What are the main justifications against outsourcing outbound?
The agency model might result in resource competition with customers, and the emotional dread of job loss and subpar outreach from outsourced SDR teams are reasons for not outsourcing abroad.
What are the difficulties and complexity associated with AB testing in outbound, and how are they often resolved?
AB testing in outbound contains numerous factors that need to be evaluated separately, yet it is frequently left to junior staff members who may lack the knowledge or resources to do it successfully.
What are the prospects for SDR teams?
Small, autonomous cells and pods that combine SDR, customer success, data operations, and marketing will be the way SDR teams operate in the future. Each cell will be in charge of a particular account list, and it will work on short projects and iterate quickly. The team will work with automation, the technologies of their choice, with a great deal of autonomy and cooperation.
Ricky Pearl: Today on A Couple of Pointers Podcast, we are lucky enough to have Harry Sims. Welcome to the show.
Harry Sims: Hey, Ricky. Thanks for having me.
Ricky Pearl: Mate. When we booked the show, I was gonna introduce you as from one place. Now what introduce you from personal prospecting.com?
Harry Sims: There you go. Yeah. I'm unemployed so people shouldn't listen to a word I've gotta say on this. So yeah, I'm, that's all I'm doing right now.
Ricky Pearl: I think the fact that you're unemployed, one of the most skilled SDR leaders I've come across is unemployed is all the reason people should listen to this podcast.
Harry Sims: I appreciate the kind wires, Ricky. You gotta make sure you've got subtitles for this as well, right? Because you've got an accent. I've got an accent.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. We'll stick some, we'll stick some subtitles on. I know people struggle with mine. I think I read on there that statistically people find a British accents, they will have a bias, assuming you are more intelligent than you are.
Harry Sims: Yeah that's how I've got to where I am. That's how been employed most of the time.
Ricky Pearl: I think with the South African accent, I think I'm just gonna rob them.
Harry Sims: Most people probably think you're Australian as well, right? I bet. I bet you get a bit [00:01:00] of that.
Ricky Pearl: I get a lot of, oh, I love your Australian accents. I'm like thanks.
Harry Sims: Yeah. Yeah. I was gonna say, I can tell.
Never outsourcing outbound
Ricky Pearl: So let's dive right in. One of the things I wanted to talk to you about was, you've been a very strong advocate for many years on never outsourcing outbound. Now, before we get into, if your mind's changed or not, just tell me why.
Harry Sims: Yeah. I think it's one of those things where you, there's an emotional thing that you rationalize with logic, right? And I think the emotional thing is, I'm scared you're gonna take my job and do it cheaper and better. But then the logic, the outreach I get from outbound SDR outsourced SDR teams is generally trash.
And that's probably because I'm like not a very high value prospect for them. I was thinking, or some of it just isn't very good. There's obviously good and bad in every industry, and like the more I think about it as I shouldn't paint a whole industry or way of working as bad because of, those sorts of experience.
And I have actually warmed up to it a little bit.
Ricky Pearl: I think there are some reasons that I could give you our company shouldn't outsource.
Harry Sims: Yeah.
Ricky Pearl: And [00:02:00] one of them is if you look at the actual outsource model, how do we make money, right? If I'm charging a company a thousand dollars and they looking for X amount of output. If I've reached that output and it's only cost me $200, I'm now motivated to no longer invest in that client.
Harry Sims: Yeah.
Ricky Pearl: To maximize my profit. So in many ways, like the typical agency model problem, I'm competing with my clients and, Pointer avoids that. We have a very different model, but absolutely, I think that's the vast majority out there. You land up competing with your agency for the resources that they are using.
Harry Sims: Yep.
So why have you warmed up a little bit?
Ricky Pearl: And so let's not actually, let's tuck in here a little bit. So why have you warmed up a little bit? So what do you think's?
Harry Sims: Good question. I think, so I agree with you firstly, on that point, you're also not invested in the optimization as much as you would be if if you owned it end to end. We'll we may get onto that later, but why have I warmed up to it? I've just, So last six-ish years, I've been building outbound SDR teams from scratch.
And it's very expensive. [00:03:00] It takes a very long time. That first year is hellish.
And there's a lot of experimentation that needs to be done. And I don't know if every company's ready to go down that path and they don't un I didn't even know what it would take when I jumped into these roles.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
Harry Sims: So I think a lot of companies don't actually have the foundation they need before they launch into this journey. And I think that's where outsourcing expert people, very closely defined segments and experiments, right? So you can get real data, worthwhile data back.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
Harry Sims: I can see that being super valuable.
Maybe even you are killing it in one segment. And you think you've got some applications, some product market fit in another segment. Maybe you take that segment. I can see that being really powerful and you can get up, up and running so much faster.
Ricky Pearl: I think that's true, but now not every agency does that. Some agencies, and this is all part of this whole painting the whole industry. There are some agencies that if you have product market fit, you have a me product message fits, your exact ideal client profile, the exact vertical, and you know the exact channel, and [00:04:00] the exact message, you know what fucking works.
You've got the recipe, you can outsource it to them and they'll do it cheaper, no problem. But let's be honest, most companies don't have that.
Harry Sims: No, definitely. The ones I work for definitely don't.
Ricky Pearl: No they don't. Right? And so they try to figure stuff out and now I would recommend that 90% of the agencies I see, like they are not the people to figure shit out with.
There are some agencies you can figure stuff out with, but people just think, oh, outsource is outsource right away. Obviously that's not the case. That's like saying, Hey, I'm going to the doctor when there's a billion different kinds of specialists, let's talk about that test and iterate.
Get it right on your next try
Ricky Pearl: Now let's use you as an example. You've built outbound teams six plus years. You've done a hell of a lot and you've failed a hell of a lot, which means that the next time you build your team, your first guess includes six years worth of learnings and failings and successes, right? You're more likely to get it right on your next try.
Harry Sims: You'd hope so. I think the biggest learning from all these years is just focus, right? I listen to lots of SDR content and it's so what are your team doing to do more with less? And they start listing seven different [00:05:00] things. And that is me, that's what I've done in the past.
And actually really focusing in on one or two very key areas. And actually getting the team to focus in on one or two key areas. You actually know whether those areas are actually having an impact or whether it's just throwing stuff at all and hoping it sticks,
If I layer and tear my experiments in such a way that every failing gives me absolute insights into why it fails and what to try next to iterate through to success you're like sharpening a blade
Ricky Pearl: That's probably the, like one of the biggest things that I've seen come with experience from fantastic outbound leadership is we are running the same experiments. But if I layer and tear my experiments in such a way that every failing gives me absolute insights into why it fails and what to try next to iterate through to success you're like sharpening a blade, you're honing the edge, whereas those same experiments run in a different order across maybe one extra variable in each experiment.
All of a sudden you're left with no actual insights. You're just guessing the next experiment.
Harry Sims: That is a huge misconception in SDR. I used to sell AB testing tools to conversion rate optimization people and they would cry if they [00:06:00] saw the SDR posts on, this is my AB test. And I, that's just comes from a place of limited tools, limited understanding. There is, unless you can really have an independent variable, which is very difficult in SDR very difficult.
Cause there's always different variables. Then you can't say X caused Y You can't say that. You can say it's interesting, it's worth expanding on. It may have caused Y. And then the way I've learned to think about it is if you think about like the segment, let's say you'll want to experiment with a new segment.
Okay? Series A companies that have raised in the last 12 months just hired a VP of marketing. Something like that, right? That's the rules of the game. That's one of your, that's one of your games you're playing. Now, your tactics that fall under there, those are your plays, right? I'm gonna do personal outreach, I'm gonna use whatever video, gifting, educational events, whatever you want to do, and those are your tactics.
You can measure those, and then how you score the game is also very important, okay? But what you have to make sure is that focus at the top, the rules of the game [00:07:00] are as consistent as possible. Because if they're not, then you, your insights down through the rest of it are pointless, right? You don't really know if they're leading to any improved results at all.
Speed of iterating and the focus of iteration is really important
Ricky Pearl: Absolutely. And that the, that speed of iterating and the focus of iteration is really important. The ability to iterate and like you mentioned with the AB test, where what I see in the industry is AB test is I've just tr tried to rewrite to different email. The second AB test is, I'm just trying a different style of email.
A third AB test is I'm going to try a different kind of personalization. A fourth AB test is I'm going to try a different pain points. And a fifth one is maybe I'm gonna try a different value proposition. But now you throw all of those, that's actually five different variables, right? So when you're testing those five in each, in one different AB tests, we've now got five different AB tests.
You actually can't tell anything. What you need to do is an AB test with one of those. I'm gonna try five different personalizations, and that is gonna give you the insights on [00:08:00] that one variable. So having five variables in AB test, what's five fractional? What's the whole formula? You've got like a, you've got a couple of hundred different combinations there.
And they never work it out, right?
Harry Sims: And then think about, and then think about all the different variables for the company that you are targeting, the buyer you are targeting. And that's a human
Ricky Pearl: The channel, cuz this is just on the email, then there's the media within the channel. Are we gonna use a video? Are we gonna use a gif? Then there's the actual sequence. Are we starting off with the call and then an email? Are we doing a triple tap? Are we starting fast, going slow, starting slow, speeding up? I, there's an infinite amount of options. And here's the interesting thing to me is that most of this is left up to the most junior higher in your company to figure out this is what I see all the time. I see these SDRs fighting. I'm like, what did you expect?
Harry Sims: Yeah, look, but that, I've learned this from pain, right? I'm the guy that used to have give people 20 OKRs and think that we were gonna hit them and 20 new things to [00:09:00] try and like it, it always ends up in a mess. So it takes like pain to learn from these things. I would love to see someone come out with a real experimentation tool for outbound.
Ricky Pearl: Let's keep talking.
Harry Sims: I'd love to see it.
Ricky Pearl: So let me ask you this. Now, you've got the most junior person in your team figuring out your audience, your message, your channels your ideal client personas, your profiles, whether a top down approach or a bottom up approach is working. Like you've put all of this on the most junior person, they have to figure out how to maximize their tools.
This is often their first job, maybe their second job. So they're still learning about their circadian rhythms, their efficiencies, how to be a productive employee, how to manage up, how to manage down, how to deal with workplace conflicts like they, they still junior.
How many years do you actually think you need in the role to be an expert at the role?
Ricky Pearl: How many years do you actually think you need in the role to be an expert at the role?
Harry Sims: I think it dramatically changes based on the stage of company you're at, right?
If you are gone now, you've got the brand [00:10:00] gen, the brand machine, you've got the demand gen machine, you've got, huge awareness about what you do. There's a playbook that works. They've got one if your sales room, right?
Awesome technology by the way, they're still figuring out outbound, right? And I think those earlier stage companies, I think the more gray hair, the better generally or good leadership, right? Leadership that is able to focus you based on their first 20, 30, 40 customers. I don't know what it would be. So it really depends
Ricky Pearl: It's really interesting insight that cuz this SDR role is not the same. The SDR role as people think about it, which is a voice actor on the phone that comes in and lo, runs through activities that are very neatly and clearly defined, is a very different job from a creative prospector who's helping a company find their fit. So
Harry Sims: You posted about this the other day actually.
Ricky Pearl: I've got this this crass saying that SDRs can't survive in the wild. And what I mean by [00:11:00] that, and I don't mean it in a diminishing term for SDRs, although it definitely comes across that way, is that there is no person in their first or second, or even third year of employment, or even their third year as an SDR that can completely make the right tool selection, the right channel selection, the right sequence selection, the right audience selection, the right message selection. Configure all of the technicals for themselves. Run efficient tests whilst delivering meetings at a pace that's enough to sustain an account executive who also probably doesn't have a very neatly defined sales process, so is wasting some opportunities. They haven't neatly defined their qualification criteria and all of that.
There's no SDR who could succeed at that? None.
Harry Sims: I think. Maybe in the past it could have, they could have done, it wasn't as complex in the past.
Ricky Pearl: Okay.
Harry Sims: I'm talking like 10 years ago. Predictable prospecting world, hammering a list, but really what we are talking about there I don't think it's unique to SD SDR. That's an overloaded employee, who is either gonna get burnt out, [00:12:00] they're gonna learn a load doing that, but you're gonna get burnt out. Yeah. And it is on like I see that regularly. I see that exact what the picture you just painted regularly. I'm sure you have calls from founders telling you that exact picture
Ricky Pearl: That picture, I think that picture is the default, to be honest. That picture's the default. Having the right supports in place there, cuz it, when I look at that, here's the thing, who should be selecting the audience, which are the target? Who is your products made for? That is a strategic decision at the highest level of an organization.
At a minimum, your audience selection is like your chief marketing officer or your VP of sales. Like somewhere between that, a chief revenue officer, somewhere up there, right? So audience selection should not be an SD R'S role.
Harry Sims: you're right. But there should be room for an S for, like you said, in one of your posts when you know what you're doing there is there should be room for an SDR to nudge that and work within the boundaries slightly,
Ricky Pearl: Absolutely. Now, I don't mind an SDR testing outside, coloring outside the lines. But if [00:13:00] they color outside the lines and their paint's a pretty picture, I something works. That is information that gets sent up the chain. Hey, we've had some success doing this. What do you think? Could we put together a structured campaign to investigate and explore this op strategic opportunity?
So broadly they're part of a machine, but they're not the driver.
Um, now what about messaging and finding a message fit? Sure. A good SDR can find personalization and try tie that to relevancy, but to articulate the pain and the value proposition, that is key. If the marketing department hasn't got that sorted, the company's in a lot of trouble.
If you're leaving that to your SDR to figure. There's so many of these variables that should not be an SD R'S job. The SDR should be involved in the process. They're a contributor, but they're not accountable for it.
Harry Sims: Yeah I think autonomy is a super important there factor we have to talk about, but. , I see it as there's there's two lanes, right? There's the, if you think this, the game requires like mechanical skill. It's x, Y equals Z, [00:14:00] right? And you've worked that out, lock down things. Just repeat it right now.
To me, that's all destroying work.
That's why I work for these early stage companies. I like the ambiguity. I like the experience of working things out and trying new things and that freedom. And then there's the second sort of school of thought where you believe the game requires conceptual thinking and creativity.
And in that world, you need to try and maximize autonomy as much as you can. But it's like a walled garden. Like you imagine like a sandbox in a game.
Like you can do loads of cool stuff. It's like Zelda, you can do loads of cool stuff, but certain things you can't do.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
Harry Sims: And in that world, the playbook, there isn't really a playbook, but there is a philosophy and there's principles that you have to stick to.
And one of those principles should be that messaging, those, here's the message to the market. You can describe it in different ways, right? You can use personalization to get your message across all you want, but here's our message to the market. And I think that second option, that's why I choose to work at these younger stage companies.
I think it's [00:15:00] actually a better experience for an SDR because they're more invested in getting better every day because they actually own more of the playground. So they're really investing, they can be more accountable, I suppose is what I'm saying. Cause they own
Ricky Pearl: I appreciate that. I would, so this is where, let me go back to that, where I say that they can't survive on their own. I don't think that someone in their first year of a job can do that without an effective and skilled and capable SDR manager.
Harry Sims: Oh yeah. And it's a high touch manager. It's not a, Hey, let's have a one-on-one if you're lucky. 15 minutes a week. It's war room's daily,
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. So,
Harry Sims: what accounts we going after? Let's look at each prospect. Let's help me think in the right way.
Ricky Pearl: So don't get me wrong, when I say an SDR can't cope. I'm talking about an independent SDR. You have a VP of sales, and you have an AE and you have an SDR who is operating remotely on their own trying to figure this out. And that scenario is
Harry Sims: very common,
Ricky Pearl: more common than not. And to me that is a [00:16:00] recipe for disaster.
When you're talking about this Walt Garden creating this autonomy, allowing creativity and prospecting. I'm fine with all of that. If you have DEDICAT created S D R leadership.
Harry Sims: Yeah, absolutely.
Ricky Pearl: And to me that is the key that has, that's what's been missing. We've had a middle management problem in prospecting where everyone has put this I don't know if it's this kind of.
Survival, dire, single swim kind of mentality on an SDR. And they say, oh, we get the guns, we, we just want the killers. And what they find is the ones that succeeded were first of all like bigger picture than all of this SDRs operating in the 20% space. What is the 80% space is the product and the fucken market, right?
Because you could have the best, and it's an, it's a nest at if statement. If the market, if the product is right, and if the market is susceptible and open to this product at this particular time, then can I get all of this s d R shit fucking humming to work? [00:17:00] Because you can get that last 20% perfect. But if you are operating outside of this, if statements a, if the product's rights, it also just doesn't work.
Harry Sims: Yeah, absolutely. I've been in that world. I I've it's so destroying too, because you actually do your job. Cuz when actually someone decides to consider what you do, they're like, ah, yeah no, but you did a great job getting me to consider it. No money though. Don't worry, you're not getting, it's not, this isn't going stage three and you're not getting revenue from this, that would be so destroying.
Ricky Pearl: and I see these conflicts all the time. Pop up in every which way. Right? I'll see, I got this week somebody asking me how many SQLs, what's the value of the pipeline that's been created from Pointers prospecting? Now we've set up the meetings with the target that they've chosen.
They've been happy with the targets. We, we want a meeting with this company, with this persona at this company. And we set them up a meeting with the, that person at that company. So now whether the opportunity was created or not is an account executive issue, or a strategic issue or a product know, Something up, higher up. But,
Harry Sims: Yeah. If you are, if you're only, if you're [00:18:00] only responsible for the firmographics, and this applies for SDRs. Two, if you are not running, if you're not empowered to run discovery or in your model, you're not actually asked to run discovery. If you get that person show up on a meeting, you've done your job especially if they're picking the individual people, you've done your job. And then actually you may also be telling that company, Hey, this isn't a good target for you. And that is really.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah,
Harry Sims: Right?
Ricky Pearl: Just really it is just as valuable and that's where we try have a little bit of a difference and where I think I'd be able to convince you that outbound operations can have a significant benefits to in-house in a few categories. Imagine a small startup, 10 employees, including the founders and including the dev, the de development team.
They have a, this target they need to increase. They need to just show more runs on the board before their next funding tranche. They've got seed funding and the VC saying, look, we need to just know that there's more of a product market fit here before we pump a bit harder. They don't have a huge amount of cash.
This isn't like the seed rounds that you were seeing, two [00:19:00] years ago in Silicone Valley. Are we talking like a normal, here is, I don't know, $250,000, half a million dollars, $750,000, maybe even a million. Right? One. But that, that million, 2 million, maybe it needs to see them through two, three years.
Cause they've also got a lot of development to do. These companies say, Hey, we need to start calling and engaging the market.
Harry Sims: Yeah. And not just use your investors or your
They've tapped out that they need to get market validation. What should this company do?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. Yeah. They've tapped out of friends, family, and network. They've tapped out that they need to get market validation.
Genuine market validation. They don't have a lot of cash. What should this company do? I'll tell you what they normally do. They hire an SDR and the founder talks to this SDR saying, Hey, I've called these are the people we want to be calling.
This is usually what I say to them on the phone, and this could be a technical founder. This, even with the, doesn't matter. It's the founder talk is now briefing this SDR, what they wanna do, and they put this SDR on the phone and the SDR doesn't get the same results that the founder get.
When the founder phoned these 16 CEOs, he got three meetings. When the SDR phones, these three CEOs, he gets zero meetings and he is now whites. This isn't working.[00:20:00] I think I got myself a shit SDR. I This is this is just the, this is everywhere, every day. This is 80% of the SDR. Are in this position, right?
Or maybe they've got, maybe they've got one AE, right? They bought in a full cycle AE and now they want this full cycle AE to just focus on pipeline. So they also now wanna bring in an SDR. So the founder and the AE employ this SDR and they're like, you're gonna service SDR this AE. The AE has got a bit of experience now setting up meetings for themselves, but they were an industry professional as well, field sales type of person. And now they say, we want you to make calls and emails.
Same story. None of them know about email deliverability. None of them know, like genuinely how to coach up someone who maybe isn't perfect, also gonna fail. Those are the people that I think should come to a company like Pointer. And a company like Pointer employs a professional like Harry Sims and Harry Sims sits down with the founder to say, alright, what do you need to achieve? I've got a good SDR here on. My team is very good at calling, very good at emails. I've got a, an email delivery [00:21:00] expert. I've got a list building expert to do targeting. We've got a copywriter to help with some of the messaging. We know how to get this job done, but let's just talk about your product, your market.
Let's see if we have something that we can do here to figure this out for you. Surely they're more likely to succeed in that scenario than the previous.
Harry Sims: Yeah. You make a very compelling argument. The other thing for, and when I posted about being laid off, like I had inbound for the first time ever in my life, right? And I spoke to a few founders and these founders, they're wearing every hat. Every hat. And that's how early stage some of these companies are.
And they, lots of these founders I spoke to haven't actually done that path you talked about, but they've heard it so many times that they don't want to.
Ricky Pearl: They're scared now,
Harry Sims: Yeah. And just giving them time to focus on their existing customers and getting them to renew and delivering better and product that's worth way more than the value of the meetings that you're gonna book.
Just taking that pipeline hat out.
Ricky Pearl: And I've got this, I've got this infographic that I made where I've got a bdr. I use BDR SDR fucking interchangeably. Nobody, no, nobody knows the [00:22:00] difference. So I've got BDR in the middle of a Venn diagram. Then there's sales in one, marketing in another, customer success in the third and product in a fourth.
Because in those early stages, like you need feedback. Do you have this integration? Oh, tell me like all of this BDR role becomes so central to an organization when done right.
Harry Sims: Yeah.
Ricky Pearl: That organizations wouldn't succeed without it. And when done badly. It's just like all these failed scenarios we've discussed.
Harry Sims: What you just described is, I think the future structure of a world-class SDR team.
Ricky Pearl: I'm, first of all, I was about to head down this road. I was about to say tell me what the future, so let's go. Let's do it. What does the future of SDR look like?
Harry Sims: Point to me, I've already done it, but I see it more I don't, I'm not an expert at it, but DevOps in the development world. They've combined development, operations, testing, design new, all these different parts of that life cycle into small little cells and pods. And they're tightly wound.
They work on small projects. I iterate very fast. They're very autonomous. They use automation, they use technologies that, [00:23:00] they choose, they have lots of freedom and lots of collaboration. And I see. Imagine you have a SDR, CS data ops, maybe data and ops can interchange. Maybe you have a marketing field marketer, depending on your region, whatever, marketing, and they are responsible for these, this account list, right?
Countless is customers and net new.
Ricky Pearl: I love that. I love that.
Harry Sims: And AE goes on holiday for a couple of weeks or gets too hungover. Guess who steps in to run the discovery calls that day? The CS or the SDR couldn't jump in.
Ricky Pearl: Wow.
And how we came up to this conclusion independently was we're sitting in a meeting with the clients, talking about the prospecting. We're actually in a meeting talking about the conversion from prospecting to close. We realized we were setting up enough meetings, but they actually had a qualification and a problem within their pipeline.
They were going from demo to proposal, and they really needed to build a business case in between. They needed more of a medic kind of enterprise style. And in this, what we realized is there's also no structure for [00:24:00] the customer success for that backend of the bow tie to go from delivering that first impact to where it went back into the sales cycle for, resale, cross-sell, upsell and all of that. And we said, oh, why don't we build in some triggers into your organization that when this happens, when this impact is delivered, it'll flag it and our BDR will pick up the phone and say, Hey John, look, we know we are working with you on this project. Susan's actually just asked if she could have some time in your calendar just to discuss the project, how the impact's going, and where the other opportunities with, what that might look like if we were to extrapolate.
You've built your BDR into your customer success upsell
Ricky Pearl: So whatever that wording is for, to set up the meeting, now you've built your BDR into your customer success upsell. Now you've closed this loop from customer success back to account executive to get this flywheel function right? Nobody's thinking of these things for their SDR, because they just focused on, are you cold calling?
Are you cold calling? Are you cold calling? And all of these leads are like coming into the funnel filter. Then they close, then they churn, and they're just, So anyway,
Harry Sims: Yeah, I think we're getting there though with, I think we're getting there with PLG, right? I [00:25:00] think this is the world we will start operating in, in the future. And the companies that do it really well earlier are gonna be the winners. You can imagine there's no lead source at that point either.
Like who cares, who gets credit about what? You have your account list and it's your job to go and help them win, right? And it doesn't matter whether an SDR cold called someone. It doesn't matter whether marketing ran a campaign that you agreed on together as a team.
Ricky Pearl: Outbound leads to inbound, who really cares if they clicked the link in a cold email, went to the website a week later, downloaded a webinar a week later booked a demo. Does it matter? The company got revenue.
Harry Sims: Yeah. And the other thing like imagine an SDR, tapping the CS on the shoulder, being like, Hey, what do you think of this messaging? And they're like, yeah, I'm not sure. Hey, I heard this on a call the other day. Maybe you should try this. Hey, that this customer potential new business customer feels exactly like Susan, who's our existing customer.
Should we chime and introduce them?
It is not like cold calling is a means to an end. But it's not an end in and of itself.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. Fuck, all the bloody pain points exist within your customer base. And here you are shopping for insights from the markets. The BDR is fishing in this pool, in the [00:26:00] ocean, and you've got a very neatly controlled barrel like sitting in your backyard may like, but this is where professionals like you, who really understand the industry, really understand the role of business development within business development, within sales, get it, really get it. And it is not like cold calling is a means to an end. But it's not an end in and of itself. There's a big picture at play and I love talking to people like you who get it because those are the
companies that will succeed.
The channel is irrelevant
Harry Sims: That's another thing. I don't wanna be the guy that grumbles about the industry, but I hear it on your podcast here on everyone's podcast. People talk about channels all the time. What's your favorite channel? What's your, the channel is honestly irrelevant. Yes. There's limitations for each channel until you can show me the data that says this buyer.
Like phone ready leads, picks up the phone. Prefers to be contacted on the phone, is very active on LinkedIn. Prefers to be contacted on LinkedIn, is great at responding to email. Then the channel that you prefer is irrelevant, right.
Ricky Pearl: Yes, it's obviously the channel that works better. So like we have [00:27:00] clients a lot of clients in construction, for example, the construction industry in Australia is by and large underrepresented within LinkedIn. They're not on LinkedIn. They also on fucking site site, they are driven by their mobile phone.
So phone calls and SMSs are far more successful than emails, right? These guys literally have gloves on their hand half the day nevermind, I can type typing, typing up emails going I hope this email finds you well, fuck no, not, no. It's like there, the channel is hyper relevant to the prospects and. And you get down to the minutia of do you like gifs and do you like video?
I'm like, who fucking cares, right? That is, we've done AB tests on all of it. Videos, gifts, every single thing. And you know what we found? That having the right message matters more than if they're listening to the message, if they're seeing the message, if they're feeling the message, it's does it actually matter.
Harry Sims: Yeah it's 100% the message is important. But then I was just thinking when you were saying that, imagine a newer age SDR coming in, being [00:28:00] like, Hey, I'm the social sell to these construction industry people
Ricky Pearl: I'll be like, that's fine. You need a fucking slab of beers on your shoulders. A bigger, Makito boombox in your other one, and go to sites and you can social sell to these construction workers, but you're not gonna do it as an inside salesperson.
Harry Sims: For sure.
Ricky Pearl: No, guys go wait at the 7-Eleven for their $1 coffee.
You'll catch every fucking tradie in the area.
But you are not social selling on LinkedIn love, right?
Harry Sims: I like that. That's a good one.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, but I love these like talking to prof. When I see your things I don't read many blogs. I'm at the point in my business where I'm struggling to read messages from my team.
I'm behind on reading Slack channels from my team where they're waiting on me to do their work. So me not replying to that email that day is costing me just a thousand dollars in labor, right? Let alone how you're gonna save me $500. I'm not like, this is where I'm at in my business. We are busy, but I'll always find time for your blog.
Harry Sims: Oh. Cheers dude. That means a lot.
Ricky Pearl: Oh, always fun time for your [00:29:00] blog, cuz the quality of your prospecting is, there's a few people, I, there's a lot of people I respect a hell of a lot, like Jordan Crawford for targeting prospects by pain or list building by pain, for example. You, for your, I mean I'm sure you've got a lot of skills that I don't wanna take away from any of it, but your ability to fi, to tie personalization, to relevancy.
I've never, I haven't come across anyone who does it as well.
Harry Sims: I appreciate that. And yeah, Jordan's good. Jed's really good. Florian's really good.
Ricky Pearl: But you are one of them.
Harry Sims: Look, it does not interest me like a, actually this came from I was forced to because I was building teams doing all the busy stuff that you just described earlier. I didn't have hours to make dials and hours to like bombard buyers in submission.
I had to focus on quality and candidly it doesn't interest me to increase inputs. That's not interesting to me.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah
Harry Sims: it really doesn't interest me. What I want to do is do less inputs to get way more outputs. That's scaling to me.
Ricky Pearl: Absolutely. The less [00:30:00] you can do to get the higher outcomes. That is the definition of efficiency.
Harry Sims: Exactly. And lots of people, again, that's misunderstood. In SDR world, they think going from 5 to 10 SDRs is scaling, but not if the revenue per SDR goes from 1 million to 500,000, that is actually not scaling. That's the opposite of scaling. So
Ricky Pearl: This is why we need people like you is particularly to lead, organizations like Pointer and in Australia markets where I see these people that are like, Hey, you can use this human validator dialer and you can call 10,000 people in a day. And then I'm like, and what do I do tomorrow?
Cuz that is three times my total addressable bargain , what I need is a way to increase the quality of my conversations and conversion.
What incentive do they have to improve the quality of their outreach? Or what freedom do they have to improve the quality of their outreach?
Harry Sims: But then, and then we get back to autonomy, right? If an SDR is just reading the words that you're telling 'em to read, targeting the people you've told them to target, the accounts you've told 'em to target, sending the same message that you've told them, send the blast email and sticking them in an auto follow up cadence, what [00:31:00] incentive do they have to improve the quality of their outreach?
Or what freedom do they have to improve the quality of their outreach? They don't.
Ricky Pearl: It's something I struggle with at Pointer cuz our currents, and I'm happy to be challenged on it, this is our current philosophy. It is the SDR leaders' job to build that SDR into a successful position where they are generating enough pipeline to justify their existence. So the SDR leader can write the cadence, write the message, write the scripts along with them, but like that basically the SDR leadership is doing it.
Coach them up on the calling, get them successful. And when that is working now from a place of success, that SDR can say I didn't write my first email, my SDR leader did, but I'm gonna have a crack at my second. Because now we ch we are picking up a new RCP. Now we are pushing into a new segment. So now there's options for more autonomy on that one.
I'm still gonna use my SDR leadership to help me with this, that, and the other, but I'm gonna try this, that and the other. And by the time they're on, like their third persona, they can run it all independently. We've [00:32:00] decreased our need for management because we've actually, the whole way through, they've been successful and our manager can focus on our new SDR. So like they, we get them successful and then build autonomy as opposed to them trying to flutter their way to success. I don't know which is better, it's just our model.
Time as another variable
Harry Sims: No, I saw your post on it the other day, and I did agree with it. It's just another variable, like time, right? It takes time to do that as long as those things are defined, right? I do free coaching for SDRs. They bring me their templates and I say, who wrote this template?
My manager. And how long you been there a year? You've been, you've got Presence Club last year. I don't disagree with your model at all. And you need to make clients successful instantly. It's not like you have normal ramp periods. But I think I do think there's a happy balance.
It's a, again, the game, right? Imagine the game and the playground. You, some people are awesome at the game and they rise up levels fast and they show. And some people struggle, and those are the people that should probably be on the lower levels a bit longer.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
Harry Sims: I purposely go and hire people that show that creative, and that they thrive in the [00:33:00] autonomous environments.
But when I say autonomous, I'm having daily war rooms with these people. And a war room for me is you are bringing me a list of prospects that we've researched. You've come up with the messaging yourself and I'm, I, we are gonna go through it together and I'm gonna, we're going to, we're gonna improve it together.
And over time they start making the right decisions themselves far better than I ever could.
Right. But if they never get the chance.
Second stage of growth
Ricky Pearl: And our second stage of growth is most of our clients because of where we are capturing them and because we are helping them be successful, but also because we, hold on, lemme point, let's not point to contact credit for this, so because our customers are growing, we started off with this one SDR who's been really heavily managed and built up by our SDR leadership.
But the second SDR we're hiring in the States and the third SDR is in the UK. And that first SDR, who is now autonomous and now knows how to do the job, plays a leadership role in doing that same for the new ones. So it becomes
this organic growth into managements as opposed to a player, they're still not the coach, they're still not the BDR manager.
They're still gonna have a one-on-one with the BDR manager every [00:34:00] week, but they can be a bit of a coach and help guide the new ones through anyway.
Harry Sims: Yeah. I think we are agreeing,
Ricky Pearl: I love, I really, I'm just I'm blown away and inspired, right? Every time I read one of your posts, I think maybe instead of the a hundred emails, we should have done 10, right?
Because out of a hundred emails, 5% response, 2% positive, one converts. Maybe we should have done 10. It's the same amounts of time, it's a different amount of time. It's a difference. It's different. But,
Personalization vs relevance
Harry Sims: I'd love to go back to this, actually. You said personal. My skill is like making personalization relevant. What's the like people have this debate online. Personalization versus relevance. Like what? I don't see the, what's the difference?
Ricky Pearl: Oh, what I find is this at the very highest personalization proves to me that you are a human, that you are reaching out to me for me, that you've done a little bit of research and you can use personalization to remove yourself from the, my immediate I don't know what neocortex part that says this person is a threat, or this person wants something from me.
You can build rapport using personalization, [00:35:00] but that personalization does not necessarily relate to the pain or the value, right? So you can achieve that personalization without relating it to a pain or a value of the products or the, or for the reason for outreach even. You can still achieve all of those things.
Like that the classic, Hey, we went to the same school whatever the school motto was, by the way, I see, I now don't get, it's not good. It's not good, but it does of what personalization achieves, it can tick one to a three. So for example, personalization can increase open rates.
It doesn't mean it's gonna increase reply rates. So then personalization can start ticking boxes 7, 8, 9, and 10, which is, it's tied to relevancy. It breaks patterns like how you will do it. It's not just the opening line personalization. You might then include your personalization in the call to action or somewhere else.
I like to make sure that personalization not only shows personalization for you, but shows my personality right? Because I don't,
if you come across to me as some boring fucking chatGPT script, I'm not friends with [00:36:00] chatGPT, right? I'm friends with people who swear, who have a crack, who laugh.
Those are the people I want to talk to. So you start getting all these other ticks in personalization. And then if you can somehow use that personalization for the relevant, like the trigger. Then you've got like this holy grail kind of personalization.
Still the message has to be relevant. So I guess personalization for me is the trigger personalized? Is the reason for outreach personalized? Is a personality there? Like all those different things, when it's done well, you'll get a response rate. You'll, even if it's just to say no, thank you, right?
Because you're in a conversa, like they, they feel more obliged to.
Harry Sims: Of course. Yeah. That whole, I don't think you should send anything to anyone if it's not relevant.
So relevancy trump's personalization
Ricky Pearl: Relevance is easy, right? And one of the things we do is relevance at scale, right? If you are, you are an exposition and you look like this, then this and this and this and this is relevant to you. I could just send a million of those emails out and if it is hyper-relevant, and if that is what kept you up at night, I'm still gonna get a response. So relevancy trump's [00:37:00] personalization
Harry Sims: Well, relevance is personalization.
Ricky Pearl: Sure.
Harry Sims: Different level of it.
Ricky Pearl: You're right. And it's only ticking boxes eight and nine on personalization benefits as opposed to the one and five. One, two. You know
Harry Sims: If you're a human with the ability to send yes, say yes to send an email or no, send an email, then it has to be relevant . That's just like bare bones. Now, the personalization side, the reason why I try to take it far as I can is because like I see my competition as AI, as ad spend, as marketing automation.
Can marketing do what you're about to do?
Harry Sims: And I try to ask my, I genuinely ask myself this, and SDRs, you should do this. Can marketing do what you're about to do? If the answer is yes, you probably shouldn't do it. Can AI do what you're about to do? If the answer is yes, don't do it right? Can you just automate what you're doing? Because I'll tell you what, if the answer keeps being yes, then those things will replace you.
Now, a human cannot and marketing cannot, AI cannot, Ad spend cannot, deeply research each bar in their business.
They can't. So that's why I try to do that. And [00:38:00] that's the thing that I really preach to people is like it's possible. It's very possible in the industries I work in when I'm selling to marketers.
They're telling the world what they care about every single day. It's easy.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
Harry Sims: In fact, if you don't do it, you are the outlier, right?
Build up into a system or a process
Ricky Pearl: Now, some of this we as Pointer try build up into a system or a process. And I'll give you an example.
Originally when you you people are selling outsource SDR services, so one of our products, we do sales managements as a service. So we do outsource. SDR and BDR management will have your weekly one-on-one with you. We will do your war room with you. We'll set you up on the sales engagement platform. We make sure your emails are getting delivered. We do your call coaching with you, your management, because we've identified that the management layer is the problem in the BDR success, not the BDR, right? So that is the skill you need to bring into your organization.
Not the fucking caller. Yes, you need the caller, but you could have hired the caller yourself. What you're lacking is the management and the, with the, that's the layer of strategy and the layer of management. That's what we bring in. So [00:39:00] when we first start looking at it, we like, we could offer this to any company who hires SDRs.
So level one is, do you hire an SDR? But then we say, oh, let's look for companies who hire an SDR less than four SDRs, because like usually once they're over four, they've got a system and processes they have to get there. So less than four SDRs and don't have a dedicated SDR manager. Level two. Now let's find companies who have SDRs, no dedicated SDR manager, and have had one of those SDRs churn in the last three months.
Now, let's finds SDRs, no SDR manager, have had churn in the last four months, and the SDR department reports to marketing and not sales, right? Which is also pretty common. Now, let's find companies have SDRs, not SDR leadership, whose SDRs have churned who report to marketing and not sales, and have a new CMO in the last three to six months.
Now let's find all of that and that CMO comes from an organization where they did not have an SDR department. Those are the people I want to talk to, right? So like I've done so much of this [00:40:00] personalization and relevancy through my list. That by the
time I'm talking to that s that CMO, I know exactly what we're gonna talk about.
Hey, tell me what's it like to run an SDR department for the first time. Kind of like your first guest trust. That's what I wanna
talk to this person about. Absolutely. That I can do at scale.
Harry Sims: What you're doing there is personalization. It's not, it doesn't have to be that you like E type Jaguars. that is personalization. When people think about ads, digital ads, that's exactly what they talk about in terms of personalization.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
Harry Sims: And also when always this battle, I've had this a few times, oh, it's creepy, all this stuff.
I agree. It's creepy if you get private, intimate details about people and you use it in sales outreach. But if you are willing to put that stuff out on the public internet, advertisers use that against you to sell you ads all the time. Why shouldn't I, as a salesperson, you've chosen to put it out there.
It's not like I'm connecting with these people on Facebook and going through all their deep family pictures. It's usually Twitter, their Instagram podcast, interviews, earnings calls, publicly available stuff that everyone else uses.
Ricky Pearl: Just everyone else uses. When I put a post out on LinkedIn, [00:41:00] I'll want I'm upset if people didn't see it . Like it's, you know, it's the opposite. We actually want people to be seeing it and reading it.
Harry Sims: Dude, I, I, stopped worrying about it.
Ricky Pearl: I don't worry about it, don't get me wrong. But the point is more you are validating a desire more so than when when you do it right.
Harry Sims: But you have a big, you have a much bigger audience than me, so like you must get a lot anyway, but like the stuff I put so much time and effort into gets eight likes and a thousand impressions
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, just post a selfie of you and your dog, selfie of you and your dog through the moon.
Harry Sims: Yeah. And I just, I actually delete LinkedIn off my phone now cause I was spending too much time on it. I don't have Instagram or anything on my phone. I just, it's, this is another thing and I dunno if this is a tenuous link or not, you may have to cut this. But if chat GTP and all this AI is learning from the average, like the average of everything, I don't need that.
I like, and the best example of it is TripAdvisor, right? You've been on TripAdvisor and gone to a restaurant cause the ratings are higher and you thought it's horrible shit. Food's awful. But [00:42:00] then you have a friend who's a chef who says, Hey, there's this new restaurant in town you, you should really try out another chef.
He'll sort you out. You go instantly. And the food's amazing. I don't need AI to look at a million data points to tell me what's good or bad. I just need like Josh Bron to tell me what's good or bad. Does that make sense or is it, I don't know if that's educated on
Ricky Pearl: No it, it does make a lot of sense. I don't like, we're not gonna get into the whole chatGPT cause I think there's so many brilliant use cases for it and all of that, right? Brilliant use cases, but I completely get what you're saying. It's that if you're able to step above it's actually creating more room at the top. It is bringing up the average, don't get me wrong, it's bringing up the average, but it's still it's actually gonna bring the average up but also bring some of those top performance down that are gonna start adopting it.
Harry Sims: Yeah, think they'll be gone. I bet you've got a meeting, haven't you?
Ricky Pearl: Mate, I've I've always got that's I so on, we are this path at the moment to try I need to be that layer of strategy
Harry Sims: Yeah.
Ricky Pearl: In any successful outbound we tell our clients there's a layer of strategy. There is a layer of management and there's a layer of execution. [00:43:00] We bring all three. When you do fully outsource with us. If you want to hire in-house, we can just bring that layer of management and that layer of into your organization. Or they can just hire us as a consultant. And we just bring that layer of strategy and it'll just be like an outsourced kind of director of business developments.
So we bring all three, whatever they need, and they can flip flop and as they need and whatever else. I need to stay on that strategy piece. And at the moment I've dipped a bit too far into the management. So
Harry Sims: Did you see my face when you were telling me that?
Ricky Pearl: No. I'm looking at, yeah.
Harry Sims: I was looking suspicious at your eyes, like I bet you struggle to stay up there.
Ricky Pearl: Ah, yeah, absolutely. I'm currently meeting with every clients every week. And I love it because that's, I genuinely love it. And when we do it, I'm meeting with them as a strategic, our management layer comes to the meeting and the execution layer to the meeting and the execution layer, uh, presents what they've done, what they've seen, what they've observed.
Their management layer will give their analysis on what they think has worked well, what hasn't worked well, et cetera. I'll give a [00:44:00] strategic analysis on what I think we should maybe try next, like in what the next iteration is. And obviously this is all a discussion. It's not formal dance. And I don't ever want to be removed from that. But if I could do 80 of those a week and meet every client, every fortnight I'm fine. Right? It's when I'm doing that. And then, like I don't do any call coaching. I don't do any activity management. I'm not like deep in the weeds on management.
But anyway, whatever way too in the weeds for this conversation, I need to lift myself up. But as every other executive would I need to get more strategic, less operational
Harry Sims: It's hard, dude. Especially when it's like a passion, and it's your face on it, all right?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, mate
Sales is fucking hard
Ricky Pearl: it's hard, but it's fun and I love it. And these challenges and this conversation that I've had with you is genuinely what drives me because sales is fucking hard. Not only is it incredibly difficult to know what to do, even when you know exactly what to do, it is still hard to do it. And even if you are willing to do it right, it's still hard to get [00:45:00] outcomes. It is incredibly challenging and I love the fact that I'm helping companies succeed. I'm helping companies thrive by delivering something that's, they can't do. And to
me that's like a point of pride. like I wear this badge of a salesperson, I'm sure as you do too.
It's like a badge of honor, right? Like I'm creating employment for my staff. I'm creating employment for the companies we work for them to employ their staff, for them to play their suppliers who employ their staff. Like we are doing fucking incredible noble work. And the ability to learn, you know, the ability to learn from people like you and to see people like you in the community pushing hard, like when you write your blog and when you write these posts helping people just be a little bit better, sell a little bit better, convert a little bit better, know, you, you don't get paid for that, right?
Like you are doing incredibly noble work helping people thrive, So
Harry Sims: Ricky, I'm, I've got over a hundred different prospecting plays, right? Personal prospecting plays, but they're company specific for the companies I've been working for. All with examples and replies. The big challenge for me is it takes me[00:46:00] five to six hours to make that applicable and generic and pull another company example in so I can prove that there's other applications for it.
If I had, I probably should have. I've done a few of them. I've got a few of them queued up. if I wasn't desperately trying to find my next gig like it, it's like a year's work to make a real thing. And it could be, that's what I want it to be. I want it to be a free, searchable resource that an SDR can go and be inspired.
Here's what I could try every day. Try a different thing every day.
Ricky Pearl: Wow mate, I want to, I wanna chat to you another time about that because that is be really exciting, mate. Well, Look, we've been going here for an hour and it's been one of the most enjoyable hours I've ever chatted to someone. I don't, we are gonna have to cut this up hardcore, right?
Cuz no one's investing an hour in this conversation, even though they should. But I'm looking forward to chatting to you again soon. Wherever you do land up, we're gonna bring you back on when this playbook starts evolving I'd have playlists. Playlists even better, right? I wanna start looking at that and I wanna start implementing it with my team, right?
Harry Sims: If I can ever help any of your people, frontline people, if they've [00:47:00] got, See VP level buyers in these tough industries with some data out there about them. They maybe they have some ideas. Send 'em to me. Toms book, the link on my website. I do it for free.
Ricky Pearl: Amazing. Amazing. Well, At the moment they're all benefiting from you, just from reading your blog. When I posted in, when I posted, Hey everyone, look at this. How good is this ?
If somebody did want to get hold of you, where do they do it?
Ricky Pearl: If somebody did want to get hold of you, where do they do it?
Harry Sims: Yeah, LinkedIn, Harry Sims or personal-prospecting.com. That's it. And hopefully by the time this is posted, I will have found my next home. I'm pretty close, so we'll see.
Ricky Pearl: Amazing, it's been a fantastic chatting to you and I'll chat you again soon.
Harry Sims: Thank you, Ricky. Let's do it again. Bye.
Ricky Pearl: Cheers.