B2B sales. The right way.
Many companies are separating Sales into a team that regularly finds prospective clients, and one that closes deals. Those that succeed can benefit from a steady stream of prospective clients to talk to. How do they achieve it? How should you manage a sales team?
That’s what I want to discuss, based loosely on our own example.
Sales Development Reps take care of finding new prospects to outreach, qualify them as leads and hand them over to Sales reps.
Traditionally Sales reps would do all this themselves. Adding a second, more specialised team is benefitial, but it is tricky too.
It’s still quite a new concept, that’s why I want to show you the main aspects of successfully managing a sales team (SDR).
Focusing on their needs, I want to tell you what’s most important for SDR:
Your SDRs need tools, but it’s a subject for a whole other article that I’ll try to cover soon.
Organise a Sales Development library, that will consist of a few must-reads and a lot of additional resources.
SDRs need to get your company’s playbook, with details about culture, rules and obligations. For SDRs specifically, the most important information is about:
Your sales development reps will often be the first ones to contact customers. You can’t let them sacrifice their credibility – a full Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook profile are a must-have. Plus a good-looking e-mail footer.
They should be present and active on social media because that’s the way of the world.
Introduce a habit of adding connections on Linkedin. It’s a powerful network and some of those connections will become valuable customers in the future.
The core of Sales Development is generating qualified leads (Read more about cold email lead generation). To help your specialists do that, prepare:
Add to your SDR content library straightforward instructions on how to:
“The terms “Go get it” and “Get after it” don’t mean, “I hope this sales thing works out for me. Any day now.””
It’ll help me illustrate my next point. Sales development is often seen as a gateway to other positions at a company – account executive, sales rep, etc.
And remember it’s still a job in Sales, where the “hungriest” win.
Because of all that, you want to create an environment where hard work is “the usual”. SDRs will learn quicker, because there’s nothing that ambitious people can’t do when facing a challenge (quota, deadline).
Remeber that unrealistic expectations (like “generate 100 qualified opportunities a day”) will quickly lead to burnt-out employees.
When setting goals, consider:
Say your Sales Reps can effectively stay in touch and work with 20 leads a month, then SDRs should approach 200 prospective customers (assuming a 10% response rate).
I should add that the way you set-up the workflow is unique (to some degree) to your company.
An SDR does a lot of repetitive tasks. Each SDR should personally organise their work into a clear process (ideally a checklist).
Experienced SDRs or managers should help new reps do it – to show them which tasks have the biggest priority.
Teach persistence. Sales development is a high-priority part of a well-oiled sales engine. In order for your company to be profitable, SDRs have to keep generating sales opportunities. They need to know how important their job is.
TOPO (sales acceleration research company) says that it takes between 8 to 12 attempts (emails, calls) to finally connect. And it’ll only get harder. But they need to keep doing it because Sales Development is about scale.
The most important metric for SDR performance is the number of qualified opportunities (prospects that match your ideal customer profile) they generate.
But that’s regarding experienced reps. When you’re training new SDR sales, you could measure their progress by:
Feedback will keep your team running. For instance:
Now you should have a better idea of how to approach SDR management. Most important tip? Be patient. Seriously, it takes time before you fully work it out and your SDR team can take about 6 months to be fully effective.
Plus, you have to help other teams get used to the new model and new tasks that come with the package.
But overall re-organising your sales team this way is very much worth it.