The following guest post was written by our friends over at TinderBox, who focus on pioneering technologies that enable companies to use the information they have in CRM, CPQ, ERP and other systems to create, deliver and track sales materials online.
As companies begin to invest more heavily in sales development – both in technology and in headcount – the results can often take time to materialize. However, there are several areas you can address if you’ve been at it for a while and have been getting less than desirable results. If you find yourself in that scenario, here are six areas to check that can silently kill your SDR function.
1. No Direct Dials
Getting on the phone to make cold calls is a task in itself. When an SDR begins to target a lead, it is important they are able to put themselves in a position to win. The inability to directly dial and reach a prospect creates unnecessary work, forcing an SDR to search for a way to get in contact with their target prospect, rather than calling their next potential target.
By having direct lines, SDRs are 147 percent more likely to have a conversation with a VP. Finding good data will help you grow your pipeline faster than nearly any other activity. If you make an investment in an SDR team, you should make a comparable investment in your data source.
2. Not Enough Outbound
When you plan how to meet your revenue goals, look to inbound channels to fill that pipeline. When you plan how to exceed your revenue goals, look to outbound.
Having an SDR team that can generate high-quality outbound leads with the right customers will allow you to push up-market faster and give you opportunities with the customers you want to do business with.
By focusing on an outbound model – assigning categories like revenue and geography – you give your SDR team more focus on who they are targeting. You can also give them the ability to find a deeper understanding on what is important to a prospect before passing the lead over to an account executive.
3. Call Reluctance
The sales development space has been noisy for the last two years, and everyone has an idea of how to make it better for the masses. However, there is no single book or idea that will work universally for every team.
All that noise can create a lot of tasks for SDRs to focus on that are not proactive activities, causing them to experience call reluctance. The amount of research and prep work SDRs do on an account should be limited – just enough information to have a few things to talk about with a prospect – and should only take a few minutes.
There is no amount of data that will ensure that a prospect will pick up their phone and listen to you. Reaching out to a prospect on social media, and having them favorite your tweet or connect with you on LinkedIn is a step in the right direction. However, it does not get you to your quota. You need to get on the phone and convert them
4. Giving Up Too Soon
After being both a cold caller and a stakeholder, I know first-hand that majority of the SDRs cold calling me give up after a couple of calls and emails. Data from companies like InsideSales shows that you need to get past six calls (not touches) to get a stakeholder on the phone. You cannot give up on a prospect too soon; just because they have not called you back, it does not mean they missed your message.
If your cadence stops after four calls – or even worse, one or two – go back and look at the results you are getting. If you aren’t flipping a high percentage of the companies you are calling, it might be time to rethink the amount of calls being placed to one person.
5. Inexperience with the C-Suite
The landscape of sales development has drastically changed in the past five years, and the experience needed to get hired is at an all-time low. With that, a new level of complexity is added to how you are hire and train your SDR team.
One of the first places to start is with the words and phrases used to get someone on the phone. SDRs often reach out to someone at the executive level to talk about their “pain points,” but they instantly lose credibility with their word choice.
Focus on your team’s ability to articulate your solution in a way that an executive will care about it. Or you can take it a step further and get them to drive the prospect to think. If your SDRs have the ability to provoke thought, it’s reasonable to expect that they can get meetings scheduled with the executive level.
6. Aiming High Without Knowing the Buyer
I’m a firm believer that you need to aim high inside of an organization and let gravity pull you down. Start at the C-level and figure out their reporting structure so you understand how they will likely buy. However, aiming high will only get you so far when you reach out to the wrong person. Take steps to minimize the amount of effort you put into calling the wrong prospects.
Stop assuming the person you are reaching out to is the decision-maker based on their title. Not every organization is set up the same way and reporting structures vary for each company. Start with mapping phone calls for the accounts to make sure that you are as effective as possible with your outreach.
SDR managers need to stop looking for a silver bullet that will fix all of the world’s problems. It will take time to see results, but it’s important to have a strong foundation.
Far too many executives will tell you an SDR needs to make 300 calls a week or more but they would never respond to the canned voicemail and emails their own team uses. Once you have given your team time to ramp up and get rolling, make sure they are reaching out to their prospects the same way you’d want someone to reach out to you.
Want to read more on making your sales team as effective and efficient as possible? Check out our 3 part series on “Why You Didn’t Meet Your Quota”.
- Why You Didn’t Meet Your Quota Last Quarter – Part 1
- Why You Didn’t Meet Your Quota Last Quarter – Part 2: Your Messaging Sucks
- Why You Didn’t Meet Your Quota Last Quarter – Part 3: Selling to a Single Point of Failure