Team Leads & Sales Professional Development at ZoomInfo

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Tactics post image

We talked a bit about how Zoominfo focuses on growing from within. 

We hire promising SDRs with all different backgrounds and have them selling at the top of their game in under a year. 

Today, we want to dive a bit deeper into what happens next. What does the career path look like for these promising SDRs? 

For lots of sales professionals that seem to suit a management path, a Team Lead position is usually the next step. 

“When it comes to career growth on the SDR team, what we found is that team leaders and managers are prone to helping other SDRs without a direct ask from management,” explains Brian Vital, Vice President of Sales Development, at ZoomInfo.

“And you’ll see it. If you joined our Slack channels or joined any of our Zoom huddles, you’ll see like, “Why is Jane speaking up and motivating the team when she’s an ICP or individual contributor?” It’s like, “Oh, because Jane possesses this leadership quality that’s really special.”’

In our SDR playbook, we make this path to management extremely visible. We have every step and path along the way mapped out, showing them what they need to do to progress here at Zoominfo. 

In the last year alone, we’ve had members of the SDR team join departments ranging from the account management team, to sales team management, to marketing and learning & development. 

“This kind of sales structure creates a team that naturally pushes out talent in sales and beyond,” explains Vital. 

“That’s something we take really seriously. We need to make sure that our teams are ready within a year to move on and do greater things here at Zoominfo.”

Finding The Right Fit: Team Leads or Account Executives?

Steven Bryerton, Vice President of Sales at ZoomInfo, makes a conscious effort to also understand where they fit in terms of the types of leads that we’re getting them. 

“We’ve had account executives that were doing really well and so the natural progression is to move them up to our corporate or our strategic segment, where they start to work bigger accounts,” says Bryerton. 

“But you need to realize that motion isn’t for everybody. It might move outside of their depth because the conversations get more technical; you have to wrangle more people. There are account executives that are just great at understanding a small business and how they operate and providing value in getting them in the door quickly.”

There is a component of leadership with team leads and managers at the rate that we’re scaling. That becomes really important to make sure that no one is looking at the account executive team to say, “Well this person is my top performer; therefore they’re going to be the next manager or team lead”. More often than not, it doesn’t work that way. 

Finding the balance of unprompted leadership, they’re thinking about their pipeline differently, they’re speaking up in meetings, they tend to be a little bit more data driven. Those are the people that, ultimately, will work their way into a team leader or a manager position when it arises.

From SDR to Team Lead

For one of our promising SDRS, Megan Hanisko, the road to success is starting with a Team Lead position

“Our best team leads that are working their way to management, they’ve exhibited signs of team leadership. It’s almost like this intrinsic thing. Once they get to team lead, we work with them to build out their actual management skills,” says Vital.

“Megan has had management in her blood, I’m sure, for many years. So those sort of things come through naturally. She’s in our management meetings now, and now she’s like the leader of the team leads. So she just keeps working her way up more and more and more.”

The bottom line for roles like Team Lead or AE is a drive to do better, be better and aim higher. For Megan, she sees her role as a way to coach other SDRs through the hard times and the good ones. That comes down to accountability. 

“The thought of me trying to coach someone on my team about time management when I’m not able to manage my own time, that seems kind of silly to me,” she explains.

“I feel like we’ve all had some sort of leader in our life that tells us to do something but they aren’t really willing to do it themselves, like, if you’ve ever played sports. We’ve all had the coach that’s willing to go and run alongside you and put in the hours with you but we’ve also had others that stay on the sidelines. We don’t do sidelines at ZoomInfo.”