After streamlining your lead generation efforts and hiring sales development representatives (SDRs) to call and qualify prospects, the last thing you want is a process that doesn’t work. You may not have a significant ROI because SDRs can’t close deals. How do you identify and fix their mistakes? How do you train your SDRs to ensure that live transfer leads have meaningful conversations? Let’s explore the 10 most common mistakes that SDRs make when setting B2B appointments.
A classic mistake that SDRs make when calling prospects is targeting the conversation to be about them rather than the prospect. Let’s say your SDR calls a lead and qualifies them for immediate closing. In this case, the prospect becomes a live transfer lead.
However, the catch is that your reps need to be prepared to take the call and close the deal. Live transfer leads come into the conversation with an objective in mind: to purchase your company’s product or service. Instead of discussing negotiation details, product reviews, and prices, your SDR is weighing them down with small talk and repeating their conversation that had with a previous rep.
While an SDR may be following their process for a sales call, there may be a problem—the conversation isn’t about the prospect, it’s about the SDR and the business they’re representing. Efficiently training SDRs is crucial to focus on the objective and ensure that every conversation fulfills the prospect’s needs. Naturally, this would mean initiating a conversation and asking them about what problems they’re running into.
Personalization works best for closing calls and following up with leads. While your SDRs should follow a process, the cold calling script shouldn’t interfere with the close. Encourage your SDRs to keep an open mind when talking with prospects and guide the conversation in the direction that yields the best results.
It’s important to ask the customer to describe themselves and the problem they’re currently coming across. From here, your SDRs can propose solutions that solve their problem and ask for their insight on the matter. It also helps to repeat and rephrase what the prospect says to help them feel heard and connected to the SDR.
It’s not enough that your SDR chooses the right topic, has data on the prospect, and understands the prospect. The bigger question is, “Can your SDR convince leads to convert into sales prospects?” Listen to your SDR on a call with a prospect. Do they sound convincing?
An SDRs tone and speed are two critical talking components that affect the conversation. Your SDR’s tone and speed should mirror the prospect’s. How an SDR says certain things has an impact on how well the pitch is delivered and understood. Since the prospect doesn’t have nonverbal language to observe, and SDR’s voice, tone, and speed are crucial elements for forming a memorable first impression. For example, if the prospect sounds excited, the SDR should also be excited. If the potential client sounds calm and firm, the SDR should also strive to keep their voice and words calm and firm.
Overall, the purpose of sales development is to increase outbound reach and improve your sales pipeline. To achieve a goal, SDRs rely on cold calling and emailing. Understanding the best practices of these lead generation tactics become key tools for qualifying sales leads.
Perfect your subject line. We’ve all been there before—glancing at email subject lines to choose which ones to open, which to ignore, and which to delete. A Salesforce study shows that 64% of people open emails because of the subject lines. Keep your message clear, intriguing, and catchy. Be relatable and trigger a client’s curiosity rather than scrolling past your email.
Personalize the email. We’ve all hit delete on hundreds of generic company emails. Cold emailing your prospects doesn’t mean that your messages should be copy-pastes of each other. Have a personal detail in the email, such as an individual’s name or the company name. Generally, avoid sounding like a template and type like a human being created the message.
Have a clear Call to Action (CTA). Each email you send to a lead should have a goal. Recipients will stop reading your emails if they serve no purpose to them. What action would you like the lead to take? Read a blog, participate in a survey, or sign up for a free demo? Whatever you want them to do, make sure the purpose of the email aligns with a real pain point they have. Generally speaking, cold emailing serves three critical functions: provide information, provide solutions, or ask for information. Provide them insight with one—if not all—of these functions.
Provide before you ask. Gathering more information about your lead and bringing them closer to investing in your product or service is crucial. However, a prospect has no obligation to offer information to make your job easier. Therefore, give generously with no strings attached. When you provide value to a prospect without anticipating anything in return, they feel compelled to trust you and eventually repay your gifts with something that’s valuable to you.
Be confident. The quality of conversation, especially in a cold call, directly influences the outcome. Convincing people to listen to you out of the blue takes courage. Therefore, practicing speaking boldly, clearly, and calmly is a top priority for any SDR. Ask your SDRs to practice speaking alone and with each other and tackle anxiety before they start to dial.
Be human. No one wants to speak to a robot when they could end the phone call and carry on with their day. When you dial a client’s number, be relatable and create a good rapport. Scripted sales calling barely gets the emotion through and may not focus much on the client. Listen to the conversation you’re having and match the client’s tone, mood, and speed. Let them know that you care about the problems they’re coming across.
Have a goal. After breaking the ice and getting the prospect to listen to you, make sure you deliver the punchline—the purpose of your call. The immediate purpose might not be to close a deal, but your actions should lead up to that goal.
Prospecting is a continuous process, and more often than not, clients may forget to reach out after your initial call, message, or email. This means your SDRs need to reach out routinely and check in with prospects on a reasonable timeline. Following up with a lead supports top-of-mind awareness and increases the chances of growing a better relationship and closing a deal.
Collecting and analyzing data is at the core of modern sales prospecting. SDRs should use sales engagement platforms to collect and interpret data from leads. Data helps SDRs streamline daily processes and automate repetitive tasks, such as an email marketing drip campaign.
If your SDRs are still spending time on repetitive tasks, it’s time to productively use sales engagement platforms to free up their time. For example, do you have all of your prospect’s details in one streamlined database? Do you have records of each interaction with your SDR and the outcomes? Should you disqualify specific leads and score others highly?
With data to track each decision your prospects make, you can determine where each lead is in the sales funnel, how to motivate them, what their concerns are, and their potential value. In addition, your SDRs can walk into each call with a better understanding of their prospect, increasing the chances of closing business.
Run tests and consistently work to improve your data. What does each metric you collect mean? Should you change your collection methods? Are your measurements false? Learning from your data is the best way to improve your processes and improve sales best practices for your SDRs.
In a world of digital sales, there’s no reason to not use video. This is especially useful for SDRs operating on social networks. For example, if a client agrees to a video call, the SDR should keep their video on, even if the prospect doesn’t. In this way, the client knows that they’re free to see the face of their sales rep, even if they don’t reveal their own.
When a prospect is transferred for a phone call or a live video call, the last thing they expect is to experience technical difficulty on your side. The difficulty could be a sales rep who isn’t well-versed with software. Or sometimes the challenge could be unfamiliarity with hardware or a malfunctioning call system.
Performing test runs before starting your calls for the day and training SDRs on your preferred software is essential. If you run video calls with a prospect, it’s equally important to test your light. Proper lighting that illuminates the face without casting shadows that obscure the face is best.
During the meeting, beware of small mistakes such as muting yourself. A prospect shouldn’t be struggling to hear you, let alone missing whole sentences while you continue talking.
Another easy way to frustrate a prospect or lose a deal is getting distracted during a call. Imagine getting a call mid-meeting and the loud ringer suddenly cuts off your prospect while they’re explaining their problem or finally starting to warm up to you. Remember to turn off any notifications or reminders and remove any devices that can distract you from the conversation.
If an SDR is operating remotely, removing distractions may include moving to a different room without kids, turning down other forms of entertainment such as music in the house, or making all critical calls before a neighbor starts mowing their lawn. Investing in noise-canceling headphones with an excellent microphone goes a long way in improving call quality and minimizing distractions.
Distractions may also include any clothing you choose to wear during a video call. For example, a prospect may focus on your stained, un-ironed, or printed T-shirt for the entire call. Sometimes, a prospect may develop biases against an SDR based on their appearance.
When a prospect is on a call with an SDR, they are under the impression that they’re speaking with an expert. Therefore, they’ll ask any and all questions about the product or service and the company to influence their purchasing decision.
As an SDR, you need to understand the product or service, the problem it solves, and how to respond to different questions from prospects. It’s not enough to memorize the goods you’re promoting; you need to know their value for the customer to deliver the best sales lines. Always aim to sell the benefits rather than the features to convince a prospect.
A quick and easy way to lose a prospect is to focus on formal product or service descriptions. All too often, SDR trainers focus on product descriptions and generic sales pitches to train SDRs. Once in the field, the reps regurgitate the information they’ve previously absorbed. What’s worse, since the scenarios barely play out as planned, SDRs may panic and talk more than is necessary to save the call.
Of course, the curse of talking too much afflicts seasoned SDRs too. Play the recordings of each SDR and listen to client conversations to see who talks more and at what point. Do they maintain a healthy statement-question balance? Do they drone on about benefits but never get to the goal of the phone call?
No matter how experienced an SDR is, all of them have made at least one—if not all—of these appointment setting mistakes. As they continue to advance in the sales industry, they’ll start to recognize the errors they are making. It’s important that SDRs both acknowledge areas of improvement, and also act on them to better themselves and the company they are representing.
Do you want a guaranteed number of appointments made by SDRs each month? Contact Abstrakt Marketing Group today to learn how our SDRs set high-quality appointments with qualified leads!