Over the past ten years, marketing operations has taken on, as one of its missions, to deliver high quality information about every Lead and Account that is passed to Sales. The perennial complaint from salespeople, especially Sales Development Reps (SDRs) is “There isn’t enough information on the lead record to make the call,” or “This person isn’t qualified” and no call is attempted.
As a former inside rep (SDR), BDR, and field sales manager, I think that’s BS.
As a marketing ops leader, I look for ways to improve the MQL experience by positioning key information at the top of the screen. Training on process and where to find information in Salesforce is also helpful. Of course, continual re-training is necessary for the habits to stick.
Good Sales Habits Start Early with Good Sales Leadership
A good Sales leader will find SDRs hungry to grow into full Account Executive, BDR, or Sales Manager roles. The trainable type, of course, tend to be fresh to the workforce or in their early 20s. We could argue a lot about ageism in SDR hiring, but this is a reality.
Young SDRs need a leader who understands habit development as well as which habits to instill
Many companies skimp on sales and inside/SDR training. Young SDRs are thrown into the pit and expected to either dial for dollars or help make appointments for your AEs. The smart SDRs read up on their job and learn how to do more than just make appointments. Perhaps you’ve noticed the SDRs who get promoted 1) meet their quotas and 2) close small deals, proving they are valuable staff.
More experienced SDRs need clear training and leadership
Whenever I encounter “resistance” from SDRs on process or information, I look to the managers to see if they are training or enforcing the agreed rules. Sometimes it’s just that Sales decided to modify the rules or try new scripts without discussing it with Marketing. Just as often I see Managers giving SDRs permission to recycle leads that “aren’t good enough.” If Sales allows Marketing to do more of the “farming” part of the role, then Sales should have an easier time finding the crops as they ripen. Ultimately this comes down to a very clear set of processes that both Marketing and Sales follow to deliver MQLs for SDR follow up.
TOPOHQ emphasizes training for SDRs because the follow up matters as much as the goal. Sales think MQLs aren’t good if they don’t close immediately, but that’s because quota carrying reps are speaking to MQLs. SDRs are meant to prepare and qualify people and Accounts. And just as Stephan Schiffman says the purpose of a cold call is to obtain a Meeting, an SQL has to be willing meet with a rep, according to TOPO.
Resources for Aspiring SDRs
- HubSpot Sales Blog
- SalesHacker on SDRs
- Definition of SDR and another one.
- How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
- Cold Calling Techniques That Really Work by Stephan Schiffman
- SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
- The Challenger Customer by Corporate Executive Board
These resources come down to two components of successful sales:
- Keep someone interested long enough to set a substantive meeting.
- Ask effective questions to learn about needs and match your solution to those needs.
- Don’t fit square pegs into round holes. Be willing to walk away from solution-need mismatch.
Many of the more advanced sales workflow systems attached to SFDC attempt to help Salespeople follow a process, especially on questioning techniques. While I like putting inexperienced people on “rails” when there’s a tight process, that’s not a long term career path for most people.
Next, we’ll discuss how to use all of the information given to salespeople.