The Landscape of Outbound Sales With Cognism
Outbound sales is dynamic.
And that means the tactics that worked last year won’t necessarily work this year.
Ryan Reisert has identified new pillars of outbound for the year ahead in 2022.
And he recently deep-dived into them in an episode of Revenue Champions, alongside David Bentham - Cognism’s Director of Sales Development. They also spoke about SDR teams more generally.
Scroll 👇 to check out Ryan and David’s Q&A.
Ryan wanted to know where David’s passion for leading the SDR function came from.
For David, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to see the SDR team progress:
“For me personally, I really like working with people who are starting out in their careers. It’s incredibly rewarding to see them progress, even in the space of a year. We really invest in internal promotions, we’re proud of the fact they all started out as SDRs.”
Hyper-targeting in sales
As the SDR function grows, hyper-targeting becomes more difficult.
How has David approached it? Well, first of all, it’s all in the data:
“It comes to gathering and storing the data in the first place. It seems pretty obvious, but investing time into your CRM is really important. Because then once you’ve gathered the right data points, you can really analyse where the success is coming from. And at Cognism it’s a monthly process.”
The other part is making sure everyone in your SDR team is on the same page:
“It’s about making sure the whole sales team is educated and aligned on what works and what doesn’t, in terms of targeting.”
And remember: analyse the data consistently. Because it’s always changing and evolving.
Cold calling motivation
No successful SDR function is complete without training. Especially when it comes to cold calls:
“At Cognism, we don’t train every day. We have 3 team training sessions a week. One of them is a role play that takes place every single Monday. We also have a team call review, where we ask the team to go away and listen to calls. And then we come back to analyse and reflect on the calls as a team.”
“You can remove cold calling reluctance quickly, if people are confident and know what they’re doing.”
The key takeaway? Make re-education and re-learning part of the team culture.
Product training for SDRs
Now there might be a temptation to say:
“Just teach the SDR team everything.”
But David pointed out that it’s not that simple:
“ When you have a brand new SDR you don’t want to teach them everything about a really complicated solution. There’s a risk they might freeze under pressure as there’s so much information to consider.”
But for the SDRs that have been there a little longer, it’s a different story:
“When I’ve got an SDR with 4 to 6 months of experience, I’m not afraid to educate them about specific features of the product.
For example, we often get questions on GDPR, which is a legal topic. So that’s something we would teach at that stage, so they have that understanding. Selling is all about trust - saying what’s true and accurate.”
Individuality in sales
One size doesn’t fit all.
Because selling is based on trust and authenticity, which doesn’t always come naturally through the phone for some SDRs:
“We’ve made the switch from a 60 call a day target to a general daily activity target. Because we don’t want to tell people who are fantastic emailers that they need to be calling every day.”
David’s advice: let SDRs excel and express their personality within a flexible framework. Let them spend a little bit more time on the things they’ve had success with.
That’s truly how you can let the team shine 💥
Techniques and technologies
Like most industries, B2B sales is dynamic. The very best SDR teams will know all the latest trends.
But it’s not a one-way process, as David points out:
“From day 1, I hire people who actively seek education. From there, we try to give out team access to content. We’re happy to buy sales books, for example. But the team can actively seek out more. LinkedIn is massively important.”
What’s crucial here is that SDRs have to be just as passionate to learn as SDR team leaders are to offer resources.
Sales and marketing
Alignment between sales and marketing teams is important.
Because your sales team can communicate the messaging and the marketing team can get a better idea of the ideal customer profile (ICP).
A decision made in one of the teams is going to impact the other. David gives an example of how this has played out at Cognism:
“Marketing has made some really interesting decisions. For example, now we’ve changed the strategy whereby we’re ungating all of our content. So prospects can read all about us, which builds brand awareness. And then when they’re in market for a tool or solution, we’ll be at the top of their minds.”
And where’s the proof that this alignment has worked?
“For us, inbounds now have a higher close rate compared to gated content leads.”
At Cognism, there’s a common revenue goal between sales and marketing:
“Alice de Courcy, Jon Ilett, and myself all own the same revenue target.”
The changing landscape of sales
New platforms and technologies have revolutionised outbound sales.
David said that “the touchpoints are changing in terms of the type and the number of them available.”
“We’re certainly not a call-heavy team, which we were 4 years ago. Now we’re a lot more targeted and specific. For example, we use tools like LinkedIn voice notes and Vidyard.”
And when it does come to calling, the approach towards that has changed:
“Now you can’t just call office lines and hope for the best. The new world of remote work means that mobile numbers are the best ones to use.”
The other trend that David noticed was the way promotions are taking place within the sales function:
“At Cognism, we’re really big on micro-promotions. We have this built into the structure because a lot of people who come out of college or university nowadays want to see fast progression. Having this approach is vital for attracting the right talent.”
Listen to the podcast
Want to hear more from Ryan and David?
Press ▶️ to listen to their full conversation on our sales podcast, Revenue Champions.