Cloudflare TV

A Day in the Life of a BDR

Presented by Dylan Saffer, Molly Evans, Coby Janik
Originally aired on 

The Business Development team is responsible for being the first point of contact between any prospective customer and Cloudflare. BDRs will use a variety of strategies to get in touch with these individuals to show the value that Cloudflare can bring them. It is a role hiring across multiple offices.

A Day in the Life of a BDR will be a discussion between Dylan Saffer (BDR Manager - Austin), Molly Evans (BDR - Austin), and Coby Janik (BDR - Austin) around the typical day-to-day of a BDR and how it has changed over the past year.


Transcript (Beta)

Thank you everyone for joining this Cloudflare TV segment on a day in the life of a BDR.

My name is Dylan Saffer and I'm one of the BDR managers based out of the Austin office and I'm joined by Coby Janik and Molly Evans.

If you guys want to give a quick hello.

Hello everybody, how's it going? Awesome. So I guess the agenda for the next 30 minutes is we'll do a quick Q &A.

It'll just be some general questions that I've come up with for Coby and Molly around their day in the lives of BDR, some stuff they do in work, outside of work.

And then I believe the last 5-10 minutes of this will be just an open Q&A if anyone wants to write in questions for me to ask them as well.

But I guess kicking off, I think so that the BDR role at Cloudflare, we have a couple different layers to it.

Molly likes to say, it's like peeling off layers of an onion.

And so there's a couple different functions within it. And I know Coby, you and Molly are both in two different ones.

Coby, you're in the self -serve role and Molly, you're in the outbound role.

So maybe starting off and whichever one of you wants to go first, if you just want to give kind of an overview of your role and maybe kind of how it differentiates from Coby, your role and Molly, your role.

Yeah, sure. I'll take this one, Molly. Yeah, so I'm a part of the self-serve BDR team.

Essentially what that means is that I work with our non -enterprise self-serve customers that are either signed up for our free plan, pro plan or business plan.

And really what the bread and butter of my job is to dive into the particular use case that these companies or organizations are using Cloudflare for.

And really just to have those conversations with them to understand how they might adapt a bit more of Cloudflare's products and services from an enterprise perspective.

And so really my job is to reach out to our current self -serve customers to enhance their experience of Cloudflare.

And then Molly, you are on the outbound team.

I want to highlight what you're up to day to day. Thank you so much for that intro, Coby.

Yeah, so I do something a little bit different from Coby in that aspect.

And Coby was also part of the outbound team, so he is very well aware of both sections of self-serve and outbound.

But outbound, essentially, we are going after accounts that are enterprise level and supporting the AEs for that.

So whether that be an account you find on LinkedIn or a big account that got funding, we do all the general outbound for that.

Do the first contact and try and get that meeting just for the enterprise level.

We don't go after the already customers that are self -serve.

Clearly, that's a Coby job and all those self-serve stuff.

We go after accounts that have either talked to us in the past that are not customers of Cloudflare, as well as new accounts so that we can add new revenue to the company as well.

So that is generally what we do. I support the AEs, a couple of AEs in that aspect as well.

And we all kind of work in tandem in that aspect.

I am muted.

I see. And then, so, Coby, you kind of touched on this, but you actually, so you started off on the outbound role and then transitioned to self-serve.

I guess, what were some of the skills and tools that you learned in the outbound role that has now helped you in the self -serve role?

Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that was really interesting, you know, coming into outbound, there's a lot of different products and services that Cloudflare provides.

And I think that is really the cool part about being at Cloudflare.

One, you're not just talking about the same product, same use case every day.

It's a flip of a coin. You know, what are you going to be talking about today?

What kind of use case are you looking for?

So I would say kind of transitioning and starting on the outbound team really gave me a solid framework for Cloudflare's offering.

It's, you know, you ask anybody at Cloudflare, you're not going to learn everything that we do in two to three months.

It's a constant learning curve, learning process. I've been with the company for almost a year and a half, and every other day I find myself still learning something new.

So I would say, you know, in that transitionary period, having that, you know, base level knowledge of Cloudflare's product and offering and communicating that to folks that aren't familiar with Cloudflare at all, in any context, maybe they have slight familiarity.

And then, you know, transitioning over to the self-serve team, really just taking all of those conversations and then, you know, now talking to customers that are using us, that are familiar with us, and really just, you know, having deeper and better conversations.

So I would say, you know, outbound really just laid the foundation for what Cloudflare is, what we do, how we do it.

And then the self-serve side is really just, you know, getting to hear from customers.

You know, nine times out of 10, all of our customers are very happy.

They love the products and services that we provide.

So it's just become more of a function of, you know, how do we make them even happier in the ways that we're not currently helping them.


Thanks for that. And then, Molly, I know, so in the outbound role, you're kind of the first point of contact from any prospective Cloudflare customer to our sales team.

How have you seen as the best way that you structure your day in order to be the most successful in the outbound role?

Yeah, that's a good question.

I think the key to this job is doing something different every day so you don't get stuck in the same habit, because it can get really hard to go down that role.

The one thing that I am consistent of is getting a large cup of coffee in the morning to get started with the day.

And then I, depending on the day, usually Monday and Wednesdays, I like to look to see, OK, how many accounts do I want to prospect out to and do kind of a heavy prospecting day.

In the morning, first thing, I will get my coffee and schedule my emails out for the day, trying to make sure that they are at a time in which people are going to open.

In my personal experience, it's been like 11 to 1, so scheduling that out.

And then really being diligent with your schedule.

So, like I said, Monday and Wednesdays are pretty much my heavy prospecting day.

And I will spend about a couple hours in the morning, I would say two, prospecting, and then I'll move on.

I will touch on all of my AE accounts every single day, whether that be following up with an email, seeing if there are new docs on the sheet.

Really making sure that that is a team that we're working in tandem with as well.

And then I usually do my afternoons and dials, but that also depends on the day.

I usually don't like to dial on Monday because not a lot of people pick up the phone on Monday because it's not their favorite day, to be quite honest with you.

So my dialing days are Tuesday through Thursday. And yeah, I really try and go into the day and be like, what are the things that I want to focus on?

Whether that be a product, especially with outbounding, I'm usually going after a product or a company that would fit that product.

And then making sure, because as Kobe said, it's a constant learning with Cloudflare products here.

So I usually like to focus on a product because we have so many. And I think that's kind of one of the most unique things about this job and exciting is that picking different products to go after different companies and making sure that you're utilizing all of that.

I think it's a great way to learn and I think it's a great way to make sure that we're all, I think that's a great way to make sure that Cloudflare is diverse in the way of getting it out there.

And then I always like to check in with my AEs two times a week.

So we're also keeping that in tandem as well.

But that's kind of like a loose overview of how I organize my day. Like I said, it varies just because I do better with that.

But I also like to time out certain, if there are certain tasks I need to get done that day, that's great.

But I also like to segment my day out by two hours at a time so I don't get stuck in one thing.

No, that's perfect.

And you touched on coffee a bit. What would you say is the, for both of you, how many cups of coffee are you drinking a day?

It depends in the office life.

I feel like there was four by noon, maybe. Yeah, that's a really good point.

Back in the office when, you know, it wasn't us buying the coffee, it was coffee was provided for us.

Consumption was way, way up. I would say anywhere in the realm of three to four cups a day.

Got to keep on going. I only am allowing myself to, and then I'm becoming very, trying to become healthy and to switch to green tea at the very end of the day because my mom told me that that would help.

Jeez. Yeah, I'd be shaking with my third cup. But yeah, you actually, you mentioned an interesting point about being in office.

I think the two of you, what's interesting is, I think out of the Austin BDR team, which is now upwards of what, 40, 50 BDRs.

I would say the majority of them, over half, have never stepped foot in an office, which is definitely a very unique situation.

But the two of you were actually two hires that had a decent amount of time.

I think you've had, you know, you're two of our most tenured BDRs, so you've been in office for, you know, at least a couple, right, two quarters or so.

So I guess, how has that transition been as far as moving from, you know, being in office in the BDR role to moving virtual and kind of, you know, even looking at it in the first couple months of, you know, what went well, what didn't go well.

And now fast forwarding to today where, you know, it's kind of a part embedded in our day-to-day workflow.

How have you seen it change?

Koby, do you want me to go first on this one?

Yeah, go for it. I think just like the Internet memes, we were all really excited at first to be at home.

And it was like, this is great.

I don't have to dress up. Leggings for days. And then it got to the point of like, oh my goodness, I miss the camaraderie.

It's one of the main things I miss about being in the office.

And I believe that Cloudflare has done a great job of making sure that all of the new hires, especially in our team, I feel like we're all very close in our team.

And we've done a very good job of either doing like random events, like a trivia, a Catan night to make sure that that's happened.

Morning check-ins to do it.

And also relying on your team more. I mean, I feel like half the reason why this has worked is because we, our team will say, hey, who wants to get on dials?

And video chat, as we know in Zoom, has been the savior for a lot of things in terms of communication in that aspect.

I think Cloudflare has done a phenomenal job with that.

I've really, at first, I think I was really excited to be home alone.

And then I was like, this is not as fun as it sounds anymore. And I think those new hires coming in and bringing energy, as well as all of us working in tandem as a team to make sure that that enablement is going to be secure for them, as well as like a fun place to work, has been challenging in some ways, but I think very rewarding for the most part.

And I think our team has been really seamless about that.

Lots of great points there, Molly.

Kind of going back to the very beginning where you said leggings for days.

I have officially become a house shoe guy. I think I've gone through, I don't know, three or four pairs in like the last year.

That's the shtick now.

That's what we're doing. But yeah, I mean, even going back, so I started in September of 2019.

We were in the office until March 13th. I think that anniversary is actually coming up this week.

It's crazy, it's been a year. Yeah, I mean, we started, I think there were 10 to 15 BDRs total in the office.

Fast forward to now, like Dylan said, our headcount has massively 2x, 3x.

Yeah, but a big thing for me is that I'm a very social person.

I think most people in sales were in this area because we're innately just good at talking to people.

And I will say, well, as Molly said, we're all really excited to be able to work from home.

It becoming the new normal, staying at home all the time.

We miss our work family. You know, you can't get that in person via Zoom, right?

It's now the new normal, of course, until vaccines are distributed and all that.

Whenever that timeline comes down the road.

But yeah, I mean, to echo Molly's point, I would say Cloudflare has done a really good job ensuring that while everybody is completely working remotely, you're in your own home office now.

You're still involved in everything that you would have been involved in within the office.

You know, if anything, I think that a lot of the teams have gotten better at communicating because we're unable to have that face-to-face conversation.

I'm a really big fan of over-communicating. It's like the first thing I always tell my managers right at the beginning of the quarter, like, you're going to hear from me a lot.

And that's just because, you know, I can't walk over to your desk anymore.

But yeah, just to reiterate, you know, Cloudflare has done a really good job transitioning to the full remote, working from home.

And then, yeah, even further, just to echo Molly's point, all of the new hires that, man, it seems like I've known them for years and years, but we've actually never met face-to-face in person.

It's a very weird paradigm to be in.

Shout out to Chris, Ife, and Jordan, if you're watching. But yeah, I mean, it's been a wild ride.

It's hard to believe that it's almost been a year working from home, working remotely, but, you know, still happy.

I mean, very grateful and thankful to be at a company like Cloudflare that has really provided that infrastructure to make this as seamless as possible.

It kind of reminds me of like when you, I don't know if you've all had a celebrity encounter where you see them on TV so much, and then you see them and you get kind of starstruck.

I feel like that's happened for all the BDRs or even just Cloudflare employees that I've met in person after being on so many hangout and Zoom calls with them.

You kind of get starstruck.

It's like, oh, that's what, like, this is you in person. Awesome. Well, I know, so we talk about this a lot, how the two BDR mandates are, one, obviously grow revenue and be a pipeline generator for the company, and two, be an incubator for talent across Cloudflare.

So I guess with that being said, for the two of you, what are some things that you're looking forward to after the BDR role, whether it be a role or a project or, you know, different departments in Cloudflare that you found an interest in?

Yeah, I'll start with that. I think the most interesting and unique part about Cloudflare is the talent that they bring in from all departments.

So going off of what Kobe said in terms of communication, poor Dylan knows this, I am an over communicator.

So I am more excited to not only obviously do a different task, I think is just part of, like, evolution of your job, but also knowing and understanding different talent within the company.

And I'm excited for that to be able to, you know, learn from other people on a daily basis or understand, you know, what the actual job entails in terms of next step.

I think that there are so many incredibly smart and talented people here that that to me is the next step of just being able to learn as much as I can from the next department or the next person for that matter.

I mean, I think the thing for me is, you know, the BDR role prepares you for a multitude of different paths, whether that's, you know, exploring sales ops, sales enablement, if you want to continue forward to, you know, the wholesale cycle, account executive route, trying to think of what other avenues of customer success.

Marketing, there's, there's a ton of different foundational skills that you learn in in business development that kind of propel you forward to really, you know, you can make your decision on what you want to what you want to look, look into as your next step.

And I think for, you know, for, for me, one of the areas that is probably most interesting, I get great satisfaction out of out of helping people in, quite frankly, any capacity.

So like sales enablement, it's really interesting to me, helping, you know, the cluster salespeople sell better, learn more about the product, you know, different angles that you might not have sold before.

And then same thing with like the sales ops side of things, you know, building reports, using using data to help the sales team run more efficient campaigns, you know, the possibilities are really, really endless there.

And so I think, you know, it's as tough of a role as it is, you know, you're constantly constantly learning that's going to be a revolving theme here.

And it's it's really up to you to, you know, to hunker down and make that decision, figure out where you want to go next.

Essentially, you both touched on it, but I think that's kind of what I answer a lot when when candidates asked me, you know, about the Cloudflare culture and about the career development process, especially in the BDR role.

I think Cloudflare is really unique in that even in the office, I was really surprised that it really is an open desk policy.

Like I remember everyone, you know, from Matthew and Michelle to our new hires are in the same type of desk.

You are able to come up to them, ask them questions, put time on people's calendars and really just pick their brains.

And that's credible for career development.

I mean, even just to be able to have those conversations and hear about what other departments are doing is something that I found really new to Cloudflare.

And I've always said that I think Cloudflare is large enough now to where we have incredible talent.

Molly, you touched on this, like extremely intelligent people with really diverse and interesting backgrounds getting hired, but small enough to where we actually still have access to them.

I remember this is when our our head of marketing, Jake Anderson, started.

He was the if I'm getting this right, the CMO of AWS, which, you know, he came to Cloudflare.

And I remember in in one of his first weeks, he came in and sat in.

And this is when I was a BDR on a dial down. Like I was busy calling cold calling prospects and he's just sitting next to me giving me feedback.

And you can imagine, like my hands are shaking.

I have like trying to complete my calls and like my voice is trembling.

But even just having that feedback from someone at that of that caliber and experiences.

I mean, I don't know. I've never heard of a company that, you know, you're able to have that.

But awesome. No, thanks for thanks for your answers there.

I think so. I'm wondering at what time we should start the open Q&A. We have a couple of questions coming in.

Maybe we can start through them and then if we have extra time, we can just fill it in with questions.

But I think for. For this first one, what characteristics would you say make a successful BDR?

Kobe, if you want, we can name three characteristics each.

That would be fun. That's a lot.

I'm sure I was going to say. I'll do three. Diligent, being very diligent about your schedule.

I would also say perseverance.

You're going to get rejected a lot, but it doesn't mean that it's going to be a no.

And a sense of humor, because some of those notes are going to hurt your feelings and you cannot let it get you down.

So I would say those three things make for a quality BDR. You should have let me go first.

That's basically the basically the same three qualities. Yeah. Number one, I was going to say consistency is key.

Let's see. I'm a big fan of the sense of humor point.

That's that's how I live my life. A lot of people might not think that I'm funny, but I'm going to try and crack a joke anyways.

Right. I think you're hilarious, but I'm.

What's your what's your LinkedIn LinkedIn? It is self -titled Zac Efron impersonator.

No one forget that. I mean, you can say I don't look anything like him, but hey, it might make somebody laugh.

Click my profile, start a conversation.

So. Yeah. Third, I would say tenacity. Every Monday is a new week in sales.

You know, you can never stop selling. You can never stop.

If you stop, you're going to fall behind. I might not hit your goal. So I would say, you know, ensuring that not that you treat every day like a Monday, because Mondays kind of suck, as I was saying earlier.

Right. But, you know, just going going into every day, knowing that, you know, you have a job to accomplish.

You have a lot of activities or touches that you need to make.

There's a lot to get done.

And if you don't do it, somebody else might might get the meeting before you do.

So just keeping that tenacious attitude and really just put your foot on the gas.

Don't stop. And I can kind of touch on from what I answer when Candace asked me this as well.

I think curiosity is a is definitely a trait that's thrown around at Cloudflare a lot.

And for a good reason, even when I'm interviewing, it's not I'm not necessarily looking for candidates that know everything about Cloudflare or are the most tech savvy or have a background in what we do.

It's more about are you interested and do you have like are you curious about what we do?

Are you asking good questions?

Is it clear that this is a product that you can talk about every day?

Cloudflare is way too broad and there's new products being released all the time to where to know everything about every product is almost impossible.

But are you curious and is it something that you're interested in learning about?

Because if you're not, it'll get really overwhelming very quickly.

So curiosity is definitely one. Empathetic is another really important word that's thrown around, especially in a customer facing role.

Cloudflare is one that we care about.

Like everything, every decision that gets made is is is this. Are we putting the customer first?

Are we putting our Cloudflare hat on? So being empathetic both externally and then also internally as well.

A big part of the BDR role and really most roles in Cloudflare is is working with different departments and and understanding that when you're asking something of someone, what are their goals?

You know, they're often success criteria. And then lastly, I think you all you both touched on this, Kobe, especially with the tenacious side of things is it's just having no ego.

This role, you're said no to a lot. Different people will have different best practices.

And, you know, we have BDRs that come in from other BDR roles or we have BDRs that, you know, are new grads or we have BDRs that are career transitions.

But really coming in and just being open to learning and just relentless, even when you, you know, you have good weeks that don't let you get too good, too high and you have bad weeks that don't let you get too low.

But those would be the three things from my end.

Cool. Next question. This is sort of what what advice would you would you give someone who's thinking of applying to the Cloudflare BDR role or currently interviewing?

I'll go first.

I say, going back to my point of Cloudflare hires really intelligent, diverse, amazing group of people.

I think showing your true personality is really the key in order to go forth with the interview.

The interview process is taxing.

Interviews are scary for anyone. I get nervous on interviews. And I'm okay with talking with people.

I still get really nervous on interviews, but I still think that the main thing about what differentiated me from my interview is that I was, one, curious.

And two, I was, I wasn't that technical, but I was very curious about learning and still am.

And I didn't sugarcoat who I was. And I think that's a very beneficial thing going into that interview process.

And also asking questions at the very end.

What are you looking for? What is something that I could be best suited for in this role?

Do you see me in this role? I think asking questions and not being scared to really sets you apart from other candidates as well.

Once again, man, I should have went first. I would say during the interview process, I recall back to when I had my first few initial interviews.

I found myself on the Cloudflare website for hours and hours and hours and hours trying to gram everything that we do to be prepared for the interviews to talk about what we're doing.

I would say, don't do that. Try and keep it as high level as possible.

The theme that we've said multiple times on just in the session is that there's a ton of stuff that Cloudflare does.

There's a ton of different areas within web infrastructure that we can help.

Just stick to the high level, show that you're able to iterate that back when asked maybe a technical question, but then be OK being wrong.

There are 100% things that I said in my interviews that I'm sure was not technically correct.

But don't kick yourself for that.

Just keep pushing forward. I would say just be ultra receptive to feedback.

That's one of the big ones. Definitely. The only thing I'd add to that is, I say this that a lot of the interviews were looking for previous sales experience, but that's not necessarily strictly speaking.

I was a BDR intern, or I worked as a BDR at another company, or I sold this product at previous companies.

There are a lot of sales experiences that don't come with the title of necessarily a sales role.

For example, some of our best BDRs actually came from entrepreneurship, where you're selling an idea, you're selling your own company.

Or they came from real estate, obviously, where you're selling properties.

But there's a lot of examples of where you're selling either yourself, or a product, or an idea.

That doesn't necessarily have to have the exact title of BDR, or account executive, or salesperson.

Definitely think about that as a way to present yourself in the BDR interviews.

Cool. We're coming up on two minutes left.

I want to make sure that we don't go over. The last question will be, give us some recommendations for some TV shows that y'all are watching right now.

Koby, I've gone first the last couple of times, so I'm going to let you go first on this.

Awkwardly, I haven't had Internet connectivity at home in the last week, so I'm currently working at a coffee shop.

Man, let's just go with Avatar The Last Airbender.

I'm a 26-year-old child, still like watching cartoons.

No shame here. I would say that's one that we've recently revisited, and I've been able to get my fiance to watch it with me.

I am opposite of Koby.

I have watched a lot of TV, especially during quarantine. I'm embarrassed to say.

I'm starting to read now to get off of it. If you guys haven't watched, watch the Oprah interview with Meghan Markle.

It is crazy. The royals are decoded, as they say.

Let's take it back to the basics. It's been a year.

You guys should all try and revisit Tiger King. Still a great reality TV show. I got all of our BDR team to watch it, and I don't think there's going to be regrets on that.

I also want to say, the New York Times has great documentary series coming out.

The first one's on Britney Spears. I know it sounds crazy, but watch. Awesome.

That was perfect. We've got 10 seconds left, so I guess we can start wrapping up here.

Again, thank you, Molly. Thank you, Koby. Perfect timing. I really appreciate to the whole Cloudflare TV team for setting this up.

Thanks for having us. Thank you so much for having us.