As a Sales Development Manager in the B2B technology space it’s not uncommon to see sales development reps become intimidated when being introduced to a client whose technology or industry is new to them. As they’re receiving introductory information on the new tech and industry, some SDRs seem to focus on the intricacies of the technology rather than developing the correct messaging strategy to uncover ideal opportunities. Our job is to qualify or disqualify the client’s target accounts by identifying each account’s business challenges, understanding their current processes, and determining the time frame and budget structure of their organization. We want to generate qualified leads for our sales engineers! As SDR’s, our job does not include diving into every technical aspect of the product with a prospect. At that point, the prospect is a passed lead and speaking with a product specialist to uncover further technical details.

Of course, the SDR needs to be prepared with a high-level understanding of the project on hand in order to be able to field more general questions during their initial calls. But when it comes down to it, the rep is the one who should be asking the questions. It is the Sales Development Reps job to listen, qualify, and then pass it to the sales engineer who can dive into a more comprehensive introduction to the offering and answer any technical questions.

The following tips should always be considered when prospecting for a new client or unfamiliar space:

1. Use your client’s expertise.

Your client will be able to provide an informative yet concise elevator pitch that you can use on the fly. Put this pitch into your own words, but trust their overall messaging and remember it’s better to sound like you’re reading from a script and say the right thing rather than sounding conversational and saying the wrong thing. Once you dive into making calls, the right message will come out the right way.

2. Ask open-ended questions.

Get your prospect to start thinking about their pains and needs without directly asking what they are. Be prepared and start off each dial knowing which questions need to be answered for the opportunity to be fully qualified. If you’re asking the right questions the prospect’s pains and needs will be highlighted and you can offer your product’s solution to genuinely help your prospect’s business challenge.

3. Use your beginner-level knowledge to your advantage.

Sometimes getting asked a very technical question is simply unavoidable. This should never be where the conversation dies. Instead, explain your role as an SDR looking to help people solve a business pain and connect them with a new technology or product that can do so. Transition to the fact that you would like to coordinate a meeting with one of your sales engineers who would then be able to answer technical questions and provide a more comprehensive overview of the offering. When technical questions come up, be sure to continue the dialogue by inquiring about any unqualified aspects of the conversation while highlighting that it will enable your colleague to be fully prepared to tailor future conversations to their specific environment and needs.

Whether your sales development team is prospecting for the same client for the second year in a row or it is the start of their first week on the phones, they should always remember that it is the prospect that should be talking and not themselves. A simple, structured approach that we like to adhere to is the 80/20 rule. If your SDR is driving the conversation appropriately, they should only be talking 20% of the time. How do you train your team of SDR’s to generate qualified leads?