By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
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We were thrilled this last time to talk to Daniil Krets, Account Development Rep at Skilljar, a fast growing SaaS business in Seattle in an episode called, “Life of an ADR: The Highs, the Lows, Challenges and Career Paths”
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Daniil has been successfully in the trenches developing new business. We cover a lot of great points. Here are just a few. I ask him about the evolution of sales for SaaS companies and the evolution of the BDR, the ADR role and what he’s seen.
What’s important in this role is actually being consistent and persistent. You need to have well-designed processes. You need to know your workflows while you need to consistently analyze what’s works fast and make sure it’s a part of your routine.
I ask him what makes a good sales development leader and get his perspective on what would be valuable to get from marketing. I asked him what things in a typical day, typical week keep one from actively selling, that keep one from spending time with prospects. He shares what are some of the biggest culprits and what are his recommendations for how to minimize some of those distractions to help SDRs spend more time actively selling. Plus… a lot more! Listen in and/or read the transcript below:
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Matt Heinz: Thanks so much for joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio. We are here each and every week talking about what it takes to develop a more predictable, scalable sales pipeline from sales and marketing teams across the country. If you are new to the program, thanks so much for joining us. I know we have a number of people that are listening to us live right now on the Funnel Media Radio Network. Thank you so much for joining us in the middle of your workday. Appreciate that very much and for those of you on the podcast, those of you knew, and those of us listening for the first time as well as maybe the 200th time, thank you so much for joining us. You can find this on where all great podcasts are found. And every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio is always available, past, present and future at salespipelineradio.com. We are every week featuring some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing and B2B.
Today is absolutely no different. I’m really excited to have joining us today Danill Krets. Daniil is an Account Development Representative at Skilljar. Skilljar is a fast growing startup here in Seattle. Daniil, thanks so much for joining us.
Daniil Krets: Hey, thanks man. Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Matt Heinz: So I was really excited to have you join Daniil. You’d reached out on LinkedIn and said you were interested in joining and I was really excited because we talked to a lot of people who either are authors that are studying sales and marketing, a lot of people that are really leading large sales and marketing organizations. And a lot of times we talk about what it takes to actually drive pipeline. We talk about what it takes to actually create opportunities and to set appointments and to do just the hard work sometimes the sausage making of sales and marketing. I think it’s taken us way too long to bring on someone like yourself who was successfully in the trenches developing new business in general. So can you tell a little bit about your role and your career so far and sort of where you have focused?
Daniil Krets: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been with Skilljar a little over a year. My background is in business development. I actually immigrated to the States about three and a half years ago. Used to be in channel sales and partner development back in Europe. So when I moved over here I started in sales development for a marketing company here in Seattle called All Star Directories. Did that for over a year and then moved into a full cycle role. And then I wanted to have more of a technical role. So I was moving into a SAS and technology sales. So here I am at Skilljar, been here, like I said a little over a year, a very exciting industry. And I think it’s a great time to be in SaaS sales, and technology sales in general.
Matt Heinz: I would agree. The market continues to be really strong. I remember, I remember All Star Directories very well and think very highly of the team over at Skilljar and what you guys are building there. Talk about what you have seen in your career thus far in the evolution of sales for SaaS companies and the evolution of the BDR, the ADR role and what you’ve seen?
Daniil Krets: Yeah, absolutely. So just in general, the ADR role, I think it’s very business critical and very complex right now. I feel like a lot of the newer ADRs underestimate the importance of the profession and they don’t really use the opportunity to set themselves up for success in their role. I think it’s really complex because right now it’s not only about making calls and sending out emails. A lot of the process has got automated, but I think as we automate a lot of things, they get really complex as well because it’s getting harder and harder to get someone on the phone. There is a lot of noise you need to get through on a daily basis. So I think there is a lot of things that you learn being an ADR and a lot of completely different things you have to be very proficient at to be successful.
So you’ll learn a lot about marketing, copywriting because you send a lot of emails, you’ll learn a lot of business metrics and you need to have a good understanding of how SaaS works, and how SaaS model works in general. You learn a little bit about data analytics because you need to be able to look at your data, specifically analyze your funnel and make sure you understand your conversion rate, connect traits and so on and understand where you have potential for improvement.
You learn a lot about sales automation tools like SalesForce, Outreach and SalesLoft, and so on. So I think the role right now is very business critical and new startups need to pay a lot of attention to investing into sales development representatives because these people are actually on the front line and we’re the ones who started the relationships with the future customers.
Matt Heinz: Talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Daniil Krets. He is an Account Development Representative at Skilljar, a fast growing SaaS business in Seattle. You mentioned earlier, it’s hard to get people on the phone, that the ADR function is more than just sending emails and making phone calls. Talk a little bit about what you have found works today with a busy prospect. What are the channels that work to get their attention? Or is there a sequence of channels and communication that you’ve found to be particularly effective?
Daniil Krets: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m a big believer in a multichannel approach. It’s not only about using one channel, let’s say phone or email. I think you should be using every opportunity to reach an easy prospect. So a cadence of phone, cold emails, LinkedIn messages, social engagement works best right now and it works well, particularly for me. So what’s important in this role is actually being consistent and persistent. You need to have well-designed processes. You need to know your workflows while you need to consistently analyze what’s works fast and make sure it’s a part of your routine. You need to be persistent really because you might have reached out to someone multiple times but never heard back and it might be that in other calls you decide to make that gets their attention. It’s happened to me a lot of times where the contact with say no and I would stay on it, follow up, send over relevant content and in a matter of a couple of months or weeks I would receive a yes and actually schedule a meeting.
I think it’s very important to concentrate on building the pipeline instead of getting a quick win and getting a meeting on the calendar right away. I think a lot of the newer ADRs just give up once they receive a no for an answer and I think it’s important to just stay on it. If you believe in your product and just be persistent and get the message across, finding the right time, the right channel and the right way to reach the prospects.
Matt Heinz: Completely agree with you. The persistence is critical for the role. Sending one email, leaving one voicemail thinking someone’s going to get back to you, is not going to help get your number. I expect though that you have also found that persistence has to be combined with value. That there has to be some reasons, some value added reason for the prospect to take your call beyond just sort of, hey, can I have 15 minutes of your time? Talk a little bit about how you have incorporated the right content, relevant content, whether it’s commercial insights and the challenger model or just something compelling for the prospect that makes it worth their while to get on the phone.
Daniil Krets: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think you made a great point about the value and this is I think what has helped me a lot in my outreach here at Skilljar. We have monthly webinars and produce a lot of relevant content for our prospects. Our target audiences are really different and they’ve been from customer success people to education services, implementation customers, customer success people as well. So it’s really different.
And when I have conversations with people, I always make sure to take the right notes and understand what’s important for them right now, what they’re working on, on a daily basis. And I think the relevance also comes from continuous learning. You want to make sure that you’re the expert in the product first of all, and also in the industry. You need to understand what keeps your prospects awake at night, what they do on a daily basis, what kind of problems they’re trying to solve. And that’s what makes your outreach relevant. And like I mentioned, I think marketing team support is really important for the ADRs. I’ve been working at companies where it was really hard to stay relevant and share relevant content because we weren’t producing as much content as you need to follow up at least on a monthly basis, let’s say. So I think marketing support is really important as well and this is what really helps ADRs to be successful.
Matt Heinz: I’d like to hear more of your perspective on what would be valuable to get from marketing. I think a lot of organizations just feed leads over to sales. And I’ll use the term leads loosely because I think there’s a variety of sort of definitions of whether that’s quality or not. But to do your job, whether it comes from marketing to whether it comes from sales enablement and sales enablement group, just really quickly before we get to take a break, what do you need from marketing, from the organization to be more successful?
Daniil Krets: Yeah, I think it’s really important to be able to target the right people have the right content for a specific persona. So what we’re doing with marketing constantly is meeting and understanding what kind of content we don’t have for specific audiences right now, and what would be helpful based on the conversations that we’ve had this week. So it’s important to be consistent with webinars and building a community of champions for your products. A lot of successful outreach is having the right leads and consistent lead flow, but it’s also about building a community and building a network of champions, because a lot of the conversations happen between specific people and it really helps when you have great champions that you can host on your webinars and invite to events. That’s part of the success with Skilljar, is having really great champions that promote our products as well. That really helps in my outreach, specifically.
Matt Heinz: We’re going to take a quick break, pay some bills, we’ll be back with more with Daniil Krets. He’s an Account Development Representative at Skilljar. We’ll be talking a little more about marketing’s role in helping him be successful. Talk about relationships with others in sales, career path training, and more. We’ll be right back. Sales Pipeline Radio.
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Paul: And now back to Matt and his guest.
Matt Heinz: Thank you Paul. We are here on Sales Pipeline Radio with Daniil Krets. He’s an Account Development Representative at Skilljar, a fast growing SaaS company here in Seattle. And Daniil, as you think about your career path now, I mean you’ve been a successful BDR at All Star Directories, and now for the last year plus ADR at Skilljar, what do you want to be doing moving forward? Is your role to continue to be a quota carrying rapid, just bigger roles, make more money? Do you want to get into management? Like what does that look like for you? And then in the role you’re in today, what are the things you are doing, things you’re learning, experiences you’re getting to try to help you get there?
Daniil Krets: I’ve actually been really successful in this role, so I want to continue and potentially get into sales development, leadership, generating revenue for the company. So I guess part of it is things that I’ve been paying a lot of attention to is generating revenue for the company, creating pipeline planning for these process as well. So I’m thinking my next step would be actually getting into leadership, being an ADR manager or a team lead genuinely just for career growth.
I think this particular role is a great way to break into tech sales. In a lot of startups, ADR are able to move further into their career in sales work. So be it account executive for customer success, implementation, account manager, there is a lot of different paths, and it’s just a matter of understanding what you’ll like to do. Do you like to be customer facing? Most of these roles are customer facing, but in a way there are ways to be in sales orgs and still be less customer facing or more customer facing. And I think generally ADR role is a really good opportunity and a really good role to break into tech sales.
Matt Heinz: What do you think makes a good sales development leader? Someone who’s managing an SDR team, someone that’s managing the sales development process. What do you think makes up both the role as well as attributes of someone who’s successful in that role?
Daniil Krets: I think a lot of it is building the right culture and building trust with your team. Also, what has helped me with the managers that I’ve worked with is less micromanagement and trusting the process, really. Being able to sit down and just analyze my funnel and understand where are the rooms for improvement. I think just building trust with your teams is really important in this role.
Matt Heinz: I agree with that. Talk a little bit about the ideal relationship between someone in an SDR. ADR function, and either the field sales team or the account executives that take those opportunities and move them forward. What do you consider some of the best, most important attributes of that relationship?
Daniil Krets: Yeah. This is a great question. In ADR role, it’s really important to work very closely as a team with an account executive you work with. Had a chance to work with remote account executives here at Skilljar. There are particular challenges when you don’t really meet at the office on a daily basis, but I think that in a way it actually helps you really use the time you have to communicate, build trust with account executive that you work with as well.
For me, the most important is making the relationship with the manager, just making sure you can build that trust. And if you set up a meeting for an account executives, account executives actually trust that you did a good job, and you’re bringing in the right prospects on the discovery call or a demo. I think it’s also really important to set the meeting up for success in this role. You want to make sure that you’ve built the right relationship with the prospect. You know a little bit more than you should so the account executives have more leverage on the first call and more information that the prospect actually provided to you. So as much research as you can do and pass on to an account executive, it really helps set the relationship up for success, and it goes a long way
Matt Heinz: When you think about your day and your week, and first of all Daniil, really appreciate you taking time. I know you could be on the phones right now setting those appointments and making money, but you’re on the program with us today and I appreciate that very, very much. When you think about the things in your typical day, typical week that keep you from actively selling, that keep you from spending time with prospects, what are some of the biggest culprits and what are some of your recommendations for how to minimize some of those distractions to help you and other SDRs spend more time actively selling?
Daniil Krets: Yeah, absolutely. I think time management is actually key in this role. You want to make sure you use the time in the office as effectively as possible. In my case, I always made sure I set weekly, monthly, quarterly goals, and I have them in front of me on a daily basis. I know why I come to the office every day and I plan for the next day today. So basically your day started yesterday. And you work every day to create the pipeline and set yourself up for success. It takes time to build the pipeline and actually consistently hit your goals. So it’s crucial to have to do list ready for every day. Make sure you have enough calls, enough prospects to reach out tomorrow and plan for the next day.
Also with target account, always make sure they’re in front of me. I look at the list on a daily basis. It has to be on the surface and be top of mind for you. It’s really important to make sure that you have a specific schedule. So be mindful of the time zones of the prospects that you’re calling. Make sure you have a specific time that up for cold calling, specific time set up for prospecting, and sending out follow up messages. There’s always admin works that you have to do. You receive lists, new accounts that you have to go through and made sure you to follow up with prospects, so just minimizing admin work, I think what’s important, and what ADR managers should be paying a lot of attention to. Rule one, to be spending our time on the phones, actively selling and trying to get the message across instead of spending time looking at the Salesforce list and so on. It’s really important to make sure that you have a specific schedule and you use your time wisely in the office.
Matt Heinz: I love that answer. We just got a couple more minutes here. Wrapping up with our guests on Sales Pipeline Radio today. Daniil Krets, thanks again for joining us and it’s very clear that you’ve been very thoughtful and prescriptive about your career, your learning, the things you want to do. If you think back some of the people and resources that have been most valuable for you in your career so far, you know they can be managers, they can be authors, they can be speakers, some of the people that you’ve really learned from had been influenced by. Who are some of those people you might identify that you want to highlight for others to take advantage of as well?
Daniil Krets: Yeah, great question. And I think it’s really important for newer ADRs to follow the thought leaders and the sales community on LinkedIn. So I follow the thought leaders on LinkedIn. And I think the sales community in general and a lot of advice is shared on LinkedIn on a daily basis, and it’s really easy to learn and put that into practice on a daily basis. I follow a lot of thought leaders on LinkedIn. I would single out Josh Brown on LinkedIn. I think he shares a lot of great content and it’s been really helpful for me and it’s really easy to implement in my daily routine. There’s generally a lot of thought leaders that stand out on LinkedIn and it’s really easy to find them once you start in this role. And it’s also important, I think, at the beginning and when you interview for your first ADR job, you really have a thoughtful conversation with your potential manager. You want to find a person that you want to learn from, a real leader that has been in this profession for a while and you can really just learn from an idea every day.
Matt Heinz: Love that answer. Thank you so much and thanks again to our guest today, Daniil Krets. He is an Account Development Representative at Skilljar. Appreciate you taking time and sharing some of your insights with you.
Well, we are wrapping up here on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. Make sure you join us next week and every week, Thursdays at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. We’ve got some great guests coming up, some new authors, some great new books on sales and marketing strategy coming up with us. If you like this conversation with Daniil and you want to share this with others on your team, maybe share this with your sales development leaders or other SDRs, ADRs on your team, you can find that up on salespipelineradio.com in just a couple of days and we’ll have a highlighted transcript of this conversation on Heinzmarketing.com in about a week. For my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thank you so much for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.
Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel. I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing. If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.