Interview with Robert Neagu – Business Development at Plannam

We met Robert around a year ago, as we interviewed him for an SDR position at Plannam, which has a SaaS platform for end-to-end HR management. After a year full of fun battles, Robert has now begun to participate in later phases of the sales cycle. In this interview he explains us a little about his experience and main learnings so far.

OP. Had you heard about the SDR role before you started being one?

RN. No, you were the first ones to mention it to me, but I found it very interesting from the first moment.

OP. What surprised you the most when you started?

RN. What surprised me the most is the number of the no’s you get. But this has led me to learn that you can greatly influence the result, and that with confidence and training you get to overcome them, by redirecting them to a maybe and, if you insist enough and agilely, in the end it becomes a meeting, which it’s your goal as an SDR.

OP. What has been your best learning? What would you say to your version from 1 year ago?

RN. Patience. I think the most important thing in this job is to be persistent, to understand that things end up working out if you insist and do your part. I was lucky that I was already quite a resilient person, and I already knew that it wouldn’t be easy at first.

Clearly, theory is always a bit different from reality, and starting in the role was a bit difficult, but having your manager encouraging you and close to you helps a lot. I had the CEO 10 meters away from me and he talked to me every day, which gave me a lot of security and confidence. He saw that we were a team and he understood what we were going through. A close team is the one that perseveres the most.

If you enter this type of job you must have a set of values ​​and personality with which, once you acquire knowledge, you will be able to deal with the no’s. You already have the tools internally, and it is a matter of rehearsing until you can show how you are and what you are capable of.

OP. What has your biggest challenge been?

RN. To me, challenges are constant, which are to close meetings. When you face Tier 1 companies, it can scare (and excite) you a lot. Obviously, I also enjoy closing meetings with small and medium-sized companies, but for me the challenges right now are Tier 1 ones. I want them to get to know us and see how valuable our service is.

OP. How have you dealt with stress during your most difficult times?

RN. I’ve been fortunate to have a teammate with whom I’ve been very close, and this mutual support has been very good for us on a moral level. It’s true that sometimes I would get home feeling down because I hadn’t closed any meeting, but I tried not to think about it anymore and practice positive self-talk with myself, understanding that it was only a phase and that it would pass.

There are still moments of stress, because there are goals to be met and I am a fairly competitive person, but I am much calmer now because it’s not my first storm and I have already verified that everything can end up well if you give your best.

OP. Why do you think you have become a good SDR?

RN. I have always had an assurance and confidence that it will arrive, and by combining this belief with perseverance I have arrived where I am now.

The greatest art has been to improve every day on how to treat leads in each situation. In the end, they don’t see you but listen to you, so your speech and tone are your greatest weapon. You might have the ability to continuously adapt, and above all, you must make lots of calls.

OP. Who would you recommend to starting their career as an SDR?

RN. Any scenario is good, because it gives you very useful skills, but I guess that the most favourable one is that of people who have just graduated and have this curiosity to start something challenging. What you learn in this phase of your career will affect the rest of your professional career. Of course, you must also understand that it’s not something that you’ll learn from one day to the next one.

OP. How have you evolved at Plannam and in which ways do you think that being an SDR has helped you?

RN. I am now starting to prepare my own meetings to develop my own business; in fact, last week I already attended a meeting with a lead that I had qualified myself. We are also beginning to internationalize, and I am participating in these trainings abroad.

Having been an SDR will make my work much easier, especially because of empathy. As I have a lot of experience in the first phases, I know the client very well and what their fears are, and I will know what to influence better once I am in the final phase. Empathy triggers trust, and trust triggers a sale if the product is good.

OP. Any last comment you would like to contribute with?

RN. Don’t get carried away by your mental speech of excuses. It’s something that I did at first and that I’ve also heard from other people I follow for inspiration. At the beginning, I perhaps stopped making some call because of excuses such as “it’s too late to call” or “she has already told me twice that she’s in a meeting, I’m sure she will be now too”. You must ignore this internal discourse and pick up the phone even if it scares you, as getting out of your comfort zone is what really makes you progress.

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