The Power of Front-Line SDR Intelligence

5 Questions with Jason Tissera & Tommy Jenkins

Co-Founder & Product Owner, NLP @ Upmarket

Good SDRs get a “yes” response ~3% of the time.

And more often than not, leaders only care about that 3%.

We’re not math majors, but 97% seems like too big of a slice to ignore.

The data that SDRs gather when the answer is a “no” or a “maybe later” (or some variation of that) is valuable. We’re talking competitive intelligence, market sentiment, message feedback…things that sales and marketing leaders (should) care about.

The problem is that SDRs aren’t expected to or trained to capture that data effectively, and even when they do there isn’t a system in place to relay it to the people who need it.

That’s where feedback loops come in.

Building a process where SDRs can relay feedback to their leaders and have them make actual change is difficult, but important.

We sit down with Jason Tissera and Tommy Jenkins of Upmarket to talk about the logistics of setting up and implementing feedback loops, the impact they can have, and why you should consider it for your own organization.

The data that SDRs gather when the answer is a “no” or a “maybe later” (or some variation of that) is valuable. We’re talking competitive intelligence, market sentiment, message feedback…things that sales and marketing leaders (should) care about.

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Key Takeaways

  1. What’s the problem here? Are SDRs not trained well enough, or are the systems in place not sophisticated enough to capture the right data?

  2. Why do we focus on the “yes” or “no” outcome for SDRs? Is it to do with how they’re measured as a function? Is it a holdover from how we used to do things? Do we simply not trust them to do anything more?

  3. What should we be doing? Are there examples of teams that do a good job at aligning their SDRs with leadership to make that transfer of information possible?

  4. A feedback loop between SDRs → Managers → Leadership → Managers → SDRs is the golden standard, but what does that really look like? What is involved in creating something like that to make sure it’s effective / doesn’t leak?

  5. How can you create this feedback loop without burdening the SDRs with that responsibility? Seems like another thing to lump onto their plate.

Highlights, Notes, and Resources

Note: Timestamps correspond to the YouTube video

(3:34) “The number one focus we want from our SDRs is meetings set.” But as we discuss, teams have to look past objective #1 and start to think about objective #2 – capturing the data and insights from live conversations to help other business units. Yes, it’s a secondary objective, but with the right systems, it becomes easier to achieve.

(5:04) Porque no los dos? If we can handle objectives 1 and 2 without adding a ton of lift on any party, the sky’s the limit.

(6:03) How many SDRs out there even know about objective #2? It’s often not taught or covered in training or onboarding (the issues there are a podcast for another time…). How can we normalize it? What companies are doing a good job at it?

(6:53) Everyone’s situation is different. It’s much easier to ad-hoc a feedback loop at a smaller company/startup than it is at larger organizations. That’s when indexing data and making it searchable becomes crucial.

(9:25) “As the technology evolves, the specializations of the roles around it are going to evolve as well.” Interesting point here, and it speaks to the (almost) exponential growth potential of the SDR role. As the role evolves, more tech is introduced. That tech evolves the role, which in turn evolves the tech, and so on and so forth.

(9:45) The insight & data that SDRs collect can impact more than just the sales team. Marketing is an easy example to use here, but that feedback loop should include them (and other revenue-generating departments) as well.

(11:07) Better to get started early – even if it’s sloppy – to at least establish structure and processes around creating a feedback loop. That way, the loop grows as the company grows. It’s all about the information flow. Great examples of how Jason & AJ have done just that.

(15:16) This is a fantastic growth opportunity for SDRs. Not only are you going beyond the scope of your primary responsibilities by capturing these insights, but you can use these insights to your advantage.

“I was booking meetings because I had this data.”

“If you can find out the people that are really thoughtful about the business, that are capturing this information, that’s a great way to differentiate yourself. Not just by your meetings set, but by your knowledge of how this business is going to grow and adapt.”

(16:39) A cautionary tale from Alex! Creating a feedback loop (or at least trying to start one) as an SDR takes more effort than you might imagine. Think about what you can do to better translate the insight you’re capturing for the leadership team. Meet them halfway.

(19:13) Want to play devil’s advocate? I got you.

The biggest problem with feedback loops tends to be too much information. Distilling that down into actionable insights is incredibly difficult, and when you have hundreds of conversations to sift through it becomes a burden more than a boon. So it’s usually not an issue of a leaky funnel or misinformed reps, but information overload.

“It’s probably less likely that you’re going to get bad information rather than more incomplete information.”

(22:08) How can you do all of this without burdening the SDRs? Indexing data and making inferences is time-consuming. Let’s talk automation.

✅ Data entry and CRM notes – reps spend ~8 hours/week on this. Automate that via tech and supplement w/ conversational intelligence. More insights, less time doing busy work.

Enable the conversation. Make it as thoughtful & structured as possible. Capture the data. Mine the data. Use it to move the business forward.

(24:41) What are you actually trying to glean with conversational intelligence? How is that moving the business forward?

(28:21) SDRs today are LUCKY. Is the role harder? Yes. But the resources we arm our SDRs with today dwarf the resources reps had 5-10 years ago.

(31:40) Objection handling becomes a LOT easier when you have these feedback loops set up. Jason shares a great example at 32:39 about Peloton and their objection handling strategy. Their ability to index information and gather insights helped propel sales (and into Jason’s home 😅).

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