Sales and marketing are competitions. The more qualified leads you can attract and convert, the better position you’ll have in the race. But sales teams may not be able to focus on finding qualified leads if they need to scale. That’s where sales development representatives step in.
A sales development representative (SDR) gathers groups of potential customers and whittles them down to qualified candidates. SDRs evolved from a need to streamline sales processes, and they were one of many steps in the ever-increasing wave of modern sales innovations.
Today, companies further empower their SDRs with automated technologies. SDRs can focus on discovering how best to connect with leads while automated software does the mundane work of identifying, contacting, and following up with prospects. However, implementing these innovations requires finesse.
Making Automation Work for Your SDRs
The risk of alienating prospects with poorly strategized automation scares off some companies; repetitive automated spamming only reinforces the stereotype of the pushy salesperson. But when properly implemented, automation can put a company’s sales team far ahead of the competition. It can build and cultivate relationships with leads while your SDRs focus on growing your pool of prospects.
It’s important to get it right the first time, and these four tips will help you:
1. Have SDRs focus on research.
The single most important thing you can do is often a skipped step: Know your buyers. If you’re selling to refrigerator repair technicians, then your SDRs shouldn’t cold call. Your buyers are out working on heavy appliances eight hours a day; they don’t have time to answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize.
Empowering your SDRs with the right automated software can help them thoroughly research your buyers before reaching out. Repair technicians may not pick up a cold call, but they might jump on social networks throughout the day. If your SDRs know what channels to try, then they can focus on optimizing their approaches.
2. Organize your SDRs’ creativity.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but organized creativity is the only thing holding back your SDR team’s potential. The art of experimentation — trying new approaches, channels, tactics, and messaging — is the secret to staying ahead of the curve.
Have your SDR team spend some time each month testing, recording, implementing, and retesting new ideas. If you’re always testing, you’re much less likely to get left behind. Your team can track, gather, and analyze the performance of every test with optimal precision and efficiency using a blend of automated software solutions.
3. Look at things from the other side.
Keep in mind that you aren’t the only one selling to your buyers, and you’re also not just a seller. In the modern world, people try to sell to you, too. If you work at a business and manage people and money, then you’re being sold to all the time. Your first instinct is likely to ignore it — don’t.
Stop and see how you’re being sold to. What’s the tone of the message? Are there more questions than statements? Are they using a new technology? Observing these factors will show you what successful efforts can look like. Once you realize this, encourage your SDR team to begin testing some of the tactics you discover.
4. Follow experts who’ve already nailed it.
When you first started your business, you actively sought advice from experts. There’s no reason to shun that idea now. Even if you make a living being the expert, every other expert has their own field of vision and specific experiences. Listen to experts who align with your audience and strategy and have already seen success with automation.
If you aren’t selling enterprise software, then you probably don’t need to listen to enterprise software gurus on LinkedIn. So how do you find the right experts? Research them the same way your SDR team researches prospects. Know the background of the experts you follow and build around that.
Sales development is one of the most rapidly developing areas of any business. Automating much of it can help your team move more qualified leads through the funnel to your sales team. Use these tips to get it right the first time and give your team the competitive edge they need to evolve.
TJ Macke is the SVP of strategy at Sapper Consulting, which replaces the cold call to secure quality sales meetings with decision makers. After years of perfecting its outbound demand generation technique, Sapper Consulting developed REGIE, proprietary software that designs data-driven prospecting sequences in under three minutes. You can follow TJ on Twitter @tj_macke.