Brandon Evans is controlling his own destiny. A little over a year ago, he partnered with Betts to help get his foot in the door of the SaaS industry and forge his way into New York City. Now he’s a Sales Development Representative (SDR) at Falcon.io, a SaaS platform for social media listening, engaging, publishing, advertising, measuring, and managing customer data, with customers ranging from NGOs to big-name enterprise clients. And he’s got a clear vision for the future of his career.
We sat down with Brandon to talk about his Betts journey, the adjustments he had to make when switching from finance to SaaS, key skills for successful SDRs, and more.
Betts Recruiting: Thanks for joining us, Brandon. Can you start by telling us a bit about your background and what attracted you to the SaaS industry?
Brandon Evans: No problem. I started my career in the finance industry, distributing small business loans. I was making about 200 outbound calls a day. It was a really, really fast-paced sales process, calling a lot of people across the country. So that’s how I got my feet wet when it came to sales and cold calling. It was my first job after school. I was really appreciative of that opportunity, but it came to the point where I realized I wanted to jump on the technology wave. I saw SaaS products increasing tremendously in the market, and wanted to be a part of it.
That’s when I got in contact with Betts. I was lucky enough to work with Justin, out of the New York office, and he presented a multitude of different opportunities, and I was really fortunate to find Falcon. Really good culture fit, really good people…it really was just what I was looking for.
“I realized I wanted to jump on the technology wave. I saw SaaS products increasing tremendously in the market, and wanted to be a part of it.”Brandon Evans, Sales Development Representative, Falcon.io
BR: Are there significant ways that SaaS sales are different from what you were doing in finance? And are there any challenges with working in SaaS that you didn’t face before? How would you compare the two fields when it comes to sales?
BE: So in finance, obviously, it was a fast-paced phone sale, and very straightforward. It was presented as, “okay, here’s 200 people to call, you know, get your dials done, know your product knowledge, and then at the end of the day you go home.” It kind of reminded me of something that people were doing back in the eighties.
When it comes to SaaS, it’s much more of a relationship build. First of all, I think I pay more attention to the sale because it’s self-prospecting. I’m responsible for finding these individuals on LinkedIn and building the business relationship first, prior to setting up a meeting. It’s about ensuring that our tool can help these individuals and that they benefit from it. That’s my end goal for the sale.
So, rather than saying, you know, “Here’s a business loan and we’re going to go through the sales cycle and never to speak to you again,” when it comes to Falcon – and SaaS in general – it’s about establishing an ongoing relationship. We’re going to speak to the prospect for three months, we’re going to make sure this tool helps them in their business, saves time, saves money, and hopefully this is recurring revenue and a long-term business relationship. That’s something I love about SaaS and I think that is definitely different from the traditional loan distribution.
“When it comes to SaaS, it’s much more of a relationship build…It’s about ensuring that our tool can help these individuals and that they benefit from it.”Brandon Evans, Sales Development Representative, Falcon.io
BR: Yeah, the consultative selling model has really taken hold in the SaaS industry. It sounds like that’s what you’re describing – really investing in understanding the customer’s needs and ensuring the product meets those needs and empowers them to be successful.
BR: So, in terms of the skills required for the nature of the job, there’s obviously that kind of traditional promotion path from SDR to AE. But the two jobs don’t have exactly the same skillset. What are some necessary skills that are kind of unique, or especially pertinent, to the SDR role?
“Something else that has worked for me has been implementing my passions into the job…I thought, ‘How can I apply my expertise in education to be especially successful selling to this vertical?’ So I got creative.”Brandon Evans, Sales Development Representative, Falcon.io
BE: I think there are really key differences and some really prominent characteristics that SDRs have to have to be successful. And everybody’s definition of success is different. But for me, here at Falcon, I’ve learned that creativity is key. When you’re in a self-prospecting SDR position, you don’t have a lead list given to you. This is not, “I’m going to look online and find the perfect contact in 15 seconds, give you a call, and hopefully provide enough value for you to see a tool like Falcon.” No. You’ve got to get a little creative, you’ve got to find the right people, you’ve got to find the right channels, you’ve got to use the right resources. It’s about thinking outside the box, and using all the tools at your disposal, to find the right way to reach the right people.
Something else that has worked for me has been implementing my passions into the job. In my first experience in finance, I was working as a student employee at Johnson and Wales University’s Finance Department. Working in that office, I became really familiar with the higher education field. So when I came into Falcon, I knew exactly what the backend of higher education looked like: the procurement office, budgeting…I just understood how it worked. I thought, “How can I apply my expertise in education to be especially successful selling to this vertical?” So I got creative. I created a talk track and I created a strategy just aiming my attention at schools across the country, and I found major success.
BR: So, switching gears a little bit: Can you elaborate a bit on how you came into contact with Betts, and what your goals were at the time?
BE: I graduated in May of ’17 and was based out of Long Island. So, I wasn’t too far away from the city. About nine months into the job distributing loans, I came to the conclusion that, in addition to wanting to get into SaaS, I also really wanted to get into Manhattan. You know, growing up on the outskirts of Jersey or Long Island, you have New York City in the palm of your hand. I always pictured myself getting into the city, especially graduating from business school.
So I took my weekends and I started vetting recruitment agencies across the tri-state area. And I came across Betts, and I did a little outreach and I got an email back very quickly from a team member named Eliza Wagner. She said that my resume sparked her attention, and that she would love to set up an onsite for me to come in and meet the team.
That’s where I was introduced to Justin. We had an awesome conversation off the bat. I told Justin exactly what I was looking for, and relayed my past experiences. A couple of days later, he presented a bunch of opportunities and, yeah, we started working together. I mean, the guy was pretty amazing. He set me up with a strategy when it came to a pre-meeting or pre-interview mock call, went over my resume, helped me build up my LinkedIn profile. He was really supportive and professional.
“[Justin from Betts] was pretty amazing. He set me up with a strategy when it came to a pre-meeting or pre-interview mock call, went over my resume, helped me build up my LinkedIn profile. He was really supportive and professional.”Brandon Evans, Sales Development Representative, Falcon.io
BR: So I want to wrap up by asking you what you think your path forward looks like from here? What’s next for you and your career?
BE: Well, management is something I’m extremely passionate about. I think sales is so important – I’ve become so acclimated to the sales floor, and really developed a kind of love for it. But now looking forward, I definitely want to try to get into a business intelligence manager, maybe a strategy manager, maybe an inside sales manager position. Something where I can relay what I’ve learned through my experiences to other individuals. I’d love to help build a company and really unite the sales floor, and share my experiences with these individuals and help them grow into leaders.
BR: Brandon, it’s been great chatting with you today. Thanks so much for your time.
BE: No problem, this has been fun!
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