Interview with Will Allred, Co-Founder at Lavender
In this interview, Co-Founder of Lavender, Will Allred, talks about what defines a good cold email CTA, advice he'd give to first-time SDRs, sales mentors who have helped him in his career, his biggest challenge as a sales leader, and the biggest challenge in his entire career.
1. What’s the best advice you can give to first-time SDRs?
The best advice that I can give to first-time SDRs is know your stuff, and know the needs of your customers.
And I think about where most of the problems within writing and selling really come from, and it's that they don't necessarily understand that alignment between what a customer needs and how you can go solve it.
So our product [Lavender] can do a lot to help edit down your writing and make it so that you're more easily understood. But if what you're putting in there is just one giant like, 'I'm great, and check out all the features that I have in our product,' you're going to be a little frustrated, because we're going to give you bad scores.
And so if you think about what it means to write a quality email, it means to show up to a stranger, and say to them, 'Hey, I've done a little bit of my homework, I have a general sense of understanding of what's going on and problems you might be facing. And I think I can actually help.'
That's all it needs to do. If you know your customer, and you know yourself, you have a really good shot of doing that.
2. What defines a good cold email CTA?
A good cold email CTA is not what you're going to expect.
Most CTAs are focused on driving some kind of conversion. Instead, you really need to be focused on starting a conversation.
The nomenclature around CTA, it's started by marketers. And the problem with most sales emails is they feel like they've been sent by the marketing department. Sales is a one-to-one conversation.
So instead of trying to get somebody to book time, or getting them to respond to some classic pattern of, 'is this something you'd be interested in learning more?'
Ask them a question like:
- Are you already using a technology like ours?
- Is this something that's a priority right now?
- If I can make this easy, would this become a priority for you?
Those types of questions are much more engaging. They're not necessarily open-ended. But they're focused on starting a conversation as opposed to moving somebody forward in the sales process.
3. Did you have a sales mentor who helped you?
[I've had] a number of mentors. It's interesting because I pull from several different places when I'm looking to learn. Folks that I've worked with, and under, in my career. I pull from my own resourcefulness.
One of the best places to look, by the way, these days especially, is LinkedIn. There are folks like Nate Nasralla out there that are pushing the boundaries when thinking about email.
There's so much good copywriting advice out there.
So to think that there's one particular mentor that I think about, I don't have one in specific. I think about it as you build a bench around you, and that's either resources, people that you lean on for certain things, and you dive into that.
4. What would you say is your biggest challenge as a sales leader?
What's my biggest challenge as a sales leader is such a RevOps question right now. For me, the sales reps that I have on my team are fantastic. They're amazing at generating pipeline.
The challenges are more around making sure that data is not living in little silos as our team is early on and getting started. I've got the utmost faith and confidence in the folks that sell for us. And so it's more a matter of my biggest challenge being enabling them to be able to do more and continue to excel.
5. What's been the biggest challenge in your career?
Can I just stop at 'Lavender'?
One of the biggest things that I continue to work on with myself is pushing to have tougher conversations. And it's really easy to always want to push towards things are happy-go-lucky. And one of the things I continue to strive for is pushing to have some of those tough conversations.
When you see something, sort of speaking to it and making sure that you're approaching it in the right way. It's not saying assume that there's some malintent from the other side–it's just approaching something with a level of curiosity.
And I've never come out of a tough conversation worse off than I entered into it. And so always reminding myself that exact thing has been huge as far as continuing to progress as a professional.
Check out our interview with Community Growth Manager Jen Allen from Lavender for expert sales advice for aspiring leaders, SDRs, and AEs.