How to Create a Best in Class Partnership with your SDR Team with Bill Glenn

Overview 

Bill Glenn outlines how to successfully strengthen relationships with your SDR team and how doing so will lead to success across the board.

Guest

Bill Glenn is a B2B growth marketing leader, team builder, and VP of worldwide demand at ExtraHop. He has a deep understanding and hands-on experience with all things marketing: brand, messaging, positioning, product, demand (digital – SEO, SEM, display, content syndication – and offline), buyer’s journey, content, social media, channel, customer, sales enablement, Account Based Marketing (ABM), BDR/SDR management and collaboration.

Reference

YouTube player

Intro

Billy Bateman 0:02   

All right, everyone. Welcome to digital conversations. I am your host, Billy Bateman. And today I am joined by the one and only Bill Glenn. Bill. How are you doing, man?  

Bill Glenn 0:11   

I’m great, Billy, how are you doing today?  

Billy Bateman 0:13   

Doing good doing good. Two guys who probably have the same given first name and go by and nickname here is what I would assume.  

Bill Glenn 0:22   

Right? Right. Well, it’s funny you say that because my I had an old PayPal name, and it was Billy G. And my team just found it this this week, and they’ve been making fun of me all week asking me for how many years I’ve been called Billy, which has been a lot, but I’ve been able to hide that for 40 years.  

Billy Bateman 0:37   

Oh, yeah.  

Bill Glenn 0:38   

from them. But now they know. And I’ve got lots of nicknames coming my way this week. So welcome to the world of having another Billy. 

Billy Bateman 0:46   

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I your bills, you the grownup version, still yet to grow up. Although I had a boss who very much wanted me to go by William and I was just like, Yeah, man, that’s not going to happen.  

Bill Glenn 0:58   

Good choice. Good choice. Yeah. 

Background

Billy Bateman 1:00   

Okay, man. Well, today, we’re going to have you introduce yourself. But the topic is we’re going to talk about how to create a best-in-class relationship with your SDR team. But before we dive into that, for those that don’t know, you and what you’re about, and with ExtraHop to bat first tell us just a little bit about yourself and your journey to becoming VP of worldwide demand there. 

Bill Glenn 1:22   

Yeah, yeah, for sure. So currently at a company called ExtraHop, or a privately held company backed by two private equity organizations. And I’ve been with the organization just about four years now, the company is about 15 years old. So, we talk about ourselves being a 15-year-old startup.  

But what we offer to mostly security professionals is our way for our security professionals to leverage the ExtraHop technology to guard against advanced threats and protect organizations from bad actors. And so, as a cybersecurity product and company, our intention is to become the market leader in network detection and response or MDR, in our category, and intentionally to partner with other world class organizations to build best in class or best of breed solutions.  

So that we can help security professionals stay on the offense against some of these bad actors and keep those bad actors out of their organization. Or if those bad actors happen to penetrate into their organization. We help the security professionals find those bad actors quickly and remediate those issues as best and as fast as we can. 

Billy Bateman 2:36   

Great, great. And then, before you were an ExtraHop, what were you doing? 

ExtraHop

Bill Glenn 2:41   

Yeah, so I’ve been, I guess, a serial startup marketing guy. For about 20 years, I’ve been the head of marketing at a number of different companies, mostly B2B. I worked in companies publicly traded company that was selling new domain names in partnership with GoDaddy. And also, as a head of marketing for a public sector focused company that was helping both government organizations and citizens get access to open data, publicly available data, and leverage technology to make better both community decisions, and also help constituents be more informed about how governments were spending their money.  

So those were two in particular that I really enjoyed, because I think we were mission driven, purpose driven. We help individuals as well as businesses to, you know, take advantage of technology in new and interesting ways. And then I also had a four-year stint as a head of marketing in a HR tech company that was focused on improving the hiring process from day one.  

And that that also was a fun ride and building a brand called talent wise, since acquired. But all of these adventures have been its super exciting for me, because I just I love the passion of startup organizations and working closely with sales teams, as a marketing leader to understand how we can help them achieve goals and help the company you know, deliver on solutions, technology solutions in general that helped both businesses and consumers. 

Mission Driven Organization

Billy Bateman 4:15   

Great, man, dude, those that’s really interesting. Anytime you’re part of the mission driven organization, it’s always better than just coming in and we’re just here to make money. Yeah, 

Bill Glenn 4:25    

right. Right. Absolutely. Yeah. I feel like I have to be part of so many tech marketers and tech sellers. They, you know, that’s what they’re looking for today. And I think companies owe it to them to think intentionally about what the mission is, not just how we’re going to serve customers, but how we serve our communities as well. 

Billy Bateman 4:43   

Creating Relationship Between Marketing and SDR Team

For sure, man, I love it. I love it. Hiring dude. I feel like I’m always in the middle of hiring. So, the problem will never be completed. improvements are welcome. Okay, man, so let’s, let’s hop into it.  

This is something when we were talking about doing a podcast that as soon as you mentioned it, I was like, yes, this is this is something we need to talk about more. I think planning people do talk about it, but not enough. What do you create that really tight relationship between marketing and your SDR team? And I’ve seen it done a lot of different ways.  

I think personally, I think in B2B, marketing sales we’re moving towards, we’re not going to have marketing and sales is completely different departments creates revenue. And I don’t know when that’s going to be, but it’s going to be a revenue or some cool name, they’ll figure out to brand it up.

But it’ll be everyone working together, and better relationships. And we have right now and not so many of them you know, marketing, lead suck sales never want to solve that problem. Right? You know, what does that mean to you? Like, what is the best-in-class partnership between marketing and an SDR team look like in your region? And what are you guys doing? 

What does the Best-In-Class Partnership Between Marketing and an SDR Team Look Like?

Bill Glenn 6:05   

Yeah, yeah, great question. I do think most organizations are tackling this problem today, because I agree with you that, you know, thinking about this, in a, you know, revenue, revenue operations, however you want to talk about it, like, it’s all about shared goals. And I think that that’s where we start in terms of best in class. 

I know, there’s been a lot of research done recently around, you know, if marketing and sales, think intentionally about defined and having shared goals, that just makes them that much more accountable together, and also in lockstep for what we’re trying to achieve. So , you know, frankly, it just eliminates a lot of that finger pointing between the organization. So, I think, you know, just starting with what, what are the company’s shared goals? And how does that relate specifically to revenue?  

Improving Pipeline by Working Together

What it what are the contributions that both in an inside sales organization and a marketing organization you can rally around together? What can we impact and influence in ways that maybe are slightly separate in the funnel from an outside selling organization and where the outside sales organization takes the deals ultimately, but at least that, you know, top to mid funnel to begin with, let’s make sure that there is tight alignment on less about what we would call the vanity metrics of my L.  

More about like, you know, let’s be real about opportunity, creation and real pipeline that is being developed, you know, initially with marketing, but then a quick handoff to the inside sales organization. Understanding that both of us only succeed, if all of those things that we’re generating at the top of the funnel, ultimately weight make their way through to the outside sales team.

And those, you know, the majority of those deals get closed. And if we’re not thinking about full funnel from the get-go, then we probably aren’t going to have shared goals and shared alignment, and it would be very easy to finger point. But that’s the starting point for me, I think. Awesome. 

Billy Bateman 7:58   

SDR Team Part of Marketing or Sales

Yeah. So, I’ve got a question for you there. ExtraHop. I’ve seen it done a couple different ways with our customers, is the SDR team part of marketing or part of sales, or like its own thing entirely. 

Bill Glenn 8:11   

Yeah, I’m glad you asked that question. I was going to mention at the beginning that at ExtraHop, we actually have a separate organization. So, the inside sales organization rolls up to our sales leader worldwide head of sales. But we have an entire SDR leadership team that we meet with weekly as a Marketing Leaders team, to think about those shared goals and define them and understand what’s happening in each of our worlds.  

I’ve seen it done other ways, I’ve actually worked at one at one of my startups, we actually had the SDRs rolling into the marketing team, I tend to not get sort of worked up about which place it ultimately rolls up to. And I’ve actually found some sort of benefits and drawbacks in both ways.

But what I like about what we’re doing at ExtraHop is, you know, defining and starting with their share goals, but more so trying to generate the closed loop feedback that I think is so critical in whether it’s our marketing campaigns, or the SDR is doing their outbound in motion.  

Communication and Feedback

Both of us can learn from those activities and being able to talk openly about what’s working and what’s not. And doing it on a very frequent basis. For us again, it’s weekly. You know, I think, and I think there’s other companies out there that actually like to do stand up every day and talk about like, what we’re going to do day in and day out. I don’t know if I don’t know if that’s always worthwhile depending on what type of business, you’re in. But the more frequent communication for sure, on that closed loop have, you know, which campaigns are working?  

What’s the, what’s the true feedback after the sales organization inside sales organization starts to have those initial conversations, marketing needs to know what that sounds like. And, you know, I used to say, oh, well, you have to get on the headset and be you know, be on that splitter with the with the inside seller. 

So that marketing knows that I feel like you know, you know, our chat back ticked technology today doesn’t necessarily require that, but I do think the I think marketing has to understand, you know, what, what are the day in day out challenges of the SDR team intimately? And if they don’t understand that, you know, I think we’re fooling ourselves, we’d be setting up that team for success, since we don’t roll up to the same ultimate leader of sales or marketing leader. 

How to Build Trust

Billy Bateman 10:17   

Yeah, I agree with you doesn’t, I don’t think it really matters where they report into as long as there is that good relationship? Yeah, you can do that in a lot of different ways. Like, actually, from where I’m recording, I’m watching my demand Gen leader and my sales leader, talking about how they can tighten up some processes, you know. So, you know, like, just have that relationship. So, what are what do you guys do to build that trust and that rapport between the two groups? 

Bill Glenn 10:43   

Yeah, yeah. Well, I think it’s been harder and COVID times, I will say, but I think, you know, pre COVID times, it actually started with getting to know one another better. And I think like, the social aspect of work is so critical, because, you know, we do work with it so closely between our teams, trying to get to know the individuals on the teams, and certainly in in every tech company that I worked at, and I think it’s a pretty common phenomenon where you may not you might not see as long as 10 years of the traditional inside sales organization.  

And I think we’ve tried to prevent that best we can by, you know, getting to know one another on a personal level, getting to understand, you know, what are the day in and day out challenges, both personally and professionally, especially now in COVID times, and having more informal interactions just as much as we would have formal interactions. I think that’s step one. 

Focus on High Impact Activities

I think, you know, the other thing that we’ve tried to do is, we haven’t formally said SLA, I think in the four years that I’ve been here, and then I think every other company, I’ve worked out, we you know, we talked about process, and we talked about defining SL A’s. And, and it’s not to say that we don’t have measurement, and we don’t have process or rigor. But I think if we, we sort of loosen the reins on the terminology of SLA, because it just felt like it had a negative connotation to it. 

And it was more just about like, Hey, we have certain activities that are high impact activities, and then others that are maybe not as high impact, and how do we spend as much time as we can on those high impact activities, and push some of those low impact or, you know, kind of like the table stakes activities to the wayside, such that we can just get focused on how many meaningful conversations. Did you have not, you know, how many dials did you make? Right? Or, or how many bad leads versus good leads? You know, how many my how many emails turned into my ELLs?  

It’s Not Just About the Sale

Like, yes, we have to measure my ELLs will never be let off the hook for that. But it’s more about like, are we finding the right target buyer? What are their common objections? What are they already learned from our competitors, that we need to be more value oriented and give that give those prospects like something really meaningful to chew on

So that when they walk away from either a first marketing campaign engagement or a first conversation with an SDR, they have a different set of mindset in their in their head of, you know, this person that I just spoke with was really, really knowledgeable. This person understood my problems, and this person seems to actually really care about me. They’re not just here to sell something. 

Measuring Success

Billy Bateman 13:17   

Yeah, dude, I agree. Like, you’re talking about all the right things, my opinion. And I love it. So, what are you actually like? What are you measuring for, for that success? Like, how do you guys’ measure success? 

Bill Glenn 13:31   

Yeah, well, you know, our most traditional funnel metrics, it really is about the opportunity create, and it’s really about, you know, the true funnel, if you will, I think that are where we’re headed as an organization. I think this is sort of the evolution of social selling. And, you know, social engagement, excuse me, is about meaningful conversations.  

Lasting Impressions and Lasting Connections

It’s about how are we creating lasting impressions and lasting connections with our SDR organization and our prospects and our key customers? So, I think that, you know, we heavily focus that, you know, this part of the conversation around LinkedIn, because we feel like that’s our best tool right now Sales Navigator LinkedIn to do our outbound thing, or leverage social as a means to share, you know, high quality content for the marketing team. 

But I think the way the way we’re going to measure this is, you know, how many of these folks that we first reached out to one start to accept our requests for connections, but two are willing to have more than, you know, one or two initial conversations, even if that doesn’t mean that even if that means we’re not going to sell them something in the next 12 months, but we start to build a relationship early.  

And so, we’re playing the long game and we’re saying, you know, there’s going to be a number of these high-level business decision makers that need to turn to professionals like us for expertise in our field and they should it feel confident when they have a conversation with us that ultimately, they know we would love to sell them something. But we’re here first to make them make their lives, enrich their lives with hopefully more valuable information.  

Thinking Long-Term

And then then create that trust and that long term play. Even if that SDR ends up leaving our organization, I still view that as a win, if that helps us, you know, in the short term, make those connections because the our buyers will I think, in the long run, say that’s a that’s a company in a brand that they really cared about my business problem and cared about me and what I’m facing each and every day than just trying to sell the next piece of technology. 

Billy Bateman 15:38   

I love it, man, the more like, I’ve seen this at a couple different organizations, you know, the sales guys, a common complaint is they’re not the buyer leads, you know, like, they’re not ready. They’re tire kickers, but if we can, as marketers really provide them with a lot of quality conversations, even if it’s not going to be a deal that closes this week, this month, this quarter. And you know, like, dude, sales are a tough job. 

Like, yeah, it is a tough job. Like, anyone that does sales full time grinds it out, you have my respect, because it’s not easy. And I think sometimes the marketing team we forget, like, these guys are putting, you know, like, we’re sending out emails, we’re running campaigns, like, we’re doing all these things. But we don’t have to put our face out there and call somebody and say, hey, you know, have you heard about us? Are you interested?  

How can we help you be out there, that’s not easy to have that conversation over and over again, when, you know, even in the best of times, like you’re still getting the door shut and rejected? And they’re saying, Yeah, let’s talk. So, you can really focus on what you’re talking about, get them good conversations, because just what that does for their psyche has got to be huge. 

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Bill Glenn 16:54   

Yeah, not to mention the variable comp just to you know, talk really plainly about it. Right, but I think that that’s critical is the is being, you know, kind of putting yourself in their shoes. I was actually talking to a college senior yesterday about an internship and she actually did an internship with us in in our SDR department. Then she ultimately wants to come over when she graduates and hopefully works in our marketing department.  

She said, I just thought found, it’s so valuable to first sit in the, you know, in the sales organization and work with the SDR team. And she said, that’s going to make my transition into marketing that much better, because I will have understood them intimately in their pain and their process that they go through, and what motivates them and what gets them excited every single day.  

Help SDR’s Develop Careers

I couldn’t agree more. I found this over the course of my career is there, I started my career in sales, and just the limited time that I had in a sales role. Like, I feel like I have such more appreciation for that role, and what they go through day in and day out that I hope that I can bring that back to my marketing teams to say, you have to spend more time with these folks, you have to understand what they’re facing. You also have to understand their comp models and like what is motivating for them? 

And what and, and how are they what is their mindset as they think about not only making connections, but also about, you know, creating a healthy income for themselves and staying motivated beyond just the money, but that satisfaction of making a meaningful connection because there is a lot of rejection. I would suspect that if we can build how built helped them build better, you know, conversations, hopefully then it turns into less rejection and more acceptance, 

Billy Bateman 18:33   

You will, or acceptance more gains more money is weird. If you do anything, you will do a bad like a job they don’t even enjoy. If the comp is enough, you may not do it forever. Right. You’ll do it for a while. So, let’s talk about SDR career because most people don’t stay in that role, their whole career. What are you guys doing to help them develop their career and, and move forward? 

Moving Forward

Bill Glenn 18:58   

Yeah, I think I guess for us tangentially, what we’ve tried to do is we want to be able to offer up, you know, typically after liking you know, 12 months in the sea, we try and you know, have sort of a minimum timeline of you know, make sure that you have done your job effectively, you understand your job. 

And then if you’re ready to, you know, think about career progression, have open conversations directly with their managers on the SDR side, but start to have certain conversations even, you know, nine months in with some of the marketing different marketing leaders on my team and in other parts of the marketing organization. 

Because I think a lot of folks who start early in their career in this SDR role, they’re still trying to figure out like, it was a great entry point. And it may be a good you know, you know, even multiyear proposition to begin with, but there’s a fair number of them who said I always wanted to be in marketing, but I couldn’t get into an entry level role in marketing. So, I took the job in SDR to get my foot in the door. 

Networking

And I think we want to be able to honor that to say, well, you know, if you went to college, like what was your degree and if you didn’t, that’s okay too, but we’re where your passion and where, you know, where do you see yourself? You know, and I don’t say like, where do you see yourself in five years, like in tech, that’s forever, but it’s more like, hey, in the next six to 12 months, how have you thought about, you know, now that you understand our organization, the way it operates? 

How do you think about how you know where you want to take your career and kind of put some onus and ownership back on those individuals to take the responsibility of reaching out, it’s, you know, it’s like, you can do good networking outside of your company, you can do even better networking inside your company to understand what’s going on with other departments. Where you might see some cross, you know, overlap or some crossover points. 

Internships and Entry-Level Jobs

For us, where we’re trying to find more entry level type positions and marketing, whether it’s through internships, or, you know, one year out of school, or one year and another, you know, another function like SDR, where we can say we’re willing to, you know, train up really good motivated, you know, hungry people. Frankly, a lot of the SDR is like how all the great characteristics that we want in a marketing person, right, they’re accountable, they’re, you know, they’re responsible, they’re, they’re delivering day in and day out.  

And they come in with a lot of great and creative ideas. We can, you know, take a lot of really good ideas from our SDRs and the SDR leadership and try and put those into practice. Frankly, some of those we’d be like, I would have never thought of that on the marketing side.  

Because they’re closer, they’re closer to the, you know, that prospect or customer in many ways, and they hear things that we don’t, and that’s that closed loop feedback I talked about before is, we got to be able to think about how we move SDRs over to marketing, because that will just make our marketing organization stronger in the long term. 

Meetings and Alignment

Billy Bateman 21:36   

I agree, I actually sit down with our sales organization every week for about 45 minutes on Friday morning. And you know, sometimes they give training, but I always want to hear their ideas like, hey, how do we get some more deals cross the finish line? What do we need to do? 

Yeah, and because those guys are on the phone with everybody, like, they’ll say, hey, you know, like, we needed another integration into this, or we need answers to these questions or that. And I like, sometimes I’m like, man, I would never even have thought of this. Without sitting down and talking to these guys, they have good ideas, and they really know what’s going on. So that’s the truth. Yet, 

Bill Glenn 22:14   

Extroverts and Introverts

The other thing that you just mentioned that kind of spurred a different thought, was not maybe as much at ExtraHop. But certainly, other places I worked. Sometimes the SDR is, especially if they’re new red organization or newer into the role, they don’t feel necessarily as comfortable speaking up about, you know, either new ideas or, you know, changing processes or kind of rocking the boat, you know, those kinds of ideas, if leadership is in the room.  

And so we have intentionally annex Rob and other places I’ve worked said, you know, we need to find those peer to peer conversation moments where people are comfortable sharing the uncomfortable and being okay with that, and then figuring out how to surface that back to the either the str leaders of the Marketing Leaders in a way that doesn’t sound like they’re just going against what we’ve already, you know, planned and rolled out.  

But yeah, it but there, they’re comfortable saying, I can tell you why this isn’t working, and I have some better, you know, ways to improve this. But some of the folks, even though you would think a lot of them would be extroverted, actually have a fair amount of introverted people who are in this role, too. And they’re just not as like apt to in a big room setting, you know, share some of those ideas and their great ideas, they just don’t like they just don’t like to put themselves out there and in, you know, a bigger setting. 

Networking Within Your Own Company

Billy Bateman 23:27   

For sure, man, for sure. And then something else you hit on was just like networking within your own company. That’s something that when I was younger, I wish I had done a better job of and I love that you brought that up actually had lunch two or three weeks ago with the new guy we hired just very young, starting his career as his first full-time job. And you know, he’s on our support team. He wants to be in tech, but he’s not sure exactly what he wants to do.  

And I was good. You need to just like go talk to people invite people to go to lunch with you. You know, we don’t hire a whole seer. like everybody’s nice. And this means they may lose everyone, everyone’s going to leave at some point. You know, like, very few people are going to stay here forever. And they may open up doors for you and another company or open up a door for you on their team when they have something you know. Yeah. Yeah, one that just network within your own company, like as much as you can. I think it’s I think it’s really overlooked. Honestly. 

Bill Glenn 24:28   

Yeah, we just rolled out recently a formal mentorship program inside of ExtraHop, and I got to say, like, I’m so excited about that, because I’ve been mentoring at University of Washington. I’ve been mentoring both undergrad and graduate students, MBAs.  

And the, the challenge of breaking into companies, you know, early in your career is what you know, while there’s more networking opportunities, there’s that that much more competition out there and you know, who you know, you know, no matter what city you’re in, I To be in Seattle, which still feels small town and all about who you know, but I think that that’s pretty common in most cities big and small is Yeah, you know, leverage the network.  

Innovations and Tests

Billy Bateman 25:39   

Yeah, yeah, do that. I love that. I love that. So, we’re running out of time. But I’ve got one more question for you. Yeah, I know, you guys are innovating. So, like, what are you testing? What do you try and that other demand Gen leaders and str leaders can try? As you know, you guys are building this relationship, which is something that’s not like a check the box, it’s a constant thing? Yeah, 

Bill Glenn 26:01   

yeah, I’ll share one that we’re just getting started. Like, literally right now. So not even fully rolled out yet. But we spent a lot of time talking with the SDR leaders about conversion rates. And you know, thing and it started with, you know, conversion rates based on data in the funnel. You know, what, what that’s translated into the project that we’re trying is about, you know, where I started before about conversation quality, and meaningful connections.  

And so, we’re working with a third-party agency that is an expert in LinkedIn. They share the same philosophy that we do that it’s a long game, and that it’s all about providing value back to the end customer. So, we want to start that value creation and value delivery process as early in the funnel as we can. We want to use tools like LinkedIn, and we want to use our chat bots. 

We want to think intentionally about, let’s have more true conversations and less, you know, kind of transactional interchanges, and be about getting to know that person on the other end of your LinkedIn connection, or the phone or the email, whatever it may be. While it feels like it could elongate our sales cycle, I think in the long run, it really won’t, because we and I think a lot of tech companies have a very long sales cycle to begin with.  

Building Trust and Being Authentic

If we can build that trust earlier on in the in the conversation and the meetup, I just think that the more authentic we can be, and the more value we can give early with the content that we’re creating, hopefully, the our buyers find it valuable, that the SDR is will be viewed then as leaders in their industry, you know, for not only where they’re at today, but where they’re at in the future. 

We’ve had a lot of examples of people who have left ExtraHop, and they brought basically ExtraHop to their next company. But the way in which they do that is actually to go back to some of those initial connections they had with the SDR is to say, I really love the way that you worked with me the first time I implemented ExtraHop, now that I’m at a new company, I want to work with you again, because you know, you just helped me navigate the process and made it an easy and enjoyable buying experience. And that just comes from you know, having high quality SDRs that I know how to build relationships, not just about you know, trying to push a sale. 

Continuing the Conversation and Contact

Billy Bateman 28:16   

Awesome, man. Awesome. I love it. The higher quality people you can have, the better everything is going to go. Yeah. And the less defined process you necessarily have to have, you can give more latitude, to just say, hey, like, here’s what we’re trying to get done. Let’s make it happen, you know. So, I have a bill, dude, I appreciate it so much. If people want to get in contact with you and continue the conversation, what’s the best way for them to reach out?  

Bill Glenn 28:44   

Yeah, first of all, I enjoyed the conversation as well. Thank you, Billy. This has been awesome. I appreciate being part of your audience and your network. People that are interested in ExtraHop, they can go to ExtraHop comm and people that want to get in touch with me. I’d say the best way is probably LinkedIn and I’m at William W. Glenn with two ns. 

Billy Bateman 29:04   

Okay. Okay. Awesome. We will chat later, and you have a great one.  

Bill Glenn 29:09   

All right. Thanks, Billy. You are too. I appreciate it.