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life as a sdr

Life as a SDR

Sales Development Representative aka SDR. One of the most difficult, yet important roles within a seasoned sales organization. The world of the SDR is one of the endless dichotomies. Join me as I explore a few of the lessons I learned along the way.

Now let’s talk about what SDRs are generally tasked to do each and every day. I mean every day. SDRs set out to find prospects that fit an ideal customer profile (ICP). Then they have to convince them they need to book a meeting with their Account Executive (AE) to learn more.

However, the biggest gap remains that most SDRs don’t possess the sales skills necessary to have the conversations. Especially if they need to savvily navigate a corporate structure. These warriors are the very tip of the spear in most sales orgs, making first impressions with prospective customers, yet SDRs generally are the least experienced.

Are SDRs qualified enough to be cold calling?

In my experience, the answer is no. Not that I blame any of my managers that I’ve had along the way. It’s just the culture of sales. Get hired, and make cold calls to prospects you aren’t trained to talk to. Do the same thing over and over every day. Maybe once in a while get lucky.

I had a conversation with a SDR Manager the other day where she decided to ask one of the many SDR teams under her wing if they knew the types of titles that they were looking to target.

Almost all of the SDRs raised their hands eagerly shouting things like CRO, CTO, CSO. After that question, she asked if the SDRs knew what those titles and acronyms do on a day-to-day basis, and not one SDR raised their hand.

Surprised? 

I hope not.

The real problem that we have when it comes to the SDR experience is that we put the least experienced individual’s on the front line. They are fighting for the bottom line (aka cold calling).

Sure, your Enterprise AE’s pull in a deal a piece every two years proving their worth no doubt. But at one point, your bell cows, the enterprise sales reps were brand new to the role and fielded a meeting that was provided to them from a lucky SDR.

How to Replicate the “Luck”

With a lucky SDR in mind, how do we replicate that in the instance above?

We all know that every SDRs driving force is to get out of the role, so how do we replicate what the successful SDR has done?

Here comes the hook, what tools can we implement to be able to go about creating the environment to build confidence to get SDRs out of your world-class sales development program and into an AE position?

I have watched a plethora of great managers try and balance their time between live-action on the “floor” (am I dating myself?) and achieving the goals in which they are incentivized to meet?

When I was an SDR I got the attention of my manager every now and again, but not to the point where I knew I was constantly being coached and subsequently growing my career.

Sales coaching is a must for SDRs. That’s how you replicate the luck.

Advice to Sales Managers Out There

Back to my time as an SDR, once I figured out how to get my manager’s attention – I kept doing it. I realized that if I showed a need, it was easy for my managers to coach me once I initiated the help.

As a SDR, never hide in the corner. As a sales manager, never let your team feel neglected like they aren’t getting any sales coaching from you.

Another big one that made a huge difference for me was investing in your tech stack. When you’re cold calling 50+ prospects per day – technology is your friend. Investing in a good CRM to be able to input, call, and leave direct notes makes a world of difference.

More sales coaching. Better sales training. Increased product knowledge. Essentially, more of everything. If you’re putting a new SDR in the front lines, take the time to train them before throwing them to the wolves.

BUT even more so, continue to train and coach them as they progress through their career.

Cold Calling Tech Stack

Have you heard of real-time sales coaching software? If not, you need to check it out.

Seriously. If I had this tool while being an SDR, I would be able to close meetings even on my bad days. We all have those. Plus onboarding and training would have been a breeze.

If you’re a sales manager and unsure about adding another tool to your tech stack – check out the ROI real-time sales coaching software provides.

Take one for the team and invest in Abstrakt.

Author

Spencer Fossen - Head of Growth

Spencer is a husband, father, and SaaS jack of all trades. As the Head of Growth at Abstrakt Spencer uses, “making life easier for the end user” as his north star. From SDR to where he is today, the journey has provided him with the insight and experience to understand how to make life easier for those in SaaS’s toughest roles.