Developing the right outbound sales or SDR (Sales Development Representative) team can make or break your business. A strong outbound team will help your company grow, and a weak team will waste time, money, and other valuable resources. These sales reps will be responsible for bringing in new business to your company, thus making the creation and management of their team vital. A few weeks back I attended a webinar hosted by SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter and Sales Hacker CEO Max Altschuler, titled “How to Triple Your Sales Qualified Meetings.” The webinar focused on seven tactics to not only hire the right outbound sales team but to foster an environment of growth and success. If put to good use these tips can add significant value to your business.
Recognize & Prioritize
SDR’s often generate your first contact between a prospective client and your business. As outbound sales reps, these employees are reaching out to leads who; do not know you, often have no understanding of your business’s product, and did not request to be contacted – meaning these reps are “cold calling” and will be receiving a lot of rejection. While the role is basic and generally entry-level, these reps are doing your dirty work and should be recognized for doing so. To create a successful team of SDR’s you must understand their effort, recognize it accordingly and make sure that they understand their importance to your company. If you can successfully do this, you will empower your SDR team and create a system of continual growth and the overall organization wins.
Project Your Visions & Values
Any company’s values begin at the top of the org chart. Values are long-term strategic goals and beliefs, and are often overlooked by employees with more day-to-day tasks (such as SDR’s). It is extremely important to make sure your business values trickle down to every single employee at your company – and especially your SDR team. This group of employees is making first contact with the general public and if they aren’t portraying the correct message you would probably be better off without them. Vision and core values start on day one. The moment your new hire walks in the door is the moment they should begin to learn and live by your company’s culture and values.
Hire These Visions & Values
The SDR position is currently one of the most available and applicable job titles in the tech industry. With little experience needed to be an SDR, the position sees a lot of employees who “jump ship” as they are overwhelmed with similar offers for similar positions at similar companies. This means it is absolutely necessary to hire the right people, who are going to stick with your company and grow with it as well. When hiring you should consider three things: Does this person already exhibit my company’s values and visions? Can I see this employee being a high level executive at my company some day? Does this employee want to learn and develop within my company? If you can answer yes to those three questions, HIRE THEM IMMEDIATELY. Gain a verbal commitment, extend your offer and make sure you don’t lose them to another company.
“Sales reps do what their compensation model says, not what their boss says.”- Kyle Porter.
While it may sound a bit shallow, it is simply human nature – making your compensation structure is extremely important for hiring and keeping your SDR talent. A tiered and uncapped commission structure not only allows an SDR to make as much money as they want, but also incentivizes them to work harder. SDR’s should have a monthly quota (minimum amount of appointments set) followed by a monthly on target quota (recommended/average amount of appointments set). By uncapping your commission structure you will remove the desire for a rep to hold back or “sandbag” leads for the following month, because their commission will be maximized either way. Simple organizational structures like this will ensure your SDR’s are paid fairly and that they also work their hardest each day, week and month.
Let Them Win
Start your reps off right with an onboarding process that makes it impossible not to succeed. Instead of bringing your new rep into their role, why wouldn’t you bring them into your entire company? New hires need and want to learn about their organization and day 1 is when this must start. If you want your reps to actually live out the aforementioned company values and goals, then they must be aware of how each aspect of the company functions to fulfill those values and goals. Have your new reps move around the office, work with different teams and get to know their co-workers and their respective roles.
It is also crucial to make sure new reps are able to perform well and surpass expectations from the get go. Quotas exist for sales reps that are already performing at pace for their position – sending a new hire into an SDR role and expecting them to hit quotas immediately will have adverse effects on morale and confidence. By setting up new reps with a gradually increasing quota and easy wins to get them started, you will foster a successful, motivating, and exciting environment.
Feedback, Feedback, & More Feedback
Developing a strong and sustainable SDR team doesn’t stop after hiring the right candidates. This team will grow and change with time, and you must continually provide ways for your reps to make this happen. Some sort of continual feedback system is imperative. Whether these are 1 x 1 meetings with a sales manager, standardized team trainings, or even offsite outings with fellow team members, it is absolutely necessary to provide your SDR team with constructive outlets. Allow your reps to speak freely amongst one another at a scheduled outing or to yourself in a 1 x 1 meeting. This will create an environment of honesty, creativity, and growth- all of which will help your SDR team perform at their best.
Develop A Structure
While every employee will eventually find their own voice, style, and technique, it is still necessary to start them off with everything that they need – give them a foundation to use and build upon. Whether this is a calling script, email templates, day-to-day workflow, or any other form of success structure, it is important to make sure your new reps start off on the right foot. Once a rep has adjusted to their new role and new company, they will then begin to customize this foundation and collaborate with others to find best practices. By keeping your reps organized you will reduce confusion, making their jobs easier and eventually making success more attainable.
Although these tactics may seem basic and obvious, it is not often that all seven are utilized within an organization. By combining the above ideas and implementing them into your SDR team strategy, you will create a successful team of motivated, hard working employees. These employees will develop and grow along side your company generating a high-powered outbound sales team.