Welcome to another Whiteboard Wednesday! I’m Chaz Knauft, Manager of Sales Development at DiscoverOrg, and I’m going to walk you through how to scale your inbound sales development team – and make sure your SDRs are efficient and effective while you do it.
Now – if you’re anything like us, you probably have some pretty lofty revenue goals to hit. That means that you’re gonna need to make sure you set good meetings – AND that those good meetings complete.
If you’re also like us, you probably love inbound leads. Those hotter-than-hot leads: people requesting information. They’re treated like gold.
I’m gonna walk you through a few things today that we’ve tried ourselves to optimize our own SDR team – and it worked – to show you exactly what you can do to make sure that your teams stays efficient, stays effective, and scales quickly.
1. What is a “qualified lead”? Marketing must agree
One of the first things that you can do to make sure that your team scales efficiently, is to align sales and marketing.
When I first came aboard, yeah, we were buddies with marketing over in sales, but we didn’t talk all that much. Maybe once a week, maybe once every two weeks, when we really hunkered down and worked things out.
Now I speak to marketing almost every day.
One of the things that you can do to make sure your guys are aligned, is to make sure you understand what a hot lead is, and what should not be passed on to your inbound SDR team.
One of the first things we did was identify a few key indicators to understand what’s probably not going to turn into a demo, what’s not going to be a good fit – those leads that your team should not spend a lot of time on.
PRO TIP: Get sales and marketing leadership to agree on very specific requirements for what is and what is not a qualified lead.
Exclude free email addresses
One of the first things you can do, is start to exclude free email addresses. Those Gmail’s, the Yahoo’s, the Outlooks of the world. People using those emails – because they’re not using their business email, they’re probably not nearly as interested in your product as someone who’s putting in their business email. Those people are serious about moving forward.
Exclude student email addresses
One of the other things that you can start backing out are students. Often times, we get a lot of requests from people, looking specifically for free data for a project that they’re working on at university. That’s not going anywhere. Let’s make sure that’s taken out completely.
Exclude keyboard mashers
The third one that you can make sure that you’re excluding, are those keyboard mashers. The people, who maybe they fill out a real email, because they got lucky. Let’s back those out. If it’s [email protected] … back it out.
PRO TIP: To keep your team focused on good fit, hot inbound leads, be sure to filter out leads with unfavorable characteristics.
Close the feedback loop with marketing
Now, one of the other things that we’ve done to align sale and marketing, is make sure that we have some 360-degree feedback. This means speaking with marketing on a daily basis, so they understand what my team is seeing.
For instance, every single day, I have my SDR rank our leads on a scale of one to five. 1 = the best lead I could have gotten; 5 = This is an intern in Antarctica.
By doing that, marketing can have a better understanding of what’s coming in on a daily basis, and they can adjust their metrics, and their messaging, to make sure that my team is getting the best leads possible.
PRO TIP: Develop some sort of rating rubric to provide feedback on quality to Marketing in a systematic way.
Once you’ve worked with marketing to understand what a hot lead is, and what should be passed over to your team – not only is that gonna help your team respond quicker, it’s also going to give your sale reps confidence.
Now, when you’re trying to scale your team, you want to make sure that they have the confidence to perform effectively and efficiently. That means making sure they’re getting the best of the best.
That means that they’re going to be confident when they’re dialing that phone number, when they’re sending out an email – that it’s going to be going right to that person. That person is interested, and dammit, they want to take a meeting!
2: Clarify sales goals
A second thing that we’ve done to make sure our teams stay efficient while we scale them is give them clear goals from day one.
At DiscoverOrg, we’ve found that one of the most effective things an inbound SDR can do is have an extremely quick speed to lead time.
Speed to lead
Insidesales.com found that if you’re able to reach out to someone within five minutes of their filling out a form on your website, there’s about 900% better chance that you’re going to contact them.
At DiscoverOrg, we try to make sure that people are being contacted within 90 seconds. During this time, my team is researching the prospect within our own system, maybe checking out their profile on Linkedin, checking out the company website, and getting a good idea of why they might be reaching out, what they do, and how we can help them.
And we secret shop to ensure that 90 seconds. Once a month, twice a month, I’ll get together with someone in marketing, and we’ll fill out a form on the website. We’ll see how long it takes my team to respond.
You gotta keep ’em honest.
PRO TIP: Set clear goals – and put a process in place to enforce and measure them. If the sales team knows the expectations are enforced, they will quickly become habit.
Dials per day
Now, one of the other clear goal that we set from day one are dials.
For my team, it’s 60 dials per day. That’s what they need to do, day in, day out.
Because they’re dealing with hot leads, the inbound team is gonna have a few more conversations than someone who’s doing a straight cold call roll.
Our cold call team, our outbound team, they’re focused on making sure that they hit 100 dials every single day.
3. Focus on getting same-day demos
The third thing that we’ve done here at DiscoverOrg – and that you can do – is ensure that your team scale efficiently, stay effective, is push for same-day or next-day demos.
In fact, let’s turn that into a hashtag: #samedaynextday.
When looking at our own internal data, we found that if someone is able to jump on a meeting that same day, they have a much better chance of showing up than somebody who takes a meeting three, four, or five days out.
We found that if we’re able to get them on same day, there’s about a 91% chance that they actually show up.
That rate drops a little bit if we get them on a demo the next day, but not by much.
Now, you can see here, two, three, four, five days out, it’s a coin flip, on whether someone’s actually going to show up to your meeting or not.
PRO TIP: Remove whatever barriers your sales team has to scheduling meetings for same day-next day.
Avoid open-ended scheduling
One of the things you want to do, to achieve a same-day/next-day demo, is avoid open-ended scheduling.
Often, reps are inclined to ask, “Do you have any time this week? Do you have any time? What works for your schedule later this month?”
What we try and do is, we always ask for TODAY: “What’s your schedule look like today? What’s it look like, this morning? What’s it look like this afternoon?”
We try to give prospects specific points of reference, so if they can’t do something today, they’re immediately thinking about the next day.
If things are too open, it paralyzes the prospect, they’re not sure what they’re calendar might actually look like. They’re just grasping at straws, hoping to find a time that works.
By forcing them to think about today, even if they can’t do something right then and there, they’re then thinking about tomorrow, which means, you’re gonna have a much, much better chance of actually having someone show up to your meeting.
Okay – to scale your inbound sales team, let’s recap:
Make sure you’re all in complete understanding of what a hot lead is, what a good fit is, and make sure that you’re giving that 360-degree feedback to marketing, so they understand what’s coming in on a daily basis.
Make sure that your team has clear goals, from day one. They need to know how many dials they should be making, and how quickly they need to respond to those inbound leads. We aim for 90 seconds. You do what works for you.
The last thing: Make sure that they’re booking meetings same day or next day. The earlier that they can get on that meeting, the better chance they’re actually going to show up.
By doing all of these things at DiscoverOrg, we’ve taken our conversion rate from around 25% to over 40% – a huge increase!
As such, we were able to hit our revenue goals – our extremely aggressive revenue goals – that leadership gives us.
I hope you learned something here. Thanks for watching another Whiteboard Wednesday. Stay tuned for another one every other week.