As a VP of Sales you’ve probably encountered this situation before. You’ve got a nice healthy amount of meetings at the top of your funnel and you have capable field reps there to take those meeting and transition them to closed business… Should be a pretty straight forward conversion process, right? However, you notice that out of all these meetings taking place your forecasted closed business is still not where you’d like it to be. How could that be? From my experience the problem can often be traced back to the initial meetings themselves. Most often what I see as the primary issue can be outlined in the scenario below.

Having managed a team of Sales Development Reps (SDR) one of the things I liked to do when an SDR passed a lead was walk over to their desk and say “Hey! I heard you just passed a lead, tell me about it!” The following conversation ensues:

SDR: “Well I sent out a mass email explaining what we do and asking for some time and someone replied back.”

Me: “OK, what did they say?”

SDR: “Here, read the email….’I am available early next week and would like to learn more.’ So I went ahead and set it up.”

Let’s just stop it right there.

While I appreciate the enthusiasm of a rep when they get someone on the hook, herein lies the problem.This SDR has no idea why this prospect would like to take a call and no information on their current environment. Most importantly, they have no idea what their pain is. What SDRs should do in these situations is pick up the phone, call the prospect, mention they received the email reply, and proceed to further qualify.

Above timeframe, budget and authority, identifying pain is highest on my priority list when reviewing a lead from an SDR.

Pain felt from the right person within an organization gets things moving.

Pain identified in an initial conversation saves the field rep from dealing with a tire kicker. Getting those probing questions answered is key in making sure that not only is your funnel filled with tons of meetings but that those meetings are likely to keep moving down the funnel to closed business.

For me it’s all about quality over quantity. It’s hard for a field rep to get excited about a prospect they know nothing about. Context is super important to their process and should not be overlooked by the SDR supporting them. So take a closer look at the meetings your SDR’s are booking and ask them “where’s the pain?” I guarantee moving forward you will see more quality leads and more meetings moving to a next step.