GTM 56: The Pioneer of the BDR Name with Lars Nilsson (Revisited Bonus Episode)

This is a revisited episode from the early GTM Podcast days, and our highest streamed episode. So much value to take away from the Pioneer of the BDR name!

Lars Nilsson is the VP of Global Sales Development at Snowflake. Prior to Snowflake, Lars was the CEO of SalesSource, a premier RevOps consulting firm. Before that he was the VP of Global Inside Sales for Cloudera. Lars and his team at Cloudera developed the Sales methodology known as Account-Based Sales Development, which has transformed how businesses approach high-value targets, and is an integral part of most teams playbooks today.

Lars has also served in sales exec roles at ArcSight, Hewlett Packard, Riverbed Technology, and Portal Software, all three of which achieved IPOs.

Lars starts this episode by sharing what he learned early in his career at Xerox and the world-famous Xerox Management Training Program. He then talks about Cloudera’s account-based sales development method, including how it started and why it was successful.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to use personalization to your advantage
  • How to speak among people in a way that brings them together
  • What to look for when hiring a BDR


(05:00) Insights on nurturing young talent while fostering loyalty

(14:40) Cloudera’s account-based sales development methodology: origins and early successes

(21:40) Insights on the power of personalization

(27:30) How to create a lasting impression in front of people and bring them together

(31:00) Why you should express gratitude or tell a story in front of people more often

(32:49) How to overcome fear and nervousness and find the courage to speak among people

(38:03) Things to look out for when hiring a BDR

(41:26) Summary of Lars’ career learnings


You do not have to go to college to learn how to sell.

It’s really hard to not only find the right people, but then to create an experience where not only are you developing them, but you create loyalty and you want them to stay and continue working hard for you and your company.

It is an opportunity for anyone at the right moment, towards the latter part of it, to get up and give a moment of thanks.

You can’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t be afraid to ask for a referral. You can’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation.

That kind of fire in the belly, I can see from a LinkedIn profile from someone that is just about to graduate whether or not they have it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for anything.

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