B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

105: Internal & Outsourced SDRs: A Hybrid Approach to Sales Development w/ Elaine Chan


In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to successfully scale and grow your business without the help of outside partnerships. That’s why a hybrid sales development team might be your best bet.

Elaine Chan, former Sr. Director of Inside Sales at Illumio, joins the show to share how outsourced SDRs infuse your inside sales program with a useful diversity of knowledge and skill.

We discuss what it means to have a hybrid team, the advantages and challenges of hybrid models versus employing an internal team, and the most effective usages of a hybrid model.

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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You're listening to BB revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenue acceleration. My name is bolium. With you when here today with Ellen Chan, senior director of insight seals, in fact, the personal of a the opportunity to walk with a couple of time. If I'm not mistaking Alane, I think we had centrify, wh we work together on. More recently illumu. That's right, and how are you today? I'm doing great. Thanks for having me on your podcast. This is exciting, absolutely pleasure. We always speak society the rest of the time about all of the things we are doing and conversion rate and stuff like that. is going to be good to have a little bit more of a site conversation today about I breathe model for as data. That's what we want to talk about today. But before we get into the conversation, would you mind just giving us a little bit of a background about yourself? A name. Absolutely so. I am a Bay Area California native, so I work here in California and really I sort of grew my career in inside sales in the tech be the be space. So I've had the opportunity to kind of do what it is that I do in terms of building up inside sales teams so that we could leverage a team of sales professionals to really build on sales pipeline and revenue. So it's been a two decade career. Find that continue to continues to go strong. Good to decade. Time flies by particularity when the when we are looked at him. If there's a less joe was was going so quick. So you've been leaving thirt's development team for two decadors, you mentioned. So have a lot of experience in managing in town old people and as well as external people. So first of all, before we get into the must do must not do, what's your definition of Ibread team? So I would define the hybrid team as really leveraging and extending what is normally kind of your full time employees into kind of leveraging partnerships. Right, I think, if anything, that I've learned in the, you know, span of my career. Things are always changing and the more diversity that you bring intear in sight sales programs, the the more scale that you can develop for success. Right, especially in technology, it is so rapidly changing that your tactics need to evolve very quickly. Messaging needs to continue to grow as fast as the market changes and the more street on the the more feed on the street, the more knowledge that you have from different pockets of expertise, the better you can navigate and grow and change and evolved. Yep, that makes sense. So from your experience, and we know that you you've been a we took about a bread team that we'd be able to complement each other up pretty well. Are we talking about people that we'll be doing inbound response management and also outbound and it would so. Insight sers is that he's at the full Cucolo is that? Is there anything of the missing in that? I read model. I think it could mean a lot of different things for different companies. Right, in the different companies that I've worked at, I've used kind of a hybrid model or I've used internal versus external resources differently. So, for example, you know, earlier in my career it wasn't as popular to use third party resources. They weren't as available as I feel like the market has now has really opened up for inside sales, and so there's a lot more companies today that offer these types of services then,...

...let's say ten fifteen years ago. We're really the only service that you could leverage from a hybrid perspective was use a third party to get appointments and just get in the door. What I have seen evolve over time is really specialization that allows you to leverage third parties beyond just appointment setting. You can and almost use them and almost the best practices to expand your existing infrastructure through a third party to get more reach and get more scale and, you know, treat them as an extended part of the internal ecosystem. Yeah, I think. I think that makes sense and we definitely felt that way when we walked with you, in fact a record at some point we were kind of a fix like almost like the the end on the hole in the bucket, because you may have someone that has been Mataiti leave all, whatever it would be, and you just need someone to do a short term replacement, as well as potentially when you function or we will doing it that way, but we're thinking about doing it this way. We all really know to get going quickly can you guys govern that? But so that makes perfect sense. So he is. That's what would be the best scenario to to deepray and I break team from your perspect even experience in which, in which way does it work the best? What with other snail that you need to be into? Yeah, so, you know, I think where I've leverage third party or like a hybrid model, I've actually done it several different ways and including what you shared. You know, there may be times where you need coverage because of changes on the team. I've experienced situations where, you know, with product launches, you need to do a special form of messaging and really do a bit more kind of thing ink tank research, so building out a special campaign and a special team to help figure out how to build that out before you invest a lot of that time into building up an internal team. Leveraging third parties to do things very quickly at scale and to really help with messaging that hasn't necessarily been proven out. That's been an area that I think a third party has really lended their expertise. You know, I've actually also done some interesting things where working intech there's a lot of channel based business and you know, sometimes when you're just building up that channel based programs. There's not necessarily an opportunity to have an internal team work special call campaigns. But really leveraging a third party to do joint channel programs is allowed insight sales to scale beyond what an internal team has the capacity or the time commitments to do. So that's another area that I've seen leveraging third parties really built scale. And then really, lastly, I think there are many areas at which language specialization is required and having a full time employee cover an area that requires that can get very expensive building that internally. So leveraging a third party allows you to really get the scale and all so that specialization that's needed in certain cockets of the world that require specific languages. Yes, it's true. We've been cutting in the seeing a few people for you in the best, yes, lung, which quis it but which is great. You can. This is one of the value if for one if ty you can get two languages. You know, that's that's that's value. So that that's what we that's actually what we will praying nails for as one of a USB talking about tour that. So if you want to speak about pros and cones of inside valsus outside, and I guess you know for you clearly the best word is a bit of both. But there is clearly present rones on both sides. So let's start with the inside team. What would be, from your perspective, to pros and cones of just bringing everything and doing everything in house? Yeah, I think...

...there are kind of pros and cons for for everything really. But you know the pros of having an internal team you know you can cultivate and truly have and you know a team that is interlocked with the company success. Right typically in Tach you know people join exciting startup technology companies because of the equit equity opportunity to ree a part of a company and so as you build a team you really have their heart and soul poured into the success of the company and so you know that's a great thing. As you cultivate and internal team is you have that commitment and that you know, the blood flows with the passion to really help that company be successful. But you know there's also the contuit in that it takes a lot of time for management to build and train and develop and scale that team and sometimes you don't have the time or the scale to do something like that, and so they're there are often opportunities where leveraging a third party to move very quickly, you know, especially for startup companies that are just getting started to figure out what that longer term scale could be. And so you almost can start with an outsource company and then eventually bring things internal as you determine and establish the rinse and repeatability of what sales development does. Yeah, I agree with your I think the to be that I've been discussing fumons recently and you are the perfect Posson to discussage with because, as you say, you're bought and bread in the bay area. You know, been walking in that space and for a far amount of time. Is the lack of tenant you know, or maybe the the lack of tenants Y, let me put a positive spin on that. The the amount of demand, because I think, I think the off is Der Fund. Your firm may have grown of all time, but, as you know, we started our business of poetics, who are based in sons, a down town and knows, a at the bottom of some Pedro Square, fantastic nation, great spot. Absolutely could go forth to fresh beers after after our shifts at work, which is always, always, always lovely. But yeah, we had to stop it because two issues. First of all is that getting talent was competitive and difficult. So you had, we had to kind of we had to focus on recruiting people who have the right profile versus the right history, because technically we get people are really early on that career, did not really know what they want to do and there is a risk with st because they starting beyond two weeks later, they don't like it. They saw that they would like it, but they don't like it. And then the other thing that it was quite all these people who start to become good and literally the promotion within spree months, you know the one. You have instruments time, or they want to start their own company or we had some guys start in your brewery, not for long, you probably did for two weeks, but there is a sort of mindset of really entrepreneurial people and we found it extremely difficult. Not like we don't, we didn't finally, we finally difficulty. We found the difficulties in the loyalty of the staff and being able to wait, and so the difficulty was more in you having some sort of consistency. Okay, what's your views on that? I mean you, because most of the team have been boot into Bayario. Of you had defculte's have who expiens that you can becoming more defect more challenging. You know, I think it's always been a challenge, right. I think finding talent is always the hardest challenge and you know, any role in any position, right, it cost a lot of money to find the right talent, to retain them and to develop them. In the bay area there certainly is the you know, is...

...a big demand for you know hungry, you know smart intelligence, passionate sales people. And but I would say in the time that I have been doing what it is that I do, I have seen this role really expand to other pockets of the country and of the world. Right, you'll you kind of know as an inside sales leader that there are certain areas that are hot spots for for good talent. You know, Utah's been building up. I've had a team there. You know, Boston's a big hug for inside sales. You know, they almost find a lot of tech companies and insight sales hot spots kind of build up because when there's the demands and there are, you know, always newer graduates from college that want to get into technology, you want to get into sales. There's talent, but it moves so quickly that you need to be quick at finding the right talent, building them up and, you know, having that career path to drive them to continue to invest in, you know, the company and to build that career with you. And it does get very challenging, which is sort of why having the third parties coming to help with that coverage as you're going through the ebbs and flows of, you know, team development, having a third party be a hybrid part or an extension of that team just kind of build that consistency. Yeah, yeah, we we. That's kind of technically we've done exactly what you which you just describe, and you are thinking about potentially opening on a or Sino in North America. Particular. In Europe we have wrist so of that tissue. So in Europe what we've decided to do is to get out of the hub, because if you get into a island or Barcelona where there is lots of native speakers, what we've seen doing is that, or what we've seen happening is people so let's say you are Russian. Are you are from the Middle East, which are too longer a reatively difficult to get back by that sort of board. The Russian guy would be in island. So there is my gfeed. There is, let's not mention any even though, but there is like five or ten cyber security vendor, end point vendor, of big names around there and the same guys. We'll go from one company to the other every six months with the same work, retail increasingly sorlary by five dainting in German and literally eighteen months later come back to the first place and start a cycle again. Yeah, during the same job and just getting more money as time goes by because you know the same recruit or plays them and people are fighting for for the shortage of languages. So what would you say you to do in the UK is to is to sell source of London, where we don't have a lot of competition around us. So it's very unique what we are playing and and that's fine. But in the US we started in in Texas, so in Dallas, when you did not have a lot of companies that we're doing what we are doing in Dallas, but they all pay now the competition is spills. So we've got we've got we've got a bit more of a difficulty to recruit because there is lots of competition in recruitman getting people out of Hunim city like that. But again, one of the great news that we we we came to, we discovered last year, unfortunately, with with Covid, which is not a good news, is the fine that we can become a complete invisible organization. People can work from home, a concept that myself I was not too clean on. I wanted my team to be. It is on to feel the atmosphere. So we still have a good part of the team that are in the office, but it kind of open up the horizon in some of the people that you could get to join the team and open up to new to new places, potentially to get to get newcomers coming in. Moving on to the outsource model, what what have been the shortcoming that you've seen from our source in the difficulties that you added any by all mean feel free to discuss about some of these. You counts you may have. I'd walking with a such a bootics as well,...

...because you know, we have to be when as into the point and I'm sure that you know when we have a difficulties, we work together to to to welcome them. Yeah, but you what I think? I think that most difficult part is sometimes there's a misconception that when you leverage a third party that you can just hire them and sort of set it and forget it, and the reality is you cannot write the the care and feeding that you would typically put into an inhouse team. You still need to do a lot of that. You know, training the team, having ongoing cadences to be sure that there's a good flow of expectations and you know that as objections and new situations arise, that that that require the vendors expertise to teach and and improve kind of the messaging. There needs to be a tight in a very close relationship with with the outsourced agency, and so I think that's probably the the one challenge is really knowing and committing to providing the time and the coverage to help support that agency to be successful right to be a part of of the company. I think that's one of the challenges that oftentimes come up is that learning curve of understanding how much you do to to put towards the care and feeding of a third party. I think the the other challenges in a hybrid model you have an internal team and you have a external team, building up the right culture so that, you know, a little bit of healthy competition is always a good thing, so that that's a positive but also creating that healthy dynamic of competition and making sure that operationally, if you're going to leverage a third party and the inhouse team to cover inbound leads, how do you do that? Or if you're doing an inbound versus outbound model, the the conundrum that most inside sales leaders come about is if someone is spending their time trying to break into a target account and then all of a sudden there's an inbound lead for that target account. Did that come as a result of that person's heavy lift of really trying to break into that account? So building out that structure so that you could really have clean lines of division of Labor, it takes time and it takes kind of that operational commitment to be sure that you can divide and conquer appropriately with the internal team in the external yeah, it's not impossible. It just takes time, coordination, collaboration between your ops people and you know, the inside sales team and that work around with the agency. Yeah, now, I think that that makes plfit sense in dumb, dumb of the the first pointed stuff. It was actually the second point. It actually a best party that we do more and Moise to actually mix the team together and and and get people to actually have a little bit of that healthy competition as you mentioned. So yeah, it's need to make sure that we compare uple with apple, because it's actually quiet prayer that we operate in the same way as our clients would operate. So in most of the case our clients team with get kind of the inbound the people coming in and sharing interest. So it's more of a development troll, if you will. Well, they may use US more for the Abas type of things that there can be selling and the practice them, but we still find a way to get into account and we find equivalent to to two other sort of flecty competition and getting the team to meet with each other when we can. Of course it run but even if it's a zome goal getting to know each other and we've got some fantastic program where usually the internal team were often more knowledgeable on us because they spend more time in training because, as I mentioned, they do the developments roll rather than the practive role. There are more indepth with the products that are closer to the prospect need from a personal perspective.

So we can actually get a ton of information from them and also of war story that can help our peractive practive team to be successful. But then they're also very interesting. Is Interesting to see, as you mentioned, sometimes the practive team go out but you don't really get this success from the front. You red you got books from an inbound because of people you've been touching. So yeah, it's about the fantasies in Boltont and and when we've good the team walking together on it, thinking and that competing with each other, it's the best pussy aboard way to make it work. I think that's a really important part point that you make, because in the different ways that I've worked with third parties and even in the different ways that I've worked with operatics, from company to company or even within the company, we continue to evolve and change the dynamics of the team to to grow faster, and so you know, I can say like it Allumia, we started off having operatics help out with some of the inbound coverage because we had had some internal changes in the company and, you know, later ended up shifting into reversing the model as we built up that internal team to then be ready to take more of the inbounds and then leverage third the third party, or leverage operatics in this case, to really focus on some of the target accounts to really help us get into the companies that we had a hard time getting into. And so that fluidness of being able to Morphin evolve that relationship is key and it comes in forms of also connecting the different team members, and so one of the natural things that I saw happen is, you know, a good example is in our Europe operation patients. We tie our internal reps and the operatic seem very closely. So when we're doing our weekly meetings, we've got representatives on the internal team and operaticts working together to share their experiences and to help each other out on accounts that, you know, may need a little bit of team working on. Appreciate that and yeah, it has been working pretty well and that's the thing you want. I think, from the sub partic perspective, what we want to make sure we provide that flexibility. Yes, and it's easy to bring flexibility to coming back to the first point, you mentioned some of the kind of what we be do. Tips to get the most out of your your your outsource or yourself party. You mentioned the finds. You know you need to do a bit of and olding. You know you need to help them to get going and as particularly true when you do a practive campaign. Unfortunately, I think it's so that the market has shifted, but there is lots of companies that are technically competitors of operatics and must be very desperate for business because they go out there and say, you know what, we will work for free and you need pay us when we get reserves. That's all good, but when you work in sales, it's like if yourselves guys were coming to yeah, preference, that's okay, I don't need the basic salary. You just pay you when I close a deal, the good sales gay room come, you know. So that's that's the but unfortunately that's sort of men enterity as acted against that. That statement that you made. Were people think that sub party can be like a disposable assets. You just get them. So again, I'm gonna plug them just guys seems to have a bit of experience the walk with a part of my competitors. The must have released. All right, of you go, guys, and if it doesn't work and see you in amounts time. If it doesn't walk, don't contact me, but if it doesn't walk, gonna Tell meate you. We don't see a lot of clients doing that, but we've seen. We definitely see a little bit more for a commoditization of the way people manage their relationship with subparty. And it's funny because it's walking both way. so much quicker than ever to win a new contract, to get someone to say people make...

...quick decision, but they're also making decision to tell things off. It's for some reason. You know you have a bad record, a bad amounts, but unfortunately in the video space there is a lot of fact I can influence a bad record, but mounts and but yeah, and I think I know that working with you and it's probably because you've done the job yourself. Unfortunately, we've got lots of people who are managing team that that may not have done the job themselves right. I'll gotten when they were doing the job. So they forgot the challenge survey. You would made a point earlier that triggered a thought in my mind instrums of working with third cardy agencies, and that thought was also not only does the relationship that you have with an out source entity require kind of that that teamwork and collaboration, but I think one of the things that I have found is leveraging and outsource agency to be a partner in planning and overcoming some of the growth challenges that a company might have. There's a breath of experience that agencies bring because they work with so many other companies, that when you go to them with some of the challenges that you have, they can really help create creative ideas on how they can help solve some of those, you know, pipeline development or growth strategy challenges. Yeah, yeah, I agree with you. We we try to do all this that. I think there is a few aspect. There isn't aspect on aspect on messaging there because you've got to add up your Miss Age and and I think it's it's interesting to get that world way view. What's walking in France is if with something that walks in California works with a prospecting Buston on New York, met Aria. You approachum in the same way. So it's about it's about the adaptation and we try to keep it out of data around that it's always moving. In particulars jol things have evolved a lot. I know that we we were speaking at some points and we were trying to help our clients to understand the word to focus in the US, because we had some stays that were completely shutting down at the beginning of covidence and was out was still in. Takes US things. What I kind of going sounds will just like still going, while California and New York was much more difficult to the business at some point. So we're trying to keep up like a hit map of where we should focus or not. But yeah, we try to provide it inside. Now I think the last question that I've got for you really a ladies you know, if it was too if it was to do it all again, with all the things that you've learned over the the last twenty years of managing inside and an outside team, what would you say is the model that you would come to? And when I say the model you would come to, I'm talking about you know you will be an organization, expressive, a termout of inbound, probably an organization. It is between the US and Europe. If that a pack, so that potentially some languages. So if you had to just take everything from all your learning, how would you manage the whole thing and how would you deploy internal versus external? Yeah, I think number one I would focus on keeping my plan as simple as possible, because if I make it too complex, it really becomes a nightmare to manage. And so we are have found the best blend is into areas. Number One, leveraging third party resources to break into those regions and those territories that I explained are oftentimes difficult because you need that language specialization. There is in my career have not been able to build that global scale without leveraging third parties because you just don't have the cost advantage of hiring full time employees that...

...you know are needed in the vast coverage of languages internationally. The second area that I would really lean on is leveraging the third parties in areas where I am trying to break into net new accounts. That is very challenging and difficult to break into, and part of that is with account based programs. You can be smart about targeting those accounts, but there's also times that it's very difficult to just put an insight seller and have them cold call their way through. Leveraging third parties that do have their ways of also bringing in the relationships they have with some of those target accounts actually open up an opportunity that I wouldn't have been able to do organically with my internal team. So those are two great ways that I have kind of seen the unsurpassed benefit of leveraging a hybrid model in The Times that by have leverage companies like operatics. Good. What else wants? Thank you so much for your insight today and I was great. If anyone wants to connect, tease you and other conversation discause discuss some of the stuff that's you. You mentioned to there was the best way to get in order of you. Absolutely I always love kind of sharing my my craft of insight sales with other like minded folks, so you can find me on Linkedin. I can be easily found, I think linkedincom in Ey Chan. Okay, perfect. Well, it was an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast today, so thank you very much for all time in Ordine said. It shows us. Thank you. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to BEDB revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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