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Under the Hood with Saul Levy

December 13, 2017

This week’s Under the Hood is with Saul Levy, Lotame’s Director of Lead Generation and Sales Operations. When Saul isn’t thinking about all things “lead gen”, he is probably playing jokes on people around the office and stirring up some trouble!

How long have you been with Lotame and where did you work prior?

I’ve been with Lotame for a little over 5 and a half years. Before Lotame I was an Account Coordinator at News America Marketing (NewsCorp).

Explain how your position has evolved throughout your years of working here.

My journey at Lotame has been a lot of fun. When I was hired in 2012 I was brought on to be the company’s only Sales Development Representative (SDR).

As one could imagine in 2012, Lotame was much smaller and nimbler than we are today. The employee “training program” that I was given was essentially “here is a computer, figure it out and land us meetings.” The fun part about that was that I ended up making my own way of doing things. I was given a lot of freedom to build my own lead gen structure and was able to find my way deeper into DMP deals to enhance my product knowledge. This freedom allowed me to quickly climb the ranks and move into a full cycle seller role as a Senior Account Executive. I loved working as a seller and enjoyed the couple of years that I spent focusing on bringing in new business for the company.

Once the company began to really grow the VP of Sales and CRO at the time recognized a need for Lead Generation (which was abandoned when I moved into a full cycle seller role) and Sales Operations (Salesforce was a mess!). I was excited to take on the challenge of building a new Lead Gen system, from scratch, and taking over the Sales Operations duties for the company. I’ve been working in this role for roughly 3+ years and have loved every second of it.

How would you describe your management style?

As a manager I try to incorporate the personalities of Phil Dunphy, George Costanza, and primarily Michael Scott all into one.

…ok…I’m only half kidding.

I think I’d describe myself as a fun and easy-going manager. The SDR position is tough. You spend 99% of your time getting rejected. We are a results driven team and have high expectations every quarter to not only generate enough Qualified Meetings but also see those meetings turn in to real revenue for Lotame. The stakes are high and the pressure is on. With the natural challenges that come with an SDR role I have found that creating a loose and positive environment will lead to the best results. The best SDRs have positive attitudes and can naturally “smile while you dial” when prospecting. The only way that mentality can be maintained is if they’re genuinely happy while working for this team and if they feel that their career is truly progressing.

It’s important to find a fine balance between being goofy and keeping things light and also not losing sight of the objective of the role. Our team remains focused on three key objectives at all times: Qualified Leads, Annual Contract Value (ACV)and Career Development. As long as we remain on a clear path towards achieving these objectives I will always maintain a fun environment for my team.

I’ll also note that it makes it incredibly easy to do my job when you have rockstar SDRs. I always say that I feel like Phil Jackson who gets to coach Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. (Shout outs to my former SDRs Tyler Blot and Andy Green and my current SDRs Dan Campana and Gaby Esposito for being incredible at their jobs and always representing the team so well!)

Conversations with clients start with you. What do you think is the most effective approach in leading a successful lead generation team?

Lead Generation is a funny business. In order to build the top of the funnel you really need a ton of activity. SDRs deal with endless amounts of rejection. In order to find enough “yes’s’’ to fill the funnel you’ll need a great deal of coverage across each company that you reach out to.

When the strategy is volume based, playing with statistics is critical. One of the biggest challenges for an SDR is that there is a lot at play that is out of their hands. You can write a great email but if it isn’t opened you’re not getting a meeting. Or, you can write a great subject line but if the person you reach out to just isn’t interested after opening you’re email, you’re out of luck. End of the day, you want to set the SDRs up where they can “Control What They Can Control”.

Statistics can help you do that. If you can determine your Win Rate you’ll then know how many Qualified Sales Opportunities (QSOs) that you need to hit your ACV Number. Your QSO Rate will determine how many meetings you need, your Meeting rate will determine how much activity you need and the activity goal will be something that you can set that is within the SDRs actual control.

The problem with a purely statistic driven strategy is that you risk losing the human element lead gen. It is important that we never lose sight of the fact that lead generation is a sales based position. We hire young sellers who have a great attitudes and charismatic personalities. The real sweet spot to a successful SDR program is finding that balance between abiding by the statistics while also knowing when to follow your gut call and ignore what the numbers tell you.

End of the day the key is never lose sight of your objective: get the meeting.

Let’s hear your number one Elevator Pitch for Lotame.

Lotame is a Data Solutions Company which provides the Command Center for your entire data strategy. We work with Marketers, Agencies and Publishers to activate their data and are nimble enough to work towards any use case as it pertains to data.

Where do you think the MarTech industry is headed?

A few years ago I used to laugh a little at this industry. So many companies were being built from nothing. The slightest need that could potentially improve your campaign performance, or make your team run more efficiently, or improve something in the digital space that you hadn’t even thought of just a tiny bit could actually lead to a ton of revenue. These small minute unhidden stats or efficiencies would serve as the justification to build an entire company. Everyone thought they could build something that is worth buying.

Now what I’m noticing is that all of these companies are just a smaller piece of the puzzle and they’re all getting scooped up by the bigger players to formulate one massive marketing cloud. And what’s pretty cool is that as of the most recent few years the big players are starting to realize that they need a DMP to serve as the centerpiece  that keeps all of these smaller moving parts together.

The DMP has truly become the engine that makes these clouds run. They can acquire all of these bits and pieces that make the car run beautifully, but the DMP has become that centerpiece to make the entire thing work. I love working at the one “engine” that can still fit into any sized car be it a flashy sports car or a robust SUV. The future is wide open for us. Excited to see where we end up!

Where do you see Lotame in the next 2-4 years?

Who knows? Part of a bigger company? Maybe. Staying hungry, nimble and scrappy? Possibly. Publicly traded? Still private? Honestly we can go any which way.

I’m not trying to butter anyone up here. I sincerely believe this when I say it. Regardless of where we are in the next few years (public, private, acquired, etc) I’m extremely confident that we’re going to be successful. The growth of Lotame over the past +5 years has been incredible. I have a ton of faith that it’s only going to continue.

Tell us something we don’t already know about you.

I mean…most people who know me know I’m kind of an open book haha. I’m a Jewish Cuban born in Staten Island, raised in South Florida raised by a gigantic and loud family. Diehard Knicks, Yankees and Jets fan. Most importantly I’m a proud husband of an amazing wife and an ultra proud poppa of the cutest 1 year old daughter in the world.

I guess if I had to say one thing that not everyone knows though…I hate Sprinkles. I’m talking HATE. Like…with a passion. People want to know what my problem is with Sprinkles all the time. Let me ask you this…what do they bring to the table??? They don’t offer any added flavor, they ruin the beautiful smooth texture of a refreshing scoop of ice cream, AND they have the potential to get everywhere and make a huge mess! I hate them! I implore you all to join me in my attempt to ban sprinkles forever!