While many have embraced the digital age with email campaigns and social media outreach, there's one timeless method that still holds its ground – cold calling.
In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Dom Odoguardi, the Head of go-to-market at Trellus AI, who shares his insights and secrets to success in the realm of cold calling.
Also, don't forget to check out our previous blog, where we put together a list of 20 must-follow GTM experts for SDRs & AEs
Can you share a bit about yourself?
I'm Dom, the Head of go-to-market at Trellus AI. I've been with Trellus for about three to four months and have a background in sales, with a couple of years of experience.
Why do you prefer cold calling over other outreach channels?
Because I'm good at it! No. In all seriousness, cold calling is special and unique in a way. I'm not sure if you recall when you were younger probably, but when I was younger and I would hear the term cold calling or I would get calls from telemarketers on my home phone, I'd always kinda, like, scoff at them and be, like, oh, you know, so annoying.
Like, why are they calling me all this stuff? And so it always was perceived to me as, like, a very traditional, like, old school style of outbounding. And then when I got into sales, I realized, like, there's so many different channels now to outbound people.
What are some key elements of an effective cold call?
It really depends on the stage you're coming from and the personas you're reaching out to. Some personas may appreciate humour or charm, while others prefer a direct approach. In general, the best practice is to generate interest immediately by addressing a relevant problem.
My approach to cold calls is to introduce myself quickly, explain why it's relevant, and then focus on the problem without diving into my solution. If the prospect is facing that problem or trying to solve it, it leads to a meaningful conversation. If not, I move on or dig deeper to see if there's a fit. The key is to be clear, concise, and problem-focused.
What are some things you should never do on a cold call?
Many reps, including myself when I started, make common mistakes during cold calls. One significant error is interrupting prospects. It's tempting to interrupt and prove that your solution is best or correct a miscommunication. Instead, it's essential to go with the flow and avoid interruptions. Listen actively, be genuinely curious, and learn about their business practices, priorities, and challenges.
Engage in a more conversational manner and ask meaningful follow-up questions, rather than following a rigid script.
Can you share a sample outreach sequence that works for you?
I use a multi-channel outreach sequence that includes cold calling, LinkedIn, and email. I always begin with a cold call, followed by a follow-up email. The email contains a template outlining the problem we're addressing in the industry and its consequences.
I add personalization based on the prospect's LinkedIn or website information. Then, I follow up with another call and a LinkedIn message, both more concise and casual. In total, my sequence includes three or four emails and around ten to twelve cold calls over a thirty-day period.
You achieved the President's Club in your past role. What lessons or best practices helped you get there?
What really made a difference was our consistency. I achieved the President's Club with one other SDR from our Boston office. We were the type of reps who consistently arrived early and maintained our activity levels.
Even on challenging days, we persevered, making a minimum of a hundred calls daily. Consistency is crucial, especially when starting a new position or career, and I believe it played a significant role in achieving that recognition.
What should an SDR equip themselves with to excel in their role?
They should not have fear of rejection because that is the entire position. You get rejected every single day, no matter what happens. They should always be curious and be willing to be a sponge. The top SDRs that I speak to, some of the ones that I've coached in the past, have seen their knowledge or expertise grow exponentially because they are willing to put in the work and they're willing to learn as much as they can.
They don't go in there and say, 'Oh, I already know everything about sales. I've been in sales for a couple of years now.' They know that there are things they don't know, and they know the only way to find that is to really put in the work, put in the hours, be consistent, and be a sponge. I think that's really what sets apart newer SDRs.
From your experience coaching SDRs, what common problems do you see?
I think a common problem I see among upcoming SDRs is their tendency to focus too much on their offering rather than addressing the prospect's problems. Many believe that having a great product is enough, but it's equally important to identify and solve the challenges your prospects are facing.
Being problem-centric, rather than product-centric, can make a significant difference in their effectiveness.
Can you share a framework for SDRs looking to transition to an AE role?
My approach might be considered unorthodox, but it worked for me. When I became an SDR, I set a personal ultimatum that if I didn't become an AE within a year, then this might not be the right career path for me. I made that goal my focus every single day. I regularly met with my manager, director, and even higher-ups to create a mutual action plan. We set targets for me to achieve in terms of calls, revenue, and pipeline generation.
It was challenging, but by consistently putting in the effort, staying the course even on tough days, and understanding that there would be ups and downs, I managed to make that transition within a year.
How do you see the role of AI evolving in sales?
It's fascinating to observe the role of AI in sales. I believe that in the next five years or even less, AI will revolutionize sales by taking care of mundane administrative tasks. This will free up more time for reps to engage in quality conversations with prospects and customers.
Imagine if AI could handle tasks like updating CRM data with 99% accuracy; you could fit in more demos and prioritize meaningful interactions. AI's role in sales will be pivotal in streamlining processes, improving efficiency, and enhancing the overall sales experience.
What resources do you recommend for upcoming SDRs?
One book that had a significant impact on me is 'Fanatical Prospecting.' It provides a strong foundation in prospecting. Additionally, 'Gap Selling' is another great book. When it comes to podcasts, I recommend 'The Game' and Jeremy Miner's sales podcast.
Currently, I'm focused on reading materials related to go-to-market strategies since that's an area I'm looking to grow in.
Dom Odoguardi's journey from an SDR to an AE is a testament to the power of determination and consistency. His unorthodox yet effective approach serves as inspiration for aspiring SDRs looking to make that transition. Armed with Dom's insights and recommendations, we hope upcoming SDRs can chart their course toward success with confidence and competence.
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