Leading millennials, new sales representatives, or other employees in entry-level positions have unique challenges.
Dan Gottlieb has some helpful answers to those challenges, and they all come from a massive amount of experience. Dan is an industry analyst at TOPO Inc., specifically for Sales Development, & Account-Based Growth Organizations.
Yes, that's a bit of a mouthful! Essentially, Dan helps sales development companies utilize world-class strategies and tactics.
He came on the Lead to Grow podcast to share some of his best practices on working with entry-level sales development representatives (often called SDRs). (He even gave us the inside scoop on working with millennials!)
The Importance of Your Sales Development Team
Let's give a little background real quick on what sales development is: Sales development is a function that was created in the late 90s and early 2000s as a way to generate pipeline (sales opportunities).
The basic idea is that it's one group's job to develop pipeline, warm up relationship, and create initial interest from companies (they are called the sales development team). Later, more experienced sales representatives can later come along and close those opportunities.
These sales development representatives (SDRs) are highly important, because, often, they become leaders within your company.
Dan's 3 Layers of Leadership
From his experience working across companies, Dan has developed 3 Layers of Leadership. Here's how they work:
Layer 1: Internal, personal: You ask yourself questions: What kind of leader am I? What are my strengths? What is my personality type? How do I fit into my team? This area is often overlooked, as people often don't spend the time to understand themselves.
Layer 2: Team Interaction: How do I communicate with my team? What are my interactions like? How do I take that communication and relay that to a larger group, potentially up the ladder to executives?
Layer 3: Execution: The actual doing part!
Why Expectations & Communication Are Key
Expectations matter, and they have to be clearly communicated. It's a vital part of leadership. It comes up in Dan's world constantly. An example is with sales and marketing:
Let's say that the marketing department at XYZ company expects 1 out of every 10 website leads to be the right type of leads. They will take all leads, hand them off to sales, and as long as the sales representatives are finding 10% of them to be qualified leads, marketing will be happy.
But suppose sales doesn't know that 90% of them are probably unqualified leads, so when they find that only 10% of them are qualified, they will be disappointed.
Communication and expectations are vital!
A Quick Note on Millennials:
A lot of SDRs are younger. Specifically, most of them are millennials. Millennials just want to be recognized for what they are doing, and they want to know that what they are doing matters.
If Someone Had Lunch With You, What's the Key Thing You'd Want Them to Walk Away With?
We ask this question to every guest … and Dan's reply was honestly one of my favorites:
He first talked about his wide array of experiences: He's carried golf clubs for the extremely rich, he's been a bartender in the "elbows of New Orleans," and he has friends on both ends of the political spectrum.
He believes it's extremely important to have a diverse group of friendships and relationships, of people who think differently, act differently, and appear differently. If he could leave us with one thought, that would be it.