Embracing Online Sales Communities

January 19, 2024

A New Era for Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)

There’s no denying that sales development is a difficult job. Convincing someone to part with a resource as precious as their time is no easy task.

That’s why there are so many resources out there for sales development professionals. Blogs, podcasts, digital events, certifications, and now…sales communities.

This rise in online sales communities over the past few years has given the SDR a new place to learn and grow. They can share insight with peers, learn from leaders, and grow their skills through workshops and events.

SDRs who leverage these communities are getting a ton of help and advice from many different perspectives – which is great! But sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start. Can you just jump into the discussion and begin growing right away?

Not so fast. Before joining the growing swath of communities, it’s best to know what you’re about to get yourself into.

The Community Lifecycle

Who better to teach someone how to leverage online communities than a community manager?

We had the opportunity to sit down with Katie Ray, who, at the time of this recording, was the community manager for Sales Hacker (now ‘GTMNow‘).

We asked her about the first steps you need to take to find an online community, how to best leverage its resources, and some general best practices to follow during the process.

You can watch that interview 👇 and keep scrolling for some of our top discussion takeaways!

Finding Your Tribe

Katie started by highlighting the essence of community in the sales world. In her words, it’s about “finding your tribe and connecting with people who share similar paths, goals, and challenges.” Most communities aim to provide their members with resources and support to help them achieve their goals.

The mantra we’ve been tossing around is “a rising tide lifts all ships.” The idea behind these communities is that they help each member learn and grow in a way that elevates the community and its population at large – and that’s especially true for the world of sales. These communities have been instrumental in pushing the profession forward and elevating the quality of work overall.

Despite sales being a competitive profession by nature, communities themselves aren’t competitive spaces. Keep that in mind as you search for a community to join.

Navigating Communities Effectively

Katie offered some practical advice for SDRs looking to dive into communities.

First, understand your goals and what you’re looking to accomplish by joining a community:

  • Are you looking for mentorship and career advice?
  • Are you looking to improve specific skills?
  • Are you looking to network with peers?

You must find communities that align with your objectives (more on that later).

It’s also essential to interact with community managers and active members. Their insights and experiences can guide your community journey, helping you find the most relevant resources.

Leveraging Community for Growth

For SDRs, communities offer a treasure trove of resources. Blogs, podcasts, digital events, and even micro-communities within the larger group can help reps build foundational skills essential for thriving in sales.

Katie emphasized the importance of leveraging these resources, especially for those in the early stages of their sales careers. Struggling with objection handling or prospecting paralysis? There’s probably a webinar, article, or peer discussion just a click away in these communities.

The Art of Community Selling

One of the more intriguing concepts discussed was ‘community selling.’ In essence, it’s about long-term relationship building and using community engagement as a platform to establish expertise and trust. Katie shared that, particularly in enterprise sales, community involvement can keep you in front of potential clients in a non-intrusive way. This approach is about genuine help and sharing knowledge, not direct selling. The more you contribute, the more you’re recognized as an expert, making it easier to foster relationships that can eventually lead to sales.

Give as Much as You Get

Perhaps the most powerful takeaway from Katie’s insights is the emphasis on reciprocity in communities. It’s not just about taking; it’s about giving back.

Even if you’re new to the role of an SDR, your experiences and insights can benefit others. Community is a two-way street, and your contributions can help you build relationships that are invaluable for your quota and your career.

A (non-exhaustive) List of Online Communities

As we talked about earlier, there are hundreds of communities out there. By no means is this all of them (not even close), but it’s a solid place to start as you begin your journey.

  1. SDRevolution – The mission behind SDRevolution is to grow a passionate community of the world’s leading sales development professionals to create content, share training resources, and help provide advice through interviews, discussions, and community support.
  2. RevGenius – You can sit with us! Connect with 40,000+ members who are contributing to RevGenius’ mission and building the future of sales and marketing.
  3. SDReady – We are a Slack community of SDRs helping other SDRs succeed. No strings attached!
  4. SDR Nation – SDR Nation Is Where Top Talent Comes to Accelerate Their Careers and Be Surrounded by a World-Class Community
  5. The War Room – An exclusive Sales Community for the Best Sales Professionals (by Bravado and Corporate Bro)
  6. Modern Sales Pros – The world’s largest peer education community for sales ops, enablement, and leadership professionals.
  7. Emblaze – Become a part of the go-to community for virtual sales teams of all sizes and industries. We are dedicated to advancing the careers and sales performance of our members.
  8. Pavilion – Unlock your professional potential. Level up with community-powered learning, in-person or virtual events around the world, and endless tools for go-to-market leaders.
  9. Women in Sales Everywhere – Developing The Next Generation of Female Sales Leaders. Meet and network with hundreds of fellow sales professionals and executive leaders.
  10. Whiskey WinsDay – The LIVE show that brings Sales and Marketing together like never before.
  11. Vendition – We help college grads and career switchers land jobs in tech sales. We train, place, and pay our SDR Apprentices while offering ongoing career mentorship.
  12. Women in Sales Club – The Women in Sales Club is focused on enabling, empowering, and promoting women within the sales profession.
  13. Women in Revenue – Welcome to Women in Revenue, a world where every woman has access to a thriving, supportive community of powerful, diverse, and daring members. As a non-profit organization, we exist to serve women in revenue-generating roles across Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success with goals of workplace equity, inclusion, and career acceleration.
  14. BLKNS – The leading private sales & marketing community for SaaS CEOs, Founders, and investors.
  15. Salesforge – One of the fastest private growing communities on the planet for startup/SaaS founders, sales, marketing & rev ops professionals focused on all topics related to outbound and inbound growth. Whether you have over a decade of experience or you’re just starting, we’re here to help you get to your next milestone.

And if you want to comb through another ~150 Slack communities, you can browse through this directory to find your tribe.

Conclusion: The Community-First Approach

Today, it’s not just about your sales strategy or how many calls you make. It’s about how well you integrate into your professional community, how much you contribute, and how you leverage these relationships for mutual growth. For SDRs and inside sales professionals, embracing this community-first approach could be the key to not just surviving, but thriving in the ever-evolving world of sales.

Remember, you’re not alone in your sales journey. There’s a community out there waiting to support, guide, and grow with you. Dive in, contribute, and watch as the ties you forge lift your career to new heights.

aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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