the first guy in the door and the last one to leave. If it’s a Friday, late in the afternoon and starting to slow down, I’ll pick up the phone and start banging out calls.” 

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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