Episode 298: Is AI Set to Replace SDRs? With Gabe Lullo
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Some people are saying that AI is gonna be replacing key roles such as the sales development representative (SDR).
We can't see the future. All we can do is make assumptions.
But one thing is clear.
It has definitely changed the sales game.
So, how do new techs and innovations like AI influence the SDR function?
To shed light on this important topic, we are joined by Gabe Lullo, CEO of Alleyoop. Gabe is a seasoned sales expert and leader who manages over 1500 SDRs. Before taking the role of CEO, he was Alleyoop's Chief Business Officer.
How Does Alleyoop Master the Art of the Assist in Sales, and Why Do Companies Choose Them Over In-House SDRs?
Similar to an alley-oop in basketball, Alleyoop sets up the perfect opportunity for a slam dunk for its clients. The company works behind the scenes, orchestrating the stage for their client's success. It mainly specializes in setting up sales calls and demos, often for companies like Adobe and Zoom Info, operating discreetly yet effectively in the background.
Most organizations opt for external SDRs like Alleyoop as founder-led companies, especially in their early stages, often lack the resources and expertise for in-house prospecting. This allows them to focus on product development and market fit while relying on specialized agencies for immediate revenue generation and prospecting needs.
“If you're a basketball fan, it's essentially the ultimate assist in basketball. So we don't take credit for the slam dunk. We're not the lights on the billboard. We are the ones that are setting up the stage. So I always like to say we're the trailer for the movie. So the AE's job is to do the movie to do the demo. The SDR's job is to set that up and get it on the calendar and at the perfect time for it to be successful. And if you look at an Alleyoop in basketball, that's exactly what it is. You're throwing the ball up at the exact perfect time in order for someone else to come along and slam-dunk it, and that's a success”.
How AI and Strategic Tech Integration Are Reshaping the SDR Function
Technology plays a critical role in building effective outbound functions. However, it depends a lot on how you select the tech tools, their strategic integration, and implementation. AI tools grow their influence in sales significantly. But Gabe doesn't see it as a replacement for human functions.
AI is increasingly being used for tasks like message writing and smart dialing, improving efficiency in connecting with clients across various channels. Yet Gabe maintains that AI cannot replicate the nuanced human interaction critical in top-tier sales conversations, even if it's pushing sales teams towards higher quality and more effective communication.
“Do I think AI is just going to completely replace the SDR function? Not right now. Do I think it's gonna displace some SDRs? 100% And I think we have to use it as a way to do our job more effectively and better”.
Testing, Tailoring, and Triumphing in Modern Sales Strategies
When testing AI-powered tools, sales teams must rely on vendor promises, as well as conduct thorough trials to ensure the tool's effectiveness for one's specific needs. Moreover, they should also consider aligning these tools with the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Businesses should seek the right data but also the right data provider.
Gabe advises on customizing communication channels and strategies based on the ICP, such as using phone calls for sales professionals and different approaches for IT personnel. Additionally, Gabe highlights the need to match the level of sales development resources to the nature of the product or service being sold.
“Going back to the point where you just test everything that you bring on, don't bring on just because the AE said how cool it was. Truly go through the free trial, go through the tool, and test it”.
Now that you have learned how to enhance your sales capabilities with the help of AI, check out the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.