An effective and efficient SDR team is key to building your business sales pipeline. Building such an SDR team is not easy, it can be challenging and if done right then it could take your business to the next level. But if you don’t, you might have to deal with a lot of challenges. For most startup SDR managers, it’s their first time not only building a team but also leading a non-sales function. Obtaining the right mix of people who fit the company culture while also being great at sales development can be difficult.
An Inside Sales Rep (SDR) is one of the most vital members of any B2B sales team. SDRs are basically responsible for building the first rapport with leads and converting them into opportunities. SDRs are crucial in the B2B sales cycle, and so you need to build an SDR team that can support the needs of your business.
Who are the SDRs (Sales Development Representatives)?
SDR stands for “sales development representative” or “sales development rep,” and is the title given to the person building your outbound sales team. Even if you haven’t built an outbound sales team yet, you’re probably already thinking about how you’ll build one.
An SDR performs three key functions: lead generation, lead qualification, and lead nurturing. The first part of their job is to generate leads by finding new people who might be interested in buying products or services from your company. For the purpose of generating leads, SDRs generally use several B2B lead generation tools. Right from connecting to the right prospects (based per defined persona) from various websites, digging deep inside the social media to running cold email campaigns. An SDR then qualifies those leads by determining whether they’re viable prospects or not (i.e., whether they have a budget, authority, and interest in making a purchase). Finally, once you’ve determined that someone is a good prospect, you’ll need to nurture them over time until they are ready to buy from you.
Sales Development Reps (SDRs) can play a major role in your company’s ability to close more sales every month. Before building the SDR team, businesses should identify and reduce such challenges, in order to have a successful SDR process in place. Here are some of the challenges that companies will face when building an SDR team.
- Onboarding SDRs before the Leadership
Many businesses make this mistake. It’s not a best practice if you are looking to build an effective SDR team. So the first step is to hire or decide on the Sales Development Leadership that would be responsible for the SDRs and their performance. A leader (SDL) would chalk out the strategy and ensure that deliverables are met. This is irrespective of whether the SDR team is outsourced or in-house.
- Reporting of the SDR team
It is always better when the Sales Development Leader (SDL) reports directly to the CEO. This way the leadership has the required degree of autonomy to make decisions with regard to the strategy etc. An SDL liaises with multiple teams like Marketing, Sales, Ops, etc, and hence a level of autonomy is important for the SDL to meet its deliverables.
SDRs normally look at growth within the Sales team, combined with generating sales qualified leads for the sales team makes reporting to sales leadership the best option but do keep in mind that sales leaders do not have enough time to mentor the SDR team, their priority is closing deals and this will always supersede the needs of the SDR team. The marketing team is responsible for branding, awareness, and generating the leads pipeline for the business. Something similar to the end deliverables of the SDR team, hence if reporting to the CEO is not an option then the next alternative is for the SDL to report to the marketing leadership (CMO, Head of Marketing, etc).
- Inbound Vs Outbound Leads
Many businesses fail to differentiate between inbound and outbound leads. Expecting a SDR to manage both is not recommended. Leads generated from inbound marketing efforts need lesser effort than the ones from outbound outreach. Outreach to outbound leads need to be more strategic, personalized, and focused
- Lack of appropriate tools & resources
A Sales Development Representative (SDR) is a critical part of every sales process. But not everyone is capable of succeeding in this role. SDRs are the first line of communication and contact between businesses and potential clients. They are the ones who must be able to identify clients’ needs and discover new opportunities and possible sales. A lot of businesses tend to overlook the importance of sales development representatives and focus instead of training their sales team. Sales development rep roles are changing rapidly with the rise of automation and the availability of sales prospecting tools. While the importance of sales development reps cannot be understated, providing them with the best tools for prospecting and outreach is equally important.
SDR teams can use tools like Zoominfo, Crunchbase, BuiltWith, Outreach.io, and SmartReach.io for email automation. SmartReach is designed to help SDRs in prospecting via Linkedin. It also lets Users automate and schedule the sending of personalized emails and follow-ups, improving response rates. SmartReach also assists SDRs in streamlining and automating their follow-ups as well as automating repetitive tasks and focusing on prospects who have responded to emails.
- Lack of job security
As the role of SDR has evolved, so have the challenges faced by companies that are building their sales development team. There’s a reason why SDRs are often called the “black sheep” of the sales team. When you look at the job description, it’s hard to see how a dedicated SDR can add tangible value to the company. The role of the SDR is to prospect and develop a pipeline of potential leads for the sales team. And because the SDR can be removed from the team at any time, many SDRs find themselves constantly worried about their job security.
As a management or sales development leader, you will need to instill a sense of job security via clear and transparent communication. SDRs should be made aware of the basis of the metric by which they would be measured and the timeframe by which they would need to meet the minimum threshold. From time to time you should also speak about the growth trajectory of a performer, this instills a positive outlook towards metrics.
- Finding the right talent
The success of the SDR role and the overall sales team is dependent on the people who handle this role. An SDR who does not know where to look and how to bring in new business is not worth the time and money, even if they are a great person and team players. The goal of hiring an SDR is to minimize the time it takes to make a sale and to increase the number of deals that close. This is done by increasing the number of leads entering the sales funnel and by closing deals faster. The ideal SDR candidate will have a strong desire to succeed, be a good problem solver, have strong communication skills, be a fast learner, and be a team player. Finding a candidate who has all of these skills and who is not afraid to cold call is not a simple task. Since SDRs are normally freshers or have very little experience, you should look for extroverts by learning about their extra-curricular activities. But the most important skill set is coachability.
- The daily scope of work is difficult to define
One thing companies often find difficult with an SDR profile is to define a definite scope of work on a daily basis. As SDRs bridge the gap between marketing and sales, they have to perform activities both on the marketing front and sales front. They have to actively get involved in marketing campaigns and speak to prospects or address queries of prospects from time to time. Such wide scope of work makes it challenging for companies to define the daily activities an SDR will perform. You need to be very clear with the job description of SDRs before you set up a process and start hiring.
Since SDRs play a huge role in ROI-based marketing and achieving sales targets, having an in-depth understanding of the role is very important. Since companies use many ways of collecting leads and contacting prospects it becomes difficult to create a proper training program for SDRs. SDRs need some very important skills such as effective communication, deal with tricky situations, and analyzing customer behavior. SDRs need to have in-depth knowledge of the product or service that the business offers, the knowledge level is equivalent to that of a customer success specialist, as on multiple occasions they would be answering queries related to the product and competitor features. SDR should also have a decent knowledge of the sales and after-sales process. Proper training of SDRs requires detailed training from an experienced mentor, who will be doing role plays, listening to calls, participating in calls, etc. Businesses should make certain that they have a proper training program in place in order to make the most out of their SDR team
To sum it up,
Challenges crop up when processes are not documented and expectations are not communicated. When assembling your SDR team, it’s important to give them a brief overview of what they are going to be doing. That way, they know exactly what they are getting into and how their job will affect the rest of the organization. After you have outlined the basics, it is important to follow up with an in-depth discussion of their work and how it will impact your business as a whole. Finally, provide important business information to the SDR department on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to keep them updated with achievements and targets.
SmartReach.io is the most effective tool to deal with SDR-related challenges. SmartReach is loaded with features and tools that help the SDR team get clarity or ease of work quite easily. ProspectDaddy, an email finder tool helps SDRs create a pipeline of leads and maintain a smooth flow of prospects. Using SmartReach.io will ensure a higher prospect-to-meeting ratio.
Little bit about how SmartReach helps SDR with prospecting (Prospectdady) and lead qualifications