Designing the Modern SDR Organization with Workiva's Melissa Raber

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This is a podcast episode titled, Designing the Modern SDR Organization with Workiva's Melissa Raber. The summary for this episode is: <p>Let’s face it: prospecting is really really hard. In 2022, there is more information than ever before at our fingertips to help us prospect, but there’s also more information than ever before to distract us from doing the work that matters. Often, the burden to find that balance falls on SDR teams.</p><p><br></p><p>In this episode, we talked to someone who knows what running a successful, modern SDR Organization looks like. That someone is Melissa Raber, the Senior Director of Revenue Operations and Sales Development at Workiva.</p><p><br></p><p>In our conversation, we talk about the 3 C’s of SDR hiring, how to design the SDR "Day In the Life" to remove distractions, and why she views an SDR Team not as meeting setters, but as the air traffic controllers of an organization.</p><p><br></p><p>Like this episode?&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️&nbsp;review</a>&nbsp;and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz and @DriftPodcasts.</p>

Sean Lane: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Operations, the show where we look under the hood of companies in hyper- growth. My name is Sean Lane. So prospecting is pretty hard, huh? A bunch of you are currently questioning why you clicked play on this episode for earth- shattering insights like that, but let's face it. Prospecting is really, really hard, and in 2022, there is more information than ever before at our fingertips to help us prospect. But there's also more information than ever before to distract us from doing the work that matters. In a lot of hyper- growth companies, that burden falls on SDR teams. So I wanted to talk to someone who knows what running a modern SDR organization looks like, and I found that someone in Melissa Raber. Melissa is the Senior Director of Revenue, Operations, and Sales Development at Workiva. So she has a unique perspective looking after both the ops and SDR sides of things. Melissa joined Workiva in 2017, a few years after the company went public. Today, Workiva has a nearly$ 5 billion market cap. I wanted to learn from Melissa each of the key components that go into running a successful modern SDR team. In our conversation, we talk about the three Cs of SDR hiring, we talk about how to design the SDR day in the life to remove distractions and why she views an SDR team not as meeting centers, but as the air traffic controllers of an organization. To start, let's get some context on the SDR org itself and where Melissa's team fits within Workiva.

Melissa Raber: Being the leader of the inside sales team here at Workiva, we are a global company, and we've got several different inside sales teams with several different initiatives across the globe. I personally work with our North America team of five. We're aligned specifically to the verticals in which we sell. So we've got different segments, different teams. Whether it'd be Fortune 500, our mid- market teams, SLED, federal, we've got a... We're comprised in North America of about 40 inside sellers. We've got five teams of super strong leaders within our organization, and we're really charged on an annual basis in delivering 40% to 45% of our overall pipeline and bookings for North America.

Sean Lane: Got it. Got it, and so how is your team aligned with those North American sales organizations? Is it a one- to- one model, a two... Do they pair specifically with certain reps?

Melissa Raber: So our inside sales team, we are a... but we're typically, and depending on the segment, we're a one- to- three, three- to- four alignment per RSD. So depending on the team and segment in which our inside seller support, we could have upwards 25 to 150 accounts that we support from an inside sales and prospecting perspective the whole way through up upwards to 800 accounts that we're targeting and prospecting from both a land and expander of... an expansion of current customers. We also target, obviously, new logo within the accounts that we support. The key to the success here as a whole organization is the collaboration. The Workiva culture is unbelievable here within our organization, and while we're all working in sales and we've got to generate pipeline, it's everybody's responsibility. While the inside sales team is working diligently to generate the outbound activity, which I'm sure we'll talk about and how we monitor and really measure that, it's the collaboration, and the account segments and targets, and how we work together in a prospecting motion. It's not just reliant upon the inside sellers, but how we're working with our partners in marketing, revenue operations to see pipeline gaps and where we need to go as well as the inbound and outbound hunting motions from our inside sellers.

Sean Lane: I love Melissa and the team at Workiva's attitudes about pipeline. Everyone owns this critical thing together. If you start to point fingers or expect others to generate pipeline for you, it's a dangerous cycle that's tough to break. So with this context in place, there are a few specific areas that I wanted to focus on with Melissa in running the modern SDR org. First, what's the modern SDR day in the life? They have such a collaborative focus on prospecting, so what does Melissa arm her sales organization with to be successful in their roles?

Melissa Raber: First and foremost, I think our biggest strength is the collaboration. Right? We can't work in a silo. So through the collaboration, the account identification on our wonderful relationship, we sit almost in between marketing and sales. Right?

Sean Lane: Okay.

Melissa Raber: We know that they're driving top of the funnel through the work that they're doing from a brand perspective, from a team, or segment, or persona perspective. From an inside sales perspective, we are really arming our sellers with the most relevant technology today. We're using our CRM system. We're using automated outbound prospecting tools, such as Salesloft. ZoomInfo is definitely a big tool that we're using. LinkedIn Navigator with the ability to create segmented lists that the seller and inside seller can be working on together as well as obviously Drift has been a game changer for us as the sales process and the selling motions become a little bit more complex, right? We know there's 6 to 12 decision- makers or folks, influencers that are brought into any given deal. We know that they tend to take longer in terms of the sales cycle based on the complexity of the sale based on the number of people involved in that decision. Drift, again, gives us that visibility as well as LinkedIn Navigator of who's engaging, who are our prospects at the time, who's showing the highest intent, and how can we really actively work together within our tools to be most effective and efficient in not only targeting them, but another key to these tools is giving them what they need to really personalize that message based on the buyer journey.

Sean Lane: So prior to working in ops, one of my roles before working in ops was I ran an SDR team, and one of my biggest takeaways from that job was... First of all, hardest job I ever had and most fun job I ever had, but one of the biggest takeaways I had was how prescriptive you really need to be in how you design the day in the life of an SDR. Right? So you just listed off ZoomInfo, Sales Navigator, Drift, SalesLoft, the CRM in there. Probably two, right? Have you developed a point of view of all these tools coming together, and then designing your SDR's day in the life to leverage those tools, but not have it be dominated by those tools?

Melissa Raber: Yes. So, number one, I think it starts with hiring the right person. Right?

Sean Lane: Yeah.

Melissa Raber: There's the three Cs that I always fall back on. Right? Number one, you've got to find somebody that's curious. You've got to find somebody that's confident, right, in what they're doing, and they have to show consistency. So when we set out to hire, we want to find those people that are able to demonstrate or bring to the table new ideas, time management skills. That's where it starts, and you have to understand in the new age, you've got top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, 70% to 80% of your buyers, right? They're already assembled by the time they get in to speak with a salesperson. So we're doing a couple of different things, and we break down, and we really try to help them minimize their distractions and really design their day so they're always doing their account reviews and identifying who's showing the highest intent through those tools. Right? Who is top of the funnel because we do get great inbound leads from our partners in marketing, and then also, not only are we prospecting and building that time for our outbound calls, LinkedIn messaging, all your traditional prospecting tools, we're also digging in, and we're looking at our current pipeline and any motions within our current pipeline. Are we seeing more engagement from new buyers? Are we seeing people that are now entering the pipeline opportunities? So we're constantly assessing all those different areas in the bucket because we don't just want the pipeline. Our teams and the way we set up our compensation is also important to help them drive that pipeline a little bit further than your traditional sizzle, not the steak inaudible sales team.

Sean Lane: Okay.

Melissa Raber: So the compensation on the backend helps them manage their day- to- day expectations where it is on, again, like I said, the account reviews, the collaboration, the target list, utilizing those tools for intent where you are in the funnel, but then also finding time to do some due diligence on what's in my current pipeline, and how can I maybe re- engage the old pipeline to get to the bookings?

Sean Lane: Can you tell me a little bit about what you mean when you say account review? What does an account review at Workiva look like?

Melissa Raber: Yep, an account review at Workiva. Again, regardless if it's an existing customer or a new logo, we have complex buying groups. Our platform can focus on many different solutions that we're selling. So that's a variety of different teams and personas. It could be legal personas. We could be focused on the C- suite, the CIO, the CFO, the VP. So there's a lot of different people. So when we're doing our prospecting, we're really prospecting an account, not just a solution or a single persona. We almost want to create... One of our reps, she's fantastic at this. She creates that water cooler talk, right? She wants to get the buzz going while we're prospecting. Maybe it's different messaging, maybe it's platform messaging, but it's always... We don't sell solutions. Right? We solve problems for our customers.

Sean Lane: Mm.

Melissa Raber: We customize to some degree, right? We're branding ourselves, we're branding Workiva, and we're bringing solutions to our customers based on the different personas that make up what that buying group or who we might sell to, what we might sell to who within that organization or company.

Sean Lane: Got it, got it. Is that account review something that SDR would do with their inside sales rep, or is that something that they're doing internally within the SDR team? Who's involved in something like that?

Melissa Raber: So they're doing it. Yes, this is where the collaboration comes in. So we will weekly, monthly, quarterly identify our top- tiered accounts. Where do we want to go? Right? Where are we going to focus that time? That's where the collaboration between the regional sales directors, which are our field sellers, and our inside sellers will come together, and they'll use tools like Salesloft to bring in the proper personas, and they might task each other. We might call or email several times, and we need a new voice so we can use our tools to be most efficient. So we're prospecting together and collaboratively along with our partners in the field.

Sean Lane: That's great, and then to the extent you're comfortable talking about this, you mentioned that you think that there's also something in your comp plan that drives the right behavior there in their day in the life. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Melissa Raber: Yeah, absolutely, and comp plans evolve with the business, right? We're a SaaS company. We move quickly. We pivot quickly as do all organizations.

Sean Lane: Sure.

Melissa Raber: We try to build our comp plans and change our comp plans so that we're rewarding our inside sellers not only for the pipeline in which they're creating, but also the pipeline that they're creating that moves to bookings and/ or closed one deals. Yep.

Sean Lane: Great.

Melissa Raber: Then, we also align our comp plan to the pipeline needed for our individual sellers to reach their booking goals.

Sean Lane: The thing I enjoy most about talking with Melissa is how clear it is that she thinks through the implications of every little detail, every little nuance in the SDR day in the life. She said that she and her team have tried to design a day that minimizes distractions, and they clearly use that as their north star. The account reviews, the intent- based prioritization, the details and the comp plan that incentivize bookings, these all drive towards focusing on what matters most. Somebody once taught me that a sales organization should strive for the highest quantity of the highest- quality activities and minimize the low- quality activities, and that's exactly what Melissa and her team have done. If you think about their approach and their design as the inputs, I think the collaboration that we keep hearing her mention is the output, and you can tell she means it just in the way she describes the SDR team's role.

Melissa Raber: As inside sales evolves and as we really change, we're not meeting centers in any way, shape, or form. We're internal account executives that are really... I often refer to our teams as air traffic controllers because we are. We're working with the solution engineers. We're working with our sellers. We're working with product marketing. We're working with our customer service teams. We're working with our renewals teams. There's all these different influences that come into existing and new logos that everyone has intel. Inside sales leadership team has to be instrumental as well to really... Right now, the buying groups are large. People want things now. 80% of the purchases, they're far in the funnel. So when we're working and coordinating that, our leaders really are coordinating with various different departments, but at the same time, one of the key things is removing distractions. We all have a lot of internal meetings, and we almost have to protect their time. Again, inside sales. We have our hand in a little bit of everything, and our leadership here for inside sales globally is amazing, and not only... We recently hired an inside sales manager that was a field seller, and he moved over to the inside. I had asked him recently, " You were a partner with an inside seller for two, three years. Did you ever imagine that inside sales went to the depth of what you're seeing now?" He was just absolutely not. So there's a lot that goes into it.

Sean Lane: I would also have to imagine too that that concept of the air traffic controller, but also all those cross- functional exposure points that you're describing that your SDR team gets. That's got to bring a lot more job satisfaction and meaning to those roles beyond just the typical meeting- setting relationship. To your point, one of the things that I think is an awesome example of that that you said you're doing, which I don't hear all that often, is the idea that you also have SDRs working on existing accounts and not just new business accounts.

Melissa Raber: Mm- hmm.

Sean Lane: Can you tell me a little bit about how you guys decided to do that?

Melissa Raber: Yeah, absolutely. When our company started, we were selling a single solution, and we have a large customer base. As we expanded in the growth and the development of our tool, our platform, we definitely saw a lot of opportunity for expansion. So cost to acquire a net new versus existing customer. We look at all that analysis, but at the end of the day, it definitely will get more users, expand our platform, and again, as we mature as an organization, we're also seeing more inbound coming in from folks that had used our tool, and they've maybe moved to a different organization. So there's a lot that goes into the overall account reviews and targeting based on the segment, based on the expansion within those accounts.

Sean Lane: Now that we have a good sense for how the team at Workiva arms its SDRs for success, I want to talk about the SDRs themselves and how Melissa has gone about building this team. She mentioned earlier the three Cs that are important to her in her hiring: curious, confidence, and consistency. So my question is, how does she know whether the candidates she's interviewing have these three attributes or not?

Melissa Raber: So, our hiring process. Salespeople are salespeople. They're competitive, right?

Sean Lane: Yeah.

Melissa Raber: We're in it for a lot of different reasons. It's a different personality type, but throughout the different conversations that we have, we have a wonderful recruitment team here at Workiva that will help better field or recruit for new candidates, but as we go through the process, that we have obviously the interview questions, we have... We're looking for culture. We're looking for fit. We're looking for experience, but we've incorporated a third level to our interview process where it's a panel. At that panel, we do ask the candidates to come with a presentation that will take one, an existing... excuse me, an existing account, and at that level, we're going to ask them to come in and prospect us. So we want to see some examples of how they might reach out to us via different tools: email, LinkedIn, what it may be, and then we also take them through a role play. While they're not experts on Workiva at any way, shape, or form, we're looking for that curiosity.

Sean Lane: Sure.

Melissa Raber: We're looking. We're going to give them some objectives, and we're looking to see if they can go deeper, have that consultative approach, better understand, ask the questions, " Why? Ted, tell me. Explain to me. How many?" So we really like to take them through that process because that is really... You could have somebody that has the experience, gets down there, but at that point, we learn maybe they had too much inbound because we're hunters. We're hunters in this field, so we want to make sure that they're able to demonstrate that through a panel, which can be a little nerve- wracking, but our inside sales team, like I said, again, it's evolved. It's modernized. A lot of our inside sellers have carried a bag. They've been field sellers. They're good at prospecting. They have that drive. You know the right answers when you're in an interview.

Sean Lane: Yeah.

Melissa Raber: One of the best questions is, " You're making 50, 60 phone calls a day. You're not getting anywhere. What do you do?" Well, the wrong answer is, " I'm going to make 120." No. Let's stop. Let's go back. Let's better understand. Once we onboard them, and our sales enablement team is amazing, we're able to provide them with the tools that they need that are going to be effective for them. There's a lot of enablement out there in the sales world. How are we giving them what they need? Less is more sometimes.

Sean Lane: Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Raber: We have a complex platform. A lot of different personas, but they have to understand the consultative approach, how to ask those questions and really solve problems, not solve solutions.

Sean Lane: It also sounds like you and your team are really good at setting the right expectations with those folks on the way in too. Right? Even just your small comment about, " This is not an inbound machine. We're hunters." Right? I think making that clear to folks on the way in and not having them come in with the expectation, that stuff that is going to be handed to them, just that mindset alone, I think probably helps as people are going through their ramp. Is that fair?

Melissa Raber: Absolutely, absolutely, and we'll show them the tools are great, but there's different ways that they can describe how they do that. Again, we do call shadowing. We do mentoring. We do something we call stand and deliver where they're standing up, call deliver, they're coming to us as we're the prospect, right? We continuously reinforce that, and really, at the team, that's where they get... When they're doing that together, that's where they get the best talk tracks. They want to be audible- ready. They need to be audible- ready based on the persona, which is answering the phone. Long gone are the days of, " Hi. This is Melissa. I'm with Workiva." Right?

Sean Lane: Yeah.

Melissa Raber: You got to go in, and you got to make it matter, and you've got to make it relevant immediately.

Sean Lane: You mentioned being audible- ready. Tell me more about how you all define that, and how do you know that someone is actually audible- ready?

Melissa Raber: Well, we do a lot of training. Right? But audible- ready, we have a sales methodology that we use here within Workiva that aligns everybody in our sales org to the same conversation talk tracks. So audible- ready means that we're ready to bring value, value selling immediately to that prospect, determining what level they are in the organization, what matters most to them, and what problems can we solve. We need to be able to be relevant very quickly. So we do a lot of role playing. We do a lot of team shadowing. We do a lot of collaboration in terms of, " Okay. Go," on this persona, and we want to make sure that we're relevant, not... We're not selling a product, right? So we do a lot of training and a lot of development within the team, and we make it relevant to them. Some people are spot on. Some people need a little bit of help, and we provide the resources among the team to ensure that they've got what they need to be audible- ready. The unique factor that we do here at Workiva is ensure that they have the visibility to those meetings that they're setting. Meaning, they're joining those. They're doing, a lot of times, the warm handoff with those to make it, A, more comfortable for the prospect. Two, that we also want to make sure that we're not redundant when we get on an initial call.

Sean Lane: Yeah.

Melissa Raber: So they'll do a quick recap, and again, that is a huge learning curve for any inside seller, to be able to hear the customer as they go through their discovery or their demo, to hear the true life pains, right, that they're experiencing and the problems that they're looking to solve.

Sean Lane: I'm sure that they're going to pick up on some things when they make that handoff to the more experienced seller, talking points, that point about relevancy, things that are going to make them more audible- ready for the next handful of prospects that they're going after, and I would imagine it probably also helps with what I would imagine is your ideal career trajectory for those folks as well. They get exposure to the job that they probably want to have next.

Melissa Raber: Absolutely, all of those things apply, and it's common sense. The more meetings you're on, the more stories you learn. Right?

Sean Lane: Yeah.

Melissa Raber: The more stories that can be told, the more relevant you can be in those initial conversations. So it's a huge learning curve, and we do have a couple different career paths here at Workiva inside our inside sales team from mentor. We have a coach type role, coach collaborator role. We have hired from within our inside sales managers. We have had folks go to the field. Obviously, that's a great trajectory for our field sellers, and then we also go over to sales enablement, development. There's a lot of different areas that you can go. So attracting, keeping our talent within the organization, and providing them the skills and development that they need to be able to really enhance or grow their career, that's a big part of the culture within our inside sales team.

Sean Lane: Again, you can see a pattern here. The collaborative output we keep seeing again and again is not by chance. Melissa and her team have thoughtfully crafted a recruiting strategy, an onboarding and enablement infrastructure, and a career development track for this critical team. They teach them to stand and deliver, to be audible- ready, and to make their messages matter and be relevant as quickly as possible. Those lessons and the exposure they get with their inside sales counterparts will make them better not just at their current role, but for the rest of their careers. Okay. So we've talked about the day in the life. We've talked about the three Cs and staffing an SDR team. So with all of that in place, I wanted to know how Melissa keeps track of whether this whole engine is working. She mentioned that she's responsible for 40% to 45% of the company's pipeline. So what does she look at to know if she's on track or not?

Melissa Raber: At the end of the day, it's the inside sales source bookings that we contribute, which we are held accountable for, which grows year over year. That's the easiest, right? Are we doing the necessary steps? But it's also through... Being in the RevOps team, we have the visibility, we have the daily visibility too. Are we building bigger buying groups? Right? Are we creating the pipeline that's moving down the stages to get there? What makes the deals that are progressing faster a little bit more unique? So we have a great analytics team that helps us identify a lot of those triggers. But at the end of the day, it also comes down to the wonderful leadership we have and the accountability that we hold. Listening to the calls, looking at the specifics within the opportunities that are created, are we setting a meeting, or are we solving problems? Have we identified why? Why now, and what pains that they're experiencing to make a better intro call that will then lead to pipeline?

Sean Lane: There's a whole bunch of potential bottlenecks along the way in the funnel, in the way to the inside source bookings number. Right? Plenty of bottlenecks even before the pipeline number.

Melissa Raber: Yeah.

Sean Lane: How do you diagnose that, " Okay. Maybe we're in the green at the tip top of the funnel from your great partners in marketing, but we're maybe not quite where we want to be when it comes to the pipeline?" somewhere in between there, something is broken. How do you diagnose, and do you guys have specific either routines or places where it's natural for you to discuss and figure out where some of those things might be going wrong?

Melissa Raber: Absolutely. Well, first and foremost, with our relationship with our demand gen team, we have weekly, biweekly, monthly cadences where we will analyze, " What's at the top of the funnel? What's moving through the funnel? How do we get more of what's moving?" Right? We have those.

Sean Lane: Mm.

Melissa Raber: We have pipeline meetings on a weekly basis with product marketing, with our sales team, with our inside sales team, RevOps, and demand gen so that we're always connected so that we can pivot quickly based on whatever the business need is or the challenge that we're facing. We're all on the same page. We're all collaboratively working on those specific challenges and how to, right, impact that. On the sales side of things too, we want to keep a pulse on the quality of the pipeline, how the pipeline is progressing, and all... It'd be nice if all deals would close, but we also want to qualify them in or out early on in the process to make sure that we're doing our due diligence there as well.

Sean Lane: So the ops person in me can't help, but ask more details about this buying group that you're talking about. So what does a good buying group look like within one of the accounts that you're prospecting into? Do you think about that from seniority, the number of people, the function? How do you identify the buying group that should be involved?

Melissa Raber: Yeah. Excuse me. The buying group that should be involved in any sales, right? The higher you go, the faster the deal, the quicker the decision being made. Right?

Sean Lane: Okay.

Melissa Raber: I, myself, have been an influencer in some of the purchases that we've made. I've been a champion in some of the purchases that we've made. So if we're expanding, if we're expanding an account, we want to find our champions. We want to find our power users and be able to ask for the referrals, open the doors to other areas of opportunity. In a brand new logo, we want to go after and again, rely on our partners and the ABM work that we do in marketing to warm us up. We're going to come in. We're going to start to build the messaging tailored to your C- suite, your VP level, then your director level. So, again, if you can get a good mix, the higher you can go, right, obviously, but you can't always get there.

Sean Lane: Sure.

Melissa Raber: So it's understanding the different pains and the different problems that we're solving. Again, we sell many different solutions within our platform as well as our platform alone, so it's just determining... There could be many different scenarios that we're working on to answer that question. Whether you're in the federal government, a Fortune 500, right, a different education space that we sell in, we've got a lot of different personas.

Sean Lane: It comes full circle back to what you were saying before, finding the relevancy points for each of those people and doing what your best inside sales folks are doing of creating that water cooler talk because you have now gone wide enough within that organization that Workiva is top of mind or a topic of conversation amongst everybody, right, in that group. Is that fair?

Melissa Raber: Absolutely.

Sean Lane: Okay.

Melissa Raber: Absolutely. What's going to matter at the C- suite is not going to matter if you're at the director level. Right? All have a stake in the game, but it's making it relevant to that specific person, and sometimes you have to go lower to get higher or vice versa to understand what their process even is today. So, all that being said, an inside seller is not a meeting setter in any way, shape, or form. I'm really, really proud of our leadership team and the work that we do to enable our inside sellers to have the tech stack that they need to be most effective and efficient.

Sean Lane: That's amazing, and I think like... to take that point a little bit further, because you think about them in that way, if things might be behind on a particular number or are in the red or green, it sounds like your knee- jerk reaction is never, " Oh, you know, what we need is more activity." Right? Which I think is a lot of very common pitfalls that people might fall into.

Melissa Raber: Yeah.

Sean Lane: So when you are having those weekly pipeline meetings or when you're looking at the buying committees that you're building, what is the other kind of troubleshooting or diagnostic tactics that you might take that's not, " Look, we just got to email more people?"

Melissa Raber: Right. I like to say, " Let's go slow to go fast," and that's when we'll really look at, " What activity do we have going on?" It's not about the phone calls, although do we do have metrics: phone calls, email. Every inside sales team, we hunt, right?

Sean Lane: True. Yeah.

Melissa Raber: How many people are we actively... Marketing does a fantastic job of building awareness and bringing in leads and qualified leads when we get them, but we're going to stop, and we're going to go back, and we're going to see... To maintain the consistency that we need, we've got to be bringing in new people to be prospecting. So we'll stop, go back. Are we bringing in the right personas? Are we targeting the right accounts? Are we filling our pipeline funnel in terms of hunting, right, with what we need to succeed? I think it all starts with that where we go back, and just stop, and really assess and analyze, " Do we have the right messaging?" We have the ability to look at our cadences, our templates, our messaging that's working. Again, our favorite, work smart, not hard. Are we looking at the intent in Prospector and Drift to see who's hot now? Right?

Sean Lane: Mm.

Melissa Raber: And utilizing those tools to be able to say, " Okay. Let's get the people that are showing that high intent with the high engagement, and let's go after those while we're also analyzing maybe any roadblocks in our funnel or our prospecting activity."

Sean Lane: If you simplify this whole thing, right? I know that's Workiva's whole thing, simplifying the complex.

Melissa Raber: Yep.

Sean Lane: Is that inside sales' source bookings number? Is that your true north star, or are there other numbers or metrics that when you take a step back, you say, " Okay. This is how I know our team is on track or not?"

Melissa Raber: Yeah. No. I look at three major things. Right? Do we have the activity that we need to fill our funnel in terms of pipeline? Do we have the necessary pipeline? Is it progressing? But to your point, the north star and our team, we celebrate the small wins, and we also celebrate those big wins. When we get a booking and we are sourced to that, that is a big... We've done our job, and we've done our job well.

Sean Lane: Before we go, at the end of each episode, we're going to ask each guest the same lightning round of questions. Ready? Here we go. Best book you've read in the last six months?

Melissa Raber: Well, it's Conversational Marketing by Drift.

Sean Lane: Oh, wow. Right to my heart.

Melissa Raber: I just got that. I just read that. I was in Boston a few weeks ago. So that was it. That's right there.

Sean Lane: I love it. I love it. All right. Favorite part about working in ops?

Melissa Raber: Ooh. Favorite part is the pivots, the changes, the fast pace.

Sean Lane: Flip side, least favorite part about working in ops?

Melissa Raber: The building, the changing, the executing on some of the backend work that we have to do.

Sean Lane: Yeah, yeah. Always a ripple effect to one of those fast- pivot decisions, right?

Melissa Raber: Yes. Absolutely.

Sean Lane: Who impacted you getting to the job you have today?

Melissa Raber: Ooh. Wow. I'm going to say it's my boss and who we have a relationship from a prior job who we have learned so much from one another. She's been my partner in crime, and she's been a great leader and supporter of my career over the years.

Sean Lane: That's awesome. Last one. One piece of advice for people who want to have your job someday?

Melissa Raber: Oh, I got this piece of advice a long, long time ago from one of my old managers, and she said, " Teach every everybody. Teach everybody what you know. Get them to where you are, and there's always going to be somewhere for you to go next."

Sean Lane: Huge thank you to Melissa for joining us on this week's episode of Operations and for the shameless plug of the Conversational Marketing book at the end. Thank you so much for listening to our show. If you liked what you heard, make sure you're subscribed so you get a new episode in your feed every other Friday. Also, if you learned something from Melissa today or from any of our previous guests, leave us a review. Leave us a six- star review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Six- star reviews only. All right. That's going to do it for me. Thanks so much for listening. We'll see you next time.


Let’s face it: prospecting is really really hard. In 2022, there is more information than ever before at our fingertips to help us prospect, but there’s also more information than ever before to distract us from doing the work that matters. Often, the burden to find that balance falls on SDR teams.

In this episode, we talked to someone who knows what running a successful, modern SDR Organization looks like. That someone is Melissa Raber, the Senior Director of Revenue Operations and Sales Development at Workiva.

In our conversation, we talk about the 3 C’s of SDR hiring, how to design the SDR "Day In the Life" to remove distractions, and why she views an SDR Team not as meeting setters, but as the air traffic controllers of an organization.

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz and @DriftPodcasts.