How to Build and Introduce an SDR Process to Your Team
Invented back in the 1980s, sales development practices are still widely popular among B2B companies as an essential element of their go-to-market strategies.
In fact, a Bridge Group survey has found that, on average, 6 in 10 B2B SaaS companies have an in-house sales development team. And the higher sales volume, the more likely the company is to have dedicated SDRs on board.
The same study, however, lists productivity as one of the top challenges SDR teams face. This means sales leaders should invest in effective sales processes to make their teams more productive.
Leading the SDR team at Reply for almost 3 years, I’ve had the chance to build the SDR process from scratch and implement it within the team, step by step. In this article, I will share the action plan for the SDR process to give you, as a sales leader, inspiration and framework to do the same within your organization.
So, here it is – our 7-step SDR process introduction plan.
The SDR process starts with making sure the team understands their role and responsibilities in general. And that is especially important for teams with entry-level sales reps (i.e. fresh graduates or people who have switched to sales from a different field). In this case, you should start by introducing some basic concepts that all SDRs will face in their role: lead generation, CRM, leads, opportunities, sales funnels, the sales process, sales organization structure, the role of SDR, daily sales routines, etc.
If your SDRs have at least some experience in the field, you can focus primarily on how outbound lead generation works. Coach them on the basics, including best practices and methods for identifying the right companies to target, finding the emails and phone numbers of the contact person, cleaning up their lists and enriching the data, etc.
If you hire only experienced SDRs, you can skip this step altogether.
Now, you can dig a little deeper and introduce the concept of the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to your SDRs, so that they can not just find leads, but also qualify them before handing off to the account executives.
To start, have them analyze your current ICPs (i.e. who your existing customers are, where they live, what industries they are in, what titles they have, etc).
Next, you can teach your SDRs how to expand your ICPs by introducing additional data points. For example, technologies used by the prospects, or even creating new buyer personas for your product by using social listening and making sense of various buying signals and intents online.
This one is the most important but also the most challenging aspect of the SDR job. So pay extra attention when introducing it to your team. Here are some of the most important activities you should address with your SDRs when introducing your prospecting process:
There’s a great deal of science in writing sales emails – from picking the appropriate variables, defining the perfect email length, or creating an optimal sending schedule. In the long run, it all boils down to how successful your SDRs will eventually be.
That is why you need to spend more time on this step; teach your SDRs how to write effective subject lines, create and customize email templates, follow up with prospects, A/B test and optimize their sequences accordingly.
They say that cold calling is dead but it’s not true. Nearly half of B2B buyers still prefer to be contacted via phone, which makes calls one of the most powerful outbound prospecting methods.
Teach your SDRs how to pick up a phone and start dialling. And that doesn’t mean reading the sales script word for word from a sticky note. Coach them on how to make their conversation meaningful and personalized, handle common objections on the spot, or act in a non-standard situation.
It’s also impossible to disregard the impact social media might have on your sales. In fact, 78% of the teams who use social selling tend to outperform their peers who don’t. That is why more and more organizations integrate social selling into their outbound and inbound processes.
This means you need to coach your reps on how Linkedin or Twitter can help them do their job – from engaging the prospect and booking demos to building their personal brand for consultative selling.
Lastly, you need to make sure the SDRs know how to effectively use all of the listed channels in combination, such as building multichannel outreach sequences that use a mix of different touchpoints. And that is exactly what sales engagement is about.
As a relatively new word in B2B sales, it’s quickly becoming a new standard. As a result, SEPs (sales engagement platforms) like Reply that help sales reps bridge the gaps between different sales channels (emails, phone calls, SMS, personalized videos, manual tasks, and social outreach) can make SDR teams more effective and will be at the front and center of any sales stack.
Scheduling a call
It might sound easy, but it often takes time to schedule a demo. Even with convenient meeting scheduling services, you might still need to put some effort into making sure that all parties accept the invite and actually attend a demo.
Having this process standardized among your SDRs will help you prevent any misunderstandings and make it more effective.
Seamless collaboration between your sales reps and account executives is the cornerstone of a productive sales organization. To make it work, both teams should have a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities.
Also, make sure to build mutual accountability between the two teams and encourage them to support each other (even if it’s beyond their basic responsibilities). To do that, I recommend holding regular sync-ups where they can share feedback and progress, discuss their current prospects, and align their efforts across the pipeline.
Sales tools and resources
Next, coach your team on how to make the best use of the available sales tools and resources, from CRM and SEP to phone calling and knowledge sharing tools.
As for the latter, I would definitely recommend using playbooks to organize and share sales-related knowledge within your team.
This is a very convenient format for creating manuals on every single process in your sales organization, whether it’s email research, demo scheduling, SDR to AE lead hand-off, objections handling, or sales tools tips. Anytime your SDRs have a question, they can simply open the corresponding playbook and find all the answers.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Once you walk your SDRs through the process from A to Z and make sure they understand it, encourage them to build upon what works to further improve the process. After all, there is always room for innovation and growth.
Rather than forcing them to blindly follow the standard process (or to start from scratch), give your SDRs some time to experiment and find new and better ways to do their job. Invest in education and training and motivate them to suggest new ideas.
A great resource is Almanac.io. The platform is a free library of open-source documents and templates contributed by sales professionals with years in the game. Your SDRs can find hundreds of templates from cold emails to objection handling scripts that they can copy, customize, and implement into your process.
If they prove to be effective, update your playbook and introduce the new process to your SDRs again to show how it works now, what you want to change or improve, and why.
Building an SDR process from scratch is quite a challenge. But introducing it to the team and making sure they adopt and follow it is even harder!
However, having a formal process is a must for any high-performing sales team and a foundation for its successful growth.
Hopefully, these guidelines will help you navigate any struggles down the road and ramp up your SDR team.
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