Industry Conversations with Oliver Longhurst, SDR at Xactly Corp

In the latest in a new series of articles, we sat down with Oliver Longhurst, Senior SDR at Xactly, to find out what makes him tick.

Oliver Longhurst has been an SDR at Xactly since Feb 2019, making it to senior level in July of that year. We wanted to get to know him better, so we sat down with Oliver to get his thoughts on sales, mindset and much more besides. Let's get to it!

Sales Confidence – Hey Oliver. We all know that working in sales isn’t easy. What do you do to keep a successful mindset when there are so many obstacles in your way?

Oliver - Not taking objections or rejections personally. Moreover, taking wins and losses as they come. You won’t last long as an SDR if you criticise your losses as hard as you celebrate your wins. 

SC – Facing challenges and rejection is part and parcel of being an SDR. Give us your top tips for building resilience.

Having secondary objectives on every call - i.e. more information about the account, decision making process, scheduling a different time to speak. This allows you to see success in even the worst of calls. 

SC – Sales is all about adapting, learning, developing and improving, right? What are the common mistakes and pitfalls SDRs fall into?

Complacency. After 6 months, it takes effort to come in each morning with the same drive and enthusiasm as when you first joined. Being able to keep motivated and stay proactive differentiates the good from the great.  

SC – What would you advise someone who is looking to get into sales but doesn’t know where to start?

Get your CV out there. Take an entry-level role. Learn if it’s what you truly want. 

If you thrive in a competitive target driven environment - be patient, earn your promotions and you’ll be closing in no time.  

SC - If you’re going to make a living out of selling something, you’ve got to know it inside out, right? How did you build your knowledge bank of the industry?

Learning goes simply beyond shadowing and asking your peers. Understanding the industry is as or even less important as knowing sales methodology and the process behind every closed-won deal. 

There is plenty of material on sales. It's about taking a proactive approach and incorporating different styles, advice and best practice into your own methodology.

SC - What are your top three resources you use to keep ahead of the game? – books, websites, blogs, magazines, podcasts etc.

  • Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling - Art Sobczak 
  • The SaaS Sales Method for Sales Development Representatives: How to Prospect for Customers - Dan Smith, Jacco Van Der Kooij and Winning By Winning By Design 
  • The Sales Development Playbook - Trish Bertuzzi

SC - Sales reps often get a bad reputation when it comes to what they do and how they do it. How much do you think an SDR role is about pushing the limits when selling to prospects?

Pushing the limits of what? A prospect’s tolerance for salespeople?

Our job is to make bridges, not burn them - the line is fairly well drawn on what is and isn’t acceptable when prospecting, handling objections and booking meetings.

SC - Confidence is such a subjective term and can mean something different to lots of people. What does confidence mean to you and what do you do to nurture it?

Confidence when it comes to sales doesn't mean that you feel 100% confident all the time – no one does. When it comes to sales, selling with confidence is immediately putting a customer at ease and talking to them with conviction and sincerity.

SC - Salespeople have to multitask – from prioritising, delegating, managing their time and checking things off. Run us through how you structure and tackle your typical day at work!

I’m not as disciplined as some of my peers and struggle to organise my time on a daily basis. 

I work on a weekly framework - ensuring I cover all aspects of account building, outbound, meeting confirmation and liaising with my AEs and colleagues across the week.  

Over to you

Thanks to Oliver for sitting down with us. Now you know how Oliver Longhurst does it, we want to know about you. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think about any of the points he raised. 

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