Sales Development Excellence 2021 Recap

Sales Development Excellence 2021 Recap


Sales development is a fast-paced environment. Yet, the knowledge the SDR Leaders possess is evergreen.

As we’re getting ready for Sales Development Excellence 2022, our second virtual conference for sales/SDR leaders, let’s take a step back and revisit the insights we collected at last year’s event.

Here’s a quick recap of the event featuring the recordings so you can catch up with the insights and get a taste of what to look forward to at the conference this year.

Cold outreach mistakes and how to avoid them 

Let’s kick off the event with the first panel discussion featuring the B2B sales development leaders from PandaDoc, Salesforce, and Loopio as they talk about the most typical cold outreach mistakes and how to avoid them. 

First, allow me to introduce the speakers:

  • Jed Mahrle, the Outbound team lead at PandaDoc (at the time), managing a team of 14 SDRs (ENT & Commercial).
  • Florin Tatulea, the first sales hire at Loopio (at the time), Senior Manager of Sales Development working with an SDR team that's responsible for more than $50M of pipeline annually. As the founder of Sales Flo, he also facilitates copywriting and sequencing workshops for SDR teams. 
  • Rachel Keung, Senior Director, Global Public Sector Sales Development at Salesforce. Her team is the front-line inbound sales team that supports marketing's multichannel demand generation efforts across North America, Europe, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand. 

The questions covered during the panel discussion include:

  1. What was your most epic outreach mistake? How did you feel about that? 
  2. Have you ever managed to turn your mistake into a booked meeting or any other positive outcome?
  3. What are your personal Dos and Don’ts when it comes to cold outreach? 
  4. What makes a good SDR Leader when it comes to overcoming outreach mistakes?
  5. Let’s say you noticed that one of your SDRs made a mistake. How do you address that mistake and ensure it won’t happen in the future?

Mid-market to enterprise sales prospecting strategies 

Next up, let’s watch Kate O'Hanlon, the Sales Development Manager, EMEA, at Segment (at the time) as she explains mid-market to enterprise B2B sales prospecting strategies. Kate has a strong track record as a global top performer and of driving efficiencies within sales teams.

To give you a sneak peek, here are some of the questions Kate answered during the keynote:

  • What are the first things a company needs to adjust in its outreach/sales approach to target mid-market companies and enterprises?
  • Is it okay to be less formal when targeting SMBs? Can this same style be used for enterprise accounts or does it need to get more formal?
  • Which creative tactics does your team use to engage with relevant personas? 
  • What does a typical day for an enterprise SDR look like?
  • What's the average number of touchpoints in a mid-market prospecting sequence?

Driving a high-performing SDR team

Our next speaker is Gabrielle “GB” Blackwell, the co-founder and co-host of the Women in Sales Club, Senior Instructor at Elevate (the SDR bootcamp), and Sales Development Manager at Airtable (ex-Gong).

As an expert with huge experience leading SDR teams, Gabrielle talked about how to drive and manage a high-performing SDR team.

The presentation covers her own turnaround story of improving the underperforming team’s quota attainment from 67% to 114% in just a few months (not just once, but twice!) along with the lessons learned. 

See Gabrielle and many other thought leaders talk about sales leadership, sales development, and paving your way to success at Sales Development Excellence - the free virtual conference.

Relevant outbound messaging at scale

Now, let’s talk about something we’re all really enthusiastic about – relevant outreach at scale. To cover this topic, we invited Jed Mahrle, Outbound team lead at PandaDoc (at the time). 

In his presentation, Jed explored the best practices and strategies for relevant outbound messaging at scale – from the process of segmenting prospects to effective warm-up tactics and creative personalization ideas.

The keynote includes some of the proven email templates, cadence examples, as well as effective subject lines you can copy and customize right away.

Data-backed insights on how to write better email sequences for SDRs 

We all probably have our “best practices” and “proven tactics.” But what works for one of us might not be as effective for the others. This is where data science comes in handy. 

Our own Vlad Oleksiienko, the SDR Team Lead at Reply, collected and analyzed the information on how different aspects of cold email might impact its performance. These include:

  • Subject lines: length and letter case, variables, trigger phrases, special symbols, numbers, and even emojis.
  • Email body: number of words and paragraphs, questions, pictures, GIFs, and links.

Explore other aspects of cold outreach with us in more detail and get fresh data-backed insights with Reply Research.

SDR productivity: how to structure your day and daily tasks 

As we move on to the next panel discussion, we have three SDR Leaders from Chili Piper:

BTW, Joey is one of the experts who has recently shared some of his SDR Leadership lessons. Make sure to check that out.

In their discussion, they are diving into the topic of SDR productivity and how to structure your day and daily tasks for maximum output. This includes some time management tips, prioritization practices for organizing your accounts, prospects, and cadences, plus some proven tools (including a ready-to-use spreadsheet template for tracking your numbers).

Future of sales development: AI, automation, no-code/low-code tools

Another exciting topic we covered last year was the future of sales development. To share their opinions, we invited two special guests to our panel discussion:

  • Morgan J. Ingram, Host of the 1UP Formula Podcast and 3x LinkedIn Top Sales Voice.
  • Alex Greer, the Senior Director of Sales Operations and Sales Development at SetSail. Sales leader with deep experience in Sales Development, Sales Operations, and Sales Enablement, Alex is in charge of technology procurement and implementation.

Listen to the 30-minute discussion on what the future holds for sales development, featuring the questions:

  1. How do you think sales development will change in the next 2-3 years?
  2. What will the SDR role look like by the end of the 2020s?
  3. Which sales engagement channels will be the most popular among SDR teams in the next 5 years? 
  4. Will personalized video prospecting and voice calls be replaced by AI-generated 1-to-1 videos and calls or will SDRs still avoid automating these touchpoints? 
  5. With the rise of AI, and based on Forrester's report that customers want to buy products on their own, do you think all interactions with B2B buyers will be AI-driven and automated or will people always need that human touch? In fact, will automation and AI eventually eat B2B sales and sales development?
  6. Which part of sales development should SDRs and sales leaders automate later this or early next year to level up their productivity?

See Morgan and many other thought leaders talk about sales leadership, sales development, and paving your way to success at Sales Development Excellence - the free virtual conference.

WIIFM (What’s In It For Me): keeping your SDR’s interest top of mind

And to wrap it up, we invite you to listen to Brian Hicks, Senior Sales Executive at as he shares his advice on how to keep your SDR's interest top of mind and make sure that they know it. 

With 15 years of experience in relationship-based sales and management, Brian has successfully recruited, trained, enabled, managed, and integrated solutions and teams in IT, Finance, Retail, Public Sector, SLED, Food & Beverage, Service Provider, and Aerospace.

In his presentation, Brian will dive into the best practices for setting goals and ensuring they are met, share tips on how to foster competition within the team, and prioritizing your strengths – along with useful resources to help you put it into practice.

Closing thoughts

To be a successful leader in sales development, you have to always be in the know, aware of the industry trends and best practices. This usually comes with experience. 

But you can still do your best to gain the required knowledge and skills through self-development, by keeping in touch with fellow professionals, sharing experience, and learning from each other.

If you’re looking for a community and thought leadership to help you succeed as a sales leader, the Sales Development Excellence conference is the best place to start.

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