There’s a difference with Cynthia Handel

About This Episode

In this episode, Brad talks with Cynthia Handel about the differences in roles of sales teams, how Cynthia started in sales and her various roles in a sales team! Don’t miss this episode of Decision Point.

Listen Now

There's a difference with Cynthia Handel

Share This Podcast

Get Podcasts In Your Inbox


Episode Transcript

In this episode, Brad talks with Cynthia Handel about the differences in roles of sales teams, how Cynthia started in sales and her various roles in a sales team! Don’t miss this episode of Decision Point.

Brad: [00:00:00] Welcome to Decision Point, a podcast about overcoming adversity in sales and the growth that we experience in the process. 

Cynthia: I’m Brad Seed.

Brad: Bring us kind of up to speed and how, and kind of how you got to where you’re at today and how you got into sales. And then we’ll sort of ship the conversation and you can talk about, um, the one thing that you’re the most passionate about, which in a lot of cases is, uh, sales and work, but we’ll just get.

Cynthia: Yeah, well, I am based out of Honduras, born and raised. Just so that you know, I have worked in sales all of my life, and I had worked in real estate for a company that had malls in Honduras and Costa Rica for eight years. The pandemic happened and locked downs down in Latin America. Drug, that’s the word to call them.

Like intense malls were closed down for six months. Basically, all of Latin America, Central America [00:01:00] closed completely. Like you could only go out on certain days because those were the days that your number could go into supermarket. So it was extreme. Nothing like the state. So malls were close.

Basically, I was in charge of the leasing of a group of malls in Honduras and Costa Rica, so we were let go in the pandemic like July, 2020. I had never been let go of a job. It was like a huge wake up call for me. I had never worked remotely and I was just there. Thinking what I was I wanted to do with my life.

I definitely didn’t wanna go to real estate. I, I mean, it was a good eight years. I learned a lot, but I came from a very toxic work environment, so I was tired, tired of working in real estate. I was tired of the environment and because of the pandemic, I said, I’m gonna apply to any sales job out. Like remotely.

I, I wanted to work remotely, so I remember I didn’t even know what an ssdr was and I kept seeing these job roles on LinkedIn and [00:02:00] Honduras, remote jobs for a sales rep. And I said, What the hell, I’m gonna apply, because basically my entire day was applying to jobs. I had nothing else to do, sitting in my room crying, no jobs.

So I started applying and applying to all sorts of, of remote jobs. I got a call back from a company in Boston. I remember. They called me and I’m like, Where are you calling me from? And they’re like, Yeah, this is for the SD position. I’m like, Sorry, what? I had no idea what an SD was. I remember that. So I was really nervous.

I took the interview and I remember having the entry view with the head of sales, and they were, were doing role play. And guess what? I didn’t see the note on the invitation that I had to prepare for the role play. So he, I’m like, Oh my God, I messed up the interview and I remember. My former boss saying like, You have 40 minutes to prepare.

So it was an assignment that I had to go in LinkedIn research three prospects and role play those three prospects. I was extremely nervous. Um, I go back into the call 40 minutes [00:03:00] later and they grilled me, . I was really nervous, I was shaking. I remember saying to my mom and my friends, like, I didn’t make the interview.

I’m not gonna get the job. So also, I had never sold in English before. Like I had only sold in Spanish. So when you know, when you 

Brad: don’t speak, so you speak really good. You speak really good English. I 

Cynthia: know, but it’s gotten better with time because I hadn’t spoken in English since school. So my English was sort of rusty.

And when you haven’t spoken in English for a really long time, I was. Messing up the words and I was really nervous, so I remember that. I said, I’m not gonna get the job. So ICE continued applying. Three days later they call me and they give me the job. I’m like freaking out because I mean, I had been let go 15 days before.

I’m now an SDR at a company 

Brad: that’s, You’re doing a job you didn’t even know existed. Right. Our wash 

Cynthia: point of sale. Car wash world. So it’s a completely different industry. I’m freaking out. They add me to all [00:04:00] of their Slack channels. I’m reading stuff about controllers and I’m like, What the fuck did I do?

Like, this is all technical. Like I remember like telling my mom, I’m not gonna be able to do this. Like I’m reading all of the conversations, they’re having all the technical stuff, and I’m like, I don’t even know what a controller is. And I was freaking out. On my first day on my job, uh, they gave was the onboarding.

I was really psyched, nervous, and I remember that I just wanted. Move ahead. Like I remember reading about what an SDR was and saying that it took normally 90 days to ramp an sdr, but I said, No, I’ve worked in sales before. Cynthia, you have to do this in 30 days. So they didn’t give us metrics. I decided I wanna do 60 calls a day, and I started calling people up on my first 50 days.

I got my first meeting. Then I remember on my second month I got 15 meetings. Then I got 20, and I just really became good at cold calling because I wanted to succeed [00:05:00] so bad. I wanted to grow so bad. Like I was like, I’m 34 years old. That was back in 2020. I’m 37 now. I’m like, I’m 34 years old. I need to get my shit together.

Like I really need to learn. This is my chance to change my career path all over again. So fast forward, I was promoted to an ae. Which honestly I hated because I’m, My passion is more like business development. I love like knocking doors and like that thrill of sending people messages, emails, calls, and just like finding that meeting.

And I remember it was, I hated being innate because especially in the car wash industry, these are very long cycle. Three to four months, and I wanted like the fast paced environment of business development that you’re booking meetings every day that you’re talking to people. So I, I didn’t like it and I started looking for another job, but the company I was in, Opened that position [00:06:00] for an SDR manager and they promoted me.

So I went back to what I liked doing meetings, except that in that company I was also had my own territory. So I was sort of like the SDR manager, but I also had my territory. So all good. I got a raise. I really loved it and I was really happy. and I grew a lot within that company and then Samira reached out to me and I’m here

That’s my career 

Brad: path. So I wanna kind of double tap on something you said. So you said, Hey, you’re doing the AE role, you loved it, and then you made the transition to AE and you hated it. I have a very controversial position on what you just said, and I’ve had a lot of people, like I get a lot of feathers ruffled.

In fact, I’m literally was working on a. To put out before this on this very topic. So this is really timely, I believe the thing, and on my experience, so kind of how I, I got sort of mantra connect. I ran a sales team of 125 guys. It’s really hard to scale. I think why fit the majority of my career really [00:07:00] hiring the wrong type of sdr.

Um, I’ve come to believe that when you look at the SDR model, there’s really two. Goals, and I think they’re in competition with each other. And I think it really impacts how people view the SDR role. So the competition is this, You’re either hiring SDRs to build a lead generation machine, or you’re hiring SDRs to recruit them into an AE role.

And the challenge is, Individuals like yourself that are really good at generating appointments don’t typically enjoy the AE role. And they’re usually not great at it. It’s a different personality. AEs are not like, you can find AEs that can set appointments, but I think they’re typically an opposition.

It’s like trying to grow up. It’s like, not that this can’t be done cuz I’ve done it. Um, you can grow a fast growth. Profitable business, but it’s really hard because being fast growth and profitable and opposition with each other. And the same thing is being good at generating leads and [00:08:00] being a good ae, typically are different personality types.

Love to hear your take on it, because I throw this out on the internet and people go Buck wild. 

Cynthia: No, this is true. And you know why? Because I’ve done full SA cycle sales before. It’s not the first time I’m a director for a company, especially in the real estate one. I was the head of sales and business development for that company.

and it’s two very different personalities. Very true. Like SDRs, and maybe this is just my opinion, normally you need to be very energetic. You need to be like ready to hustle and like leads are not gonna come to you like. Inbound. What I tell my team is, forget about inbound. This is purely outbound. You have to reach out to people where I call them the front liners, the door breakers, because basically we’re breaking down doors.

That’s what BDRs do. It’s a, It’s not easy. I think it’s one of the most difficult jobs in the world because you just have to get up at every morning and start from zero, like zero meetings and just like we’re finishing Q3 right now and going into q4. [00:09:00] Starting from Dro all over again. But I think it’s also the most rewarding feeling in the world when you actually book a meeting or when that meeting actually turns into a sale.

In our case, when the prospect actually hires one of her candidates, so. I do agree with you. I, in my specific case, I didn’t like the AE role because it was long cycle sales, and maybe if it, the, the sales cycle would’ve been shorter like a day or two or a week, I would’ve enjoyed it more. But when you rely heavily on commission and you’re waiting for a deal to close four months from now, and you know, especially deals that are over 300 k.

It’s like two months and you go in zero because you’re working all of your deals because it’s like I, That was a very initial industry, so that’s why I probably didn’t like being an ae because you’re working for the next three to four months. Then in some small cases, you’re probably gonna close a deal the next day.

But those are small deals, like 15 care, 20 [00:10:00] K deals versus the big ones, which as the bread and butter are the ones that you’re gonna make the most commission out take. I even had a deal that lasted six months, so you. Grinding there every day, like nurturing your prospect, sending them information, getting all of the stuff together.

And it’s like I’m more into fast paced sales, and that’s why I like business development more because it’s more fast paced. It’s like, do you want the meaning or no? No. Move on to the next prospect. Like slap the other 

Brad: person next. Well, I think that’s important, so move on to the next. I think that’s a key attribute to being a good ae.

It’s also a key attribute to being a. Salesperson is the ability to move on. Barbara Corcoran from the Shark Tank. I love her perspective on this. She says The difference between great salespeople and average sales people is their ability to move on from a tough loss. The good ones move on immediately.

Not that it doesn’t, murder is not painful, but the ability to move on to the next. Deal and not so can 

Cynthia: get. Exactly. And that’s actually one of the hardest things to do because knowing when to quit or knowing when to [00:11:00] move on, like of course you want the meaning, of course you wanna book that customer, but you have to know when to let go versus being an ae, it’s all about nurturing leads, sending the correct information, doing the right messaging, or having that person come back to you saying they’re ready to make a purchase now.

So it’s two completely different roles. Some BD. Really want to grow into ae. And that’s okay because maybe they do have the personalities. Maybe they do wanna work in lead nurturing, but it’s not for everybody. Yeah. And that’s why don’t keep going. Sorry. As sales leader, it’s important to also develop a path for BDRs, being that to grow into BDR managers, BDRs into enterprise roles, BDRs into other verticals, or maybe BDR managers, who knows there’s a customer success marketing.

There’s a whole different path, like for a BDR to have a career. 

Brad: Yeah, no, I totally agree. I think the tradit, particularly in tech, and I understand, I, uh, Troy barter, he and I had a conversation and, uh, he said, Hey, [00:12:00] look, it’s less risky to hire an SDR than it is to hire somebody who’s been selling something else and bringing them into the organization, which I, I could see that, but I just think when you look at, uh, the rhetoric around, Whether or not the SDR model works.

I think most of the time what’s really being complained about is that they’re not hiring the right person to do the job, or they have mixed motives on what they’re trying to accomplish and they’re not getting the results that they want. And obviously there’s lots of unique use cases, right? You’re talking about sale, different types of sales cycles and different types of products.

But I just think in general, in my experience, the people that are really good at setting appointments and generating in initial interest are not always the people. We’re really good at closing deals, and that’s okay. I think we need to value more. I think the SDR role should be more valued than it is.

Well, tell us a little bit about the work you’re doing at at Sam, right? Samira? Yeah, Samira. Okay. 

Cynthia: Oh, and you made me smile when you say that. I love Samira, so. Samira. [00:13:00] What we do is that we act as a bridge between US companies and top Latin American talent. There’s a huge talent pool down here in Latin America, and it’s overlooked because whenever you think of near shoring or off shoring, you’re thinking about India or the Philippines.

But what people don’t realize is that Latin America is full. White collar, middle, middle managers like I was born and raised in Latin America. My English is near native. My entire team, I even have some that have two MBAs or something like that. Some went to US colleges, some went to colleges in Europe and all of them have my same English level or even better.

So we’re trying to break the status quo and like break the wheel on showing the US that Latin America. As talented as the us we’re extremely hard workers. Our time zones basically the same one, we’re very, I’m I, I didn’t wanna say the word, but gentrified. Like we, there’s even Black [00:14:00] Friday down here, we celebrate Thanksgiving.

There’s a lot of US holidays that we celebrate as well. So it’s almost very similar to the states, and I hate using the word cheap, but remember that the cost of living in Latin America is a lot different from the states. There’s a lot of taxes, there’s a lot of other things that we don’t pay. So generally living like in Mexico or in Central America’s gonna be like half or 75% of what, what you would pay in the States.

Brad: Do you staff in all, is there a specific type of employee that you guys staff? Or do you? Do you technical, you do recruiting, marketing. 

Cynthia: So we just hired a technical recruiter because we have a lot of companies that are looking for full stack engineers, Ruby on Rails, DevOps, So we have already placed engineers in around 50 companies.

We are also really good at customer success, logistics and sales. We have placed like a hundred BD [00:15:00] yards in. Six months, and basically BDRs and SDRs are in huge, huge demand right now. Like we get emails from customers every day. I need two SDRs. I need three BDRs, but that’s like our bread and butter. We’re working on that.

And there’s several other verticals that we’re working on projects. This is not our full product, just so that you know, we’re launching a sa. Software in the next two months. That’s basically gonna be the Equifax of resume. So any company around the world that wants to hire remotely and globally, Will love our software because basically if Judy says on her resume that Judy went to hardware and Judy worked at Google, our AI software’s gonna be able to verify that.

So whenever we place a candidate in front of X customer, it’s already gonna be verified. It’s already gonna be vetted that this person actually worked in Google. This person actually graduated from Harvard. This person is certified with 95% English. This person is, has [00:16:00] a six Sigma belt, whatever, whatever.

So that’s why it’s gonna change the world. And there’s a blockchain part to it. So it’s also gonna have like a wallet with tokens because we also certify all of our talent. It’s a whole different game changer. Trust me, I can’t say anything else because they’re gonna go , but that’s all I can say. But whenever we come out and go to market, it’s gonna break everything.

People are gonna have it. 

Brad: Okay. Awesome. Well look, look forward to hearing more. Um, what’s the one thing that you’re like the most passionate about right now? It can be work, it can be personal. 

Cynthia: I’m really passionate about Samira right now because it’s a huge project, I believe, and I’ve seen it grow. Like when I started, we were only 30 people on the team or up to 100 right now, and my team, I started with two people and we’re 30 now too, so it’s like I’m really passionate because I remember my first week we’re like, We need you to bring 50 meetings.

We’re up to 130. Right. Great. 

Brad: Are you managing the SDR 

Cynthia: team there then? I am the senior sales director. Senior sales. [00:17:00] Yeah, I am the head of business development. I manage the team leads, the rev op manager and the training manager. 

Brad: Okay. Awesome. Cool. Sounds like you guys are really addressing a, a super big need.

I think, you know, In Latin America trying to find positions and then trying to find people in the us you know, there’s definitely, particularly in the tech space, I do feel like there’s a, there’s like a mismatch of talent for sure. So this was awesome. I loved having you on. Um, I appreciate for, Thank you 

Cynthia: for inviting.

It was awesome. 

Brad: We had a 

Cynthia: blast.

In this episode, Brad talks with Cynthia Handel about the differences in roles of sales teams, how Cynthia started in sales and her various roles in a sales team! Don’t miss this episode of Decision Point.

More To Explore

Download The..


Overcome your next big challenge in sales or in life with the eight characteristics that exemplify mental toughness, told by those who have risen to the challenge.

Download the

Mental Toughness Playbook

Please enter your work email below and we'll send you a copy of the Mental Toughness Playbook.