January 7, 2016
Sales Development Reps (SDR)
Your SDR team is the face of your sales team – the first point of contact and the best chance you have at scheduling qualified appointments that will lead to closed business. Though the SDR is often an entry-level role, they are the gateway for your sales organization and it’s imperative to make sure your SDR team members are performing at the highest level. Here are five tips that can help you optimize the performance of your SDRs:
1. Stress the importance of the SDR role in your sales process
It’s important, first and foremost, that the SDR is known as an equally important player in the sales process throughout the company, starting with the sales team and working out from marketing to product to engineering – it’s not all about those that are closing! If the SDRs feel as though their role is not important to the overall sales process, you’ll see a decline in their performance.
You can constantly provide inspiration to your SDR team if everyone knows the importance of the role, especially from those at high levels of the organization. Since the SDR is an entry-level role, there’s sometimes nothing that gives an SDR a greater sense of value than when they are recognized or exposed to execs. This helps SDRs know that even at the very top of the organization, their role in the sales process is a valuable and important one.
2. Give recognition to your SDRs
SDRs are putting in a lot of grunt work to gather opportunities to hand off to the AEs and the rest of the sales team – sometimes things can be slow, there can be a bad month, you name it. When there’s success happening, make sure to celebrate it with the entire team. Positive reinforcement for the SDRs’ hard work will remind them of the impact they are having and will enable them to get through any of the challenging times with a better mindset.
Surprise your SDRs with recognition rewards! It’s one thing to win a planned and announced incentive, but it’s quite another to be given something when you weren’t expecting it. SDRs who hit their goal, or who set up an account that closed, or even those who have just been working really hard, deserve to be rewarded and it goes a much longer way when they aren’t expecting it.
Making sure that SDRs have a defined career path is an important factor as well. When an SDR can look around the office and see people who once sat in their seat now doing other functions around the company, it resonates with them. It not only shows that they are valued in their current role but that the company thinks highly enough that they could have a future there beyond the SDR team.
3. Utilize tools and metrics to make sure the SDR sees the “fruits of their labor”
While it’s important to give SDRs recognition in qualitative ways, providing them with metrics and tools to see the fruits of their labor is equally important. You can do this by creating a commission incentive that aligns SDR meetings set with revenue – this is a direct, monetary way that your SDRs will see the results of all their hard work, and even if it’s small, something that will stand out to them on their next paycheck.
Allow your SDRs to see how their opportunities progress throughout the sales cycle, whether in your CRM or during manual feedback sessions. This allows them to stay up-to-date on the opportunities they have created, and especially if it’s in your CRM, to quickly search and see how said opportunities are doing.
Along the same lines, there should be regular feedback between your SDRs and AEs on the quality of set meetings – this can be done, again, automatically through your CRM (perhaps a field that AEs are required to fill out that then gets sent to the SDRs) or can be an internal rule that AEs have to send an email to the SDR after they have the meeting and give them feedback that way. This gives constant feedback to the SDRs and reassures them that the work they’re doing and the opportunities they are creating don’t just get lost in a void – there’s real updates about what’s happening!
4. Experiment to find the right SDR / AE ratio
I’ve seen organizations that do a 1:1 ratio, and that can get a bit hairy. The SDR might have an AE who’s not closing business, the AE might be giving the excuse of “they’re not setting up enough opportunities for me to close,” and animosity can develop between the two. The ideal ratio depends on the size of your organization – experiment to figure out what works best for you! Whether it’s 4:2, 3:1, or potentially even 1:1, there’s a sweet spot you want to hit so that both can work in tandem and optimize performance for the organization as a whole.
When determining which SDRs should pair with which AEs, try and determine if there’s also a personality fit between them. Eventually, they will sync up and be working in tandem, but you want to make sure that the chances of that happening sooner rather than later are the highest they can be and that you aren’t having a butting of heads between an SDR and an AE.
5. Be very explicit about the SDR to AE handoff
What is a qualified lead in your organization? When should the handoff happen? What exactly is the handoff process? These are all questions that you should ask yourself and your SDR team to gather their input. The more explicit you are about the handoff, the smoother your organization will run and the less chances you have of dropping great opportunities. Make sure your SDRs know precisely when to handoff the opportunity to the AE – it will most likely ease the stress of their overall job if they have a strict rubric. If they are unsure about when the handoff occurs, you could be having a great opportunity sitting in limbo for weeks at a time because the handoff process was not correctly defined.
By exploring these steps to make sure you’re optimizing your SDR team’s performance, you’re helping your organization have a better top of funnel process, which in turn, helps you achieve a better overall sales cycle. Sit down with your SDRs, communicate with them and have an open discussion about what is and isn’t working. At the end of the day, it’s important that you receive feedback from the source itself – you could be missing something major. This will give your organization the highest chances for more qualified meetings and revenue generation.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community