Being the most effective SDR is a goal that many people would like to achieve, but may not know how. A job as a Sales Development Representative is surprisingly complex, requiring both marketing and sales skills. After observation of the daily and weekly routines of great SDRs, common practices became clear.
These are the secrets that they all shared that can help you become really great.
1) Schedule Your Priorities
The job of an SDR is a busy one. There is no such thing as downtime, due to the fact that there is always something that can be done. Whether its prospecting sales or setting meetings, any amount of free time you find yourself having can be filled in a matter of seconds.
However, even though there are things that you can be doing, that does not mean that everything is things that you should be doing. You have to prioritize your activities in order to prioritize your time.
Make Yourself Booked
Creating a schedule of your own can stop you from being roped into doing tasks that seem productive, but are not a true priority. Knowing which activities are the most important for your success, making those activities the bulk of your schedule, and establishing a designated amount of time for each activity will optimize your day today.
As a Sales Development Representative, most of your time will most likely be spent prospecting. Schedule your day 50% prospecting and the other 50% for other important jobs. The other half can be spent training, in meetings, or other tasks. It is important that you don’t go into work without a schedule or a plan. When you have a plan, you know exactly what you are giving up when you agree to attend a meeting at the last minute.
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Ask for help
One of the best parts about being on the sales team is that you are on a team. An effective SDR realizes that there is a team to help with projects that are time-consuming. Preparing that data that will go into prospecting (name, phone, email, etc) has to be done frequently, making it something worth streamlining.
Ask yourself if you can outsource preparation work for your lists or plugging data into CRM.
It can be easy to get become covered in Lead Operations tasks. These tasks take up so much time unless you are choosing to streamline. With the help of your team members, you can get further along in the process of prospecting without skipping any steps.
Reporting certainly is not the first activity that anyone thinks of when sales is mentioned, but it is important. While it may not be the reason why you got into sales, reporting makes a difference.
An effective SDR views their report as a representation of themselves. Your report is often how your team sees you. Whether numbers are good or bad, a clean report should be a constant through all times. Despite other circumstances, your team will know that you are on top of your job.
Reports don’t have to belong. If there are any questions, people will email you to follow up. Your report should include the goals that were created for your pipeline, your team’s pipeline, and calls per month, as well as what was actually accomplished for those categories. It should also have the value of accounts in each stage of your prospecting funnel.
Provide Extra Clarity
For extra clarity, you can create two separate reports. One report would go to your team and the other would be specifically for your manager. In your manager’s report, you have the opportunity to star issues that you would like to bring up, and fixes that you think may be successful.
3) Come into the office
A lot of the work done in offices today can be done from home, yet offices have not become obsolete. It may be appealing to go offline, assuming that it will go unnoticed, but that’s not the truth.
While working from home can be convenient, an effective SDR chooses to work in the office. In the office, your colleges will be able to put a face to the name that they see in your emails, and discuss information with you face to face as well.
The goal is not to eliminate working from home entirely, but to set specific days aside for being in the office. It is also important to let your team know which days you plan on being in the office and which days you are going to be home. Days that you are working from home, make yourself seem as available as possible through online chats or however possible.
4) Create Clear Goals
An activity goal shows how much work goes into achieving a set goal. An example of an activity goal is counting calls. While a sometimes mundane task, it can keep you and your team on track.
If you and your team discover that 1 out of every 5 people you call initiates a conversation, you can deduce that in order to initiate 4 conversations you need to make 20 calls. And if 1 in 4 conversations lead to a demo, it takes 20 calls to book 1 demo. With 20 work days in the month, this means you can book 20 demos a month. 20 demos at $40k of pipeline per demo is $800k of pipeline per month.
These numbers are clear goals that are easy to interpret.
There are many activities going on in sales. With activity goals, each goal gets the attention that they need.
5) Know What Your Company Can Do To Help
Prioritizing your time, creating reports, and creating activity goals are habits that help you get better at your job, but you cannot lose sight of what your job is. You are acquiring these skills of an effective SDR for the purpose of sales development. When you are developing sales with potential clients, there are some things that you need to keep in mind.
Who is your target?
In sales, many people call the target audience the “buyer persona”.
This persona represents the general idea of your ideal customer. This persona is a fictional person with a job title, responsibilities, concerns and fears, successes and challenges, and metrics of success.
Focusing all of these qualities into one persona helps you prepare to make the sale. You can mentally prepare for the conversation and how/where to direct it.
What do they need?
An effective SDR knows what the prospect needs before the prospect does. Make sure you know your prospect’s pain point. If you are not clear on the pain point, it will be clear that you are unprepared. Instead of trying to entice your prospect with the simple statement that you work for a good company, find out what problem they have and offer up your solution.
Your prospect may also be aware of their problem and possibly have tried to fix it previously. You have to be aware of many different solutions in case the solution you offer had already been attempted. This way you can give them all of their options. Offer solutions from your point of view, as someone who has a lot of knowledge on the market.
In order to think more in-depth about your prospect, ask your team some questions:
- What solutions did the customer try before contemplating our services?
What is the job or objective that they would like to be accomplished?
Was there a reason they switched from the former provider?
What are all the benefits of switching to us?
6) Master All Forms of Communication
Sales is heavily dependent on communication. Communication takes place with the potential client, your team, and your manager. Most importantly, communication goes beyond what you are saying, but also includes how you say it.
You and the rest of your team members are reading many emails throughout the day. It saves your time and their time to write an effective email. Don’t overload your recipients with information. If they have questions, they will reply for clarification. When communicating with email, it is important to be clear and concise, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Writing an email is actually a skill set these days. It requires being able to get your information across in the correct tone. Writing a good email can be just as beneficial as writing a good report when it comes to communicating with your team.
While talking on the phone may seem out of date, a well-placed call can really have a positive effect on the potential client. Make sure that you are well versed in the business and the applications, and try not to sound like a salesperson. You are offering a product or service but, it should sound like you are offering a solution to their problem.
Making personal connections, talking at a normal rate, and using a calm tone is much more appealing than sounding like you are rapidly reading off of a list (while it is possible to sound personable while reading off of a script). An effective SDR is always looking to improve. If you would like feedback, it would be beneficial to ask other people on your team for feedback on your pitches.
Last but not least, in person communication needs to be one of your most refined skills. An effective SDR needs to feel comfortable presenting to large groups, small groups, and one on one.
A simple way to evaluate your in-person skills is to mentally review your last meeting. Did you use an abundance of filler words? Was there information that you forgot, like numbers? Did you find the right moments to ask a question, or did you save it for later? If some of these situations apply to you, then you may need to improve on your in-person communication.
The most difficult situation that you may need to prepare for is a difficult question from the client after the presentation. Your ability to answer tough questions under presser displays your trustworthiness and will give your prospect confidence in you and your abilities.
7) Allow yourself to become curious
At the beginning of an SDR role, everything around is new. It can be easy to get overwhelmed, but it is important not to let anxiety hinder your performance. An effective SDR allows themselves to be curious rather than anxious. Both anxiety and curiosity are results of the unknown. Anxiety creates worry and stress. Curiosity creates solutions.
For example: instead of being anxious about not getting the replies that you want, be curious why you are not getting your desired replies. Curiosity opens up your mind to start thinking about solutions instead of freezing out of anxiety.
Your job is important and appreciated in your company. Working as an SDR gives you the chance to create a skill set while contributing to your organization. Now that you are aware of some skills and practices that will make you the most effective SDR that you can be, give yourself some time to practice them.
While you may master one thing at the very beginning, give yourself the time to work on the things that do not come as naturally. With time, you will develop good habits. After a while, you will see how effective and successful you have become.