Sales development representatives (SDRs), also called BDRs (Business Development Representative) or, my favourite, ADRs (Account Development Representative) are the frontline of your company, your solution and more importantly your value. They are your prospects’ first impression.
Peter Venkman: “24hours a day, seven days a week. No job is too big. No fee is too big.”
They are to be treated respectfully, coached, developed and handed leads with utmost consideration – especially when it comes to the most dangerous (in my humble opinion) category, inbound leads. The prospect has done some research, their mind is made up, they may even have talked to some of your competitors and developed an idea of their pricing. This is dangerous because the field of influence is reduced and you’ll have to be quite skilled at the discovery phase to ‘redifferentiate’ yourself.
Ray Stantz: “Drop everything, Venkman. We got one.”
SDRs are, by definition, juniors in their sales experience. This is simply because those who are particularly talented tend to learn quickly, and are driven by an ambition for other positions (managers, inside sales, account executives…).
This is why you want to dedicate time and attention to choosing the right person. You want people with drive and natural curiosity – people who have the will and skills to become thoughtful detectives and experts in their field.
Janine Melnitz: “Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?”
Winston Zeddmore: “If there’s a steady pay-check in it, I’ll believe in anything you say.”
No one is going to argue with the fact that outbound leads are the toughest to get, and thus, the most rewarding.
Peter Venkman: “Spengler, are you serious about actually catching a ghost?”
Egon Spengler: “I’m always serious.”
When someone responds to an email positively, you may feel as if you’ve just won an ECTO brand new 1959 Cadillac. Except if, from the very beginning, you were haunting the right manor, with the right bait and the best materials.
Raymond Stantz: “You know, it’s just occurred to me we really haven’t had a completely successful test of this equipment.”
In order to do so, they must have quality objectives. Unfortunately, when it comes to KPIs and SDRs, we often see ‘meeting scheduled’, ‘number of calls’, ‘number of emails’, and so on. Rarely is there an identified and validated opportunity worked with the sales representative. It does happen – but it’s very rare. Worst, in some cases they may be asked to come back with a budget, the name of the decision-maker and a time to close a deal after… just one or two interactions.
Egon Spengler: “Don’t cross the streams.”
Peter Venkman: “Why?”
Egon Spengler: “It would be bad.”
Peter Venkman: “I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, ‘bad’?”
Egon Spengler: “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”
Raymond Stantz: “Total protonic reversal.”
Peter Venkman: “Right. That’s bad. Okay. Alright, important safety tip. Thanks Egon.”
SDRs should work with the account executives who offer them a path to success and a ‘business strategies’ vision of the prospects – those who know how to work with their team to have a positive impact both at the operational and executive levels. By working together on a defined path, the SDRs and account executive can ask complementary questions that are relevant and pertinent to the prospect.
Peter Venkman: “I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! Let’s do it!”
Last but not least, mindset is everything. Train your SDRs, give them content that allows them to differentiate themselves, align their objectives with their peers, teach them social selling. Their position can be crucial in the generation revenue chain. Make it so.
Winston Zeddmore: “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “YES”!”
Caroline Franczia is a regular columnist for Maddyness and the founder of Uppercut First. Experienced in working for large companies such as Oracle, Computer Associates, and BMC, Caroline also lived in Silicon Valley for four years before moving to startups (Sprinklr, Datadog, Confluent) where she witnessed on the ground the benefits of a well-thought sales strategy. These are the foundations of UF: a structure that accompanies the European startups in their sales strategy by giving them an undeniable advantage in their go-to-market.