Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Dec. 13, 2021

#211 S2 Episode 80 - Straight Out Of Highschool To Managing A Team of 20

This episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Collin Mitchell features Jed Mahrle, Global Manager of Outbound Sales Development. Jed shares the way he skipped college and his professional growth in sales. Jed’s story is all about outhustling everyone in the company to get the promotion he wanted.

In the beginning, he adopted an SDR's mindset in prospecting for jobs and even created pitch decks on why he was the best fit for the job. Upon getting the job at PandaDoc, Jed shares how he outworked everyone in the company to convince his bosses that he was indeed more well-suited as an SDR versus his then role as an LDR.

He shares his meteoric rise and the very short span of time it took for him to get his foot into the door and to eventually become a manager leading 20 people. Jed suggests to people who want to follow in his footsteps to read resources first and then apply them to their respective companies.


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HIGHLIGHTS

01:15 Skipping college and outdialing everyone into a sales leadership role

04:22 Prospecting for jobs like an SDR

08:24 Reaching out, focusing on trigger events, and finding patterns 

12:10 Transitioning from SDR to LDR to sales leader 

14:29 Read and learn from resources and connect with Jed 

QUOTES

04:43 Jed: "I would create pitch decks. It was two slides. The first slide is these are the three reasons why I think I'm a fit at your company based on your application. So I pull three things from the application and then just speak to some stories and personal attributes about myself that I think helped me align with that role."

06:47 Jed: "I knew that the manager of the SDRs, he had just come in. He was brand new to the company and he was really big on call volume. He wanted everybody to increase their call volume, really go after it. So I knew what he wanted. So I was like, I'm just going to call more than your SDRs were full time as an LDR and you'll have no choice, but to promote me."

09:58 Jed: "Mainly email and phone. A big part of the strategy and the cadence set up is that, anytime I make a phone call, I'm also doing two other touches at the exact same time."

Learn more about Jed in the links below:

Learn more about Collin in the link below: 

Also, you can join our community by checking out @salescast.community. If you're a sales professional looking to take your career to greater heights, please visit us at https://salescast.co/ and set a call with Collin and Chris. 

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Transcript

[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell. And this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.

[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation. I've got Jed Marley today. He's an SDR manager over at Panda doc. Uh, you know, jets joined Panda doc were straight out of high school and quickly became one of the top performing reps started managing a team of outbound SDRs, uh, in 2021. He has a team of 20 now and so tons of, uh, nuggets and learning experiences that we're going to pull out of there.

[00:00:49] Jed, welcome to the. Yeah, thanks Colin. Glad to be here. Yeah, man. Super impressive. Um, you're you're, you know, you've, it seems like you've achieved a lot in your, your short sales career. Um, so I love, you know, getting people on like you that have, you know, can sort of bring maybe a fresh perspective on things.

[00:01:06] And, uh, so let's just kick it off and tell us a little bit about, you know, when you first joined Panda doc and then let's go over. Yeah, for sure. So out of high school, um, I didn't really want to take the college route. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. Um, I actually joined this program called Praxis.

[00:01:23] Um, so it's like a professional development bootcamp that kind of helps you figure out what you want to do while your personal brand, and they connect you with growing startups. Um, I was actually trying to get into marketing and then interviewed for a bunch of different places for a marketing role.

[00:01:34] Couldn't get any jobs. So I switched over to sales. Um, I got this role at Panda doc, which they called an LDS. And so I was just doing basically, um, all the grunt work. My whole day was pretty much just finding leads and Salesforce emails, phone numbers. Wasn't actually making phone calls, but just doing all the groundwork for SDRs.

[00:01:54] And so, uh, yeah, that was what I was doing eventually. Um, I started making cold calls in the sides. Just tried to be the whole. Uh, dialer on the team, uh, as an LDR. So making phone calls while also doing the day-to-day responsibilities of that job. Um, and my goal is pretty much just to out dial and outwork work, everybody else on the SDR team.

[00:02:12] So they had no choice, but to promote me. Um, so yeah, that's kinda like what the beginning of, uh, I guess my career at Panda doc was like, you know, I didn't know if being an SDR doing sales was something I wanted to do. Uh, but I think I learned pretty quickly. There's tons of resources online, whether that be from LinkedIn podcasts, like this books, things of that nature, where you can just pick up different strategies, try them out, iterate, test them, and actually get a lot better, especially in the SDR role where there's just a whole.

[00:02:42] Little tips that can help you out. And so that's kind of what I did, you know, when we went remote during COVID and I was an SDR, I just kind of did a lot of research, did a lot of testing. Um, and I was fortunate enough to be able to now manage the team and scale it from three at the beginning of this year to now, uh, just about 20, uh, Nice.

[00:03:02] Nice. Okay. So, uh, I want to go back for one second. Just tell me, um, tell me a little bit more about this professional, um, you know, development place that you went to. Like, did they kind of match you to go into sales or did you learn some sort of basic sales skills there? Like what happened there that made it seem like, Hey, sales is a good fit for jet.

[00:03:24] Yeah, honestly. Um, so it's not really focused on like, oh, if we're going to teach you sales skills, they're just teaching you, uh, basically how to interview, how to put together, like a pitch deck to go reach out to companies, um, how to like build your LinkedIn profile, proper email communication. So like, Basic stuff.

[00:03:42] It's just basically going to help you in the professional world. Um, and like I said, I wanted to get into marketing because I always liked to write. And that was something that was interesting to me. Um, I just was kind of afraid of sales at first. Cause I didn't like the idea of cold calling, so I kind of avoided it and eventually I was like, Hey, I think sales is the easiest way to get your foot in the door.

[00:04:00] And ultimately I want to just learn about business. So that's what led me, you know, going to that sales route and uh, you know, interviewing. Got it. Wow. Okay. So now did you S did you treat the, uh, job search? Opportunity. They're very much like in an outbound role, like walk me through like the process of like prospecting for your job.

[00:04:26] Yeah, I definitely did. And then looking back on it, I was like, oh wow. That's basically what an SDR does. And I didn't realize at the time, which was interesting. Um, but yeah, pretty much what I did is I kind of put together a spreadsheet of my top companies that I wanted to work for. Um, the, the bootcamp practices kind of helped me make some connections, but then when I did.

[00:04:44] I would create pitch decks. It was two slides. The first slide is these are the three reasons why I think I'm a fit at your company based on your application. So I pull three things from the application and then just speak to some stories and, uh, personal attributes about myself. And I think, uh, helped me align with that role.

[00:04:59] And then the second slide was, these are three. There are things I really love about your company. And I would just record like a two minute video of me going through those two slides, send them out to the hiring managers. And that's how I got all those interviews, um, without really much of the experience at all.

[00:05:14] Um, so that was, yeah, yeah, yeah. And that's, that's a great way to show that like, Hey, this SDR job is for me. Right. Because you know, your SDRs for the role, you know? Um, so it sounds like you, you learn some really good skills, you know, in that, you know, professional development, um, thing that you went to there that helped you land that job.

[00:05:37] Just talk to me about like the early days in your sales role. I remember correctly, you said you didn't do a lot of calling. It was more emailing and maybe socially. Yeah. So it was a, basically what an SDR is to an AAE. That's kind of what the LDR is to an SDR. So their job is to work for the SDR, find them all their leads so that all they can do, they can just spend their time on purely cold calling and emailing.

[00:05:59] So I was just going out, building lists, basically doing all that grunt work for them, um, and actually helped me a lot. Cause I got really. Uh, knowledgeable about Salesforce, sales, law, and all the tools you need to use. Cause I was living in them all day. I wasn't actually talking to anybody. So that was the role.

[00:06:14] And then after about a month, I was like, damn, I'm doing this all day. I'm only getting paid 15 bucks an hour. And I just moved from Michigan to Florida and to a new apartment. So I just moved out. It wasn't making a lot of money on this contractor role is what it was. Um, and so I started pulling some of my own leads on the side and making calls to them.

[00:06:31] Uh, which you mentioned, I got promoted. So, so you just started Esther SDR and as an LDR? Yeah, pretty much just on the side. Yeah. And so how did that, um, I mean, I'm assuming, but I want to hear from you, like, I'm assuming that when yeah, so I knew that the manager of the SDRs, he had just come in, uh, he was, he was brand new to the company and he was really big on call volume.

[00:06:55] He wanted everybody to increase their call volume, really go after it. So I knew what he wanted. So I was like, I'm just going to call more than your SDRs were full time as an LDR and you'll have no choice, but to promote me, cause I know that's what you want. Um, So that's kind of the approach I took. And you had no experience on the phone.

[00:07:12] Where did, how did you even know where to start. Yeah, no, it's really, I mean, I was reading a lot of books, so like cold calling books. I can't remember the name of it, but there was one that really helped me out a lot. Um, a few Sandler courses I took as well, so I just started investing in resources. And then also, uh, we were in the office back then.

[00:07:27] So I just went into the calling room and listened to everybody, make their phone calls, listen to call recordings and just kind of picked up on tips and tricks from them. Um, and really just reached out to the top SDRs and asked for some coaching. Yeah, I love that, man. You've got to take initiative, you know, you want to advance, don't rely on somebody else, go get what you want, you know, if it's that next role, that next promotion, like, I love how you ask for people, you know, ask for help from people on the team you saw, you know, what the manager of the role that you wanted, uh, was looking for and you just outworked and out hustled, you know, the people on the team to say, Hey, I'm clearly cut out for this.

[00:08:05] Yeah, man. Yeah. So, so, um, all right. So talk to me about, um, like early days on the phone, what was working, what was not working? Um, you know, I think before we hit record, you talked about looking for certain triggers and, and, and sort of using that as a lever to, uh, for your outreach. So let's maybe, you know, Yeah, for sure.

[00:08:26] So when I was first doing the LDR stuff, and then when I first got promoted as an SDR and I was full time, um, I didn't have a lot of strategy. I pretty much just relied on what got me there, which was just dialing more than everybody else. And I feel like if you make more calls than everybody else, you're gonna run into some lucky people where they were looking for your solution.

[00:08:42] So I was kind of getting there just by pure grit and not working everybody, but that wasn't really sustainable, especially if I wanted to like manage a team, like we need an actual strategy. Um, And Panda doc didn't really have too much of an outbound strategy. So one of the things that started working for me was in my email and phone call outreach.

[00:08:59] It I'd always just been like pure call call. I didn't really have a real reason for, I was reaching out just trying to reach out, set a demo. Um, but I started focusing on trigger events. So what that means is I would look at our inbound lead data and see like, what are common patterns I can find of people coming inbound to us?

[00:09:16] So, one thing I noticed was a lot of sales leaders were coming inbound, requesting demos, and they were in there. To, to maybe seven months in the role. So I was like, great. Let me go reach out to people that look exactly like these invalid leads, they're new to their role. So I use sales navigator to reach out to those new people.

[00:09:31] And then when I'm reaching out to my emails and my phone calls, the messaging is really clear as to why I'm reaching out. Hey, you're new. I thought this might be interesting. Um, and it comes across as a lot more relevant. Um, there's lots of other triggers too, is like looking at people who are hiring for account executives.

[00:09:47] For example, our product is for account executives. So I would reach out and kind of connect those two dots there. Um, and you reaching out email, video phone, walk me through kind of the steps. Yeah. Mainly email and phone. So, uh, That's a big part of the strategy and the cadence set up is that anytime I make a phone call, I'm also doing two other touches at the exact same time.

[00:10:08] So throughout my entire sequence, there's always going to be three touches in a row whenever I'm doing one touch point. So if I make a phone call, I'm also leaving a voicemail and sending an email all within 90 seconds so that they're getting all these touch points at the exact same time. And they basically have no choice, but to see me, cause my name pops up three times.

[00:10:25] Um, so that's kind of the strategy there. And then all they would be centered around that. You know the voicemail, I'm saying, Hey, just notice you joined a new company, going to send you an email thought I might be relevant. The email is pointing to that, and it's all centralized around, you know, those trigger points.

[00:10:39] Okay. All right. So talk me through some of the, I know that now you manage a team of 20, right? So, so talk me through like, you know, going from the LDR to the SDR, what did success look like in the SDR role before you got that promotion to leading a team? Yeah. I mean, I was fortunate when I joined the SDR team, uh, because outbound was brand new to the company.

[00:10:59] And so there wasn't a lot of process in place. So I was able to build out a lot of those processes and it really was just me being passionate about figuring out how to be a successful on STR. And so I was kind of the first person to really figure that out in a sense. Um, and you know, when, when we went into 20, 21, they wanted to scale that team cause they started seeing some success with myself and my, my account executive and the team was very small.

[00:11:21] And so I just kind of put myself in the position to, to become, you know, promoted the manager because I was already training people. Anyways, I was training the account executives, the SDRs and how to do outbound since she was brand new to the company. And so it was kind of a natural progression. Um, When I got promoted, it was definitely tough because when you're an SDR, you have every part of your day broken down into like a science, right.

[00:11:41] You know exactly what you have to do. Uh, but when you become a manager and you have to, you have all these different priorities, you have all these different people on your team. Uh, it's hard to kind of like define a successful day. Right. Um, it's not as simple as, Hey, I booked two meetings today. It was a successful day, you know, not when you're responsible for a team.

[00:11:59] Um, that was definitely a struggle. So there was, there's some things I had to do to kind of get over that. But, but yeah. Yeah. What, what were, what are some things that you found, you know, helped you in, in sort of that transition? Yeah, for sure. Um, I mean the big one first was, uh, understanding like, Hey, I, a new team I'm responsible for hiring, for interviewing, for building out the process and all that stuff.

[00:12:22] So there's tons of different priorities. So I had to kind of have a system for prioritizing things. Um, so basically it just consisted of a to-do list, which was like number one priority, um, urgent priorities, right? In a number two. Uh, number two priority, but not urgent. And the number three is just free time, Sunday ideas.

[00:12:38] And so when I'm looking at things that need to be done, I ask myself, Hey, is how is this going to directly impact the team? Um, you know, is it urgent, cool? That's what I'm gonna focus on. And then asking myself things like, who can I delegate this to? Can I give this responsibility to a rep? Um, to help kind of motivate them, give them additional responsibility.

[00:12:57] Can I delegate this to somebody else in the team? And so really adding like a structure to due process for how I go about those priorities, um, was a big thing that helped. Wow, man. I'm, I'm super impressed. I mean, from straight out of high school to, you know, taking some initiative, to get some help, to find a role to, you know, uh, learning some good skills and finding a role landing that role, you know, kind of, you know, basically determining your own path by just taking initiative, um, in, in all of this, you know, just to put some context here for those who are listening to.

[00:13:31] Give me the timeline here. Cause like we covered a lot and I think that, you know, some may think like, oh, you know, this could have happened over a longer period of time, but this was a very short period of time. Like what is the timeline here? I know, but I want you to tell listeners. Yeah. So when I joined as an LDR, I did that for about three months up until February, 2020.

[00:13:53] And then I was an SDR for a year, from February, 2020 to February, 2020. And then February, 2021 is when I got promoted to manage the app on SDR team. We had three reps at the time and now December, 2021, we're at just around 20. So all over the course of about two years, um, Yeah, man, this awesome. And so, um, I mean, any final thoughts, anything that you would tell people that are kind of looking to maybe have that sort of same path that you did, um, and then let folks know like where they can find you and get in touch with you and all that good stuff.

[00:14:29] Yeah. I'd say. As far as taking my path, you know, like I said, at the beginning of the podcast, there's so many resources. There's lots of books. If you hit me up on LinkedIn, my name's Jed Marley. Like there's not a lot of jets you'll see me. Um, but I, you know, I'm happy to share some of those resources there.

[00:14:46] There's lots of good pockets out there books. So like take that initiative to like take the time outside of work or during lunch or whatnot. And, um, you know, Dig into those resources and apply them at your company. Because I think becoming an SDR is not necessarily about, are you extroverted or introverted or those sorts of things.

[00:15:02] It's really just, are you willing to consistently test new ideas, try them out. And, um, I think that's really what it comes down to, you know, testing, being creative, trying new things out. Um, so yeah, connect with me on LinkedIn. And I also have a newsletter where I share a lot of these strategies as well.

[00:15:18] Um, you can find that on my LinkedIn. Awesome. We'll drop the link there for the newsletter, your LinkedIn profile, Jed. Thanks man, for coming on and telling your story really appreciate it. Um, if you enjoy today's episode, please write us a review. Uh, share the show with your friends. It really does help us out.

[00:15:33] And then we're always listening for your feedback. You can go to sales, transformation.fm, drop us a voice DM there, and we will get back to you. Hey you stuff. That tells me you're serious about your own sales transformation. If you're tired of doing things the old way and want to get started in your journey with other people on the same path, head over to sales, cast.community, and crush your numbers on your leaderboard.

[00:15:57] Yeah. It's free sales cast dot communities. Send me a DM with your best pitch and mentioned this ad. And I might even give you free access to our best templates.