Last week, Ambition wrapped up our inaugural Sales Development Kick-Off (SDKO).
Over the weekend, I had to ask myself: why does every company not do a sales development-specific kick-off?
Our VP of Sales, Mark McWatters, just got done with a 4 city leg of Becc Holland and Chorus’s Flip The Script Tour. The team and I were lucky enough to catch his last stop in Atlanta - the perfect kick-off to our SDKO.
The energy in the sales development movement is so palpable.
World-class sales organizations are embracing the role, and Sales Development Reps and SDR leaders alike are out there hustling to figure out how to maximize their teams’ success.
Luckily at Ambition, we’re able to partner so closely with peers like Chorus and Outreach to drive the best outcomes for SDR teams.
So here is something I now believe: every sales org with SDRs should be doing a separate SDKO. (And thanks to one of our own - Garrett Sadler - for the idea!)
Look, I know SKO takes a ton of planning and resources. We’re talking about your pipeline here. If you believe your sales org is like a factory, we’re talking about the factory floor operating at maximum capacity. Effectiveness and energy are key!
Here were the key areas of focus:
Maximize our energy (use time and tools wisely)
Align (& practice what we preach)
Our top point of emphasis was to maximize our revenue-generating time. Every SDR leader probably can get this.
Sales development is an activity-hungry role. As much as every conversation, every personal email is art — we all know it’s also science. How much quality you put in at the top determines the pipeline that comes out the other end.
For us, our team rigorously went through the current process and identified areas to be more efficient with their time and provide more value to potential clients.
On top of that, we made a process change we believe will improve the quality of what we put in at the top. We did that by moving to a ‘named account strategy’ for all outbound — including sales development. At Ambition’s stage, we know what a great customer looks like and by naming and targeting them, we can be more efficient with our outreach.
Tactically, moving to a named account strategy also allows us to have better empathy with our customers and speak to pain. We spent a lot of time crafting our message both from AE experience and our customer stories. Our SDRs have to speak their language, at their level, and bring value to the first conversation.
Lastly, we refined our qualification guidelines. This is something I believe we should be looking at continuously. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Sales leaders love to talk — but that doesn’t mean they all should be customers!
We took a hard look and set better rails around “who gets the most value from Ambition” — by focusing on value first, our SDRs can be authentic in every conversation.
Sales development gets caught in between the age-old battle: Sales vs. Marketing. Not here. That’s because we have to focus on making sure we’re always aligned and working together, singing from the same song sheet.
Luckily, we have some tools to help us. One is Ambition (yes, our own tool), which we dogfood to make sure we’re doing what we said we’ll do, both from a Pipeline $ and an Opportunity generation standpoint.
The SDKO served as the perfect opportunity for me to reboot and focus on deeper analytics and goal alignment visibility in Ambition to make sure our team and the whole GTM group know how we’re doing and where we want to go.
The best part: using Ambition is easy, and it makes us better sales development people. “We know what we’re talking about! We use it every day. Here’s how it can help your team!”
In addition to Ambition, we have some great tools (like Outreach) we can leverage, plus a whole host of best practices content and data we can share with prospects to add value from the first touchpoint.
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I would love to say all of these hungry SDRs searching for knowledge and expertise want to be the best SDR of all time.
But I’m a realist. I know they want to be AEs or enterprise sellers. And CSMs. And VP of Sales. And CEOs one day. As they should!
Our sales development reps all want to grow. They want to learn, become great, and then continue rising on our team.
And it's our job to help them do that.
So we focused on how to continue to grow their trust and respect within the company. Oftentimes, SDRs are “the tip of the spear” — the first interaction some companies may have with our brand. This is a huge responsibility and opportunity.
We reviewed how to put their best foot forward, represent our brand, and treat every day as if they’re interviewing for the next thing.
In one week I’ve already seen our team evolving from this.
(Sidenote: Ambition has a wide collection of tools within the platform - goals, sales coaching, and gamification - I’ve been able to leverage that has made my job as our Sales Development Manager much easier.)
We’re lucky — we’re close to the customer! Everyone wants to know what that’s like.
Overall, I’m thrilled by how our people can grow and will focus on it this year.
That’s what we did, and we’re already seeing the results. Here’s my advice to you: start now.
You don’t need to do a fancy off-site or build crazy collateral.
We did a few hours of sessions in our office, grabbed dinner, and took the whole team to Top Golf.
You can do that.
Your SDRs will thank you. And so will your VP of Sales come EoY.
Chris O’Connor, Head of Sales Development at Ambition
PS: I couldn’t write this post without mentioning (in my humble opinion) the most significant thing that dropped during the week of our SDKO.
We’re lucky to have one of the most renowned sales development hustlers in the industry, Andy Duwe, on our team. It means we also have the best (is there any competition??) rappers sales development on the planet.
Finally, after months of pestering him, Duwe dropped what is now THE definitive Ambition anthem.
Without further ado:
Really… COME ON PEOPLE!!!! Let’s go get this bread! 🍞🍞🍞
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