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About This Episode
Would you agree that the shortest route to a promotion is to always be asking questions?
Positioning yourself as a student will earn you expertise and launch you into leadership in no time at all.
After finishing dental school while selling shoes at the mall, Matt decided to commit to sales and started his career cold calling in an industry he knew nothing about.
“I fell in love with the rush of competitiveness, of getting somebody on the phone and then closing them, and the whole cat and mouse game of tracking somebody down,” Matt said.
Having worked at both small and large companies in sales development leadership, Matt shared his insights about management, training, and promotions.
Established vs. growing
Matt said that one of the pros of joining a smaller organization is that you get to jump in at the start and have a lot of influence. “You’re at the ground level and you’re helping to drive the whole ABM process, the whole program itself,” he said.
In an established or larger organization, he explained that what you do in leadership affects a lot of people. “Everything you do has to scale. Nothing can be done to where it affects just your team,” he said.
In both cases, you have to take an analytical approach to your decisions. “It starts with thinking of every possible outcome and trying to get as close to 100% right as possible,” Matt said.
Matt’s strategy for scaling his SDR team was, honestly, a numerical one.
- Define your addressable market. How many accounts are you trying to get into?
- Develop your team. How many accounts per SDR will you need to break into the market?
“Once you realize how many accounts you really have to go after, then you start scaling your team,” he said.
Training SDRs & BDRs
“The one thing I love about SDRs is that you don’t need a background in sales,” Matt said. “You just need the heart and motivation to be successful.”
The single greatest trait that Matt looks for in a new hire is motivation.
“Everything else — all the soft skills about objection handling, cold calling, all of that — comes down the road. The first thing is identifying a person who is hungry, is motivated, wants to be successful,” he said.
Those soft skills he teaches are called the intro, the story, and the close. Someone with the motivation to pick up the phone and make the calls will learn how to ask stellar questions to get the close on the other end.
During training, Matt teaches SDRs how to lower resistance.
“This job is just talking to somebody who doesn’t want to talk to you, so if you can break that resistance down, then you’re just having a genuine conversation with somebody who wants to hear what you have to say,” he said.
Ways to lower resistance?
- Be logical with people. Explain why their objections don’t make sense.
- Be flexible. Find out the method they prefer to consume the information that you have.
- Be curious. Ask them about their process or what their initiatives are.
Another aspect of Matt’s resistance-lowering framework is to recognize that people’s first objection often isn’t their real objection. “When you realize how to get to that underlying objection, that’s the process.”
Ask lots of questions to reach their underlying objection. And actually, being curious takes away the awkwardness of resistance, too.
Training veteran SDRs is a different game. “Those are the hardest reps to manage,” Matt said.
They already have their own way of doing things… which is most likely different from the way you want them to do it. “You have to get their buy-in. You’re trying to make them better at a skill,” he said.
(Actually, you can apply the same techniques for overcoming resistance to veteran reps, too.) “Decrease that resistance, talk to them logically, explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, get their buy in, and ask them to come along on the ride with you,” Alex said.
Becoming an expert at something
One of the ways that Matt builds the team as a whole is by identifying everyone’s skill sets.
Someone who’s a pro at Excel, someone who’s great at math and data, someone who’s amazing at organizing contests. “Involve them in different projects to get them to work on something alongside their outreach and cold calling,” Matt said.
This gives team members an awareness that they’re a part of a strategy. They’re helping to drive team morale. And it’s more motivating than a manager’s training plan.
“When I do have an SDR who takes the initiative to do something like that, I typically find better buy-in from the other SDRs because it’s something that their colleague has put out for them,” he said.
Learning = leadership
Matt gives this advice in his 1-on-1s: Become an expert. Become the go-to person about something.
“Become that resource to the company where you’re so seasoned in this one area that you’re then leading trainings and teaching people from other departments on how to use that specific tool,” he said.
That’s how Matt earned a role in leadership, by becoming an expert in his sales engagement tool and training other people in it.
That, and always asking questions.
“I don’t think you can ask enough questions. Always be a student. Always be learning and absorbing and networking within your organization,” Matt said.