The Early Hire That Almost Never Works: Director of Outbound | SaaStr

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Aaron Labbé, co-founder and CTO of LUCID, on VatorNews podcast

Want to get outbound going, for the first time?

What almost never works, somewhat surprisingly, is hiring a Director of Outbound as your first outbound hire.

I see many startups want to add outbound, but not really have a lot of experience. They don’t know outbound, they haven’t done it, they don’t get it.  And especially, a new VP of Sales comes in without real outbound experience.  And finds they don’t have enough leads to hit the number on inbound alone.  So they naturally look for a leader to start, a Director of Outbound that has built and managed an outbound team before.

Why does this seemingly logical hire fail?

  • The proven Director of Outbound is usually all about process and never learn the product. That can work at scale but generally fails in the earlier days.  There isn’t a proven process at all yet to improve and build on.
  • They hire a ton of SDRs fast because it’s a numbers game, but no one ever really gets it right. You need 1–2 SDRs that deliver $2m+ of bookings from their inputs to prove it works.  If you hire 8-10 off the bat, no one ever figures out.  They book almost no meetings that close.  And confuse everyone.
  • They often use trite, proven scripts and processes that aren’t right for your market. That generic sales script often doesn’t work well selling to developers. Etc. Etc.
  • And most importantly — a Director+ of Outbound is often hired by a VP of Sales that doesn’t know outbound themselves. This compounds the issue.  A VP of Sales comes on that hasn’t really done outbound themselves, so they don’t really know where to start.  They hire a leader to get it going — instead of figuring it out first.  Crash and burn.

I see this Director of Outbound hired too early just crash and burn again and again. If your VP of Sales has proven themselves and they want to make the hire anyways — well let them. Back them. But otherwise, push back. Force you and your sales team to hire 1–2 individual SDRs and help them and back them, and prove it out.

Then hire a leader. And half the time, that leader will turn out to be one of the SDRs you already hired anyway.

Published on September 30, 2022

Go to Publisher: SaaStr
Author: Jason Lemkin