The need for sales development representatives (SDRs) is becoming more and more apparent every day. The buyer’s journey is changing, and simply pushing out promotional items about your products or services doesn’t cut it anymore. Buyers want to feel in control, they want to feel as if they’ve directed their own discovery process. For this reason, it’s our job as B2B marketers to guide them in a way that feels seamless and natural. This is where an SDR team comes in.
Sales development is one of the most important processes any sales organization or B2B business can have. When you have a sales development process in place, you become a lead generating machine. Having an SDR team is important because they will continuously provide a funnel of qualified leads to your sales representatives. Meanwhile, sales reps can focus on what they do best—selling. Sales reps are not motivated to prospect, they’re motivated to sell. When you have a team that is motivated and compensated to prospect, your organization will explode with leads and you’ll generate more revenue.
A Sales Development Representative (SDR) is an inside sales representative whose job is to solely focus on prospecting and engaging with leads. Using phone calls and emails, they move prospects through the sales funnel, qualify them, and set up appointments for B2B sales reps. If your sales reps are cold calling, they’re wasting a lot of valuable time engaging with buyers who are unqualified or simply not interested. An SDR solves this problem and allows sales reps to focus only on selling to qualified leads who have agreed to a sales meeting.
Why Should You Have An SDR Team?
An SDR team helps you generate more leads and increases revenue, but it also creates more opportunities within your organization. There are so many talented professionals who may be passionate about bringing in new sales for your company, but don’t necessarily want to do sales themselves. A sales development team creates positions for people who are passionate about growth and sales, but don’t want to actually be in a position where they have to sell. As an SDR, they can still be involved and contribute to the overall success of your organization.
If there’s anyone in your organization you should care about keeping happy, it’s your SDRs. If SDRs are happy and motivated, they’ll be more successful and stay in their positions longer. It’s extremely important to place an emphasis on keeping SDRs in their position long-term.
There are several reasons why you should want to keep your SDRs in their position long-term:
- The obvious reason—sales development is a critical part of a B2B sales success
- The ramp-up period for training an SDR can be 1-4 months
- Once an SDR has bought into your organization’s mission and the “why” behind what they’re doing (why consumers need a product or service like yours), they’ll perform at a higher and more consistent rate. The result? An insane amount of leads.
As one can see, SDRs are an extremely critical component of any successful B2B sales program. This alone should be enough reason to want to keep them happy in their role. But it’s also important to keep in mind that it can take several months to train SDRs. Once an SDR has developed the passion and skill necessary to be successful, you want to keep them in their role.
How do you keep SDRs happy and motivated so that they’re successful in their jobs?
Many sales organizations are stuck on the idea that motivating SDRs is all about the three C’s—contests, compensation plans, and competition. In reality, this doesn’t work at all. The three C’s, more often than not, work well for sales teams, but SDRs are different.
If you want to motivate SDRs to stay in their position for a long time, focus on the following:
It may seem small, but SDRs thrive on positive feedback. In a sales organization, it’s easy for SDRs to feel like they’re at the bottom of the food chain. Sales reps are the ones who actually pitch to prospects and close deals, so SDRs often feel like they play an insignificant role in the process. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. An SDR team is essential to any sales program; without it, sales reps wouldn’t have as many prospects to pitch to. This is why it’s crucial to make your SDRs feel important.
Here are just a few ways you can provide positive feedback to an SDR:
- Words of affirmation and encouragement on a weekly basis—a simple “great job,” or “thank you for all the hard work,” can make an SDRs day
- Handwritten thank-you notes when you notice an SDR has been doing a standout job or reached a big milestone
- Company-wide shoutouts—an SDR will greatly appreciate being recognized in front of the whole organization
- Shoutouts in team meetings—even if you’re not shouting an SDR out in front of the entire organization, getting recognized in front of your peers feels just as good
- Celebrate all accomplishments, big and small
If you make positive feedback a priority, your team will make hard work a priority.
Oftentimes, it isn’t a bonus check or brand new iPad mini that an SDR wants. In fact, when it comes to motivating and engaging SDRs, most would prefer intangibles over financial incentives. Things like work/life balance mean a lot; so, if you want to reward one of your team members for their hard work, consider letting them off early on a Friday. Or, offer work from home incentives. Your SDRs work hard, and the last thing you want is for them to burn out.
Even though SDRs play an important role in sales organizations, they may not always feel this way. One way to make an SDR feel like an important asset and trusted team member is to give them special projects. Trusting your SDR team to take on special projects gives them a sense of purpose and pride, and they will feel like they play a vital role in the organization.
One example of a project you could give to an SDR is the development or testing of a new product. Letting specific reps test out a new product or service and forge the path for how that product will work for your organization is a huge responsibility, one that will make SDRs feel important and valued.
As an SDR, it’s motivating knowing that you can get promoted. Most SDRs, even if they love their job, don’t want to stay in that position forever. They want to be shown that it’s possible to advance within the company. For this reason, you should build out your SDR team to include many opportunities for growth and “micro-promotions.” Don’t just have SDRs and managers who lead teams of SDRs, have many steps in between to give every member of your team something to work towards at all times.
Consider adding the following positions to your sales development team to allow for micro-promotions:
- Senior Sales Development Representative/Team Lead—You’ll come to find that many of your SDRs have leadership qualities and are interested in pursuing leadership one day. It should be a goal of yours to grow your sales development team to the size where you’ll need several team leads. This allows for plenty of leadership opportunities.
- Tenured SDR (SDR I, SDR II, and SDR III)—If someone loves their position as an SDR, keep them there, but you should still give them opportunities to move up. Create levels for the SDR position and outline different milestones team members must hit to move up. This way, even your SDRs who love what they’re doing have something to work for.
- B2B Sales Representative—maybe someone eventually wants to be in sales themselves. Once your sales development department is developed, you should require that someone be an SDR before they become a sales rep. Being an SDR prepares you for pitching and closing deals because you learn so much about the sales process and the product/service that your organization sells.
No one wants a dead-end position. Be sure to build out the positions that make the most sense for your organization as soon as possible. This will motivate SDRs to work harder at their jobs.
Piggybacking off micro-promotions, you should also be encouraging your SDRs to pursue some sort of leadership position. Simply creating the position is not enough. Encourage each member of your team to reach for more. Ask them where they see themselves after a few months in their position: what is it that they like? What kind of position can they see themselves in eventually?
Why is it important to encourage leadership on an SDR team? A few reasons:
- You can help team members get to where they want to be
- It shows your team members that you care about their professional success
- You can get your team members excited about pursuing leadership
- When SDRs are excited about leadership and have something to work for, it motivates them to work harder
If you’re not already strongly encouraging leadership on your SDR team, it’s time to start doing so. Not only will it make your relationships stronger with your team members, but it will also make them want to work harder than they ever have before. Hard work from your SDR team = more leads = more revenue.
What keeps our SDRs at Abstrakt motivated? See what one of them had to say:
Happy and motivated SDRs perform better in their jobs. A high-performing SDR team means more leads generated which means more revenue for your organization. It’s so important that B2B sales organizations care about the emotional well-being of their SDR team. When you do, nothing can stop you from becoming a lead generation powerhouse.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we understand how important sales development is to organizational success. Ready to fill your sales pipeline and dominate your market? Contact us today.