Is Coffee just for closers?
With Sales Development Reps (SDR’s) being an essential function to an inside sales team, is the term “Coffee is for Closers” still relevant? If you have seen Glengarry GlenRoss (or have been anywhere near a sales team), then you have heard the phrase “Always be Closing” and that “Coffee is for Closers”. The gist behind it is that you are only as good as your last deal. But, make no mistake, the team that is excellent at opening the doors (SDR’s) are not the same people that are closing them. In fact, an SDR should almost never be closing.
The Death of a Traditional Sales Person, the Birth of a Dedicated SDR
Gone are the days when a single person can do research, build lists, prospect through cold-call and email, generate demand, and finally close business. Of course, you want your sales team to “Always Be Closing”. The fastest growing B2B brands like NetApp, Cisco, and IBM have the most sophisticated sales development teams that uncover new business and new opportunities. They have the difficult task of “Always Be Opening” new doors and building a pipeline for the Account Executives. SalesLoft did a good job explaining the difference between what an SDR does and what a traditional Account Executive is tasked to do in this infographic. The key takeaway is, the more your closers spend time taking shots at the moon, the fewer sales they make. And when SDR’s are adding huge opportunities to your sales pipeline, you’re going to want to save some coffee in the pot for them.
How to Effectively ‘Always be Opening’ as an SDR
Sales are about relationships. As an SDR, your primary responsibility is to build rapport and generate demand through a constructive, positive relationship. Rapport gives way to transparency by putting the client in a state of open-mindedness. It’s the sense of connection that you get when you meet someone you like and trust, and whose point of view you find valuable. When you establish rapport, you should identify common ground to build upon. A lot of call openings start with talking about who the company they are calling from and what they do. However, when you show interest in your prospect and the challenges that they deal with in their job responsibilities, it will open a conversation where they are more likely to answer open-ended questions.
To build rapport, try starting the conversation with these key points provided by Marc Wayshak.
• Recognize what’s going on in their marketplace
• List three common challenges
• Engage the prospect with question
Step 1: Recognize what’s going on in their marketplace
By showing a prospect that you are aware of what’s is going on in their marketplace, you start to present yourself as an industry expert. The prospect will start to listen when they recognize they will be provided with valuable information. Ensure you are familiar with the sector and industry so that you can truly bring value to the busy decision-makers on the other end. They will appreciate their time not being wasted.
Step 2: List three common challenges
Talk about the three challenges that your prospect is facing that your company can solve now. Incorporate these challenges, or pain points, into your opening. If you are talking to the right person, at the right time, about the right challenges that they face in their role, you instantly present yourself as someone that can help rather than just another self-interested nuisance. You may structure your conversation like this: “I am seeing a lot of companies in your space that are struggling with _____ and people in your role are frustrated with lack of ______”.
Step 3: Engage the prospect with question
The final key point is to engage your prospect with a question. This is the icing on the cake. You want to wrap up the conversation starter by sounding something like, “do any of these issues ring true to you?”. By asking a question along this path you are encouraging them to engage with those challenges.
New Trend in Sales: Always Be Opening
Naturally, you want your Account Executives to Always Be Closing on new business. But to gain the deals at the bottom of the funnel, you should Always be Opening and filling your pipeline with opportunities at the top. Prospecting is the lifeblood of closing business. Nowhere is prospecting, or opening the doors to new business, more important than with a dedicated SDR team.
So, when it comes to coffee, make sure to save some for the Openers.