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TalkingSense with Lars Nilsson: Why SDRs Matter

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6sense CMO Latané Conant calls Lars Nilsson “the godfather of the SDR role.”

Nilsson, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Snowflake and CEO of Sales Source, has a history of evangelizing and championing the sales development representative (SDR) role.

When Nilsson joined Conant for an episode of TalkingSense, they talked about all things SDR, including: 

  • Why they’re central, even during an economic downturn, and 
  • Where they belong in the org chart

How SDRs Make Pipeline Possible

Nilsson believes firmly in the roles of SDRs and business development representatives (BDRs). He has built the SDR headcount at Snowflake from 100 to 250.

One SDR can fill the pipeline of up to three reps,” he explained during the conversation, “so they’re going to create those multiples that you need to create predictability in your business model, which is pipeline coverage.”

That’s why he believes SDRs and BDRs are vital even during an economic downturn.

Should Account Executives Prospect, Too?

There’s debate among sales leaders about whether AEs should prospect. Conant argues that AEs need to be focused on closing the deal.

Conant explained her position to Nilsson this way: “It’s a lot lower risk to hire an SDR and promote them out.”

Nilsson agrees. “Today, we’re graduating and promoting about 25 SDRs every quarter, into either quota-carrying inside sales roles or other roles within the company.”

Where SDRs Belong in the Org Chart

At Snowflake, SDRs report to Nilsson, and Nilsson reports to the CMO. That’s no accident. 

“In everything we do, our go-to-market is together,” he explains. “We orchestrate and strategize together on every program that we do globally when it involves both account-based marketing and account-based sales development. And when those two are orchestrated and combined, we see a 3x pickup rate on our meetings booked.

Conclusion

The main takeaway from this episode of TalkingSense is to never underestimate the power of the SDR to transform sales success. But there’s lots more here, including how exactly Nilsson makes his SDRs so successful.

Listen to the full episode.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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