Podcast 114: Taking Charge of Your Sales Career With Sydney Sloan

September 06, 2019

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By Kelly Driscoll

This week we’re proud to have Sydney Sloan join us on the podcast. We’re partnered with SalesLoft, Sydney leads marketing as their CMO. In this episode, Sydney and John talk about what a sales career looks like right now and how you can climb the career ladder. We’re talking how to get from SDR to SDR Manager and even higher, into sales leadership. Let’s get into it…

In this podcast you’ll learn:

Leveraging different networks to further your sales career

SDR to AE relationships

Becoming a first-time manager

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Leveraging different networks to further your sales career

John Barrows: So I started this podcast, in truth to learn from people. When you’re busy it’s hard to sit and get through books, that’s just my way of learning. But what I’ve found is through speaking to people, I really listen and memorize the key stuff said to me.

I remember when I was a kid, my buddy and his Dad would go to the Patriots games. I just knew him as Mr Love, he was my buddy’s parent. When he sadly passed away and I read the obituary, I was blown away. The stuff this guy did, the people he knew, things he had experienced.

It really made me stop and think, wow. I should have asked him even just one time, a question about his experience. A 5 minute conversation with this guy every Sunday could have been worth a year at college to me at that age. He could have taught me hundreds of things about getting funding, running a business, sales, management, people, money, everything vital in business. I just never stopped to ask him.

And when people connect with me to try and build their understanding of an industry and we chat, that’s one thing I urge them to think about. Your parents and their network. Your friends and their networks. It’s about who you know in a lot of cases until you can show why you deserve to work anywhere.

Sydney Sloan: That’s so true. Always be curious. That’s a great way to learn and spot opportunities to get in the door. One thing I do to try and maximize ways I can still develop further down the line is to not read books. I actually use the 5 page summary apps and sites you can use to learn any business book without going through the whole thing.

SDR to AE relationships

John Barrows: I have an example of an SDR to AE relationship from one of our listeners that sounds really difficult. So I won’t say too much about this lady to give away her situation but she’s 37 years old and recognizes that she wants to push on with her sales career. She’s been let go from her previous job where she didn’t get along with the previous AE for some reasons around her age – we don’t know the specifics.

She’s qualified this account who are really excited about her solution at the new company. The AE picks up the call and literally just asks if the prospect knows their minimum. Once the number is on the table, the prospect hangs up. No effort, doesn’t give a sh*t.

As her manager, what would you want this SDR to come to you and say? Without being a complainer, what pro-active steps can she take that would better her sales career and the results she’s getting for herself and the company? Handling this is going to be important for how her sales career pans out in the future, I think.

Syndey Sloan: Let’s start with saying BANT is dead, especially in the case of this deal the AE picked up. I think there’s two options for her. I think you do have to take control of your sales career and it does depend on the environment. That’s super unfortunate about what happened to her before. My first inclination would be to see if she could support another rep. I always say go where the energy is. Don’t push a rock up hill and you don’t have to. And so if there’s another opportunity for her to support somebody else. I would ask for that.

I’d asked for advice and coaching, I’d try and find out what the track record of that AE was in terms of his access with previous SDRs. And what was it about that relationship that worked and what could you model in to that that had happened before. So she can kind of figure out the guard rails and maybe she can expand to another AE. So she does get the balance.

It’s possible to support a couple of reps as well. On the flip side, we have to work with people. Unfortunately sometimes ones that you don’t get along with and you have to find that middle ground. I think a good advice too is humanizing that person. How can she build a relationship? What do they have in common? If that person is not yet warmed up to her, that that could be an area too.

And then once that relationship is established, she can be a little bit more honest in saying, okay, help me help you. Here’s what I need. Here’s what you need. Can we come to a mutual agreement in terms of coaching you can provide to me and then I’ll continue to give good service to you.

Becoming a first-time manager

Sydney Sloan: When you’re an individual contributor it really is about the results and the tasks that you’re accomplishing. That’s got to be the first step in any sales career. You want to be able to figure out how to manage your time and what your ultimate goal is. However, the aim tends to be at C level and to control your own destiny. And when it comes to learning, you get to choose where you work. There’s is a great stat in the Harvard Business Review of the 4,000 institutions out there, only a hundred have sales courses or curriculum.

Yet in our lifetime, 53% of people that graduate from college are going to be in some kind of sales orientation.

So we’re not training people outside of those hundred institutions for the sales profession. This is why being an SDR coming into that first is a great opportunity to learn the tools of selling is great. And I was giving advice to somebody the other day on two basic things. There’s owning yourself and owning your development. So things like being OK with the fact that rejection might hurt you sometimes and developing ways to understand that feeling, better your practice to get it less.

There’s things like listening to podcasts and reading up on things that will help you perform better. That’s what everyone should do in the individual phase, before management. And when you become a manager, you can help people see this.

Use being a first-time manager as an opportunity to teach others. Think, this is where you get to raise your game. What I’ve learned now I can teach others by the way, you learn it more when you teach it 100% so that’s that.

The full recording

In case you prefer video to audio, here’s the video recording of the podcast…

That’s a wrap. Join us next time

If you made it this far, you’re the best. Thanks for reading and listening to this podcast. We hope you gained a ton from it and will listen in next week too. Don’t forget to check out our recent podcast episode highlights too.

If you have some feedback for us, connect on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to share the podcast on social media.

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