Tami McQueen / SalesLoft
As a marketing and communications strategist with over nine years of strategic experience in B2B and B2C markets, Tami joined SalesLoft to scale the marketing team and lead digital, content marketing, and inbound lead generation initiatives across multiple platforms.
Tami delivers branding insights and channels collaborative discussion among internal and external audiences. A champion for guerilla marketing and taking big risks to gain traction in a dynamic market, Tami was named the 2014 B2B Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Marketing Innovator of the Year.
A former NCAA Division 1 collegiate tennis player, Tami believes in the strength of collaboration and exudes passion for career and teammates. Rooted firmly in South African soil where she grew up, Tami now calls Atlanta home, a city she believes holds exponential potential and a distinct flavor of home.
It was an absolute delight having her back in the studio — and as expected, she had a great deal of wisdom to share.
Here’s the Full Broadcast Audio and Segment Transcript from Tami’s first appearance with us on January 5, 2015…
Lee: Lee Kantor here with Stone Payton another episode of Atlanta Business Radio and this is going to be a good one, Stone.
Stone: Hey I have been looking forward to this segment, ever since the holidays. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Director of Marketing for SalesLoft, please join me in welcoming to the broadcast Miss Tami McQueen. Welcome to the show.
Tami: Thanks Stone, such a pleasure to be here this afternoon.
Lee: Well, SalesLoft you have been in Atlanta for a while now but you got some big news.
Tami: Absolutely we have seen a tremendous growth from where we were last year this time, and I think it is such a great idea when you kick off the year in 2015 to see how far we have come and where we are taking SalesLoft this year. To give you a bit of highlight reel I shared with Stone a little bit earlier that I wanted to give you a bit of recap of what SalesLoft has been doing.
Lee: Yes why don’t you start with first what are you guys about?
Tami: Yes, we are the easiest and fastest way on the internet to build a list of prospects. We use a Google Chrome extension and you can search by industry, title and location for your prospects. It is the application of record of your sales development team and we truly believe that the sales development team is the biggest innovation to happen to the sales process in the past decade.
Lee: So now how were people doing it before SalesLoft?
Tami: They were scouring the internet and copying and pasting names from whatever site they could get their hands on and then searching through Google for these email addresses of their prospects.
Lee: So now I use SalesLoft, I go online, I get the extension in my– is it only Chrome or on all the browsers?
Tami: It is a Chrome extension.
Lee: So I go to Chrome, go get that extension and then now I type in..
Tami: Correct, so for example you would look for a search of VP of sales in Atlanta for a SAAS, software as a service companies and you will get a list on Google of all these names and you can then import their email addresses into a CRM specifically integrated with salesforce.com.
Lee: So this is made for salesforce.com or it works..?
Tami: It is not made specifically for sales force, it does have a direct integration. However, you can use a download of a CSP file as well.
Lee: Cool, so now you mentioned that you guys got some highlight you want to share?
Tami: Absolutely, so last year this time we had 4 employees and now we are at 40.
Tami: So that is 700% growth which is really exciting and then last year we also started the year off just shy of 200,000 in annual reccurring revenue, we closed our Q4 with $ 4.6 million dollars. So that is a 2,200% increase.
Lee: So what turned the corner for you guys?
Tami: As I mentioned with the application of record for the sales development team is we really believe in the art of specialization of the sales process. What we have done is taken sales development to focus primarily on prospecting leads and your account executives who focus on closing the deals and it’s really that..
Lee: So you have kind of separated them?
Tami: We have separated them yes.
Lee: So previously it was the same person and they get hung-up on all the admin part of just searching.
Tami: Everything, they were searching, they were finding these people, they were reaching out, they were setting a demo and they were trying to close the lead as well.
Lee: So that is one individual.
Tami: One individual is typically doing that in a traditional sales organization.
Lee: So you kind of shook that up a little.
Tami: Turned it on its head and really introduced the art of specialization, not only does this decrease the time people have spent on prospecting but it really maximizes their focus on channeling the right leads at the right times.
Lee: So but now somebody’s job is just the prospecting it. They are just plugging names into the Google Chrome extension using SalesLoft.
Tami: Right exactly and then what they do is we solve.. we have this idea of okay, so you have prospected all these leads, and now what do you do with them?
Lee: So now I have got this long list. Now what?
Tami: You have this long list now what do you do with them and that’s where SalesLoft Cadence comes in to it. We released the new product, took it to market in October of last year and this solves the problem of what you do with all the prospects.
Lee: So what do you do with them?
Tami: And it is a..putting them into a rhythm and a cadence and that allows you to set a type of outreach program whether you want to send on the first day an email, second day you want to leave a voice mail and an email and it’s how many touches over a seven day process or however long that cadence is and it allows you to set and increase appointments by about 200% to 300%.
Lee: So you recommend some combination of email and voice mail?
Tami: Absolutely yes.
Lee: So you need to have somebody that is on the phone as well as somebody sending.
Tami: That is the same person, that is your sales development rep typically, yes.
Lee: So you have a prospecting person; you have a sales development person?
Tami: That is the same person.
Lee: One person?
Lee: And then what about the closure?
Tami: The closure that is the separate, so once you get that demo set, we put them with the closure who is a prospecting expert and we pass them on to them.
Lee: So you need two people now.
Tami: Two people.
Lee: And one person is kind of pre sales and one person is sales forward.
Lee: And when once the sale happens, do you get to a third person that is the manager of the account?
Tami: Yes, we send them off to our clients success team, which is our client adequate team and we like to say we drink our own cool-aid in that we use our own products and what we do with our clients success team is they are everything from on boarding a new client to sharing how the best practices work for their specific industry and how they can best maximize the product.
Lee: So now like you said that you guys used the same situation so for you are you looking for that same person,
that VP of sales or the CMO.
Tami: Exactly, that is our target market. CMO, VPs of sales, the link of sales.
Lee: So now you have, okay once you’ve identified them then you have some outbound email like hey, here is a tip or here is some white paper.
Tami: Exactly, yeas we have our own cadence that we send out, and we have its true fault for SalesLoft. Number 1 is the outbound prospecting with our sales development team, secondly is our marketing team who does all inbound reach which is independent of the sales development team. We focus on content marketing, thought leadership, we want to be the go to source in the sales development industry, and that’s producing blogs, white papers, and e-books.
Lee: So you are creating a lot of content yourself.
Tami: That provides value to the audience that we are reaching out to. And I like to give the analogy that we want to be a vitamin rather than a pain reliever, it is a daily need first, not just when you have an issue.
Lee: Right but in the real world most people take pain relievers, not vitamins.
Tami: Well I don’t know who you’re hanging out with.
Lee: So you are creating a lot of this thought leadership and now is that, just your internal staff like this is just Kyle [SP] being smart on top of the mountain.
Tami: That’s everything we need from Kyle is trying to get inside his brain and get all that information out, but we have a team on a marketing side that is working constantly on producing top contents and constantly putting out great value pieces for the community.
Lee: Now is that a challenge for you because I am sure for some of your clients that you know it sounds great, like oh yes we have this system, we just need content and now some young person is charged with getting this content out of the brain of some older person, C level person, isn’t that a challenge for some companies?
Tami: I think it can definitely be a challenge by that’s looking at what does the buyer need, what does the user needs, what problems are they facing in the industry that we can provide value to and none of our content that we produce is salesey, we are not trying to push SalesLoft, we are not trying to..
Lee: You are just trying to educate them about…
Tami: We are trying to educate them and instill the process of sales development or how prospecting can better be used in an outbound [SS]
Lee: Best practices and research right.
Tami: Best practices, videos, research, we do a lot of guest posts. We are a guest on salesforce.com, Forbes, SASTER and we really collaborate with a lot of leaders in the industry as well.
Lee: To get their story about how they are solving on this problem right?
Tami: Absolutely, yes.
Lee: Because you want to be the person that they go to get that information, so you are out there trying to find it.
Stone: So what is your back story personally? How did you get involved in this kind of work?
Tami: My back story, I have been in marketing throughout my career and I joined SalesLoft in about the early summer last year and reached out through call on LinkedIn specifically and dove into the marketing team and led the team to different heights on contents as well as SEO, we’re focusing on the social media as well and it has just been a passion to see how getting comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation, how startups are very dynamic in the market, a SAAS Company is changing very quickly, it is moving fast and finding ways to provide value in a market that is moving very very quickly.
Lee: Now were you here in America, when you found SalesLoft?
Tami: Yes, yes, I have been in the US for 12 years. Back story, I was recruited. I used to play tennis in college, went to grad school.
Lee: What college?
Tami: Murray State University. Go racers and moved to Dallas, Texas for a short while and then Atlanta, so I like to call Atlanta my home.
Lee: So when you were here in Atlanta, were you working in marketing for other firms?
Tami: Yes I was.
Lee: And that’s where you found Kyle?
Tami: Yes, yes.
Lee: So now how did you leverage LinkedIn? Any tips for somebody that is looking for a job to leverage LinkedIn?
Tami: Absolutely, you have to be active on LinkedIn and get involved in groups, find groups that specifically are around your area of expertise. I would recommend a professional photo. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a selfie on LinkedIn or a prom photo or a wedding picture.
Lee: A prom photo, really?
Tami: Exactly. Get a professional head shot, it’s well worth it’s weight and you want to be able to have a clear distinct message, what your outlook is, what you are looking for? And share some stories, what you have done, be a quantitative approach to LinkedIn. Give stats, I increased sales by 60% over the course of 2014. Give some quantitative results as well.
Stone: Beyond just, “I throw the best parties.”
Lee: Should you lead with that because culture is important in a startup?
Stone: I want to ask about startups because you mentioned that earlier, does this service really lend itself to startups, can they afford to utilize a service like this?
Tami: Yes absolutely, this product is something that a startup can use to an SMB to an enterprise company as well. There are different levels of applications so that you can use it, different processing models and it is a great opportunity for whether you are a one man show or you are leading a Fortune 500.
Lee: Now I want to talk about the culture because going from 4 to 40 is dramatic in a lot of ways and how did you guys manage that?
Tami: It is huge and I am so glad you brought up the culture aspect because this is something that we hold so true to our values and our core values we have incorporated is to be positive, supportive and self starting and when we go into the hiring process, we look at folks who can punch above their way class and are in the top 1% of folks who attribute those core values to their lives and our hiring process is very vigorous in that we hire for those core values we want and it’s understandably David Cummings shared the quote that “Culture is the only aspect of the business that you have complete control over” and so it goes beyond moving to a point where you’re just filling seats and it is really taking the time to fill those seats and to add team players who can contribute the business, the growth and the culture as well.
Lee: So now you are the director of Marketing, what are your looking for in a marketer?
Tami: Looking for someone who is a team player, who is positive, who is ready to do whatever it takes to see success and to support each other and to really not be afraid to take risks. We want to go one step ahead, take a risk, be bold, and not follow what has always been done, oh it is always been done that way, well we will do it again, that is not the case. This market is moving far too quickly and we are going to get left behind if we do that.
Lee: Can you share an example where you were able to do that? Maybe you took the risk that hadn’t been done at SalesLoft before?
Tami: Sure, yes, this may not have been done anywhere before but we went to Dream Force last year, the biggest SAAS conference of the year and we impersonated Mark Benioff of Salesforce, CEO. Look I am telling you, we were sitting there, we were going to be first time sponsors and we said well what swag are we going to give out, are we are going to give out battery chargers or are we going to give out pens, mints, what are we going to do? That is not going to cut through the clutter of 130,000 people, and we thought well we need to come up with something. We sat around Kyle and I, we came up with the idea that we needed to impersonate a celebrity and it was going to be Mark Benioff, put out an add on Craigslist for a Mark Benioff impersonator, got all sorts of responses from agents, they were like well you know, I don’t know about Mark Benioff. There are hundreds of Elvises out there, we can help you with that.
Anyway we’ve got a guy Cam Melson. He’s the VP of Sales here in Atlanta and took him. He’s a spitting image of Mark Benioff, put him on a plane to San Francisco, headed out to hobby lobby and bought a pair of converse shoes and put glitter on them like the Salesforce cloud and off we went to San Francisco. We had no idea what we were going to do when we got there but we knew that we were going to make a splash. Eventually we got him all decked out in a pinstripe signature Mark Benioff suit, got him a hat and we got a little ear phone and we wound it up so it was curly, stuck it in that ear so it looked like an ear piece. We got our VP of Sales to dress up in a total security men in black suits and we were ready to go and we took to the crowds and we were pushing our way. We took photos in different areas, philanthropy booths and said hello to the sponsors and all the time we were taking photos and posting on social media as well.
First day turns out great. Second day, we’re walking around and we walk smack dab that into Mark Benioff on the radio show. We’re like, oh man it’s ruined and all his people were taking us out the way and we thought well what are we going to do and we walked around for a little bit more and decided to go back to our trade show booth and we saw Mark again with all his folks and his press and his agents and they said, “Do not come any closer. We know who you are and we know what you are doing.” I was like, “yes, this is awesome.” We’ve got to talk to him, we have to do something. If we get kicked out that’s great, that’s exactly what we need.
Stone: I love her attitude.
Tami: We got him to walk past SalesLoft booth, meet everyone at the booth and introduced ourselves. He said thanks, I know what you’re doing. I saw your Craigslist ad. Thanks for taking a weight off my shoulders and for all your press and PR interviews over the past two days. We got our photo made. He retweeted it, shared it on Twitter and that was pretty bold.
Lee: And that helped you achieve your goal for the trade show to be noticed and remembered, right?
Tami: It did. It got us a lot of branding, a lot of word of mouth.
Lee: And then it kind of..I don’t know if it was the inspiration but it was definitely part of being the catalyst of starting your own conference right.
Tami: Absolutely, you know we really wanted to make a splash for the new year 2015 kick it off.
Lee: So you have a new conference starting up?
Tami: We do. We have a Rainmaker and that is going to be held on 13th and 14th which is next week and it is the..
Lee: And I have a Cragslist ad right now for a Kyle Porter lookalike.
Tami: That’s awesome, and it’s the first ever conference for the sales development industry, really excited about it. We’ve got some great leaders coming on. Steve Richard, Craig Rosenberg, Trish Bertuzzi, some real influences and great sponsors in the Atlanta startup community as well that we are partnering with, really excited about it. On the first day on Tuesday we’ll have a workshop in the Atlanta Tech Village. Wednesday, we’re going to be at the W-Hotel in Bucket and that is going to be a full day event and I’d love to share a registration promo code with listeners, if they go to www.sdrsummit.com, that’s where they can register, and we have a promo code which is SalesLoft ATL which is S-A-L-E-S-L-O-F-T ATL and that will give you 30% discount.
Lee: And then it is a one day or a day and a half total.
Tami: It’s a day and a half total.
Lee: And this give you access to both sessions?
Lee: And then so now who should go? This is all VPs of Marketing, CMOs, who should attend this session?
Tami: It is your VP’s of Sales, sales leaders, sales influencers its really geared toward the sales development and business development leaders.
Lee: So business development, now is this a B to B or B to C or does work in both?
Tami: It’s B to B.
Lee: So it’s primarily B to B, and so if you have a business that’s selling other business this is a definitely great way to start your year.
Tami: Absolutely 100%.
Stone: So I want to dive back. I know we need to wrap up here in a moment and we’re going to get a chance to visit with Nancy but I want to dive back into structuring the sales organization because this idea of having a sales development professional and distinguishing that from the account executive role, can you talk about that a little bit more aspect more specifically for those of us who might find ourselves in a situation where we need to recruit and develop those two different roles? I don’t know, mistakes you’ve run into, some definite dos or definite don’ts you have run into in your tenure for that.
Tami: Yes, it’s definitely something that is really important as you’re growing a sales team or whether you’re scaling it or keeping at where it is to know what were your goals are. You need to be able to provide the team your sales development team actionable goals that can be measured and that they are held accountable for so their goals cannot be dependent upon how many deals are closed but rather how many demos are set. For example, hire someone and when you’re growing your team as you would have a sales development rep, business development rep who is measured on how many demos they are set per quarter and then your account executives are measured on how many deals are closed, how much sales revenue that they are bringing in each quarter. So those two goals are independent of each other but to be able to have that closed revenue you have to have x number of demos set which then back into the outbound and your inbound, how many inbound leads are generated to be able to go to your SDR team, sales development reps to set that amount of demos. Now you may think okay you need one SDR for every accounts exec. Typically what we have is a two to one ratio. So we’ll have two SDRs for one accounts executive and that works best in the organization that we have set up. So it’s three to two, two to one. You’re going to have two sales development reps for every closure that you have.
Lee: Now do you also incent the account manager in order for retaining the business?
Tami: Yes, we have a setup where they retain and they also upsell as well. So whether you come in as a baseline package and whether they increase it they have an incredible job. They do such excellent work in working with our clients that they are there to make the customer happy, successful and in their business. That’s all they want to see and the support is tremendous that they are honored.
Lee: Because I mean in the life cycle of a customer, a lot of energy is placed on getting the customer but once their a customer now the most amount of time is spent with the account manager because they could be with them for years.
Tami: Yes, it is.
Lee: You know where the sales people are only with them for a short period of time relative to the amount of time they are with the organization.
Tami: Right, and we have that broken up as well with specialization in terms of our support. We have a support team and then we have advocates, client advocates and success managers who are going to work with you and help the account, what do you need, how can we onboard you better? How can we get you up and running and ensure your success?
Lee: Are you monitoring the actual use?
Lee : So, that if you can see like hey they are not using it enough or they are not using it properly somebody has to intervene here and then check in to make sure that are they frustrated by something or they got somebody else’s in charge now.
Tami: Right, an e-mail might say hey we see that you have not logged in or how can we help you? You may have only prospected once or twice this week, how can we help you maximize the use of the product and you know is there something else we can show you that you might be missing out on?
Lee: Because you want to elevate your relationship to where this isn’t just a commodity and a vendor there where you are a partner trying to help them achieve their goals.
Tami: And I think that is where the missing link is with sales so much is that you’re selling relationships. It’s about that engagement and that relationship that is continuing through the life span of the entire product.
Lee: Right and it’s not just when that guy rings the bell that he’s sold one.
Tami: No, not at all exactly. It’s a whole other process and with marketing as well what we do is we’re sharing a lot of… once an e-book is released we’ll share it with them. We will share them promo codes to the conference. Hey, you’re client of ours, our friends and family and we want to share new releases. If an e-book or a white paper releases they are the first to know about it. They are the source of how we build our product. Our engineering team rests so heavily on customer feedback that that has been the success of both products.
Lee: Now how do you incent the customer to refer back to you or do you not?
Tami: We do. We have a referral form as well.
Lee: So then the customer can actually you know there is incentive to tell other people like hey this is [inaudible 00:24:55]
Stone: And I’ll tell you what they’re going to be incented just by the behavior that you’re describing because as logical as that whole conversation sounds, I got to tell you and I know Nancy will back this up in her conversation in a little while, so many times, we have such a large number of our clients are at risk and we don’t even realize it.
Tami: Absolutely, it is that inactivity that is more risky.
Stone: Yes. I mean it really is. I think the emphasis on cross selling, upselling, all that is very important, in fact would you like to buy another water to enjoy while we visit with Nancy?
Tami: I am after the candy, you promised me candy.
Stone: Oh that’s right and you did do a fantastic job, now what a marvelous conversation, an important conversation, I hope you’ll come back with us and continue and it may be a little quick for this but the next time you guys are all getting together and having a group of people converge like you are in a couple of weeks, let’s go onsite and do some stuff, and have some of these conversations onsite. I thing that could be fun.
Tami: Yes, that would be awesome. Still time, not too late, 10 days.
Stone: It has been absolute delight having you in the studio this afternoon. I want to make sure that our listeners have your coordinates so what is the best way for them to reach out, have a conversation with you or someone of your team?
Tami: Right, I can be reached on Twitter, we are always available which is @salesloft and then you can reach out directly to me. I am firstname.lastname@example.org T-A-M-I and I will be happy to put you in touch with the area that you need to be with.