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Hiring & Retention

SaaStr Podcast #152: Lars Nilsson, VP of Global Inside Sales @ Cloudera on Why SDRs Are The Most Important Role In The Sales Function

Harry Stebbings

Lars Nilsson is the VP of Global Inside Sales for Cloudera, and with over twenty-five years of sales and operations experience, Lars Nilsson is a global leader in enterprise software and selling solutions. As one of Lars many incredible achievements, he and his team at Cloudera built the sales methodology Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD), which has transformed how businesses approach high-value targets. Prior to Cloudera, Lars founded SalesSource, a business services consulting firm specializing in CRM customization and sales process development. Lars has also served in sales executive roles at ArcSight/Hewlett Packard, Riverbed Technology, and Portal Software – all three of which achieved IPOs, in addition to Cloudera (2017). As Special Advisor at True Ventures, Lars helps True portfolio companies develop sales compensation plans from the ground up, implement best-of-breed sales technologies, and rapidly scale sales teams to meet demand.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

* How did Lars make his way into the world of enterprise sales back in 1995? How has Lars seen the industry change so significantly over the last 22 years?

* Why does Lars believe that SDRs are the most important role in sales? How does their role of ensuring a full pipe compare to the role of demand gen and marketing?

* How does Lars think about setting a quota that ensures a desired behavior beyond pure revenue chasing? What is his framework for setting and optimizing the right quota? Why does Lars believe that sales is all about activities? What activities is Lars most eager to measure and test?

* What is Lars’ biggest advice to someone looking to build out their SDR team from the ground up? What core characteristics should one look for in those initial SDR hires? What is and has been Lars’ biggest challenge in building out his SDR team? Why is building SDR teams in the bay so hard?

* How does Lars think about setting ideal customer profiles? How big a TAM is large enough to be excited, yet narrow enough  to be achievable and solve a true and inherent customer need?

60 Second SaaStr

* What does Lars know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?

* What is Lars favorite piece of SaaS reading material?

* Sales rep productivity, what does Lars believe is the scale from exceptional to poor?

Listen on iTunes.

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Jason Lemkin
Harry Stebbings
SaaStr
Lars Nilsson

Published on November 24, 2017
  • Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski

    Loved this podcast. Completely agree with Lars assessment that SDR’s are worth their weight in gold!

  • Neil Passero

    Lars know how to create demand with the phone…listen up to the master!

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