I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.(Excerpts from a poem by Anonymous)
Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.
Who am I? I am
The SDR role is a crucial one for success of your inside sales organization. This role has a few unique characteristics:
- It is usually the entry point for the modern day inside sales profession, and many SDR teams are relatively young
- If its significance is not fully understood, the job can seem monotonous, leading to high churn and high burnout
- SDRs that get the essence of your business, can help build your funnel like no one else
- Many go on to build great personal brands in networks like LinkedIn and become much sought after
So, what is it that the best SDRs do, worth replicating?
The best SDRs build great habits that help them do a few things particularly well. These can be grouped under 3 heads, for ease of understanding: Target Market Preparation, Outreach Preparation, Following Up.
Let us look at each of these.
Successful SDRs build their knowledge and understanding of the target market continuously. This can be looked at as preparation around their target accounts, the persona and the industry.
#1 Account Preparation
Have a clear and clean list of target accounts segmented by industry, geography, category and any other defined swimlanes. Stay informed of their context so you can engage them better.
Benefit: Your outreach is highly productive, since you don’t have to drop accounts due to inadequate fit.
#2 Persona Preparation
Clearly identify the persona(e) that the SDR is supposed to target, and make sure that the contact list they have generated has the right persona(e) in them.
Benefit: More engaged prospects, since the persona has been fine-tuned (hopefully) based on who is most receptive to your product/service.
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#3 Industry Preparation
It pays to have some basic and current knowledge of the industry of your prospects. Prospects appreciate your conversation better, when they sense you are genuinely interested and knowledgeable about what’s going on in their world.
Benefit: Better conversations.
The important components in your outreach preparation are: Daily Plan, Call List, Messages for your email/call/social Sequence, and Sales Engagement tools.
#4 Daily Plan
SDRs are key contributors to the funnel momentum of your business. Having an effective process and executing the daily plan efficiently are cornerstones of successful SDRs. The Daily Plan usually comprises of blocks of time allocated for specific activities – calling, emailing/follow-ups, social, manager checkins and others.
Benefits: During each of the “Blocks“, you get to focus 100% on the activity, and give it your best. And you know exactly what portions of your day will contribute to the goals you want to hit that day.
#5 Call List
Good SDRs make sure their call list for the forthcoming day is curated and ready to go. This keeps them focused and effective. Many in the industry resort to using a printout of the call list, and focus on the call/conversation. This practice has been found to be least distracting, given the number of notifications and alerts your computer or mobile can bring up.
Benefits: The prospect at the other end wants to be spoken to and not sold to. Keeping your focus on them gives you a natural confidence to have great conversations.
# 6. Messages for your Sequence
Message sequences across multiple channels – Email, Phone, LinkedIn/Social have become table stakes in any high performing sales development team. Having the right personalized messages at each touch point for a prospect, can move the needle in your funnel. Good SDRs review, refine and update the messages for every cohort of accounts & prospects they work on, periodically.
Benefits: You can update the sequence to replicate best performing messages on an ongoing basis, and improve the outcome towards your goals.
#7 Sales Engagement Tools
The modern day SDR job expects high productivity from the person which is only possible with the right tool set. Sales Engagement tools provide the necessary level of automation so your sequences and cadences can be setup, and there are automated follow-ups + reminders at various points.
Benefits: Competition is intense and unless you take the aid of products and tools that make you more efficient, you are at a disadvantage. The best SDRs don’t want to be in that position.
Note: If you are already using a sales engagement tool like Outreach.io and want to engage prospects better, explore how account intelligence can help you make a mark.
Some sales leaders uses two phrases – “show up revenue” and “follow up revenue”. When you have a unique offering that the market didn’t know needs, until you showed up, you can generate “show up revenue“. For everything else, there is “follow up revenue” – sales to be had because you were diligent, persistent and regular in following up.
Following up doesn’t mean setting weekly reminders with automated “just checking in”, but really making an effort to establish conversation with the prospect using additional context and value. Good SDRs get adept at it with habit-forming practices such as: Adding Value, Asking for help, Grit.
#8 Adding Value
Prospects don’t like being sold to. They appreciate when you get more aware of their world. Their time is your future money, so you need to be judicious before asking for it. Learn about their world some more. Make a connection with their possible pain points or context and what you have to offer. Share a perspective on how you’ve helped someone similar. Strike a chord with empathy and context. Get the conversation going.
Benefits: The prospect appreciates you for what they learn in the process – even if they were to defer a sales conversation for later. You get their mindshare which you can build on.
#9 Asking for Help
The best SDRs assume they do not “know it all“. Apart from looking at their world as between them and the prospects, they tap into anyone and everyone around, to build their knowledge, temperament and character, in order to be successful. In today’s hyperconnected world, help is a call / an email / a comment / an update / a tweet away, from literally the best in the business. So, do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help.
Benefits: You are not just learning in the process, you’re letting the world know that it is OK to ask for help, helping the other silent brethren to benefit from the answer, and ultimately building your own personal brand in the industry circles. How about that?
The SDR’s job is not a walk in the park by any stretch of imagination. It is easy to find one’s morale and energy down, say, after 30 continuous hang-ups/dead ends. But when you have a mountain to climb, every step feels like you’re only spending more energy to stay at the same place. Nevertheless, when you look back at the end of each day, there is such mountainous learning and experience you walk away with.
The best prospect is just 1 call or 1 email or 1 message away. It is important to remember and remind yourself of the larger picture while living the minutes and seconds, and that is where grit plays a key role. Look around and you will find some gritty people – take a leaf out of their book and build on the good karma for others.
Benefits: Sales as a profession is one where you are ultimately dealing with people on whom you have almost no control. Your ability to persuade and influence comes to the fore, and without grit, it is hard to muster the energy to do that.
Successful SDRs build great habits that give them control of their day and time, control of the data they work on, and control of the process they execute. This sets them up for success despite all other variables such as how the prospect responds, what is going on in the prospect’s world, are outside the SDR’s control.