Top Resources to Become a Stellar SDR Leader in 2022

Top Resources to Become a Stellar SDR Leader in 2022

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Back in the day, when I started my career as an SDR, I didn’t get much help from my manager. There were no clear ICPs, playbooks, or templates I could rely on. As a result, it took some trial and error to figure it all out on my own.

That’s why, as an SDR leader, I always offer as much support and resources as possible to ensure smooth onboarding and provide regular training for our SDRs.

Yet, I am convinced that any good SDR leader should also use any available means to self-educate and enhance their skills. That is why I’ve been building lists of all top resources to follow. And I am glad to share them with you, fellow SDR leaders.

What makes a good SDR leader?

Regardless of the specialization, there’s a difference between a manager and a leader. 

The latter, as the name suggests, leads the team, participating in the processes like onboarding or coaching, monitoring, and improving the team’s performance. A manager, on the other hand, only manages — sets the tasks and KPIs and oversees their execution. 

Although both roles might be present in your sales department hierarchy, any manager could be considered a leader but that depends on their skillset. 

So, what differentiates a good sales development leader

  • Hands-on expertise — to rephrase the famous saying, those who can do should teach.
  • Effective communication skills so you can effectively get your messages across to the team.
  • Ability to connect with the team, to discover (and nurture) the personal strengths of each team member.
  • Creativity so you can innovate and come up with new approaches and creative outreach tactics (as well as encourage your team to do so).
  • Analytical thinking so you don’t blindly follow the trends, but pave your own way with data-driven insights.
  • Continuous self-education and upskilling, because how can you expect your team to do it if you’re don’t?

That said, it’s important that you as an SDR leader have the access to the best resources with the most valuable and up-to-date information you can learn and implement within your team.

The good thing is that there’s a vast amount of sales resources available online. However, not all of them carry any credibility or offer real value. 

Since we’re always on the lookout for the best sales-related resources, we’ve decided to compile a list of resources we follow and trust, including blogs, webinars, podcasts, newsletters, and thought leaders.

Top resources for SDR leaders to keep an eye on in 2022

Whether you’re more of a visual learner or prefer video/audio format, there are plenty of unique and valuable resources for you to explore. Sadly, there’s even more content that doesn’t carry any practical value for SDR leaders. 

If you’re struggling to find worthwhile resources, here are some of our top picks to consider.

Best sales development leadership blogs

Aside from being a powerful inbound marketing tool, many corporate blogs are used as a platform to build thought leadership and share first-hand information with the community. And I am grateful to every company that strives to add value with their content rather than simply focusing on SEO and traffic. 

Here are some of the noteworthy blogs — aside from HubSpot, Salesforce, and Sales Hacker — that will be useful to sales development leaders specifically.

Gong Labs. If you haven’t heard about this one, do you really work in B2B sales? Gong Labs is THE data-backed sales blog. Known for its in-depth research and spot-on revenue intelligence insights, it also features a ton of articles related to sales management and tips on how to develop and improve your key selling skills.

Clearbit Blog. This blog offers a deep dive into the Clearbit’s features and use cases, as well as actionable SDR tips on how to grow with data (for all the data nerds like myself) and all things B2B sales. While the frequency of the posts might be better, this resource is still a valuable store of insights for SDR leaders, especially those using the platform to source or enrich their data.

Vidyard Blog. Since I’m really into personalization at scale, I follow a few blogs dedicated to this topic. Yet, Vidyard is by far the most interesting one. There are two reasons for that. First of all, it focuses specifically on the use of video content in sales and marketing. Secondly, it puts a lot of emphasis on remote selling. 

Predictable Revenue. The reference book for any sales development professional, Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross, has given birth to one of the most reputable sales development coaching and consulting businesses out there. As a result, the related blog has become a go-to resource for first-hand insights on outbound prospecting and SDR management. 

RAIN Group Sales Blog. You might know RAIN Group for their in-depth research studies or well-known sales training services. In addition to that (or rather thanks to that), they also have a blog that is a collection of the best sales management and sales training strategies, tips, advice, and research.

You can explore the full list of sales blogs I recommend here.

Must-watch webinars for sales development leaders

If you prefer video content, you won’t be disappointed either. Webinars are pretty popular within the SDR leadership community. For example, our team organized 12 online masterclasses over the past year (each one garnering up to 700 registrants).

Here are some of the sales development webinars I’ve personally attended (and enjoyed):

SDR Leader Series: Finding, Growing and Developing the Future of Your Sales Team by Drift is a video course packed with expert advice on how to hire, onboard, and train high-performing SDRs.

Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Sales Plays or almost any other webinar or session by Flip the Script. I will talk about Becc Holland later in more detail, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to recommend the outstanding video content she creates.

How to Build a World-Class Sales Development Team by James Buckley (as well as many other webinars from JB Sales experts). These are some of the most comprehensive and actionable virtual training sessions out there. 

Scaling Sales: Key lessons from our journey from 2.5M to 7M in 2019 by Cognism isn’t the most recent story, but it’s one of the few really impactful ones I’ve heard for a while with tons of practical value.

Rethinking the B2B Sales Funnel by Sales Management Association focuses on the current trends in B2B sales and buying processes. This webcast (or many others offered by this organization) is an exceptionally valuable resource for any sales leader.

Find more webinars I’ve enjoyed recently here.

Noteworthy sales leadership podcasts

In case you don’t have an extra hour to sit and watch a webinar, podcasts might be an option. You can listen to them on the go: during your commute, while jogging, or doing chores. Here are some of the podcasts to add to your playlist.

B2B Revenue Leadership hosted by Brian Burns. The show is focused on leadership in the B2B space and covers the most modern and scientific approaches for driving revenue. Make sure to check out the episodes on finding and hiring the best people in less time, selling complex solutions, keeping your team on target, etc.
Rating (on Apple Podcasts): 4.5 ⭐️; Episodes: 97

Sales Lead Dog by a sales process expert Christopher Smith. The podcast features talks with exceptional sales leaders, including ​​Dale Merrill, Andy Paul, Joe Paranteau, Blake Morgan, and Sally Duby, on how to “become the alpha, lead their pack.”
Rating (on Apple Podcasts): 5 ⭐️; Episodes: 71

Sales Leadership Podcast with Rob Jeppsen focuses on tactics and practices used by the best sales leaders to drive head-turning success. What I love the most is that the episodes feature experts from the leading tech companies, e.g., Revenue.io, Showpad, Hired, Tidal, CrunchBase, etc.
Rating (on Apple Podcasts): 4.8 ⭐️; Episodes: 181

Purpose-Driven Sales with Josh Sweeney and Taylor Barnes. The podcast features bite-sized talks on the “challenges of sales leadership” along with ideas and solutions to address them. As a sales leader, you might be interested in the episodes dedicated to team culture, training hacks, weekly one-on-ones, etc.
Rating (on Apple Podcasts): 5 ⭐️; Episodes: 52

Sales Code Leadership Podcast with Kevin Thiele. The sales leaders discuss what it takes “to get to the top and stay there” while focusing specifically on the technology sales sector. Among the guests are Christen Smith (Flock), Nick Shaw (Brightpearl), Penny Orme, Claire Thomas, and others.
Rating (on Apple Podcasts): 5 ⭐️; Episodes: 43

Explore the full list of 320+ sales-related podcasts in our Podcast Library.

Sales industry thought leaders to follow

You know, I’m kind of a thought leader myself 😁. At least I’m trying to be one, sharing some of my own observations or research on LinkedIn and Substack. But I also follow a few dozen fellow sales development leaders for inspiration. So, if you want to be clued into the current trends in sales development, here are some names to be aware of.

 

Becc Holland, CEO & Founder @ Flip the Script. Becc has a proven track record in some of the tech companies I am a fan of, e.g., Gong, Chorus.ai, Sendoso. Another reason to follow her is the fact that she is one of the evangelists of personalization at scale and a cold calling expert.

 

Collin Cadmus, the renowned consultant and advisor, 2x VP of Sales (Aircall, Doctor.com). Over his 10 years of experience building SaaS sales teams, Collin has hired and trained more than 300 B2B salespeople, generating over $50M in recurring revenue and over $300M in exits. 

 

Gabrielle “GB” Blackwell, the SDR Leader at Airtable (ex-Gong) and Cofounder of Women in Sales Club. One of the LinkedIn Top Sales Voices 2021, Gabrielle is also one of the trailblazers I personally admire because of her leadership principles and philosophy (which she shared during the webinar we co-hosted a few months ago).

 

Josh Braun, the Founder of Josh Braun Sales Training, former Head of Sales at Basecamp. Josh is the sales prospecting guru that explains the most intricate aspects of the sales process in plain English (which might be especially interesting to non-native speakers).

 

Jed Mahrle, Global Manager of Outbound Sales Development at PandaDoc. Probably the youngest SDR leader out there, Jed is managing a team of 18+ reps and sharing his journey on LinkedIn. He is also my fellow Substacker running The Practical Prospecting Newsletter with 4k+ subscribers.

 

Sarah Brazier, Senior Account Executive at Gong, Advisor, and Coach. Don’t be surprised to see an AE on this list. An SDR Leader should have a good understanding of the whole sales process, not just the prospecting part and Sarah provides a ton of insight on how to ace every stage of the journey, from cold calling to closing.

There are more inspiring SDR leaders to follow on this list.

Online events for SDR leaders

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve all been deprived of in-person networking and live meetups. However, this has also resulted in an impressive number of virtual events (which I personally appreciate because I don’t want to spend 2-3 days on travel when attending a one-day event in the Bay Area).

Here are some of the sales development events I’ve enjoyed recently or am planning to attend this year.

Sales Development Excellence was the first virtual event of such scale held by our team at Reply. As one of the moderators and speakers, I can assure you that you won’t find any product pitching or empty talks there. What you will find are actionable insights and first-hand knowledge from sales development leaders (including some of the thought leaders mentioned above).

The Tenbound Sales Development Conference is one of the few conferences that fully focus on sales development. The one-day event is the place for VPs, Directors, and Managers of Sales Development to learn and network, packed with presentations, fireside chats, and panel discussions with leading sales development experts. 

Generation Revenue is the two-day conference held by Clari in 2021. Although there are no dates yet for this year, the previous event was truly informative with a number of talks dedicated to revenue operations and leadership, from building remarkable teams to their alignment and instrumentation.

Think Outside the Script is another must-attend event for hands-on sales development leaders. Hosted by Jason Bay from Blissful Prospecting, last year’s so-called “virtual tour” featured talks on prospecting, outreach, psychology, hiring, leadership, etc., with 42 thought leaders and industry experts.

Sales Confidence is an online sales community that holds regular free and paid events for SDR and sales leaders. These range from inspirational 7-minute talks and local networking meetups to full-fledged conferences and even awards honoring top SDR and SDR Managers.

Here’s my list of notable sales development events to keep an eye on.

Interesting sales development newsletters

For those who want to get regular updates “from the trenches” delivered right to your inbox, I have something for you too! Although not as numerous as webinars or blogs, there are several interesting newsletters you should subscribe to.

Decoding Sales Development is my own project where I (semi) regularly share my own experience, creative outreach hacks, or proven tactics for cold outreach and SDR email writing. As the name suggests, I am trying to “decode” what it takes to succeed in sales development. 

Practical Prospecting is the Substack newsletter by Jed Mahrle. Although the content is gated (available only to paid subscribers), it’s worth every penny, offering first-hand learnings and proven tips from Jed himself.

The SDR Newsletter is the resource from the go-to sales development community SDR Nation. The newsletter delivers fresh tips, tactics, tools, stories, and more for SDRs to book more meetings.

Bonus: Reply’s sales glossary

One of our recent projects aimed at helping SDR leaders with staff onboarding and training. While you might be aware of what BANT, ICP, or SQL means, your new hires, especially entry-level ones, might not have the knowledge of sales-specific slang. This is where our Sales Glossary with 320+ terms, acronyms, and initialisms comes in handy.

Wrapping up

According to John C. Maxwell, “Leadership is influence.” Yet, being able to influence other people doesn’t make you a good leader. So pay attention to what kind of impact you’re making on your team.

Lead by example: Stay up to date with the industry trends (but don’t follow them blindly), grow your expertise in the field, share your knowledge with your peers and your team. 

Just like having a good SDR leader can help your team perform better, an inspired and motivated team can help you become a better leader.

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