Amplify10 was formerly known as Featurewave

Fireside Chat: Building Your BDR team w/ Katherine Andruha (Scale Venture Ptrs)

Join Joe Parlett and Katherine Andruha in this conversation about building out your BDR team. Do we do this in-house? Do we outsource? When is the right time to build out this critical function? Plus, how to Define Success for this team.

Joe Parlett:
Hi everyone. I’m Joe Parlett, CEO and co-founder of Featurewave, and I’m here with Katherine Andruha, and Katherine is joining us today for our Fireside Chat Series. And today’s topic will be building your BDR team. Now, Katherine, for those of you who do not know Katherine, is an extraordinary revenue leader and really understands … What I love about Katherine, she really understands the importance of having marketing, sales, demand gen, working in harmony and how to get them to do so.

I had the pleasure and honor of working with Katherine at Apttus, and I’m really happy to have her with us today and she’s going to help us figure out how do we set up this critical function within our business.

And one other thing, for those of you who haven’t seen it recently, Katherine also wrote and had an article published on MSN recently, which talks about the eight critical tips to getting your BDR org set up in Europe. So important to do that and you can read her tips on how to do so.

Featurewave: Your Intelligent Assistant

Quick commercial on Featurewave 15 seconds. What have I been up to? I’m co-founder of Featurewave, which is an AI driven sales co-pilot on Salesforce, which addresses this very challenging situation. Teams are overwhelmed with too much information, sales teams have too much information, too many systems to figure out how to navigate, and it’s simply overwhelming.

So we created the Featurewave intelligent assistant to address this very tricky situation, and it gives just in time intelligent guidance to the seller within Salesforce, wherever they are in their selling journey.

We’re not here to talk about that today though. Today, Katherine’s going to help us figure out how do we build our BDR team. Katherine, thank you for joining us today.

Katherine Andruha:
Thank you for having me. I’m going to have you as my walkout song every time I need to be presented. That was such an amazing entrance so thank you so much for that, Joe. And it’s been such a pleasure working with you too in the past and even now with Featurewave,

The Synergy Between BDR and SDR and CRM

I think what’s really unique about our partnership here and why we’re talking about BDR teams I think is super important is that also your tool for any SDR that’s working in the CRM system just makes them even more efficient and more skilled in speaking with your prospects.

So if anything, it’s a symbiotic relationship as well. So excited for your journey through your new product.

Joe Parlett:
Yeah, thank you. It is very exciting. And part of that, part of what we’ll be doing at Featurewave and we’re sorting out right now is building out the BDR team. And a big decision that we’re making is do we do this in-house? Do we outsource? When is the right time to build out this critical function? Very critical to maximizing your sales success.

When to Build Your BDR Team

And so as far as the BDR function goes, how does a company know when it is time to build out this critical part of the selling function, the selling business?

Katherine Andruha:
Yeah, I think it’s really important to actually look at where the business wants to go.

There’s a couple of key indicators that will drive you to making that decision in the here and now. But before you go implementing any process, I think it’s important to look at your go-to-market strategy and where you anticipate your company to be in 12 months, in 2 years or in 3 years.

Because the worst thing that you can do is overhire an SDR org and then start making cuts, which I’ve seen a lot of companies do if they’re mismanaged or not organized or there’s not a strategy put in place first.

So I always recommend to everybody take that extra 30 days, roll out that strategy, run it by a couple of key stakeholders, and just gather that feedback, take that time initially, because building that foundation to this house, whether it’s in-house or outsourced, is going to be critical to your success and how you roll out this plan.

So take that time initially to really do that investigation, and kudos to you, Joe, and your team, to even start thinking about this at this moment in time. This is part of building out this foundational process.

Looking at Your Numbers of Sales Development Reps

So some of the things I always try to look at, and these are key questions that you can ask yourself during these go to market strategy sessions, is how many account executives do you have now?

Are they inundated with outbounding on their own, that they need help building pipeline outside because they have so many deals in cycle that they’re working through?

So you need an outbound team to help generate net new logos for them because they’re busy trying to close deals, which is what they should be doing.

Analyzing MQL Numbers to Determine When to Build Your BDR Team

Do you have too many MQLs coming in from your marketing organization that, let’s say some of your AEs were following up on before and now you need FDRs to follow up on those?

You don’t want those to go stale because that’s building pipeline as well. Or is there not enough inbound MQLs coming in from your marketing team because they’re more focused on brand ambassadorship and you need some new outbounding strategies to take place too?

Ask yourself all of these questions and you’ll be able to really figure out at that point also, what are some of the metrics that you’ll need to look at to be successful? What do you deem as successful as well?

Defining What Success Looks Like Before Building

I think it’s super important to figure out at the very beginning, what does success look like for you and set those expectations. Is it that you’re just trying to capture net new logos?

Is it that you want to use your SDR team for brand ambassadorship? Is it that you want just meetings and open doors? Are you looking for more pipeline or are you looking for more qualified opportunities versus just meetings for open doors?

You really have to decide what you want because I’ll tell you what, there’s a motion for each of those, whether it’s outsourcing or in-house, that you need to decipher and really think about.

Because to switch up SDRs every three months on what the carrot is that they’re chasing is really difficult. And then you’re dealing more with change management than you are success for your organization. So I think that’s pretty important as well.

Who Should Your BDRs Report To?

And that also ties into are they going to be reporting into sales or should they be reporting into marketing? And you have to decide that as well.

My philosophy behind that is make sure they’re reporting into an organization that knows how to build out the SDR process so that they have an advocate for the value that they bring to the organization.

In my experience, it doesn’t really matter who they roll into as long as they have that key advocate to help them drive success. I think that’s really important to take a look at.

What Do You Want Your SDRs to Do?

I also think that it’s important to decide as well, is it that you want your SDRs to just farm? Or is it that you’re trying to break into a new total addressable market?

Because that’s going to be a different skillset for which types of SDRs you’re going to hire, whether they’re in-house or outsource too. And I know it can be a little bit overwhelming, but literally just jotting this down on a sheet of paper and having all of your sales leaders or your marketing leaders in a room and asking them these questions and finding out what everybody is thinking is a really great way to whiteboard, gather feedback.

And this is where that collaboration between the two departments really can create a symbiotic relationship and really break down those walls of what expectations should be for this organization. So I think it’s important as you’re investigating whether to go in or out, those are just some of the things that you should take a look at.

Joe Parlett:
Yeah, that all makes sense, and I think it can be really easy to underestimate the amount of planning that is required to make sure that these programs are successful. There’s so much more to it than just saying, “Okay, we’re going to outsource this, or we’re going to bring this, we’re going to manage this function internally.” There’s so much planning and so much collaboration that is required to make sure that the program is successful. And the other thing that in my experience, patience.

Right out of the gate, it’s difficult to know exactly what to do. What is the messaging that’s going to resonate with the market? It’s not going to be overnight.

Allowing Time to Scale Your Sales Teams

Katherine Andruha:
No, it’s not going to be overnight. And that’s a really good point is you have to give time for these teams to scale.

Even if you’re hiring in-house or outsourcing, you’re going to have to train them, the messaging has to be on point and well tested. So you’re going to have to work and collaborate with your content marketing teams.

And on top of that, Joe, you bring up another really great point. You’re going to have to have all of your systems integrated into your one source of data. So really taking a look at your data to align to what you want your success metrics to be.

Do you want net new logos, but are you asking for net new logos in a whole brand new industry that you’ve never targeted before? That might move a little bit slower, then a market that you’ve already been targeting and you just want to get larger enterprise companies to take some demos with you.

You really have to hunker down and decide for your company what you guys want to have as your main focus.

I think where I’ve seen a lot of SDR teams go awry is really around this miscommunication about what SDR should be doing. And as a leader, it’s my job to really sit down and let everybody know, “Hey, look, this is what sales needs. This is what marketing needs. How can we come together to make this really a fireball of success for your teams?”

Joe Parlett:
Yeah, it takes a lot of cooperation and coordination. Like you said earlier, you need advocates. People need to believe in this, they need to support it, leadership needs to support it, and like I said, have patience with it as well. Because it will pay off, but it’s not going to be tomorrow.

Katherine Andruha:

Deciding Whether to Outsource or Hire BDRs In-House

Joe Parlett:
Okay. Moving on here. We talked about there’s a couple of different options here. We can run this program in this team, build it in-house.

We can also outsource it. There’s a lot of companies that will provide this service. What are some of the pros and cons with considering each option?

Katherine Andruha:
And I’m going to say this, they’re going to rise to the top as you’re going through building this foundation for your company. So as you’ve built out your foundation on what you want, you’re going to see that working with a team that’s in-house can be a little bit easier for you if you have the right tools in place, that consistent training model.

You’ve got somebody on your enablement team that’s able to give time and energy to building an SDR hiring program. You have the right recruiters in place, the right leadership in place that can recruit and onboard SDRs to come in-house.

Because don’t forget, even with outsourcing, and I’ll touch on this too, outsourcing moves a little bit quicker with hiring. They’ve got a gamut of SDRs that they’re working with, whereas with in-house, you’re going to have to go out, farm some of those STRs go through the interview process, expect some of them to not make it through the process or decide at the last minute that they don’t want to come work for you. And that’s okay too.

But you have to have a good interview process in place, a good recruiting process in place, an onboarding process in place. And you’re going to need to understand that with SDRs, they are going to need a leader in place too.

And if you’re planning on having SDRs just roll into your VP of sales, your VP of sales or your VP of marketing is going to be very focused on their strategic initiatives. SDRs need and require a lot of time and energy walking them through processes and tools and navigating what happens if this prospect says this, what happens if a prospect says that?

If you have all of that ready to go or you want to build that, then in-house is the way to go.

Also, if you’ve got a plethora of MQLs that need to be called through, I recommend going in-house and keeping your data in-house as well. Setting up the right mechanisms and SFTC around leads views, and reporting structure, meaning counting through metrics and being able to follow through on a dashboard is much easier in-house.

And pulling levers and making quick changes is very easy to do in-house as well.

However, outsourcing has its pros as well around, look, they can hire SDRs as mentioned super quick, get them up to speed on what your product is, but outsourcing what I will say. And they’re only focused on your organization too. So they don’t have to worry about going to marketing meetings. They don’t have to worry about going to sales meetings. They’re just there to smile and dial. So if you’re looking for quick progression and pipeline builds, outsourcing is the right mechanism for you. I will say this too.

If you’re expanding out globally as well, outsourcing agencies allow you to hire different languages and skill sets depending on if you’re going after a new total addressable market without you having to scope out looking for someone that speaks Spanish, French, or German. Because the likelihood of finding someone that speaks all three languages for your in-house SDR, and you only have budget for one headcount, it’s very unlikely where you can split that budget up, go outsource and get three people that speak those different languages. Something to consider there too.

A negative really around outsourcing is that they’re just super expensive and they’re never really as much as you want to try to be integrating them into your team, it’s hard sometimes for someone that could be A, either sitting in a different time zone. Or B, not interacting with people on Slack.

So to really make that mechanism, and I can talk about this in a little bit too, you really have to integrate them in to see them be successful, setting up those weekly meetings with them. And it can be a little bit awkward. So I’ll say that that could be a negative as well.

In-house negatives is kind of what I did talk about earlier, is you have to have all these processes in place. You have to build it. Outsourcing, yes, you have to build it, but they’ve got their hiring process. You have to build the content and make sure that they’re using it properly. But once it’s built, they’re just turn and burn. They’re calling, they’re using that same content. Whereas in-house, you’re constantly iterating with the SDRs. They’re getting influenced from sales, they’re getting influenced from marketing meetings, they’re getting influenced from their AEs and even from their own SDR managers.

So something to consider in-house, though, I will say is a little less expensive because you are actually creating a career journey for them in the sense that you can promote them up, they can grow within your organization, you get a better bang for your buck promoting internally than you do externally hiring.

So I’ll say that there’s definitely some pros and cons to both. I’ve done both before. I’ve even done in-house and had outsourcing for the team as described.

Integrating Outsourced BDR Into Your Sales Tools

Another con though, to outsourcing that I will say is that you really have to have them integrated into your tools. You’re going to have to give them access to CRM. You’re going to have to provide them with the same reporting.

Some outsource agencies that I have worked with do their own outside reporting and don’t want to bring it in. And that’s where I get a little bit weary on, well, why can’t we just have them adopt what we’re doing over here so that they have some mechanism to be integrated with the organization?

So stay really on top of how well their team can be integrated into your team, and whether or not that SDR manager that you’ve created in-house can actually manage that outsource agency.

I’ve seen many times VPs of marketing and sales say, “We’re going to outsource this” but then they don’t have the time to manage the outsource process. And then they’re upset that they’ve spent this 12 months of pay on this outsource agency and they didn’t get what they wanted out of it, but it’s because they didn’t stay on top of it and they needed to really be involved. You still have to be very, very involved, I would say more so with even outsourcing.

So keep that in mind that it’s a lot easier to sometimes message your internal employees than outsourcing allows you to do so. So that’s another thing that you really have to be on top of is how much time you’re going to have to give to that outsource agency as well.

Joe Parlett:
Sure. Wow. Yeah. So much to consider. But yeah, at the heart of it is you’ve got to be committed to it and yep, got to be committed to it.

Committing to the Process

Katherine Andruha:
It takes a long time to build these orgs out and to get them running the way you need them to run, especially if it’s your first iteration doing it. It’s going to take 6 to 12 months to see it move as smoothly as you think in your head, you’d like to see it move smooth.

Joe Parlett:
So be committed to it and commit enough time to it as well, give it a chance to work itself out and you can see success.

But yeah, so much to consider. Now, how do you go about constructing the outsource teams. There’s a lot of moving parts. There’s actually even a lot of different roles and functions within trying to develop this arm of the business.

How To Construct The Outsourced BDR Team

Katherine Andruha:
I mean, when it comes to deciding on an outsource agency, I like to interview at least three different ones and get pricing.

What does that pricing entail? And I will say with outsource agencies, it can be a little bit different. Some pay on meetings books, some paid on meetings converted, some pay on logos that you were introduced to.

You have to decide for your organization. Going back to step number one, what’s your foundation for a success metric? What do you need out of them?

I’ve had a lot of outsource agencies that I’ve worked with in the past where they’ll book meetings, but the meeting is not with the persona that I want. So you have to once again, lay out outsource agency. I want meetings with only these two personas, these two titles, they have to be 30 minutes or more. Here are the qualifications, the qualification questions that I’m looking to have answered.

Only if then you get these, should these be considered qualified and deemed payable in respect.
That needs to be completely laid out in your contract with your outsource agency.

Vet it, vet it, vet it. Reiterate that over and over and over again, because I’ve gone through many times in my 15-year career of doing this where they’re like, “That’s not what was stated before.” And I’m like, “Here’s the email. Here’s our contract. This is what we agreed upon.”

So I would say really hone in on what it is that you want out of them. And you’re going to have to also decide what that handoff process is from them booking the meeting to your team. Does it go to the AE manager? Does it go to the SDR manager? Does it go directly to the SDR? Does this go directly to the AE that you have in-house maybe? All of these things are completely needing process and efficiency around, because the minute you lose a lead, that’s pipeline and close one conversion metrics that you could be losing out on.

So super important that you have that structured as well, and that you have a rules of engagement, I will say, to be really important, that you have that lined up so that you and that outsource agency manager can always consistently refer back to.

You’re going to have to get security clearance from your security team to ensure that they have access to your CRM, they have access to your reports, signing NDAs. That is always something, especially now in today’s economy that your legal team is going to require. So prep yourself for that. And maybe they don’t need access to every single tool, or they only need access to certain hierarchies in Salesforce. You can set that up. Very, very important that you align with them on that.

And content and delivery I think is really important. This is what you should be saying. You’re going to have to set up scripts for them, emails for them, different persona sequences. What do they do if this happens? Do you want them just following up on event leads or MQLs? You need to set up that path for them so that it’s very clear and structured and easy.

And I know it sounds super overwhelming, but I promise you the legwork you put in the beginning will allow for a fluid process and allow them to book more pipeline for you. So this is just that foundation. You don’t want to have a shaky house in an earthquake.

And unfortunately if you don’t set this up, you’ll be sitting on a fault line the entire time that you’ve integrated with this team in.

And you want to make sure that once again, you’re checking in. So you want to really ensure that you have a cadence set up with the leader of the outsource agency.

Every day say, “Hey, I’d love a success email sent to me.” If you’re not going to talk to them every day, once a week, talk to them face-to-face. Invite them into your team meetings. Invite them into the marketing meetings. Allow them the opportunity to provide feedback to your teams. “Hey, sales team, this is what we’re hearing on the street. Hey, marketing team, this content is not resonating.”

Really, if you start bringing them in and treating them as if they’re part of your organization, you’ll get more value out of them as well.

Joe Parlett:
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. So as with any relationship, sounds like communication is paramount.

Katherine Andruha:
Yes, exactly.

Communication with Your Outsourced BDR Team

Joe Parlett:
Make sure that expectations are communicated, success criteria for what is the persona that I expect them to have a meeting with. And if it’s not that persona, the meeting doesn’t count.

Katherine Andruha:

Joe Parlett:
And then making them feel integrated with the team because they’re making a lot of observations out there, seeing a lot. So give them a platform to share what they’re seeing out there.

Katherine Andruha:
Absolutely. And I’m going to say this too. I mean, I kind mentioned in the pros and cons too, outsource agencies are not inexpensive. And I get it because they do have this plethora of hiring.

And I will say another pro to them is that you could be working with an SDR through an organization that gets to know your agency or gets to know your business and you can hire them on.

So using those SDRs as you’re trying to build your in-house team, you can hire them on to come in-house for you as well. But they’re expensive because they train. They’re expensive because they’ve vet their people. They’re expensive because they’re providing you with a service.

Don’t forget that. They are providing you with something that’s unique, and it will take them time to get up to speed, so be patient.

Defining Metrics For The Outsourced BDR Team

Joe Parlett:
Makes sense. And finally, what metrics? How do we know if they’re successful? And should the way we measure the team be different if it’s our internal team or the outsourced team?

Katherine Andruha:
I think for the outsourced team, automatically, no matter what agency you work with, they’re always going to provide you with dial counts, connects, emails opened, emails clicked through.

They will, and they should provide you with all those metrics. I would take it a step further and look at conversion metrics.

How many outbound leads did they collect for us, and where did those outbound leads go with the sales team? Now this comes with cross collaboration with your sales organization too, holding them accountable for qualifying those discovery calls and qualifying those meetings and actually moving them through the funnel, not letting them go through the wayside.

So understanding that foundation too, I think is really important.

When it comes to conversion, obviously you’re going to look at closed one, but giving them that time to move through closed one, depending on if it’s SMB, mid-market enterprise, you know that there’s times for that. But what I would really focus on with your outsource agency is how they’re delivering on the contract that you provided.

Are they delivering the net new meetings that you required out of them? Are they booking those meetings with the personas that you needed out of them? Are they living up to the standards in your contract? I think that is super important as well. So having that metric and that dashboard readily available in Salesforce is super important too. Are there more that you want me to elaborate on?

Joe Parlett:
No, that makes a lot of sense. Data, there’s going to be so much data collected or there should be, and we’ve got to turn that data into insights. So yeah, makes a lot of sense. So this has been helpful. Like with most relationships and whether this one’s internal or external, communication, paramount, setting expectations, got to make sure that we’re all in sync and you’ve got to be patient.

Whether it’s internal or external, you’ve got to be patient with the program and you’ve got to be committed to it. I’m hearing that loud and clear. You’ve got to be committed. It’s going to take some time. From the top down, we’ve got to be committed to this team’s success. But if we are, you put everybody in a chance to have a great outcome and the outcomes that we’re looking for, which ultimately is helping to grow the company the best we can.

Katherine Andruha:
Exactly. Exactly.

Wrapping It Up

Joe Parlett:
So Katherine, thank you very much. I do have one question before we leave though. In appreciation for your time today, we want to make a donation on your behalf. So what is an organization that you’re fond of that we can make a donation to?

Katherine Andruha:
Definitely Make-A-Wish. I think it’s important to my heart. It’s something that I’ve always donated to, and I think that they provide those glimmers of experience and happiness to those children that are in need right now, that are suffering.

Joe Parlett:
Yeah, we love that one. Yeah. Near and dear to my heart as well. Thank you for that, Katherine. It’s been a pleasure. Always great seeing you. And we worked together in the past officially with the same company, and I hope that we do it again together soon. I think we will.

Katherine Andruha:
Awesome. Thanks so much, Joe. Appreciate it.

Joe Parlett:
Yeah, Katherine. Thank you.

Katherine Andruha:
Have a good one everybody.

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