Sean Hurd, Military Veterans in B2B Sales & Business Development

Ed Marsh | Mar 26, 2024


Sean Hurd - From Battlefield to BDR (Business Development Rep)

sena-hurd-b2b-sales-business-development-military-veteransSean is a commando. 22 years spent in the US Army Ranger Regiment and 5th Special Forces Group. Eight combat deployments. Years as an instructor at Scuba School, considered by many to be the Army's toughest course. And retired as a Sergeant Major - a rank which not more than 1.25% of enlisted members may hold.

Then he pulled the rip cord. He went from a life among elite warriors and leaders, interfacing with foreign heads of government and running missions, to a software BDR (the rookie, or #FNG.)


And then, true to form, he was the top-performing rep in his first quarter. How did he do that?

  • Brutal work ethic - 15 hour days
  • Humility - learning from people who could almost have been his kids, and copying what worked
  • Accountability - he would not let himself perform to a lower standard

You'll hear that story and more - from fitness, to sales best practices, to how he trains BDRs (and why 80% wash out), why vets might be perfect for your team, and what industrial sales teams can learn from SaaS. And straight from the source what De opresso liber means.

Connect with Sean for Non-Stop Hard-Hitting Insights into Business Development Excellence


Sean Hurd on What it Takes to be a Killer BDR - Industrial Growth Institute Podcast Episode 2


Episode Transcript

Episode Recap


In this episode Ed Marsh interviews Sean Hurd, a career Special Operations Trooper, former Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army, and current veteran advocate at Shift Group.

Sean shares his military background, including his time in the Ranger Regiment and Special Forces, and explains why he transitioned to a career in sales and business development.

He highlights the importance of mental toughness and a training mindset in sales. Sean also discusses the mission and services of Shift Group, which focuses on helping veterans and athletes succeed in sales roles.

The conversation emphasizes the attributes and skills that veterans bring to the sales profession, and Sean shares the following insights and experiences from his military background and sales career:

  • importance of identifying the ideal client and the value of force management training
  • daily and weekly workflow, emphasizing the significance of discipline and physical fitness
  • his experience of outworking his colleagues and the importance of tracking metrics in sales
  • effectiveness of business development outreach methods like social selling and the need for sales enablement tools
  • importance of accountability and the role of CRM in sales
  • challenges of managing a large sales team and the need for effective leadership
  • concerns about the focus on short-term gains in business and the importance of building long-term relationships
  • high-level guidance for companies to succeed in sales, including hiring the right people, training and coaching them
  • the risk of messing with sales reps' money


  • Military experience, such as the Ranger Regiment and Special Forces, can provide valuable attributes for success in sales, including mental toughness and a training mindset.
  • Transitioning from the military to sales can be challenging, but it offers opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  • Sales training and learning from experience are crucial for success in the sales profession.
  • Shift Group is a company that helps veterans and athletes succeed in sales roles by providing training, coaching, and job placement services. Identify your ideal client and invest in force management training to improve sales effectiveness.
  • Maintain discipline and a structured daily and weekly workflow to maximize productivity.
  • Outwork your colleagues and track key metrics to drive sales success.
  • Utilize social selling and sales enablement tools to enhance outreach and engagement.
  • Promote accountability and use CRM effectively to drive sales performance.
  • Focus on building long-term relationships and prioritize the success of your sales team.


00:00 Introduction and Background
01:50 Military Background and Transition to Sales
07:31 Roles in the Military: Ranger Regiment and Special Forces
15:23 Transition to Sales and Reasons for Choosing Sales
26:36 Introduction to Shift Group
35:50 Attributes Looked for in Veterans for Sales Success
37:16 Sales Training and Learning from Experience
38:03 Ideal Client and Force Management Training
39:02 Daily and Weekly Workflow
41:04 Working Hours and Outworking Colleagues
42:51 Tracking Metrics and Sales Math
46:20 Effectiveness of Outreach and Social Selling
50:23 Inbound Sales Development and Sales Enablement
55:46 Learning and Accountability
59:51 Span of Control and Leadership
01:06:20 Sales Trends and Building Relationships
01:12:39 Concerns about Business and Sales Mistakes
01:14:54 High-Level Guidance for Sales Success 

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