No matter what product or service you’re selling, in today’s competitive market, every growing business needs a team of sales development representatives (SDRs) to consistently grow their pipeline and generate more revenue opportunities.
SDR teams have become an essential part of business growth efforts. From tracking the right metrics, you can see how SDRs are contributing to your company’s overall sales success and ensure they are performing to the best of their abilities.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:
What Does an SDR Do?
A sales development representative (SDR) is an inside sales professional who focuses on engaging prospects and moving potential buyers through each stage of the sales cycle—from prospecting to securing sales meetings. After an SDR qualifies, nurtures, and sets a sales meeting with a prospect, it’s up to sales and account executives to present the potential buyer with a sales presentation that encourages them to sign on the dotted line.
Research shows that sales teams have a 56% greater chance of hitting their quotas if they engage potential buyers before going for the close. This is what makes SDRs and sales development teams overall such an impactful asset to your business growth efforts. With continuous sales development action, SDRs have the opportunity to build top of mind awareness and pique the interest of potential buyers, increasing the likelihood of generating more revenue.
SDRs must obtain a variety of hard and soft skills to effectively move leads through the sales funnel. Additionally, they must be knowledgable about:
- Sales prospecting
- The prospect’s industry
- Your company’s sales process
- Your product and services and their value on other businesses
- Knowing the right questions to ask prospects on a call
- Qualifying and disqualifying leads
Overall, the role of an SDR is to set up quality meetings and appointments so that sales and account executives can spend the majority of their time talking to the most qualified leads.
For more insight into the differences between account executives (AEs) and SDRs, read our blog here.
Daily Responsibilities of an SDR
Daily SDR responsibilities vary each day; however, their process should remain consistent to ensure sales and account executives are set up with high-converting sales opportunities. A few of the most consistent daily responsibilities our top SDRs include:
Connecting With Prospects
Generating qualified leads is half the battle of B2B appointment setting. More often than not, decision-makers are more likely to say “no” than they are to say “yes” to schedule an appointment. Therefore, generating leads is about finding companies that are interested and qualified for your company’s product or service offerings.
When connecting with potential sales opportunities, SDRs must first aim to cleanse (or qualify) prospects in the pipeline. Within the first few conversations, an SDR should gather the following information from prospects:
- Decision-maker name
- Decision-maker job title
- Decision-maker email address
- Company qualifiers (such as number of full-time employees, amount of yearly revenue generated, etc.)
Gathering all the information above is crucial to ensure SDRs speak with someone who can make financial decisions to close business with your company. Additionally, getting the decision-maker’s email address allows SDRs to distribute sales and marketing emails through an email drip campaign, which nurtures the relationship and progresses their journey down the sales cycle.
Nurturing Qualified Leads
Even if a qualified lead is currently not interested in your company’s product or service, it’s crucial to keep them in the sales pipeline in case they have a need or interest down the road.
Believe it or not, our appointment setting data suggests most appointments set between qualified prospects and account executives come from leads that are in the nurturing phase of the purchasing funnel. While the decision-maker may have not been ready to schedule a meeting after the first few points of contact, nurturing the relationship encourages them to gain more trust of your business, reducing the amount of time they spend in the sales cycle.
There are several ways to nurture a lead, including making follow-up phone calls and implementing leads into email drip campaigns. These lead nurturing methods are effective because it shows the prospect that you haven’t forgotten about them and their potential partnership with your company.
Additionally, lead nurturing allows your sales representatives to gather more critical data that could help close a deal in the future. For example, a lead might not get into budget logistics during their first phone call. However, once they feel comfortable speaking to SDRs during follow-up phone calls, they might give an estimate of when they’ll have the money and approval to move forward with a project.
Making follow-up calls enables SDRs to speak one-on-one with the prospect to get an idea of where they’re currently at in the sales cycle. Warm calls give SDRs the opportunity to get a more accurate timeline of when they’re planning to make a purchasing decision, ensuring they follow up with the prospect at the right time.
Additionally, implementing an email drip campaign into your sales development process is an effective way to nurture leads in the pipeline. Nurture emails can keep your brand top of mind for leads during every stage of the sales funnel and increase the likelihood that they’ll consider you a reliable option when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. When paired with follow-up phone calls, email marketing campaigns serve a more significant role in your business growth strategy.
Setting High-Quality Sales Meetings
Ideally, the end goal of appointment setting is to schedule sales meetings with interested and qualified prospects. Although SDRs need to set appointments, it’s vital to schedule them with businesses that meet your company’s criteria. Without identifying company qualifiers, SDRs risk setting up meetings with businesses that provide little to no value to your company. Unfortunately, this can result in a loss of revenue and hours of wasted time that could have been spent on more promising leads.
How to Measure SDR Performance
While SDRs may be able to talk the talk, they must also walk to the walk. Tracking and measuring SDR performance is essential for exploring the impact of your approach to business growth.
Here are a few of the most crucial SDR metrics to follow to ensure their performance is up to speed with company and industry standards:
- Number of qualified appointments: This is the most straightforward metric that SDR team managers should be tracking—how many appointments is an SDR able to set on a daily or monthly basis? If an SDR is able to set a solid number of qualified sales meetings, this means their approach is working.
- Quality of phone calls and emails: While an SDR may be able to set a lot of sales meetings, this doesn’t mean that they’re all high-quality and likely to convert into close business. Grading sales calls and emails that result in an appointment set is essential for ensuring that sales and account executives are set up with qualified prospects that are ready to make a purchase, and have the opportunity to do so.
- Number of dials or emails to appointments: This metric demonstrates how effective an SDR is at qualifying a prospect, building the relationship, and adding value to your business. The fewer number of calls made or emails sent to a prospect before setting an appointment, the more impactful the SDR is in their role.
- Appointment show rate: Scheduling sales appointments means nothing to sales teams if the prospect doesn’t show up. Examining the appointment show rate is crucial for seeing if sales opportunities actually attend the appointments set. If not, it may be worth examining the SDR’s appointment setting approach so tweaks can be made where needed. To improve appointment show rate, SDRs should send out meeting reminders via email and request that they accept the calendar invite. For more appointment show rate best practices, read our blog here.
- Sales and account executive feedback: Asking for feedback from sales and account executives is crucial for understanding the quality of the sales appointment. If little to no appointments are converting into sales, it’s important that SDRs get feedback from sales and account execs to learn what kind of sales meetings have the most impact.
SDR Best Practices
So, what separates a good SDR from a not-so-good SDR? Here are some SDR best practices that sales reps should follow to get the best outcome from their appointment setting efforts:
Personalize Each Conversation With Prospects
No one wants to be reduced to a number. If leads feel like you only care about their money and don’t care about their pain points, you’re going to have a hard time making a sale. Great SDRs know how to make their leads feel heard, respected, and valued, and they do so by personalizing their approach.
A personalized approach doesn’t mean you have to type out an entirely unique message every time you email a lead. It also doesn’t mean you need to learn everything about a prospect to make a sale. Personalizing your approach means you pick up on important information, remember it, and reference it during your conversations. Something as simple as using your lead’s first name in an email subject line or referencing a previous conversation can go a long way.
Be Professionally Persistent
SDRs can’t take rejection personally. Sometimes, it takes 10 nos before you get one yes—that’s just the nature of sales. Just because someone hangs up on you one day doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you a few months later, but you won’t know that unless you keep calling.
In the years since we rolled out the SDR role, our clients have made millions of dollars as a direct result of our persistence. In some cases, the lead wasn’t ready to buy at first, but we kept them in our pipeline for years until they were. In other instances, leads tried to rush us off the phone at first because they were wary of sales reps—until they actually listened and realized they needed our clients’ services. The best SDRs never write off a lead that has a chance of turning into a sale, no matter how small the chance.
Focus on Relationship Building, Not Making a Sale
In the past, prospecting was an impersonal process: dial a random number, give a rehearsed spiel to whoever answered, see if they would bite, hang up, and repeat. When we were developing the SDR role, the sales process was becoming more nuanced. The term “cold calling” had an increasingly negative connotation, and leads were tired of receiving sales pitches from random people who didn’t even know their name. As we looked forward to the future of B2B lead generation, we knew building relationships was crucial. A great way to build relationships with leads as an SDR is taking notes during every follow-up call and using them as a point of discussion for future conversations.
When savvy SDRs make their first call, they don’t immediately launch into a pitch. Instead, they introduce their business and then shift their focus to the lead. The account executive’s responsibility is to sell a product or service; SDRs are responsible for qualifying and building rapport.
Ask Prospects the Tough Questions
Buyers often make purchases based on their emotions. If you can promise that a product will solve a frustrating problem, you increase your probability of making a sale. First, however, you have to learn what’s frustrating them—which is easier said than done. Your leads may be hesitant to tell a stranger about issues with their current provider, but you can typically make some headway by asking hard questions.
Here are a few tough questions that SDRs should ask prospects to learn more about their pain points:
- What’s one thing your current provider isn’t willing to provide?
- Why did you select your current provider for their products or services?
- What would it take for you to make a change to your current solution?
- What’s important to you when it comes to a B2B relationship?
If you want to grow your business, you can’t rely on referrals and disorganized marketing efforts—you need a focused, strategic approach, and an SDR team can help you put your business growth plan into action.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we provide B2B companies with a complete team of world-class SDRs for less than the price of one full-time internal sales rep. Additionally, you get the sales industry expertise, a proven process, and the adaptability that only an established outsourced sales and marketing company can offer.
Contact the sales reps at Abstrakt to learn how our SDRs can help you build your pipeline and generate more consistent sales opportunities!