Strategies for a World-Class SDR Program

The Best SDR at Outreach: Thoughts on Sales Success Stories with Sam Silverman

I recently listened to a Sales Success Stories podcast featuring Sam Silverman, the (until recently – for a good reason) best SDR at Outreach. If you aren’t familiar with Outreach, they’re a top sales engagement platform that orchestrates all of your email, phone, social, and other touches. Outreach integrates with your email provider and CRM (eg. Gmail and Salesforce).


What’s the secret?

Sam has consistently hit 180-190% of his quota (with a goal of 10-12 qualified opportunities) each month by doing the following:


  • Highly personalized email outreach combined with the phone and social selling
  • Preparing his sequences with up to 10 contacts per company
  • Spending 10 minutes per contact on personalization
  • Keeping 400 prospects active at all times in his sequences


Sam dedicates time on Sundays and Wednesdays to getting quality contacts into his sequences.


Work. Ethic.


On top of this, Sam does what he calls “smart calls”. These are calls where he uses his pre-written email personalizations and account research as a loose script. When he connects with decision makers in target organizations, these allow him to demonstrate that he has done research before picking up the phone.


This strategy has allowed him to consistently destroy his targets.


First of all…




Clearly, Sam is a machine. And from listening to the podcast, it’s clear that he has an amazing attitude. I have no doubt he is going to have a successful career in sales development or otherwise.


However, it left me with another question.


Why does Sam have to do all that low-skill work?

You’re probably thinking…”What?? Sam is a smart guy! He’s doing tons of research, he’s finding smart insights, and he’s absolutely crushing his goals. Nothing that Sam does is low-skill.”


I agree – it’s not that he’s doing anything wrong. But, why do we make SDRs that clearly have incredible phone skills, high EQ, and business acumen spend SO MUCH TIME on non-selling activities? This work could be outsourced to internal researchers, contractors, or otherwise. Imagine if we gave Sam an assistant with some email writing prowess to research his accounts, draft personalized emails, and serve 90% of the research work up to him on a silver platter, allowing him to spend twice as much time selling? What do you think this would do for a company’s pipeline goals?


Yeah, it’d probably look a lot like that scene in the first Iron Man movie when Tony Stark puts on the suit for the first time. Except with sales pipeline.


Sadly, most sales organizations are 1,000 times less efficient than what Outreach is doing. Imagine how many salespeople there are out there toiling away in inefficient SDR jobs when they could be at 190% of quota.


There’s a transformation happening in our industry, but every company is at a different step on the path. Outreach is definitely close to peak efficiency. They’ll probably be one of the first to complete the journey.


The next five years of sales development are going to get interesting.

Prepare to see:


  • $120k+ OTE for senior SDR roles in the Bay Area.
  • SDRs that generate the same pipeline that teams of 10 SDRs used to.
  • Internal Account Research teams that elevate more reps to become super-SDRs like Sam.
  • Outsourced SDR companies being used to book intro calls for super-SDRs.
  • SDR Quota to shift more towards pipeline generation.
  • A SaaS company we haven’t heard of yet will achieve a $1 billion valuation because they radically transform their SDR function.


By the way, Sam just took a job as Director of Sales Development over at LivePerson.


Congrats, Sam!

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Chris Bryson

Chris Bryson

Chris Bryson is a sales development leader that specializes in tactical execution, developing talent, and helping startups accelerate pipeline growth. He has held roles in both sales and sales operations in addition to his focus on sales development.

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