Every sale opportunity a rookie SDR misses translates into lots of losses for the company. It’s time to invest in your SDRs’ training to generate better results.

SDR stands for Sales Development Representative and is a person that focuses solely on outbound prospecting. Big companies usually separate sales reps into different roles to make their processes more efficient.

An SDR’s job is to free the sales executives of the time-consuming task of prospecting so they can spend more time selling to qualified leads. Instead of closing deals, SDRs focus on moving leads through the pipeline.

7 Skills an SDR should master

1. Have an in-depth product knowledge

First and foremost, it’s crucial that the sales reps know EVERYTHING about the product or service they are trying to sell. You can’t sell something you don’t believe in, so make sure you provide your SDRs with any information they might need.

2. Know your audience

Second, once they have learned everything about the product or service, it’s time for them to understand the audience.

Instead of teaching your SDRs how to pitch, teach them how to listen and understand the problems your customers are facing.

Thus, they will be able to provide the best solutions and interact with customers in a more personal way.

3. Be familiar with the sales language and the selling process

The third thing that an SDR should be familiar with is the language of sales and the selling process. Many companies have their own “style” when it comes to sales. Got a process that you have developed internally and has proven to be successful?

Make sure your SDRs know it by heart!

4. Know how to use a CRM and CTI

Fourth – knowing how to use CRMs and CTIs effectively is extremely important, as those provide valuable information about the prospects. But SDRs need to also learn how to adapt their strategy to every prospect, given the known facts.

Different buyers have different buying journeys, move at different speed and respond differently to pushy methods.

5. Master video prospecting

The fifth skill an SDR should master is video prospecting. The hardest part that sales reps need to face nowadays is standing out in the minds of their prospects.

Once upon a time, emails and cold calls were highly effective, but these days, when our inboxes are spammed with dozens of emails, salespeople need to turn to more innovative solutions to get through to their leads.

With the rise of social media, we are consuming more video content than ever before, because marketers took full advantage of this trend. Why can’t your SDRs do the same?

According to a study Google did in 2015, 70% of B2B buyers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase. It’s time to make yours!

6. Put quality over quantity 

Sixth – quality is more important than quantity. Thus, a more personalized, humanly approach is desired when SDRs are contacting leads.

Building a relationship with the leads will have a huge impact on their journey through the sales pipeline, even if that means reaching out to fewer of them.

What you can do to make sure you don’t miss out on any leads is build a strong process through which your SDRs can both approach leads in a personalized way, while still having enough time to do prospect research.

7. Stay committed

The seventh thing is commitment. Ok, this isn’t exactly a skill, but it’s still an important requirement for any SDR — make sure yours are committed, but for the good reason.

There are 3 types of commitment:

  • affective commitment
  • continuance commitment and
  • normative commitment.

Affective commitment is directly linked to the passion the SDR has for the job. In order for an SDR to be passionate about their job, they need to identify themselves with the company culture.

Continuance commitment means that the SDRs will continue to do their job as long as the company makes them feel appreciated.

And normative commitment means that SDRs remain committed to their job even if they don’t feel passionate or happy anymore (often out of loyalty).

Prospecting tips

Sales Development Representatives’ job focuses more on lead generation rather than closing deals, therefore they should master the lead qualification process. This is especially important because it helps rule out bad fits so they don’t waste time.

Then, they need to grasp the importance of perfect timing. Following up in a timely manner is important but knowing when not to push too much if the timing isn’t right is also important, if not even more so.

Giving value to prospects. Helping prospects overcome their struggles shouldn’t be limited to the solutions your company can offer. When SDRs are trying to build a relationship with their prospects, sending helpful insights (study cases, infographics etc.) could prove highly effective.

And finally, they should be there for their customers, even after they closed the deal. Word of mouth is a powerful tool that not nearly enough SDRs use to their advantage.

By being helpful to past customers they might get introduced to people they would not have been able to get a hold of otherwise.

Keeping track of customer satisfaction KPIs such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is also a good way to make sure that the SDR-customer relationship is a positive one.

How to develop accounts in 2018

Do not make SDRs pitch.

A good SDR should not try to push the product or service to their prospects. Instead, they should learn how to identify the challenges their prospects are facing (even when they don’t open up about them) and only intervene to suggest possible solutions.

Approaching prospects in a non-stalkerish way.

Sometimes, it’s better to approach someone on social media, or even offline, at networking events, before directly contacting them.

Whether it’s liking an interesting article or asking a mutual friend for a casual introduction at the gym, this will result in the prospect getting to know a little bit about the SDR before being presented with an offer.

When the prospect gets to know the SDR first, this helps to maximize the chances of that prospect converting, or at least listening. This goes hand in hand with the last one, as prospects don’t always open up easily.

Attract “influencers” within a company.

Although every company has its decision-makers (CEO, President, Board of Directors etc.), those aren’t probably the ones who will end up using the product or service you are offering. A good SDR should try to attract as many “influencers” as possible to create a buzz within the company. Once you grab the attention of the decision-makers, it should be easier to build a case.

How to overcome no’s

Unlike account executives, who often get recognition for their closed deals, SDRs lead a mostly unglamorous life. The repetitiveness of the job is enough to make anyone feel low; facing a difficult prospect might completely deplete their energy.

But an SDR can’t let one bad interaction ruin the rest, so resilience is of utmost importance. That’s what separates high-performing salespeople from the rest. A good SDR will consider any rejection an opportunity to learn more.

They will try to understand why they were rejected and how they can perform better so they can change the outcome next time.

Or maybe, they don’t have to wait until next time: you can still change someone’s mind. The first thing you have to do when faced with a rejection is to find a way to make your prospect say “yes” to a topic related to the rejection motive.

Then, you can try to use persuasion tactics in order to steer the conversation in a direction where you can present your product or service as a viable solution to the prospect’s rejection motive.

Even if this method has only 50% chance of your prospect changing their mind, if an SDR doesn’t go this extra mile, there’s a 100% chance for the “no” to remain a “no”.

And if that fails, a “no” is still not a bad thing. Managers can take it up a notch and transform something negative into something positive — transform it into a competition!

They can award the least lucky SDR of the month and this way, even though they came in last in terms of performance, it will help make them feel better as well as motivate them to do better next time.

I hope these tips will help you leverage the true power of inbound sales and ditch outdated, ineffective, spam-worthy sales prospecting techniques.

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Valentin Radu

Valentin Radu

Valentin Radu is a serial entrepreneur and visionary involved in tech and digital marketing for the past 14 years. He is the founder of Omniconvert, a growth enabler tool for mid-size eCommerce websites looking to become customer-centric. Omniconvert is a conversion rate optimization platform that combines the power of AB testing, web personalization, web surveys using an advanced segmentation engine.