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Kerri Smith, Senior Sales Development Executive at Postclick, is the queen of efficiency.
Seriously, her kitchen is set up so she doesn’t have to move when she bakes. Why waste steps?
This need for efficiency opens her day up for time to be creative in her sales messaging.
And the numbers don’t lie: Kerri hits 160-180% of her quota.
She shares some of her secrets with RevOps Therapist and CEO and founder of Greaser Consulting, Jordan Greaser.
One of the biggest? Humanization, rather than personalization.
Hi, everyone, this is Jordan, the owner and CEO of Greaser Consulting. On this episode, we’ve got Kerri Smith. Kerri is a few years into the whole tech world. She has been a fantastic SDR at multiple organizations. She’s got a really interesting story. That’s not really the focus of this podcast. But I mean, listen, you want to hear about hope and inspiration and overcoming, go talk to Kerri someday. But we talk about a handful of topics here like inefficiency, about Kerri just being Kerri, and finding the right fit for organizations. But I think the real gem of this podcast today is ultimately what’s discussed right at the end, where Kerri flips the script, so to speak on personalization, and talks instead about humanization. And you’re gonna say, “What’s the difference?” Well, that’s the classic cliffhanger right there. You’re gonna have to hang tight to find out. Go ahead and listen in.
Say you want some clarity in sales and marketing and SEP? Well, we have just the remedy: our podcast, RevOps Therapy. Yeah.
Hi, everyone, this is Jordan. And I’ve got Kerri with me. Kerri, introduce yourself.
Hey, Jordan, thank you so much for having me on today. I am Kerri Smith, based out of State College, Pennsylvania. I am a senior sales development representative at Postclick.
So for anybody, like, just to give you some context on who Kerri is, number one, I don’t know if she’s going to talk about it, so I’m gonna talk about it anyway: super talented musician. I like to tell people that I know somebody who’s had songs on Hallmark movies. So this would be the lovely Kerri. Number one. Number two, when I first met her, she was trying to break into, like, the tech world and SDR stuff, and you know, mother of two at the time, and everyone says it’s hard to break into tech. Kerri was like, tenacious; there’s just no other way to say it. She was calling all the time; we were doing cold call practices. She was trying to learn Outreach and different software. This is, like, before she was even hired. Because when she got into that interview loop, like, she wanted to be ready to go. And I think, like, Kerri was the most inexperienced, and yet the most experienced, SDR that hadn’t been hired yet that I’d ever worked with. So just so you know, that’s who we got on the line today. And along the way, one of her key things was her creativity. But then the second side was efficiency. I mean, she’s dominated the game everywhere. She’s gone. And it’s been based around efficiency. So Kerri, before I even ask you any questions, like, could you help me understand? Because not everyone’s wired like you are like, like, where does this drive for efficiency even come from?
First of all, thanks for all the compliments. We could just stop there. And I could pat myself on the back. It’s a good day. Thanks, Jordan. Well, the drive for efficiency probably comes from… originally stems from my childhood growing up with a dad who was an industrial engineer at General Motors, where everything was ergonomically placed every… like, you don’t, you don’t move across the room and waste steps, and you don’t have… like, in my kitchen, like I don’t have to move when I bake. Like in baking, like the flour, all the spices, all the cups, all the measuring things are all right there. And so I’ve taken that and applied that to sales development because I don’t know about the rest of y’all SDRs, but we’re doing a lot of the same stuff and clicking in the same places and doing the same motions for hours at a time. And when you can cut little bits of time here and there, it adds up really, really quick, over months and years.
So walk me through a little bit the journey that you do get hired as an SDR and like you being you, right? I mean, you’re new in this space. But like immediately, like within the first three months on the job, you’ve already found six inefficiencies right? I mean, like what are the things in the SDR world in general, like before we talk about your specifics of like things you’ve changed or how you’ve learned, but like, what are the things that just drive you the most insane that you’re like, “This is inefficient. I can’t handle it.”? Like why, why do we, we keep this stuff going?
Oh, I have a list. The, the main thing is anytime I have to… I find myself doing the same work 2, 3, 4 times, like, there’s got to be a better way to do this. And usually, it’s like none of it’s complicated work; it’s like copying and pasting a thing. Like I have a… I’ve got a notepad open, because I use some, some tools; I’m about to start using BetterTouchTool, but I use Keyboard Maestro. And I learned that through my music mentor, because he was telling us doing, like, some production things and how you should use this digital audio workstation, and you press one button, and it makes things go here and your mixer to do this. And I’m like, wait a minute, I do the same thing every day at my desk; could I apply this tool to my day job? And so I sat down with him and explained what I do. It’s like, “Oh, yeah, you could use it for this, and this and this.” And then I found a consultant, because like, I could learn it myself. And it could take… this is the part of the efficiency thing too. Like I could spend hours and hours of my life, which I just don’t have time as a solo mom and two kids and trying to do it all. I found a consultant that’s really good at creating these macros. I told him what I was doing, created the macros, and I just press a button and watch things happen. And it’s magical.
So Kerri, how is… You are, but here’s the thing that makes me laugh when I think about this, because, you know, having managed teams, right? What managers try to do is they try to set up a process that’s scalable, repeatable, you know, “we’re gonna hire somebody; they’re gonna do these things, then we move on,” right? And then there’s always a person in the bunch that wants to challenge everything that’s going on. That’s good. That’s bad. You know, there’s, there’s good things in that; there’s things that are struggles, whatever. The reason I bring this up is like, Kerri, you’ve been hiring consultants, and you’ve been bringing people in that, like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna assume it’s not always sanctioned by the organization. And is this true? Is this a true or a false assumption?
That’s, that’s almost always entirely true. And so I’ve had employees, employers that, like, they don’t, they haven’t loved that part about me. But that’s what I really liked about my current role is I was able to talk with my, my current manager, and we were just having a conversation just getting to know each other. We… it wasn’t an interview. So I was able to speak very freely about all my opinions about sales development, and all the inefficiencies and how it should be. Why isn’t sales development a career path? Because we’re the ones that create all the pipeline and, well not all the pipeline; I can’t take all the credit, but, but we’re the ones that just
Just most of it.
A whole heck of a lot of it like, yeah, most, most of it. Yeah. But like, why isn’t that a career path? And he’s like, “yes, yes, yes.” Like, and I told him, like how I, I tend to go rogue and find solutions because I’m kind of impatient and want to hit my goals. And, and he didn’t have a problem with that; other people have. So it’s…
So let’s talk about that a second. We’re gonna have like, the conversations that haven’t gone well, what do those look like?
What do you mean?
What do I mean? So this is what I was saying, like through a manager lens, like, I’m coming in; I’m meeting with this person who, like we’ve designed the system, and she’s just doing whatever she wants. So if you’ve gone into some of those conversations with the managers, where maybe it hasn’t been the most appreciated, like, how have you approached those conversations? And in what ways have you navigated them that you can turn a negative to a positive, a positive to negative? The reason I’m asking is, you know, like, we might have managers listening; we might have reps listening. And at the end of the day, there’s got to be a give and take, right? So what I’m trying to understand is, is you’ve had some of these, like, what are some gives? Or what are some takes that like, like, we could all do better here as you think about your own experience in these conversations?
Yeah, man, I look back at the conversations that didn’t go that great. I mean, definitely a learning experience. And I can slow down a little and not just steamroll over things. But at the same time, like, I gotta hit quota, and I’m seeing these things that can help. So if I, if I had to, if I could redo some of those conversations, I would, I would sell it better internally first, still, still do what I need to have done and do the research and, and like I paid out of pocket for all, all this stuff. But I would, I would do better positioning to get that kind of thing moving through.
Well, that’s what I’m asking. What’s better positioning?
I mean, I’ve, I’ve navigated it better in my new role because I, I knew they were, they were okay with that part of my personality, which has helped, like I found, I found a place that knows that. That’s how I operate. They’re okay with it. But, but letting them know what I’m doing as I’m doing it, and proving the success of it. So I’m not sure if I’m still answering that question because like, a lot of me is, like, “I’m still gonna do it. I know it works.” Which isn’t great, and makes me kind of like…
So here, like here, for anybody, for anybody listening, here’s what you’re hearing right now, is every organization has an eagle, like this is like my fundamental belief, right, and like, I’m gonna say something, and everyone’s gonna get mad at me when I say it, but the majority of the organization are pigeons, and then you have an eagle. And what I mean by that is the pigeons show up, they do what they do. They might be fantastic. I’m not saying anything bad. But then you got the eagle where, like, if you put the eagle in a cage, the eagle’s going to die. And so you have to decide, am I going to allow the eagle to play with the pigeons or not? Right? And so from an organizational standpoint, and again, I’m talking more to managers, what I’m hearing when I hear Kerri talking here is like, well, how can I better navigate those conversations? “What are you talking about better navigate? This is what I’m gonna do; you’re either gonna deal with it, or you’re not going to deal with it.” And so orgs have to decide, is working, is, like, allowing that eagle to be the eagle a good thing? And typically the answer is, like, by and far, yes. Am I off in this statement Kerri? Do you think I’m nuts?
No, that’s a really good that… because that’s, that’s a really eye-opening perspective for me, because like, it’s because it’s I’ve been in places where I just didn’t fit. And I had to do things. Like I couldn’t, I couldn’t be creative; I couldn’t be me and creative and do my job at the same time. And being in a place where I am now at Postclick. I can, I can do all of it. And nobody’s mad at me about it. It’s really, it’s really liberating.
Well, that’s when you know you found like the org and you have found the right fit. And again, I’m just sort of thinking out loud, as I say this that, you know, you specifically might not be that, even though you’re fantastic at what you do and as you mentioned, I was heaping praise at the beginning of this. Like, that might not be the right model for some organizations, right, like, and that’s okay, like, it just wasn’t a fit. And then there’s other organizations that you can find, and this is true of like, just the way we’re all wired, where, like, the way you’re wired isn’t wrong; it’s just different. But when you get to the right place, that can make all the difference if we can wrap our head around that tongue twister, right? But anyway, I’m getting…
Yeah, I mean, I could live on encouragement, and praise and telling me I’m doing a good job. And I’d like… and I had a very specific list when I was looking for a new role of what I needed in a manager because I knew what I did not need. And then I, then I ended up here, and I got it all. Be specific when you’re, when you’re looking for things; it helps.
Well, that’s a… I know, like, we’re way off-topic of inefficiency. But since you mentioned this, I think it’s important. We’re being inefficient with our time. But hey, hang in there with me, right? Being specific in what you’re looking for: number one, in the interview process, it’s always a two-way street. But there’s a, there’s like a temptation when you’re interviewing that, like, let me change who I am so I fit their mold, right, because like, I just want to get hired; I just want to get the offer. Or even if I don’t want to work there, like it still feels good to get the offer. So I’m going to tell them what they want to hear. But the reality is that creates a misfit in the organization. So the best thing to do, to your point, is, like, to come into the organization and say, “Listen, this is who I am, like, either you love me, and this is gonna be fantastic, or you hate me, and that’s okay, let’s move on to the next one.” That would save a ton of heartache, and I think in both directions, even the company, “hey, we’re this positive, whatever.” Well, maybe we’re not. Right? Maybe we are a boiler room. You’re gonna like that or not. Right?
No, not at all.
Kerri’s like, “No, there’s no way.” Okay, let’s, let’s get efficient again. Let’s get back on task. Okay, let’s say you’re, you, like you’re talking about how you like to build these machines. Talk about your current role: how you got into it, like, like, what were the inefficiencies and one of the things that you either paid for, you built, you’ve done, like walk me through the Kerri-flywheel here.
So prospecting is, was the big, the big things; we came in, and I was looking at “How do you know what are the right accounts to go after?”. And we need that with what we’re doing at Postclick. So we help you. If you’ve got online ads, and you’re paying for clicks, we help increase conversions on those landing pages with AI and machine learning and multi-armed bandit testing and magic and all those kinds of amazing things that engineers do. But when you, but how do you know what’s the right, the right kind of account to go after? And there wasn’t any kind of really solid formula. And, and everybody on my team knows this, like I am determined; I’m going to find like, I’m going to find that silver bullet, and that needle in a haystack and we’re going to crack the code. I’m almost like, I’ve almost got it; like, I’m so close. But I realized, like, there’s just so much time wasted on like, “Oh, this looks like it would be a good account.” And then you, you do all this research, and you go you find out their revenue and their, how many employees and what their ad spend is. And then you find out “oh, no, it’s not good enough.” And you spent like 10 minutes doing that, maybe more. And then you got to do it again. And then you get like 10 duds. You just like… that’s a lot of time in a day. And so I said, “Okay, there’s got to be somebody better, faster, smarter than me at this.” And I’d worked with task minions at my previous role. And they were just so awesome and easy to work with. And so I’d message, message that guy over there and like, “Hey, this is what I’m doing.” And they knew I was probably going to do this coming into the role. And like, if there’s just dumb stuff that I, that somebody else can do for me, my time is better spent doing things that they can’t do. And so yeah, so I started getting exporting lists having task minions research, and there’s still some duds but, but I’m able to just sort by revenue and sort by ad spend and then like, and then go after those companies first, and maybe go after some of the lower ones. But like, I’m not, I’m not wasting that, that prospecting time.
So how much time, how much time in a week have you saved?
15 to 20 hours.
In a week?
In a week, you’ve saved 15 to 20 hours. I was expecting to hear you say like two or three hours and it adds up over time.
No, it is; it’s like, this is the biggest time suck that all the SDRs, and that’s why we brought them on. They’re coming on board next week to do this forever.
That was my next question of, if you’re saving 15 to 20 hours a week, I have to imagine that you exposed.. I know we’re talking about inefficiency, but you exposed something in the organization that could mean, like, massive changes. And I’m assuming that if you get something that drastic, like it can’t go unnoticed. And so the org comes and looks at you and they’re like, “Kerri, what, like, tell us how you’re doing this?” Like they actually want to know; they’re not mad. They may be a little bewildered. But like, what’s going on here?
Well, yeah, I mean, I was like, when I, when I got to the point where I got the code nearly cracked. Like my first month, fully ramped, I was like 180% of quota. 160% last month; this month, I’m a little behind. I took my foot off the gas, because my mom was in town visiting. It was wonderful. But I’m gonna…
Shame on you for having a life. Shame on you.
But, but that’s why, that’s why I’m in sales, though, because and that’s why I’m in an, in an organization that doesn’t mind that I’m in sales for the reason of if you can work smarter and faster, you can work fewer hours.
Yeah, this is… I might get thrown under the bus for this statement. But I, I’m just gonna I’m gonna say it. And then folks can get fired up with me later. But I’ve honestly found that moms that get into tech end up being awesome. Why? “I’ve got two kids at home. I’ve got a husband. I got this going on over here. And like, I don’t have time to deal with the BS. Like, let’s get to the point. Let’s do the job. And like, and then I gotta go to soccer practice,” right? Like…
I mean, I gotta hit quota before they come home from school. There’s, like, I do some work when they’re home. But like, it’s just, it just like, it just highlights to me like how much time is wasted in sales development roles too, because like, I can get it, I can get it done. And it’s real hard to work when there’s a first-grader asking me lots of questions all morning. So I’m like “No, no…” So summer is coming. That’s another, that’s another thing. But yeah, I agree. Moms, moms can crush it.
So this is a question, though, that I have to ask you specifically because when I like, when I first met you and was talking with you, what was really evident, you know, it wasn’t necessarily the efficiency mindset; it was the creativity side, right? Like, so there’s a huge side of your brain that is just deep into creativity and all these things, which it’s not counterintuitive, but tends to be that if you’re really creative, like, you’re not going to try to be systematic, because you got to, you know, you got to be somewhere on the other side of the rainbow, you know, dreaming up these things. And so the idea that you’re really efficient, then you’re talking about like a sequencing tool, like, let’s get on an Outreach; let’s create one email; let’s just blast because when you start thinking of efficiency, it’s like, “how many people can I get to as quickly as possible and do as least amount of work as possible?” But how do you blend that with your creativity side? Because I mean, that’s kind of your secret sauce here.
Yeah, I agree, I should have just made this whole thing about creativity, because like I could soapbox on creativity all day long. But it’s cutting through the noise. To me, there’s like, there’s a, everybody’s getting a million generic emails, and this and that. But I’m telling you, my dog has booked so many meetings. She is, she is a rock star. I mean, she, she’s got some GIFs. I did a video; I use this My Talking Pet app where you can take a picture of anything. I’ve done it with my son’s dinosaur drawings, and like a dog, and it, like, will animate the mouth moving. So you can just have the dog or the dinosaur, say things to a prospect. And they don’t, they don’t get email like that every day. If you can make somebody laugh and smile and go “huh” you get replies.
You’ve won. So that’s my question. Are you a believer of like, sequencing, and let’s iron out this prospecting process? So like, you’re gonna get this email on day one, a call on day two, a video on day three? Like is, because that is an efficient mindset. But at some points, it can be, you know, at the cost of creativity. So whenever you think about actually approaching prospecting, is it simply that you’re efficient with the admin on the background so you can be creative? Or is it blended all the way through the prospecting process?
I wish, because the way I talk about efficiency, like everybody thinks, “oh, she must be so organized”. Oh, no, like I’m working with, like, somebody right now because there are so many balls up in the air, and I’m just not, not organized as well as I want to be. And so I can, like, the front end of stuff is… it is humming; I got it down. And I got a sequence going that… but I tend to get those logjams down the way. So I just in and what I really like about Postclick too is they don’t care if the sequence is automated, like my first touch is manual, because I do a little bit of personalization or, but the rest of it is automated. And then I put them into a, put them into a call sequence, just like, just work through two phone calls, when like I’ll be making a ton of calls later today. But I don’t know if I answered that question either.
Well, I think what you’re saying, just me reading between the lines as I just chat with you is essentially you are paying people to do the work that is either A) mindless, or B) superfluous, like for what you’re trying to do. So it’s not necessarily… maybe I’ll get in trouble. So don’t hit me later for this. You’re close enough; you could drive to my house and find me. What you’re essentially saying, it’s not that you’re like, you’re super efficient with account research, or you’re really efficient with your sequencing process. It’s that, yeah, I don’t have time to do these things. So let me pay somebody so I can be more efficient in letting my creativity drive me to more prospects. Like is that a fair statement?
Yeah, I think, I think that I’m just really smart about what to do. And what’s important to do. When I sit down, like, I could do revenue stuff, or I could clean up things; like I don’t want… I want to just I want to do the things are gonna book meetings. And get the quota.
What’s interesting, when I was at Outreach, that was the big conversation of like, “Let’s build an Outreach so that reps can do what reps do, which is like, have conversations.” And so, at the beginning… this isn’t a shot at Outreach. This is more just like the nature of humanity in general, is that at the beginning, right, people would spend hours copying, pasting templates, like before they used an Outreach or going through their Excel sheet. Did I follow that? All right. And then all of a sudden, they have an Outreach like “Oh, build the sequence once, click it, goes, and now I got all this efficiency.” And you’d think “Oh my goodness, we finally got them out of all these admin tasks, and now they’re talking on the phone. And this is all, you know, fantastic and whatever.” Well, guess what happened? Like, after a little bit of that went on, and all the reps are happy, and we’re having more conversations. Well, now we just need to have more people in sequence than we ever had before, right? And so like now, in some ways, you’re actually doing a more robotic motion, which is like, find the account, click the sequence button, find the account, click the sequence, but it’s like, “Now, wait a minute. I thought we were trying to get the admin stuff all off.” And now we’re in a situation where like, we’ve even narrowed the focus of the admin, and it’s even less thought… anyway. I could see you. Yeah, I can see your face of disgust as I…
I mean, there’s a macro that’ll do that, because that’s the thing like we do that stuff all day, like, click here, click there, click there. So I just build the thing that’ll click in the right spots. But it’s so yeah, we’re sequencing more accounts. And everybody… I’ve heard for years, people talk about personalization and personalization at scale. And I think it’s a load of baloney, and it’s not possible. So I aim toward humanization at scale, with creativity.
So there’s a phrase. Now we got it. Yeah. What is it? We’re about, we’re about done. So leave everybody with this.
So because you, you can’t you just get like, nobody’s got time and nobody, like, who cares that maybe if they went to the same university; that’s a small town. Maybe that might work. But the rest of it, like, nobody, nobody cares that you played soccer and that you did… It doesn’t matter, but, but I can scale me, and I can scale my personality, and I can scale my humaneness. So that’s where I, where my, like, my dog comes in, like, people have dogs; they appreciate seeing a dog talk to them or a T-Rex tell them that their marketing is lousy. And so it’s, it’s, it’s humanizing.
Listen, if a T-Rex comes and tells me my marketing is lousy, I’m listening. Okay. I’ve seen one too many Jurassic Park. So I know the, I know the other side of what a T-Rex can do to me.
Yeah, you listen. Yeah, but, but that’s the stuff that cuts through the noise too. Because like, you don’t, you don’t get a talking T-Rex every day. No, and that’s what you need that to. Because it’s like, every everybody’s got to grind. You know, I mean, it’s all like, there’s, there’s definitely boring parts of our jobs that we, in our days that we wish were more fun and exciting. And then that’s the kind of stuff that makes people notice and appreciate.
I just… what I like about that is like you’ve literally, you’ve just flipped the entire paradigm. Personally, because I’m gonna have to… I’m gonna hop off of this, and I’m going to have to think about it for a little while, right? Because we’re always told, you know, “Connect with the individual connect with the individual connect with the individual.” But what you’re essentially saying is, “Hey, listen, I have a personality with gifts and traits and whatever.” And this is certainly, like, just true in life that, like if you’re a personality that can attract folks and whatever. And that’s something we talk about, like, that’s not an unknown thing. That’s not a strange thing. That’s just a reality that like, some folks can work a room; some people can do… “So hey, let me just bring myself so to speak. And let me do that at scale, because that’s a whole lot easier, but potentially even more effective, because it’s going to have this like magnetic poles to it,” right?
It’s way more fun. Oh, my goodness, like, lots more fun to do it that way.
Kerri, last question. What’s the most ridiculous prospecting thing that you’ve done? Like? Is it, it’s the talking dog? It’s dressing up like a tree and sending videos like what’s the…?
Probably the guinea pigs in Santa hats?
What is the guinea pigs in Santa hats?
When I when I was pitching music for some of these Hallmark movies, I took my daughter’s guinea pigs. No guinea pigs were harmed in the filming of this video. But I made, made little felt Santa hats for them.
Phil’s not around anymore, but we don’t talk about that. But yeah. Anyway, go ahead.
Yes, I made these little felt Santa hats for them and put them on my green screen and just recorded them walking around and put the, put the sound bites of the songs that I was trying to pitch because, like, nobody’s got time for to listen to 10 songs, but you can watch guinea pigs in Santa hats. And then I sent this video of the guinea pigs… in a two-minute video because like we can handle two minutes. And it’s way more fun to get guinea pigs in Santa hats than “Hey, music supervisor. Listen to my songs.” Way more effective.
Kerri, thanks for coming today. Thanks for being efficient with our time and also creative. I know if anybody, like if anybody wants to reach out to you and they want to talk about efficiency. They want to talk about your current company right wink wink sales leads. If they want to talk about, you know, Hallmark and music like, how do they get a hold of you?
I’m on LinkedIn. Kerri Smith. K-E-R-R-I Smith.
All right. All right, Kerri. Thanks for coming. And for the listeners today, I hope you enjoyed. We’ll see you next time.
Hot dog. That was a great episode. Thanks for listening. If you want to learn more about Greaser Consulting or any information you heard on today’s episode, visit us online at www.greaserconsulting.com. Be sure to click the Follow button and the bell icon to be notified on the latest here at RevOps Therapy. Thanks and see you real soon.