In my own experience as an SDR (some organizations call them inside sales) I discovered that the SDR role primarily prepares sellers to work in outside sales. It’s a position designed to keep you hungry and to transition you to outside sales where you would learn to find your own opportunities.
I wanted to get out of the SDR role, but I had to prove myself first in order to meet my goal of becoming an account executive.
This episode of The Sales Evangelist is a reboot of a 2017 episode, but all the concepts apply to SDRs today.
The following 5 steps helped me succeed as an SDR.
If you’re an SDR you have to understand the rules that govern your work. It’s also important to recognize the two different objectives that SDRs must address.
Setting appointments involves finding people, listing information, and booking meetings.
Creating opportunities demands more of your effort because it demands that the SDR qualify the individual and to do a little more digging and a little more prep prior to the AE taking over the account.
For a complex sales process, qualifying people ahead of time decreases the chance that the appointments will flop. When the SDRs clearly understand their objective, they will be more likely to succeed in their efforts to generate new opportunities.
Some sellers use a “dialing for dollars” approach, and there’s nothing wrong with that technique if it works effectively. In my own experience, I found that setting specific times to prospect helped me be more successful because there were certain windows of time where my efforts worked best.
I discovered that the best time to make phone calls was between 8 and 10 a.m., then again between 12 and 1 p.m., and finally between 4 and 5 p.m. I strategically called during the times when I knew they’d be most likely to answer.
Then, I used the windows of time in between to send emails and engage in other outreach activities.
Don’t be governed by your role as a seller. Instead, you govern your role.
Determine which SDRs are doing really well in the company and mirror what they do. You’ll learn terminologies, tactics, and strategies that you didn’t previously know.
Be open to learn from others who are successful in the role. Try things that look worthwhile and disregard the others. Be a sponge, and if you see a better way of doing something, just try it yourself rather than correcting their efforts.
Check your ego at the door.
When a prospect tells you “no,” don’t read too much into it. He isn’t insulting your family line; he simply isn’t ready for what you’re offering.
Set rejections aside and move on to the next prospect. If he isn’t ready right now, put him into a drip campaign and stay in touch with him until he is ready for what you’re offering.
“No” also helps you disqualify people so you can focus your efforts on those prospects who are ready for what you’re offering.
It sounds counter-intuitive, because as an SDR, your job is to put numbers on the board. When we get greedy for numbers, however, problems often occur. We’re so hungry to schedule something so we can meet our KPIs that we get desperate and let everyone pass through the process.
Oddly enough, when you seek to disqualify, you’re better able to qualify the right people.
If the person doesn’t meet the qualification, don’t pass him on to the next level. Being selective improves your odds of success throughout the process.
If you’re setting appointments for an AE, sit down with her regularly so you’ll know where your focus should be. Are there certain industries you need to focus on?
By working together, you’ll both be aligned to achieve success.
This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.
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When Anna Talerico needed account execs, she discovered the hard way that growing account executives is much easier than finding them. Prior to the discovery, she spent a lot of time recruiting AEs without a lot of success. She kept hiring the wrong people.
On today’s episode of Sales From the Street, Anna Talerico tells us how growing account executives breeds more success for companies that do it well.
Anna co-founded Beacon9 to help SaaS companies grow faster and more efficiently. She shares her experience today so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel; we can learn from her experience and apply what she learned to our own situations.
In the beginning, Anna said she wasn’t as strategic as she could have been. She hired SDRs but discovered they were never going to become AEs. Some weren’t good fits for the company. Some just didn’t have the right skillset to become AEs.
She realized she had to find people who would be ready to be AEs within a year. Anna also recognized that they needed a specific kind of person.
The difference was night and day when she shifted her recruiting efforts.
Within a couple of months, she could see that her SDRs were developing. It wasn’t going to take two years for them to move into the new role; they were getting there much more quickly.
When she focused on hiring entry-level people or people with some experience who were interested in sales, Anna found that there were plenty of diamonds-in-the-rough available.
Though it took a couple of years to implement the process, she found that they were successful where they hadn’t been before. She found people who weren’t ready to be AEs, but who had the skillset to learn the job.
The company found success and hit their quotas.
Then she discovered that her success bred more success because as she was recruiting new SDRs, she could demonstrate a path of mobility.
She took a holistic approach to the process, and it all came together. Anna called it rewarding to watch a program that they incubated produce effective AEs.
The biggest hurdle in sales recruiting is developing a repeatable process. Before you recruit, you must determine who is likely to be successful.
Judge every candidate through the same lens so that everyone is viewed and measured the same way.
You cannot use an ad hoc approach. You have to know what skillset you’re looking for and be rigorous in following it.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, which teaches you how to utilize video to stand out from your competition. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.
Our friends at Wiley have provided a free excerpt of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading. Based on research and interviews with buyers, the book provides a blueprint for sales professionals. Read an excerpt of the book here.
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