The Sales IQ Podcast

Where To Start When You Start In Sales, With Andrew Palummo

April 6, 2022

The Sales IQ Podcast

Join us as host of the show Luigi Prestinenzi talks to thought leaders from around the globe about the art and science of sales and marketing, personal development, and the mindset required to sell more everyday. Luigi is a master of creating pipeline and breaking down targets, he specializes in helping sales professionals build the mindset to achieve greatness and #bethebestyoucanbe.

In sales, your learning and development is never done. But the foundation you build will not only accelerate your progress, but be something you refer back to throughout your entire career. So, where do you start?

In this episode, Luigi is joined by Andrew Palummo. A fresh face at Qualtrics in March 2021, he went on to win SDR of the Year for the Asia Pacific & Japan region. Join Luigi as he finds out exactly what Andrew's ramping journey looked like.


Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.

You'll find Luigi on LinkedIn too.

The Create Pipeline course equips you with everything you need to succeed as a professional salesperson, whether you're still ramping, or ready to perfect your skills. Find out more.

Andrew Palummo
Senior Mid-Market Account Executive, Qualtrics

[00:00:00] Luigi Prestinenzi: By the Sales IQ Network, this is the Sales IQ Podcast. I'm your host, Luigi Prestinenzi, and each week we'll be going on a journey that will inspire you, motivate you, and help you be the best sales professional you can be. Our focus will be on mindset, tactics, and the strategies that will enable you to create more pipeline, and win more deals. 

And just like that it's April, 2022, one quarter for the calendar year is down. The next quarter have started. I'm really thinking Luigi. That was last week. That's all Jews new quarter started. I've been banging the phones. I've been developing opportunities. I'm already getting into the thick of things.

Why are you saying. Well, unfortunately I had a week off because I got a bit of the man flu. I was dying there for a week, so I actually missed awake. And I was really excited to talk about the opportunity that comes when a new quarter starts again. So here I am a week late, but something that I really was giving this a lot of thought, because just before the quarter was ending, I was seeing a lot of content or seeing a lot of people discuss the fact that it's the last day of the quarter.

Keep going, keep pushing, get those last minute deals. That would be challenged by that. Right? Because as a sales professional, one of the things that separates us from everybody else is our ability to plan or think about this. We're not rushing our prospects to a point a decision. We're not doing those deals, you know, signed today last day of the month and you get those discounts.

Right. That's the reason why there is such a, still a trust gap between buyers and sellers. When we pull out those last minute, try kind of tactics to get people to sign great sellers ensure they have a robust pipeline, then yes, there are times when. Has momentum. There's a massive trigger or reason for a deal to maybe that sometimes would take three months.

They're more closed in two weeks, but that's not a norm. And I think my message, and I just want to sort of rely before we get into these incredible topic for this week is just think about your pipeline. Now it's the start of the quarter. You've got a little bit of time up your sleeve now to build your pipe.

Now, the key thing to remember though, is the outcomes that you get and the sales results and the performance that you're going to achieve these. As a result of the work you did last quarter. So if you have pipeline any pipeline, deficiencies, if you had any issues with your pipeline, you need to get onto it now because waiting to the end of the quarter to, to drag those last-minute deals across the line means you're going to have a vicious circle.

Each quarter, you chasing your tail that creates a bit of nervousness, anxiety, stress it, stuff that you want to reduce. You want to reduce those feelings, those emotions, because they're the. That can trigger certain actions that lead us to a point of trying to drag opportunities that are just not ready to get to that point a decision. So that's something I want, you know, I want it to really talk about before we get into today's topic.

[00:03:06] Sponsor: This podcast is brought to you by the Create Pipeline program from Sales IQ Global. This program will equip you with the skills, tools, and confidence to run an outbound strategy so you can generate more qualified opportunities and close more deals. Hear what Ellis from DocuSign has been able to achieve since joining the program and our incredible community.

"So, my name's Ellis, I work at DocuSign as an ABR. And the reason I started Sales IQ was because I really needed that guidance and that training to make sure that the outreach that I was doing was hitting the nail on the head. So I was lucky enough to start the program early on in this role and since then I've been pretty successful and last quarter I finished on a 185%. So I've seen some huge results by adopting the principles."

Our next cohort is starting soon. So to learn more, go to, or if you have a team of sellers, talk to us about our in-house offering. Control your pipeline, control your destiny, with Sales IQ.

[00:04:11] Luigi Prestinenzi: Well, I'm excited about today's topic is because we're going to be talking to someone that's achieved incredible results in 2021, he was the number one performing SDR for the company that he works at, which is Qualtrics, which is part of the massive organization SAP Eddie's recently been promoted.

And what I love about this particular charities edge is very great. Look, he hasn't got a years and years of experience under his belt, but what he does. Is it incredible attitude and mindset, what comes to learning and the fact that he's really taken the time, not just as an SDR, just to master the role of SDR, but he was even going deeper funnel to learn more about what else happens post that lead to AA transition so that he could really.

But the world of the AA and how that could impact his area of the funnel. And now that he's moved into the AA role, what I've absolutely loved of saying him he's appetite and willingness to continue to learn, continue to build his capability. So that being at number one, SDR it wasn't luck. It wasn't just because he had a good list of accounts.

He had a good patch. He had a good. And bang. He was able to make magic happen. He did it based on being very intentional and deliberate with the way that he focused his time. And again, that's where this relates to thinking about your quarter. Success has got to come from your level of intention or how intentional you get and how focused you.

I'm really planning your time so that you can allocate your time to, you know, the high payoff activity, the revenue raising activities that are going to yield you results. So I can't wait to get in into this episode with Andrew. Again, it's a great episode because it shows that anything's possible.

Welcome to the show Andrew

[00:05:55] Andrew Palummo: Thanks for having me Luigi

[00:05:56] Luigi Prestinenzi: Man, I'm pretty excited, mate. And just for those listeners that don't know a bit about you I've I bumped into you because I was cold calling you for a role to join Sales IQ because you were the SDR of the for the organization you work at. And as a result, we've, we've ended up having on the podcast, mate. So welcome to the show.

[00:06:15] Andrew Palummo: It's it's funny how the world works. But we're here now, so yeah. Happy to get into it.

[00:06:20] Luigi Prestinenzi: Well, mate, before we get into talking a bit about how you, you made, you know, made the achievement or achieve the outcome of SDR of the in your current company and you don't work for a small business, either you work for a pretty major organization. Tell us a little bit about how you started in the world of selling.

[00:06:36] Andrew Palummo: Yeah. So I have a bit of, a bit of a background, but the, so I guess like this is my second career change. I used to be an electrical engineer. And then after that, I co-founded a small whole foods cafe in D Y. But that takes us to the start of last year, 2021.

And pretty much, I, I like a lot of people. I fell into sales, but because it would the, I guess it, the catalyst was a good friend of mine now. I met him at a dinner party and long story short, he came. I told him my story. And he pretty much said like, have you ever considered a career in sales?

And I said, well, not really. And he just kept pestering me throughout this, a dinner party, to be honest. But yeah, I started looking at the job description. And I was just a lot of the words in those jobs, job descriptions really resonated with me.

[00:07:33] Luigi Prestinenzi: And, and, and, and why, like what part of it, cause obviously moving into sales for a lot of us, it's something that you just fall into. Right. But what, what was it that attracted you to this, this particular career? Because you've gone in, at the sales development, which for some, is the hardest role. To do when it comes to selling.

[00:07:51] Andrew Palummo: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, like I answered me wrong. I definitely tried to apply for account executive roles.

I thought I w would be raised right away for county executive roles. But I'm so glad that I didn't skip this initial step especially in terms of what I've learned in terms of outbound cold. Oh yeah. Cold outreach and outbound prospects. Yeah. And like, I guess what resonated with me was.

The, so I'm a numbers back. I have got a numbers background, but like the, the engineering profession just didn't suit my way of working. I'm a people person by nature and just that plus other things like autonomy and having a commercial acumen and was, yeah. Other kind of things like that, where, what resonated really with me.

[00:08:42] Luigi Prestinenzi: Awesome. And then, so you, you, you started with you know, SAP Qualtrics, which is huge organization, you know, in that, in that SDR role. And how, like, talk to us about how you became like, The SDR V because that's some pretty impressive, they're pretty impressive outcome to achieve in an organization of that size.

[00:09:03] Andrew Palummo: Yeah. I think like being very new to the career and, and new to the, the work and, and what was expected of me, I just, I soaked it all in. I made sure that I ramped up as quickly as I could. And I guess very early on, I was very much. Quantity driven over quality. So I knew that if I got my, my quantity or amount of tasks completed a day up to a high, high enough level where it's comfortable for me to attain that daily, then I can start worrying about the quality of.

My cold, the the quality of my cold emails. So that was very much my strategy. Like, get my numbers up first, get it up to a point where I'm comfortable operating at that level. And then from there look into, into ways that I can really put hyper-personalized my approach to some of these prospects.

[00:09:58] Luigi Prestinenzi: Awesome. So I suppose, so the quantity aspect of what you were trying to do was, was that to just to get the rhythm in play and. Start to get your you activity levels up, et cetera.

[00:10:09] Andrew Palummo: Exactly. Right. Like outbound prospecting, a can be very energy draining. And especially when you're new. Right. I it's like, you know, when you're on your L's for the first time, those first few lessons with your your parents or whoever you're exhausted just after driving a car for now.

Cause you just you're so aware of your surroundings and everything, but I knew that it was going to be like that. I just had to get myself up until that point. Outbound prospecting was like second nature. And then I can start spending the rest of my time or the rest of what's left of my energy for the day on quality. And, and in, in the hyper personalising.

[00:10:44] Luigi Prestinenzi: Okay. If you're giving us real insight into sort of how you in this, into the role when did you realize that that hyper personalization was an important part of enabling you to achieve the certain outcomes that you're looking to achieve?

[00:10:56] Andrew Palummo: I guess it was probably around the fifth of six months on target.

You know, I'm definitely not the first SDR at culture SAP Qualtrics. And I, I definitely won't be the last, but there was a guy before me who kind of paved the way. Yeah. In terms like he, he smashed, he set a lot of records firstly, ours globally at our company. And to see him hit his numbers with a third of my activity, that's, that's kind of what.

I guess like how I designed my strategy. I knew that numbers were a part of this game, but at some point I'd had to get better at quality because there's people like this guy who's doing literally a third of my activity per month and still smashing his target. So yeah.

[00:11:46] Luigi Prestinenzi: That's interesting, man. If he's doing less, but getting more from his outreach.

[00:11:53] Andrew Palummo: Yes. Yeah, exactly. Right. So I don't know, for example, he'd yeah, he would literally do 33% of my activity and still probably get somewhere between 120 to 140% of his monthly target.

[00:12:08] Luigi Prestinenzi: Is it not the first time I've heard this on our show, man, we had an incredible operator called Ellis Abraham from DocuSign who he needed 180% of target.

Yeah, he was of the same, the same methodology who was doing lists outreach. But getting more than these colleagues that were doing triple the volume that he was doing, because he was spending a lot of time finding trigger events and hyper personalizing and making sure his outreach was super relevant and he extended his cadence out to 18 touches.

Over 15, I think 15 day outreach period. Now, before we jumped into this session, when we're in the green room, you spoke about the fact that you'll ha you have a very specific sequence that you using. Do you wanna talk us through that, that sequence, that you're, or that cadence that you're using to reach out to prospects?

[00:12:57] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, definitely. So I'm using Sam Nelson's a AGOGE sequence. Yeah. Yeah. So Sam Nelson is the SDR team lead for the company outreach out in the states. And I heard it to be honest. I heard it on a whim on a, on another pod, like an SDR podcast comparable, which one? But this is successful SDR.

She mentioned it on a whim in, in the middle of a paragraph. And I literally pause. I was like, wait, hold on a second. This is what, what was that? And she didn't even speak about it at all. She was, it was kind of like, oh, obviously. Sam Nelson's a AGOGE sequence. And then she went on and I was like, what do you mean it obviously?

So, yeah, I looked it up and I was like, this, this is, this is exactly what I was looking for. So very early on in my career, I was very much hunting for a sequence that would suit me and how I'd like to work. And given this guy before me, who, who paved the way as his is, shout him out locally. He paved the way before me and by, I did look at his sequence and it, one of the things that really bothered me about it was it was 0% automated.

So one of the, one of the key benefits to, to Sam Nelson's a AGOGE sequences that it's, it's 33% automated. And I think that's pretty good for an outbound prospecting sequence.

[00:14:14] Luigi Prestinenzi: So talk us through. How many, how many touches over what period of time? Because we know we know Sam, we know we sequence, but I'd love for you to kind of talk about how you've adapted that into your role. So talk us through your, your outreach sequence and tell me why. That has helped you achieve some of the outcomes it's enabled you to reach?

[00:14:34] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, so it's a 15 step sequence with a variety of manual emails, automatic emails, and several steps of calling the prospect. Yep. And. Like, I guess the thing that I really love about it and what really drew me to it as well.

Yes, it was the automation. But the fact that the way that Sam Nelson's designed it is that it doubled doubles down or could Drupal's down on the initial research that you do on the prospect so that when you're looking for your trigger in that cold email and, and how you personalize that. Initial email, it doubles, it doubles down on the time you spend on that because the follow-up emails yes, they're automated, but they're very clever in that they just say, have you had a chance to read this in the same email thread?

It essentially brings that email back to the top of their inbox with no extra work or effort on your part. You've just reutilize that research that you did in that initial email. And that's, I think that coupled with Tony uses combo methodology has really hit, helped me hit the response rates and open rates that I've achieved over this past year.

[00:15:50] Luigi Prestinenzi: And that's really good, right? I think this is really good insight for anybody who was sending through this episode that the threading, new talking about threading and email. Right. And, and tell us this Craig basically you're forwarding or replying to all so that your previous email. Is is, is relevant. It's there. They can see it. Yeah?

[00:16:09] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. You in outreach, you make sure that there's an option in, in any, any of your email steps that you can choose, whether it to be a new thread or a reply on an old. So I think by default it's set to reply actually. So yeah, as long as that's set up and the negoti sequence, it relies heavily on that. It that's why, like, you know, you've got email steps, but they're defined as like a manual email an automatic emails actually defined as reply. Following up on your, on your initial email. Yeah.

[00:16:45] Luigi Prestinenzi: And look, we'll obviously emails are only a part of it. What are some of the other touches that you're putting into the, into the AGOGE sequence?

[00:16:56] Andrew Palummo: Yeah. So very similar to Tony Hughes's COMBO prospecting. You want to, you kind of want to do that big split. On that initial outreach. So I've got, yes, I've got I send them an, a manual email your car first, but there's a connection request on LinkedIn with a small message. That very much has paraphrased.

In very few words, what your initial email included and there's also a phone call. So this is the one part where I've diff I've kind of changed the AGOGE sequence to a degree. The original traditional AGOGE sequence has all three of those things. So email LinkedIn connection requests and phone call all on the same day.

I actually changed the phone call to the second day. Otherwise the AGOGE sequence. Exactly the, almost exactly the same as how Sam Nelson originally intended it.

[00:17:48] Luigi Prestinenzi: This is great, man. I mean, what I'm hearing you say is you you've started in the role. You weren't achieving an outcome. You decided to do a bit of research.

You found the sequence you've played around with it. You're executing it and you've been able to achieve. Insane results. That's that's, that's helped you be calm, SDR VR, but for many sellers that are probably listening to this, they're probably going, mate, I've already got a sequence I'm using outreach sequence, but I'm not hitting the result.

What, outside of the sequence and what are some of the other things that you've done in your role that's allowed you to achieve the outcome?

[00:18:26] Andrew Palummo: I think one of the biggest things Is I set up a, a point system like a can of an accountability system. So look, I'm very aware that there's been many points systems set up for various things and various roles.

But I was when I was introduced to it, which again, back back to that dinner party at the start of 2021 that that guy ended up being my career's coach. And, and he's now a good friend. When I, when he was helping me complete that second career transition, he actually put me on a point system.

And I didn't realize what was going on at the time. I'd never been exposed to one. But essentially he was like, we're going to accredit. A certain amount of points for the number of job applications that you submit, the number of responses you get back from recruiters whether they be external agencies or internal talent acquisition people, and the number of interviews that I.

You know, I get invited to, I guess, so, and straightaway that made me very results driven, which I love. I'm not a time driven person. It's it's all about outcomes. And so I. You know, there's the story tells itself. I ended up with Qualtrics, but the thing is, I, I S I, I love that approach of working. So I applied it to my outbound prospecting.

So I believe one of our one of my colleagues out of our Dallas office, Trent Dressel, he actually has his own YouTube channel and has a great YouTube video on this on how to set up your end point system. For me it's yeah, I set up a, a daily goal of points and I credited certain outbound, outbound tasks or daily activities to a value of points.

So mine's pretty, mine's pretty trivial though. So one cold call, one cold email sent one seek one new prospect added to a sequence, one LinkedIn task, whether that'd be a connection. Or a LinkedIn InMail, they're all worth one point. And yeah, it's, it's very clear what I need to do every single day in terms of being productive and, and, and completing outbound prospecting tasks.

[00:20:32] Luigi Prestinenzi: Okay. So that's good, man. So you kind of got your own little accountability buddy, so to speak by having a point system that allows you to kind of compete with yourself every day.

[00:20:41] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, exactly. Right. It makes it really, really, really clear. And, and, and this, this is the thing as well, like. It's great for accountability.

It's great for making sure that you productive every day. But one of the other main, main reasons why I set the system up and I've been telling my fellow SDRs this as well, is that like, we could be prospecting till midnight every night. There are so many people out there that are suitable for our products or services that we're trying to sell.

And what the appoint system does is it draw helps you draw that line in the sand. So at the end of the day, independent of the number of meetings that you've booked for an account executive, or if you're an account executive and I'm abating meetings, you book for yourself, you can close that laptop lead and say, and be happy and satisfied with the level of work you've done.

And that that's one of the main reasons why I set it up for myself as well.

[00:21:37] Luigi Prestinenzi: You were really focusing on the required steps and the, and the, the actions that you need to put in place to achieve the result versus focusing on the result each day.

[00:21:49] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, exactly. Right. So it, look, it's still, it's still important though, that the result is still to, to, you know, create new opportunities.

And get new prospects interested or even excited about the product or service that you're selling. But yeah, it's anyone who's listening to this right now. And who has a profession in sales? You have your highs and your lows. So you have weeks where. Yeah, literally a week or two weeks when nothing's working for you.

And if in my, in my opinion, if you've set up some sort of system to hold yourself accountable and you've hit that goal every day, you can't feel bad or, you know, beat yourself down and say, oh, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm just not a good salesperson or, you know, whereas as long as you're putting the work in, you can only be happy with that.

It's that classic case of control. Or you can control, worry about what you can control. And your daily activity is a hundred percent is in your, your, in your hands.

[00:22:45] Luigi Prestinenzi: So, well, listen to this show, I talk a lot about the circle of control, right? And what's out of control and the things that we can focus on is your ride.

Those incremental steps that we take every day, that's going to lead us to a particular outcome. And I would love to understand, like, if you, obviously, you. You've you've achieved a great outcome, right? SDR the you've got yourself, the promotion and you're developing a career path for yourself, which is awesome.

But if you had the opportunity to go back and start your career again, as an SDR, what's one or two things that you'd do differently. After reflecting on, on the time so far in the role?

[00:23:18] Andrew Palummo: That's yeah, that's a good question. I guess, yeah, I don't know. That's, that's hard for me because everything that, yeah, don't be wrong.

There was a lot of learning at the start, but everything that I've oh, you know what, actually, no, I take that back objection, handling over the phone. So that's something that I'm still not the best at. But at the very early on, I was like, are, you know, I don't, I don't need that. You know, I'll, I'll do my calls or I'll, I'll be email heavy, you know, I wouldn't do, I all avoid my calls.

I'll set up a sequence without calls kind of thing. And I think a lot of people are like that as well. Cold calling isn't the best. But when you want to use something like the AGOGE sequence, those calls. The critical. And because it's, it's another, it's another medium for those prospects that say, oh yeah, that's right.

I need to get back to that person because you know that classic case just because they're ignoring you, it doesn't mean it's as no people are just busy. Right. So. Even if you don't get through just them seeing that miss call them, seeing that voicemail is huge for you getting a response on your email.

So I guess like my objection handling is a lot better than what it was five, six months ago. But it still has a lot of work. And I think that's because like, I, I avoided it to a degree when I first started. So I think, yeah. I think that, yeah, that'd be my answer.

[00:24:43] Luigi Prestinenzi: This is awesome, man. I almost see you've have you have access to an incredible enabled enablement team at Qualtrics. They give you a lot of training, but you know, have you, is there anything that you went outside of the organization to find content wise, books, videos, anything that's helped you or did all your learning come from? You know, in the role that you're in?

[00:25:04] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, definitely not. I read I was referred a few books, so Daniel Pink's " It's human to sell." Yeah. I'm pretty sure. " Split the Difference" by Chris, I can't remember his surname.

[00:25:16] Luigi Prestinenzi: Ross.

[00:25:16] Andrew Palummo: Yep That's it. Yeah, books like that. And a lot of podcasts as well. So a lot of episodes from this show SDR Nation, Blissful Prospecting I think is another really good show.

[00:25:28] Luigi Prestinenzi: Yeah. We love Jason Bay. Jason Bay is a good friend of our shows, man, so that's good.

[00:25:32] Andrew Palummo: All these things you're always. This is the, on one of the things that I love about sales as well, right? Because fundamentally we're dealing with people and people they're emotional, they're illogical, and they're also, they're also always different, right?

So there's so many different ways. Like you can always be improving in this profession. There's never a time. You go on like this easy, this is the golden bullet. This is how you always approach people. And it's always going to work. That's not the case. And Yeah, you've always got to be listening and learning, I think for sure.

[00:26:05] Luigi Prestinenzi: Well, mate this has been an awesome episode. I think for anyone that's listening to this, the fact is that you're quite new to the world of selling. You've embraced it. You've gone out seek your own content, built your own sequence, spaced on something that, you know, that's proven. That's worked for some, you know, for many sellers globally.

I mean, what outreach has been able to do is amazing. And you've taken the opportunity that's in front of you. To be, you know, to give yourself the best pathway in achieving success in a sales career. So I think that's awesome. And before we finish up, mate, where is the best place for our listeners to find you connect with you if they want to ask you a question following now, listening to this episode?

[00:26:42] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, definitely. LinkedIn is probably the best place to go. Just search my full name and I'll come up. It's a unique name, like yeah, I've always been proud of the fact that I'm the only Andrew Palummo on, on Facebook or any of the social media platforms.

[00:26:57] Luigi Prestinenzi: We'll make sure we put your URL link in the show notes so they can make it, make it easy for them to connect with you, mate. So I just want to say. Look, thanks for you know, thanks for listening to our show, man. Thanks for, for being open about some of the things that you've done to achieve this success. I know that you rejected us to join our organization, man, but you know what, I'm pretty sure we'll chase you again at some point. And hopefully we get the opportunity to have you a part of our team.

[00:27:22] Andrew Palummo: Yeah, definitely. Give me, give me a few years and I'll be ready. I'll be ready,

[00:27:28] Luigi Prestinenzi: Awesome Andrew, thanks man, for coming on the Sales IQ podcast.

[00:27:31] Andrew Palummo: Thank you. Thanks for having me mate, appreciate it.

[00:27:34] Credits: This show has been recorded remotely produced by Sales IQ Global, audio editing and music production by Stefan Malliate. Show notes by Victoria Mathieson and graphic design by Julie Marshall. Don't forget to leave a rating and review on your podcast player. And if you want to find more about the programs that we offer at Sales IQ, head to

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