It’s the 16th episode of Meaningful Conversations with Revenue Leaders – No fluff. Meaningful conversations only.

For the past 10 years, Tobias has been helping tech companies build powerful brands and drive growth.

People, process, and technology are his passions – he brings together talented people, provides clear strategic direction, and introduces best-in-class tools to enable everyone to do their best work.

Today, he joined us at Meaningful Conversations to talk about valuable content, scaling up a business, and sales enablement.

  • 0:00 Tobias’s passions.
  • 3:05 What’s the world-class sales/marketing experience?
  • 6:50 What’s good content for you?
  • 8:04 Favorite way to consume content.
  • 10:50 What’s your last time to download an e-book?
  • 11:38 How do you select among several providers?
  • 15:12 Gated VS Un-gated content.
  • 23:42 The craftiest prospecting method.
  • 28:28 How to talk to people like a pro?
  • 31:55 Why do you need an SDR function?
  • 34:40 The key pillars to build your SDR function.
  • 39:58 Things that excite you in the industry

Highlight 1: What’s most important when scaling up a business?

You can tell apart the companies that say they are customer-centric and companies that really are customer-centric. At the end of the day, every company only exists because of its customers.

Sometimes when you scale a start-up, your different departments and teams might forget where your paycheck actually comes from. In some cases, it comes from the investors. Okay, point taken.

In most cases, for sustainable growth, it should come from revenue, and revenue’s paid by customers. For everything that you do, every decision that you make, you need to ask yourself okay, what do our customers want? How do they look at this? By that, I don’t mean just generic persona descriptions but actually talking to the customers.

Highlight 2: What’s good content for you?

Good content for me is not just content that is well-written, but content that delivers value.

Something that made me smarter – This was five minutes or ten minutes well spent.

I didn’t feel like they were selling something to me. I felt like they just had some good advice, or some stats, or something that I needed there and then. If a company does that on a continuous basis, then I will go back there.

Sometimes it even helps if they do good SEO and I google a certain topic all the time, then this one company will come up. Okay, they’re doing a good job there, both from an SEO perspective but also from generating value.

When it comes to the topic of certain content, it is really good to focus on one topic and one message at a time. I think that would be an important takeaway for me. They make it too complicated. Don’t try to squeeze in too much.

Highlight 3: What role do you think content is playing when buying a SaaS Product?

Content serves as an amplifier for your existing product-market fit.

Product marketing/ product-market fit /a great product is probably the most important thing. That’s what I’m buying from them. If that is not there, then whatever content – however good the content might be, it’s not going to – you’re not going to be able to make up for product gaps or a bad product or market fit.

On the other hand, if you do have that, then good content will serve as an amplifier. It gives me extra confidence that I’m buying from a company that knows what they’re talking about. It will just make you so much more credible.

For example, during the sales process, they always send you relevant case studies, relevant background information. I go to their website; I see they have an event coming up, a webinar, and I’m going to register for this. I see the person that’s going to be my customer success manager talking there and I say oh, this is a really knowledgeable person. It’ll be fun to be working with them.

Highlight 4: What are you excited about in the revenue space in the next years?

I’m more into incremental improvements than really into revolutions. I’m really excited about what’s happening in the AVM space. I think that’s a welcome change from looking at leads, looking at individuals, looking at what’s happening in accounts.

It’s not for everyone but for us mostly selling into the SMB and to the enterprise space where you have most of the time more than one buyer involved, mapping out the buying committee, being able to have a 360 experience for them being on different channels is just something that’s really very helpful.

Besides, it’s really about scaling an operation, improving our product-market fit.

Want to check the uncut full text? Here's your transcript.

Jan: [00:00] Yeah, Tobias, I love to ask these questions because when I scroll, I’m right now on your LinkedIn, I see you’re a member of Revenue Collective. From what I understand what you seem to be passionate about, but what are you actually passionate about, Tobias?

Tobias: [00:13] This is probably a bit of a cliché, but like many marketers, I got interested in the profession of marketing because I just can’t stand bad customer experiences. When I, as a customer, buy something and the way people sell to me or the way people treat me as a customer is not at least an 8 out of 10, then I just get annoyed and I’m thinking okay, if this is what you treat me like, if this is what you treat all your customers like, then why are you even doing this? I’m all about excellence in interacting with people, so buying and selling and doing it in a way that just doesn’t annoy people but leaves you with a good feeling about it.

Jan: [00:27] Yeah, that’s so true. Right when you enter a good restaurant and the waiter’s already nice to you, then you know you’re going to spend more money there.

Tobias: [01:26] It makes all the difference, and it makes you want to come back. It makes you recommend that place to your friends. It really makes all the difference.

Jan: [01:25] It seems a bit like you had an experience when it was particularly good or particularly bad. Was there such a moment where you said oh, my God, I can’t have this; I can’t accept this, I won’t replicate it.

Tobias: [01:41] I have this all the time. Sometimes it’s the small things, and sometimes it’s things pointing at more like structural problems within a company. Some examples that everybody knows is you’re dealing with an airline and maybe you made a mistake or maybe they made a mistake, but just trying to get ahold of them is so difficult or with Deutch Bank, German Railway Services, they used to be notorious for really bad customer service, but they got their act together and actually gotten better. I especially like when companies have a small sense of self-irony when – because that also helps and the customer feels real and it’s perfect. We’re not a big, huge, faceless corporation. We’re people; we make mistakes, too. There’s a couple of good examples in that area. Overall, I’m really happy about just good customer service when I talk to someone.

I just now had a problem with an iPhone case I bought and it was one of the more expensive ones and it broke. I thought well, this is not good. I wrote them, sent them a picture, and they immediately apologized that this shouldn’t have happened. We have a problem with production with this particular model. We’re going to send you a new one right away and problem solved within five minutes. I thought wow, this was nice, really effective. Then also I think from a commercial perspective, if you have this stuff in order and you’re doing this, then your company has potential to grow.

Jan: [03:05] Definitely, so if you would break it down because I assume you’ve thought about this before. What world class marketing experience, world class sales experience gets – or consists for you? I know it’s a bit off track, but I’m curious here, Tobias.

Tobias: [03:24] I think you can tell apart the companies that say they are customer-centric and companies that really are customer-centric. At the end of the day, every company only exists because of its customers. You can never forget that. Sometimes when you scale a start-up from very small to big, somewhere along the way, your different departments and teams might forget where your paycheck actually comes from. In some cases, it comes from the investors. Okay, point taken. In most cases, for sustainable growth, it should come from revenue, and revenue’s paid by customers. For everything that you do, every decision that you make, you need to ask yourself okay, what do our customers want? How do they look at this? By that, I don’t mean just generic persona descriptions but actually talking to the customers. Yeah, that’s something that I try to do.

[04:24] For example, when we do case studies, I really do the interview myself, or at least I sit in on the interview, because when I moderate webinars with our customers. That’s when you really learn about their pain points and why they work with us, the things they like, the things they don’t like. That’s what I really like about marketing, working with the customers to figure out what is it they want from us, how we can help them solve problems. It’s a very helper-oriented way of marketing.

Jan: [04:54] Yeah, that’s fantastic. That’s part of the reason why I started this interview series. I want to read the speech. I want to understand how marketeers or industry leaders feel work and speak. I’m totally in line with you on that. That’s cool. You see the difference, if you truly care about the customer and you’re like nah, not really.

Tobias: [05:15] Yeah, the thing is it’s – I heard this in a podcast this morning. It’s really about – there’s a business rationale there. You’re being nice not for the sake of being nice but you’re being nice and understanding and empathetic because that makes you better as a business. It makes you more aligned with your customers’ needs and what people are buying from you. If you really nail that, if you live by that, then you’re not being nice because of some – I think that blogger called it like a Robin Hood complex. You’re being nice because it’s good for the business I try to live by that.

Jan: [06:50] The Robin Hood of marketeers here, not really Robin Hood. I love the analogy. I think you already segued into a big topic here that we both were speaking about. You are a lover of good content. You have done this at every place you’ve been Your website is stellar. What’s good content for you?

Tobias: [07:23] Good content for me is not just content that is well-written. I take that as granted, but content that delivers value. I read an article or I read whatever else that it is and afterwards, I feel okay, this has made me smarter. This was five minutes or ten minutes well spent. I didn’t feel like they were selling something to me. I felt like they just had some good advice, or some stats, or something that I needed there and then. If they do that, if a company does that on a continuous basis, then I will go back there. Sometimes it even helps if they do good SEO and I google a certain topic all the time, then this one company will come up. Okay, they’re doing a good job there, both from an SEO perspective but also from generating value.

[07:27] There was this type of asset that we talked about –

Jan: [07:32] In your last call, yeah.

Tobias: [07:33] Yeah, in the last call, about something that really delivers value, I think, to a lot of people when you are in the early stages of planning an SDR team. You want to find out okay, how many SDRs do I need to cover that many – that segment and so they offer a calculator. That calculator is embedded in the wider content and algorithm strategies. I thought that was just a brilliant way of doing it.

Jan: [07:59] Yeah, shout-out to Bluebirds. I read as well it’s good.

Jan: [08:04] Definitely shout-out to them. I already spoke to I think their CEO, he hasn’t replied yet but shout-out to the Bluebirds people in Barcelona, I think, made it. That was super good. I agree; you want content that gives you impact, makes you better in your work and so forth. Yeah, great point here. How do you prefer to consume content? There are so many ways right now. We have video what we are doing right now. You can read; you can listen. What’s your favorite way to consume and check out content?

Tobias: [08:41] I can probably answer the other way around, so the content types that I do not normally consume are whitepapers, e-books, especially PDF ones. That seems to be a thing of the past. Maybe that’s just my bias because I tend to ignore them. Whenever I download one of them, you leave your email address, your contact details. You download. You get access to the PDF. You download it; you save it to your desktop, and then it lies there for four weeks until I delete it. I’m thinking okay, I’m going to read this later, but I’m not going to read this. By having this fiction in the reading process that I have to go through this gate, that basically for me defeats this purpose. Content that I like, it’s just very easily accessible. It’s well-written It’s relevant. I follow marketing blogs, some of them. I like analytics websites from consultancy, specialized on e-commerce for example. I listen to a lot of podcasts on marketing, the content that Pavilion, the network that I’m a member of, provides. It’s also very relevant because it’s produced by marketers, by others CMOs.

Jan: [10:50] Great. Curious, when was the last time you downloaded an e-book?

Tobias: [10:12] Actually, so I started this job beginning of the year, and I don’t think I have downloaded a single e-book in this job. That must probably be – I remember the last e-book that I actually read and I thought it was good. That was several years ago. That was an e-book by Deloitte on automation. That was really good. I remember that one but after that one, it was basically okay, these are written by marketers, by copywriters that are probably good at what they do, but they’re missing the point because it’s not really – it’s hard in a long-form e-book to really focus on one thing and it tries to address a lot of different topics. I think that topic content is really good if focusing on one topic and one message at a time. I think that would be an important takeaway for me. They make it too complicated. Don’t try to squeeze in too much.

Jan: [11:04] Drill down to one pinpoint and make it actionable. That’s from university. I love them, Howard Business Review articles, five pages, short content, five actionable points; this is how you can apply management solution or whatever. If we take it back to buying decisions and so forth, how important do you think is good content when making a buying decision like when you’re choosing between two providers and when you are on a buying journey?

Tobias: [11:38] I think it – for my own product, it gives me extra confidence that I’m buying from a company who knows what they’re talking about. Product marketing and product market fit and the great product is probably the most important thing. That’s what I’m buying from them. If that is not there, then whatever content – however good the content might be, it’s not going to – you’re not going to be able to make up for product gaps or a bad product or market fit.

[12:16] On the other hand, if you do have that, then good content will serve as an amplifier. It will just make you so much more credible. Now I’m not even talking about all the SEO aspects of the content. That just allows you, especially as a new brand, to be found and then good SEO content is also getting more and more prerequisite of good paid search. You need to have good content on your website so that Google actually thinks okay, this is the content I can show in connection with this ad.

[12:52] Yeah, there are a couple of examples where we bought SaaS software for marketing purposes and it actually helped a lot that company, also had a lot of good content. For example, during the sales process, they always send you relevant case studies, relevant background information. I go to their website; I see they have an event coming up, a webinar, and I’m going to register for this. I see the person that’s going to be my customer success manager talking there and I say oh, this is a really knowledgeable person. It’ll be fun to be working with them. Yeah, to sum this up, it serves as an amplifier for your existing product market fit.

Jan: [13:35] Yeah, exactly. Then it’s so important, right? You won’t make a decision based only on content, right? If the fit is not there but after that, it helps you to ease the buying journey, take away the risk, and just makes you excited about starting with the product. The example where you saying hey, I already signed up for a webinar and spoke to my future customer success manager, nice guy.

Tobias: [14:00] There were a couple of companies that I’m watching. Not going to name any names here, but they come across as basically content operations with an attached product. Some people are really embracing this and they say okay. Then their thinking is you just need a lot of great and relevant content and be found for this topic. Then you have something on that same page that you can also buy, maybe a lower price point or even a freemium, then that’s probably going to help you in building your pipeline and generating growth. There’s one actor that many marketers know, which is Neil Patel. He’s perfectionized that. He started out as a consultant, but now he has his own SEO software. Yeah, there’s so much – if you read a lot of SEO, especially when you’re a beginner, there’s no way for you to get around Neil Patel. He’s basically a publisher turned consultant turned software vendor.

Jan: [15:12] I think that’s a great example. I think the next question that we spoke about – and I know you love this. It’s the gated versus the ungated question. I have an understanding of what your standpoint on that is, but when should we gate, what should we gate, and should we even gate, to be honest?

Tobias: [15:34] At different points of my career, I had different views on this. If you go back so much as ten years when I still worked in PR, the idea of gating content is completely alien to people working in PR. You want people to access everything. Information wants to be free is the mantra. You want to be in control of the narrative to the extent that you maybe want to give it to a journalist exclusively. After that, you just want it to be out there. You want the message to be spread, at least the content you generate as a company. Then when you come to the marketing side, at that time 2012, 2014-ish, it was all about – that was when Hubspot was growing so fast, inbound principle, and one of the pillars of inbound marketing is the gated content piece, the lead magnet. So Hubspot strategy in its essence doesn’t really work without gated content, and that’s why this experience pivoted in this direction where any time you wanted that whitepaper, that e-book, or that webinar, you needed to leave your contact details. For some time, people tried to get around that with a Gmail address and so on until they started no, you have to give us your business email address; they weren’t allowing that.

That’s when I started to get suspicious and I thought, wait a minute. What are we actually doing here? Does this really make sense, again, looking at the customer experience? Me as a marketer, okay, one of my short-term objectives is I want to generate a lot of marketing-qualified leads, and I get those by asking people to leave their contact details when they want to access our content. I want them to identify themselves. Then I generate these market-qualified leads, which I then put into the sequences and when I send them enough emails and I maybe call them often enough, they will end up buying from me. That was the thinking.

I always thought that was a bit too schematic, a little bit too mechanical view on how people make buying decisions, making it a bit too easy and applying a recipe that worked in some cases and in many cases where I tried to apply it, it didn’t really work. A couple years ago, I read this book by 6Sense, No Forms, No Calls, No Spam. I don’t know if it’s in that order. Many of us have read this book. In the first chapter, she basically lays out the reason why this isn’t working is that the active downloading the e-book or registering for a webinar is not a good indicator of purchase intent. The fact that I downloaded this Deloitte whitepaper a couple years ago and really liked it doesn’t mean that I want to buy anything from Deloitte. I wasn’t even close to being in their ICP. As a matter of fact, I think we’re even a competitor in that specific segment. Maybe they counted me as an MQL, but I should never be an MQL. They enrolled me in these sequences and being Deloitte, they backed up pretty quickly because they’re not so desperate. The thinking then is okay, you really need to dig a little bit deeper if you want to go to intent data. There’s different ways you can do this, and 6Sense offers one of those ways.

That’s when I realized it’s actually a good idea to ungate most of your content. That will do you a great service in SEO. When we did that a while ago and we published one article about a low search volume keyword that’s important for our strategy going forward and it went from zero to first page results in a matter of weeks. That, of course, doesn’t work with the gated content piece. That’s just stuff you get for free; you can’t pay for it. the idea is okay, you put all this great content out there and people will find it. Then when the time comes for your SDRs to reach out to people in the ICP, they – you will already have laid the groundwork for a successful conversation. Then I pivoted from okay, content needs to be gated because of MQLs. Let’s ungate everything because it’s great for SEO. This is great for SEO; this is great for thought leadership and you’re just so much more visible and get so much more feedback on the content that you write.

Now I’m like, probably will want to ungate 80 to 90% of our content. The vast majority is going to be ungated and then there’s two areas where we want to gate. One is where we need the contact details to do what we want to do, which is hold an event, for example. That’s just plain and simple. We need your email address so that we can send you an invitation. The other one is this really high-value content that is only relevant to our ICP and that comes with a built-in declaration of purchase intent. This is, for example, quizzes, questionnaire, self-assessment guides, ROI calculators, these type of things, like the calculator that we saw at Bluebird. That makes perfect sense to gate it because someone that wants to use that, that’s really someone that is maybe advanced in the purchase process and should also be 100% within your ICP. It’s just not relevant to anybody else.

Jan: [21:55] Yeah, exactly. If you’re spending – you know it from Gartner, right? You’re already at 60% down the line when you start contacting a rep. They’re probably even more down the line, or they’re just close to that.

Tobias: [22:09] Yeah, that’s this whole dark funnel thinking, which is very – it was in a way painful to read it. All the things that we’re doing, the content that we put out there, all the events that we’re doing, most of it doesn’t really have an impact because buying decisions these days, they happen in different forums.

Jan: [22:31] Yeah. I love this explanation. It’s already true. I already read that book. This space is really growing right now. This is the new way of buying, the new way of selling and the new way of doing marketing. Yeah, that’s fantastic to hear your story. I think it’s a lot of people right now. I speak to a lot of marketeers and they all say, I think we should ungate everything now. It’s this big shift that probably has always been there, this debate, but it’s now moving more into one direction.

Tobias: [22:08] For me, it comes back to the mantra, just don’t be annoying; be helpful. If you’re helpful, if you’re very helpful to the point that your solve a specific problem for someone that’s just doing research, then okay, they should be rewarded with my data and they should be allowed to try and sell to me. That’s fine. Like in the Bluebird example, that was just really a nice exchange we had among peers. That’s what it should be like.

Jan: [23:42] Love it. We can continue on this topic forever, but I’m mindful of your time as well. I’m an SDR. I have a lot of SDRs that I speak to daily, and you are one of the people that most of the SDRs want to speak with you as a CMO. What’s the craftiest way you have been prospected?

Tobias: [24:07] Craftiest way I’ve been prospected, I always like it when SDRs come prepared, when they have done a little bit of research and they have enough talking points or just enough experience with the industry that I work in to just have a meaningful conversation for it. I also really like it, prefer it, appreciate it when SDRs listen in the first call. There’s no pitching, no pushing your product, just asking questions. I’m always open for a conversation and giving away information. Just yesterday an SDR called me, and I – we had a good exchange, just nice and pleasant, and I said yeah, now’s not a good time. Call me again in a year, and this is why. I’m glad to give them this information because also to save their time. They know they can strike me off the list, but they can tell their manager okay, this is not a dead end actually. We can talk to him again in one year.

Jan: Yeah, that’s great. I hope we’re doing good here, Tobias.

Tobias: [25:18] Absolutely. You’re one of the really good examples because you have good product market fit, and your SDRs are also just really well-educated in spotting the things or asking the right questions. We try to do the same thing with the SDRs’ piano where we just taught them how to read a prospect website, what to look out for, the problems that we think they have that we can help them with, trying this or that approach. Have you thought about this and that?

Jan: [25:50] Cool. This is always good to hear because you want to do a good job. In the end, you want to provide value, and especially the point of knowing the time when to pitch and getting pitched is – nobody wants to sit in a discovery call and hear something about – that they’re not interested in, right? Ask a bunch of questions and then you will say if it’s interesting or not. Then you have to strike and be there. What’s your favorite channel to get prospected? Is it email? Is it LinkedIn? Is it the phone? I spoke to Christian Weisbrodt, and he said he hates the phone. Don’t ever call me. If you’re not able to book a meeting with me through LinkedIn, don’t call me.

Tobias: [26:37] It’s probably a bit unfair because it’s completely unpredictable, but it depends on my availability on that day and just my general mood maybe, so if you’re lucky and you reach me on the phone while I’m in a good mood, I might take the call, and we just might end up having a nice conversation, but if I’m already stressed, maybe it’s not a good idea to call someone. I would recommend calling because it has the sense of urgency, but then you have to be smart about it and really not pitch. If you’re on the phone, you’re stealing that person’s time. You need their attention there and then. Have something relevant to say and ask.

Jan: Cool.

Tobias: There’s a lot of good tips on the internet on how you can – how you need to design that phone call, those first seconds.

Jan: Yeah, cool.

Tobias: [27:31] Then LinkedIn, it really depends. I’m really only – I read everything. I open every email that I get. I open every LinkedIn message that I get, and it really depends on the content, what they are saying and what they are offering, so the channel almost doesn’t matter to me. It’s really only about content.

Jan: Nice. If it’s good content, if you say perfect fit, then you’re taking the meeting, right, or you offer to explain more.

Tobias: [28:00] I don’t want to waste anybody’s time because taking the meeting means they will think that okay, this is actually – then they’re moving me to prequalified opportunity or whatever they’re using, and I don’t want to be in that bucket.

Jan: Please, no.

Tobias: [28:17] I don’t want to screw up your numbers. I don’t want to waste your time, so I can be up front and honest with you – this is not going to end up – I can have a chat with you, but we’re not interested in buying this right now.

Jan: [28:28] That’s perfect with expectations. It’s so important. Most marketers know sometimes they just want to chat and you sit there and prospect them and next steps in a year. I think that’s a prime example. You have just shared really good examples on how to have a conversation, how to speak to people likes a pro. Hall of shame. You have any examples where you said oh, my God, please don’t do that.

Tobias: [29:00] There’s just a couple of things. There’s this one play that I see sometimes from companies, especially American maybe, is that I get an email from someone, and the wording is something like this: hey, I work over here at such and such, and my boss loves your product and loves your website, and he told me reach out to Tobias and have a meeting with him and just talk to him about the great work he’s doing. They want me to believe that this isn’t an automated message. They want me to believe that their boss who runs this company with 100 people working there actually took the time to go to our website and liked what he saw and then personally instructed that SDR to reach out to me and write this email. You want me to believe that that’s not automated? That’s backfiring personalization right there.

Don’t pretend that – basically, don’t lie. Don’t pretend that this happened. Be honest. I think with people like me, you get a long way with a bit of self-irony and good content, so yeah. That was really something that I thought was – then there’s this – of course, this cold calling or not accepting a “no”. This is another interesting discussion. How many touch points? How long should a sequence be? What should the sequence consist of? I think there you just have to test and learn. You’re probably doing what works best, but at some point you just have to accept that okay, you’re risking an unsubscribe from all the material, so where should you back off? Where are you doing more damage than good?

Jan: [30:51] Exactly. It’s great to know. It has to be genuine, and it has to be real. Personalization is hard, and it should be hard. It should not necessarily be scalable. To an extent, of course, but sending out mass email to someone oh, my VP said that you are great. That’s going to backfire. I speak about it daily. I had a conversation with Kyle Coleman, who’s one of the thought leaders in the space. He said Jan, it has to be hard, and it has to be difficult, and only a few can do it. Otherwise, everybody would send the same template. Instead, it’s personalized.

Tobias: Exactly.

Jan: [31:38] The key is knowing your audience and asking something that’s relevant to them, and don’t ask too much. I’m not going to ask for a meeting. You want to ask about if they’re interested in learning more or if they can point you in the right direction.

Tobias: Exactly.

Jan: [31:55] Thanks for sharing. Cool. Next topic, and that’s a big one because you’re really passionate about that, building an SDR function. I think that’s a major project that you’re working on. Why do you think you need an SDR function?

Tobias: [32:14] Here I’m going to quote a former manager of mine who explained to me why having a full pipeline sales team just doesn’t work anymore in our line of business. There are other business lines where it’s more transactional, where this works, but – so imagine you’re playing soccer. First you have to find the ball. You’re a sales guy, and you’re on your own. There’s no SDR there. There’s a bit of marketing support but not much. First you have to find the ball. You take the ball to the pitch. You pass it to yourself. You’re in midfield. You pass it to yourself again. You pass it to yourself. You pass it to yourself, and you try and strike it. You try and try and score, and you’re doing that without any support. Maybe there’s not even a coach. Then okay, all goes – you didn’t score. You have to get back, get the ball, go back to start. That’s a pretty – sounds like a pretty desperate situation for the AE, so if you put yourself in that position, it’s a hard job. I wouldn’t want to do it.

How can we help them? How can we help them help the company? How can we really build this revenue machine where things go hand in hand? You can learn a lot of things from how the Americans do business over here in Europe, and one thing that they’re very good at is sharing, label, dividing it up into different specialties. You’re good at this. You’re good at this. You’re good at this. Let’s specialize. They’re very good at this. As a jack of all trades, you don’t get very far in American SaaS. I feel like you specialize. What’s the thing that’s the thinking now that if you have someone that’s good at closing, let them do closing, and let them do just that. Let them be the rainmaker, but don’t ask them to spend 30, 40% of their time prospecting because they’re not going to enjoy that part of their job. It’s going to have an effect on morale. It’s going to affect their goals. Hire people for what they’re good at and let them do just that and build the support functions around them so that they can thrive and the others can thrive. At the end of the day, the company’s growing and thriving. This is the basic thinking behind that, and you should apply that in every one of your teams, not just in commercial.

Jan: [34:40] Yeah, great answer. You know how to tell a good story and a good analogy, because that’s so true. One of my AE said to me yeah, if you’re not qualifying – you ask me to catch the ball while it’s up, and then I have to roll it out to the field. They gave the exact same analogy. It was so clear to us. We need to roll out the ball and then they can run with it. If you’re not even catching the ball correctly and giving a precise pass – I’m from sports, so I can’t score a goal. It’s impossible if I’m not Leoni Messi or whatever. Yeah, so great analogy.

You touched upon this. They need to be in the right seats at the right place, but what are the key pillars for you when building this SDR function?

Tobias: [35:34] I would say the – because when you work with SDRs, you normally work with junior people fresh out of university, maybe had their first job.

Jan: [35:44] I’m guilty.

Tobias: [35:46] Yeah, so what – normally what people like that need, they need guidance; they need a mentor, somebody that has a plan. Then they can work with that plan and over time, they will see the strengths and weaknesses of the plan. They will come up with suggestions and then some of them will actually find okay, I think I’m good at SDR, but I want to move on. You try and build this career path. Over time, it becomes almost like a career school for your own company. You’re generating future AEs. You’re generating future revenue operations people. You’re generating future sales engineers maybe even. I think it’s just a great program to always have also the recruiting pipeline going for your commercial organization.

[36:44] For that, you need someone with a recipe, someone that knows what they should do, someone that can really be that coach, be that person that they trust, that they can come to with problems. SDR is a tough job; there’s a lot of rejection, more rejection than appreciation. You need to make sure the environment is there that these people can thrive. We’re now looking into first hiring the team lead, the coach, the man with the plan or woman with the plan, and then we’re going to involve that person into hiring of the SDRs. In football analogy, normally you come in and there’s a team that you perform. I think it makes more sense that that person actually picks and chooses his own team. It’s also for to protect us a little bit in management that if I put some guys in front of this new team lead, then they can always say when it didn’t work out, yeah, but you didn’t let me choose these people. I can’t vouch for them. If they choose the people, they can vouch for them and you take that out of the equation so you have more sense of ownership there. Correlation between sales and marketing, that has – that’s going to be very important for us. Everybody inside is looking forward to getting the support and helping us scale.

Jan: [38:13] Cool, yeah, great examples. Where should they report to? Should they report to you? Should they report to a head of sales? What do you think?

Tobias: [38:23] If you look at the data, then the majority of SDR teams sit in sales and other marketing. As far as I can tell, there’s that shift happening that more and more CMOs are claiming that function or are managing that function already. I think it makes sense to have them in marketing because to me, the SDRs are the extension of the marketing funnel. They are like the glue where marketing and sales are together like this joint. They’re maybe the knee or the elbow in the arm or leg. Before, I used to have this problem okay, we do all this initiatives and all these programs and then I just throw leads over the fence. Then I ask a couple of weeks later okay, what did you do with this? Some worked out; some don’t, but this creates a real flow and a real bridge of data.

When you build this within the marketing team, then they are very closely attached to your program. Whenever you do something, there’s a clear follow-up plan from the SDRs. Then the SDR manager will make sure things are delivered in the right format and with the right qualifications over to the sales team and also most of the content that the SDRs use, both the support content but also the scripts, actual email sequences, is normally done by marketing, so you can have a better alignment there, I think. Here at Kindly, we’re completely aligned with the chief commercial officer that they should be in marketing. Our commercial operates our organization also includes customer service and commercial services and delivery. That organization is big enough already.

Jan: [39:58] Yeah, and it’s true. As an SDR, you really operate and that’s why the role is so great, because you learn both parts and you really work together closely with two worlds. That’s one of the great points here. We have a closing. We’re getting to the time. What are you excited about in the revenue space in the next years? What developments excite you?

Tobias: [40:26] I’m more into incremental improvements than really into revolutions. I’m really excited about what’s happening in the AVM space. I think that’s a welcome change from looking at leads, looking at individuals, looking at what’s happening in accounts. It’s not for everyone but for us mostly selling into the SMB and to the enterprise space where you have most of the time more than one buyer involved, mapping out the buy committee, being able to have a 360 experience for them being on different channels is just something that’s really very helpful.

[41:05] Yeah, it’s really about scaling an operation, improving our product market fit. There’s a lot of interesting things happening in our product department, so we wrap it up for all our marketers in some type of that.

Jan: [41:22] Cool, thank you, Tobias. Anything else you would like to add? We had a lot of things, but I just want to give you space if you have –

Tobias: [41:30] This if fun, really. Thanks for the invitation. Thanks for having me.

Jan: [41:35] Cool, yeah. We liked it.

Tobias: [41:39] Absolutely.

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