Picture the scene. You’re scrolling through your LinkedIn feed while you sip your morning coffee. You see a post from a respected VP of Sales who usually has interesting insights to share. Excellent.
But a sense of dread settles over you. Oh. It’s one of those posts where VPs or C-suite executives are trashing sales outreach. They’re sharing screenshots and publicly humiliating them.
And why? What crime is the business development rep (BDR) guilty of to warrant this public tarring and feathering? Nothing more than what the VP of Sales would ask of their own team: trying to generate sales. We’ve all seen this—the sneering, smug VP dishing out life lessons to some plucky sales rep for the crime of doing honest work.
These Titans of industry, these all-powerful and all-knowing Elder Gods sitting atop Mount Othrys striking fear into the hearts of the mere mortals. But instead of using their might, their weapon of choice is shame. And instead of brandishing fire and wind, these Gods unveil screenshots.
Because these VPs of Sales and C-suite executives are such luminaries, everyday justice won’t do. We need something more significant than can match their achievements and their great minds. We need cosmic justice.
And so, that same VP who trashed the BDR returns home. They eat dinner, spend a little time with their kids, then watch TV for a while. Tired, and with an important day ahead of them tomorrow, they retire to bed.
But before they turn out the light, they check LinkedIn. Plenty of likes and positive comments on the post trashing that sales rep. They have a few chuckles before falling into a deep sleep. Our plot is about to thicken.
Sales and Finance Freaky Friday
The next day they wake up. They don’t recognize the house. Panicked, they go to the bathroom; but they don’t recognize their face!
Scrambling around their room, they try to understand who they are. They’ve seen enough body swap movies to understand something is going on. Our trusty VP finds a lanyard on their door and they realize who they are now…
They’re a business development rep for the same company they trashed yesterday. They glance at their watch. While it’s not a Rolex, it somehow still tells the time. They’re running late!
They get dressed and run to the apartment car park. Frantically, they presses the unlock key until they find the car. Ah, it’s not a Merc S class, but it will do. After sitting in traffic for a bit, they arrive at work. They see the BDR they trashed yesterday. And they’re both ushered into a meeting room.
The company’s VP of Sales explains that it’s Friday, and they’re going to have a sales competition today. The winner gets a secret prize. Our body-swapped VP has this in the bag.
They’ve got decades of experience, and they’ve forgotten more about sales than these people will ever know. Again, they’ve seen enough movies to understand if he wins the competition, they’ll be back in their old body before the weekend starts.
All they have to do is teach these BDRs a lesson and show them how an executive does it in the trenches. Yeah, they trashed the other person on LinkedIn yesterday. But this time, they’re going to trash them in the sales competition. The prospect off begins!
They start the day by hitting the phones. The BDR looks through the prospect list and starts making calls. It’s challenging work with lots of dead ends and a few rejections. Getting through to people isn’t easy, but when they do, they’re a natural. They didn’t start out that way, but they understood practice makes perfect.
They get it. When a BDR speaks to a decision-maker, they understand don’t have a lot of time. So, they use what time they have to establish and make a connection. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
It’s all in a day’s toil. They don’t let rejections get them down or take it personally. They get back up on the horse and keep trying. They drums up some warm leads and set up meetings for next week.
On the other side of the room, our all-knowing VP isn’t doing so well. For one, they don’t know how to find prospect’s numbers. Without an assistant to bark orders at, they’re a bit lost.
Eventually, they do find a number, but it’s for the general switchboard. They haven’t made a cold call in years, but they figure that their charm and general magnetism will get them up to the decision-maker in no time.
This doesn’t work. They consider that maybe the reason people listen to them raptly is that they already know who they are and what they do. After a while, they eventually get through to a prospect. They’re tongue-tied, and out of practice, they doesn’t communicate very well, and soon enough, the prospect excuses themselves and hang up.
Our industry-leader VP slumps in the chair with a dial tone ringing faintly in their ear. They look over to the other side of the room as our plucky BDR punches the air as they book another meeting. One meeting on seventeen dials, not bad! The VP shakes their head; this is not going well.
It’s lunchtime, and our plucky BDR isn’t even taking time for a break. They know that they need to finish off their email campaign. Their ICPs calendar is full of meetings before and after lunch, so to catch their prospect with a free second, they need to work even while others take breaks.
On top of that, BDR’s know the importance of a killer email campaign. They’ve got a variety of tricks to get the right addresses and get them into their sales and marketing automation platforms. And they know how to craft a value-led campaign.
Sales emails are as much a science as an art. The right length, judicial use of multimedia, intelligent use of sales sequences; it’s all necessary to put together an effective campaign.
Our beleaguered VP, however, seems to be struggling again. It was a bit of a culture shock that they needed to write emails that required more than one sentence.
They got the usual one-word answer, internal email game down lately, so this is proving something of a departure for them. But they’re learning fast; they’ve figured that you can send calendar invites too. They find a sales sequence online and copies it almost word for word. They’re desperate. They send it all out together, overwhelming their prospects. They haven’t experienced cadence this strange since listening to their junior high school band.
Using video, memes, and GIFs, our BDR is looking good, letting their prospects know about the value their product brings. Our VP is just annoying people with confusing emails. They sigh, wondering if they’ll ever get back home.
Our BDR knows that the best form of social selling is engagement-driven. Often BDRs are in the junior stage of their career, so they don’t have a vast following like others, which means they need to get out there in different ways. They make posts, and try to be helpful by adding value with their comments, and engage with others to get name recognition for themselves and their brand.
Occasionally, a prospect sees an Email for them and opens it precisely because they seem knowledgeable and helpful on LinkedIn. They send connection requests, but they’re always personalized and respectful, aiming to use some ice-breakers like a piece of content both they and the prospects liked.
On the other side of the room, our VP is confused. They’re writing the same great posts they usually do, but no one is engaging. They struggle to formulate the sort of positive outreach strategy they used to demand of their own staff in their former life.
Getting desperate, they send out a spate of generic connection requests. When someone finally bites, they aggressively pitches with a hard sell. It goes badly. So badly, in fact, that someone screenshots their attempt and puts them on blast all over LinkedIn. They slink off to the bathroom, embarrassed.
Once again, our spirited BDR has outworked the VP of Sales and goes on to win the Friday sales competition. Defeated and broken, our VP doesn’t even stick around to find out what the secret prize is.
That night, our VP sits in bed. Having walked in the BDR’s shoes for a day, they’ve started to feel bad about sharing screenshots and publicly rebuking the other person. It’s a tough grind out there. They feel like a fool for forgetting that.
They look around the bedroom. They miss their partner and kids. They don’t even have the consolation of their extensive drinks cabinet anymore. Wondering if they’ll even have a job to go to on Monday after their poor performance in the sales competition, they go to bed.
Soon enough, they fall asleep. And since this is an upbeat tech sales blog and not a horror script, in the morning, our VP wakes up in their old life as a changed person with more empathy.
BDRs are great sellers. They’re hardworking and versatile enough to embrace new technology and adjust to various formats. It’s challenging out there, with lots of competition, so they need to do their best each day.
And jokes aside, we all know how valuable and vital a good VP of Sales is. All this was just a fun way of making a simple point. It shouldn’t take a Freaky Friday body swap for us to realize that we can be a lot nicer to each other in the sales community. We’re all trying to make connections and sell products that we believe in.
Sure, occasionally, some outreach efforts won’t be as sophisticated and polished as we’d all like. But, if there is room for improvement, let’s not air it out in public.
Social media makes it easy to trash people, including sales reps. But it’s also an excellent way for people to connect with each other so that we can all learn and grow. Let’s all try and do a bit better.