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Sales masters

How Richard Amos shapes talent and strategies in sales development

December 22, 2023

Arjun Krisna

In this edition, we're thrilled to share an exclusive interview with Richard, a seasoned professional from Medallia.

With years of experience under his belt, Richard opens up about his journey to Medallia, his unique approach to managing SDR teams across various regions, effective training strategies, and much more.

Whether you're an aspiring SDR or a seasoned manager, Richard's insights offer valuable lessons and strategies to excel in this dynamic field.

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 and what led to Medallia? 

I joined Medallia as an SDR. I've been here for about four years now, finding my calling through SDR management.

Can you share your approach to managing and improving the performance of your SDR teams across diverse regions?

Managing people in different regions and localities is nuanced. I've had team members in Japan, Sydney, France, Italy, and the UK, each with unique personalities.

Coaching effectively requires providing a unique experience for each person.

My approach is hands-on, involving direct involvement in creating sequences and aiding their progress. We use methodologies and training programs like MEDDIC, but also emphasize the importance of applying a subjective layer to our coaching, acknowledging that not every call will go the same way.

What strategies do you find most effective for training and onboarding new SDRs? How do you maintain innovation within the team? 

For onboarding, in-person sessions and live training are important, considering that new SDRs learn at different speeds. It's crucial to allow them to progress at their own pace. At Medallia, we mix self-paced learning with face-to-face interaction and in-person training.

For continuous learning, in-person training is preferable. It helps SDRs understand flaws in their processes and how to overcome them.

Creating scenarios similar to role plays during in-person interactions is beneficial. While self-paced learning is useful, I find that SDRs can become disengaged with it over time. Therefore, I prefer a combination of face-to-face and online virtual training for continuous learning.

Social selling seems to be a key strategy in your playbook. What are some common mistakes sales reps make, and how can they avoid them?

The biggest mistake on social media is pitching too soon after connecting, without offering any value. Most of the time, your pitch won't align with the prospect's current needs, as only a small percentage of buyers are actively looking at any given time.

It's crucial to establish a personal brand and demonstrate that you're a knowledgeable resource. This involves regular posting and interacting with prospects' content online before sending direct messages.

Engaging with prospects on their posts helps to identify more personalized and relevant pain points to which your solution can be attached

You achieved over 100% of KPI in your previous role. What do you attribute this success to, and how can SDRs replicate it?

I'm fortunate to have a fantastic team of creative and versatile SDRs who are open to trying different methods to connect with prospects through various channels like phone, email, LinkedIn, or in person.

It's vital to focus on different engagement channels. Relying solely on one's strongest channel is a mistake; covering all areas is important. We ensure we focus on the right aspects in our processes. Data is crucial as it reveals the truth. I coach my SDRs to seek out data segments that can aid their improvement. They proactively find answers in areas like email outreach, analyzing the positivity rate of sequences, response rates, and open rates.

More importantly, they assess how messages are received by prospects. Negative receptions indicate a need for change, while positive ones suggest areas to double down on. Outreach is effective for evaluating email sentiment, aiding SDR improvement.

How important is account planning in the role of an SDR, and what are the first steps they should take?

Account planning is crucial. Understanding the business you're selling to is essential to match their problem with your solution. Account planning also matters when SDRs partner with account executives or sales directors to win accounts, serving as a record of collaboration and strategy.

The first step in account planning is understanding the business, its geographical situation, and its future state. This can be gleaned from sources like 401k's or annual reports, focusing on their objectives and risks.

We also use Google alerts to track what the company is doing within our area of expertise, like customer experience or digital analytics. This information helps in crafting targeted messaging. We incorporate this data into account plans, including personas and messaging strategies, and then measure the success for each account.

When building out an SDR team, what qualities do you prioritize over experience?

The most important quality for me is proactivity. It includes seeking feedback, hunting for information, and looking for ways to improve and be creative. Proactivity is essential and inherent in successful SDRs; it's ingrained in their DNA.

While other qualities that new SDRs may lack can be nurtured, you can't instill proactivity in someone who doesn't naturally have it. I prioritize proactivity because I believe I can coach the other necessary skills.

What resources would you recommend for upcoming sales reps? 

I recommend a book about how to win friends in high places, written in the late sixties. It discusses navigating corporate politics, especially at a managerial level. As an SDR manager, balancing expectations from sales and marketing is challenging.

This book has been helpful in dealing with these aspects. Other useful resources include attending wet mad scientist shows on Wednesdays to understand global SDR challenges and being part of communities like Pavilion or SDR leaders.

The best way I learn is by talking to people. I connect with different SDR leaders weekly to learn from them, understand new directions, and apply those insights to my work.

We hope you found this conversation with Richard as enlightening as we did.

Remember, whether it's embracing proactivity, engaging effectively on social media, or understanding the importance of account planning, there are always new strategies and perspectives to explore in the ever-evolving world of sales development.

Keep an eye out for more interviews and insights in our future posts, as we continue to explore the successes and challenges in the world of sales and beyond. Happy selling!

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