I frequently encounter articles which include the word “have” in the title. I wanted to write mine without that word. It wouldn’t feel right to say “Top 3 Skills Every SDR Should HAVE”. Skills are trained, developed, and mastered. They are not innate.
There is no magic formula for becoming a great salesperson. So please, whenever you see an article or piece of content along the lines of “Start Selling RIGHT NOW!”…skip it. I was certainly not an expert in cold-calling when I began this profession. But with enough practice (at some point during the early stages of Tiller, we used to dial the phone over 200 times a day) it will get you there.
One helpful piece of information that helps me understand what works and what doesn’t is looking at historical data, which allows me to predict the most likely future outcome. I’ve had the honor to be on a team with some excellent SDRs; however historically, the real overperformers displayed very specific skills that enabled them to be an expert in the field.
After several years of making calls and listening to people making calls, I believe I have a decent understanding of what embodies a competent and seasoned SDR. If you are able (and most importantly, want) to develop and master these areas, you will hit the target. You can take my word for that.
Here they go:
- CONSISTENCY aka “Hit Your Numbers”
I love basketball and I’ve always loved Kobe Bryant’s consistency off the court. He became one of the best not because he was the strongest, the fastest, or a great shooter, but because he made sure to regularly go to the gym to keep shooting and to keep trying. He might miss 15 shots in a row during the game; but you can be 95% sure that out of the 1000 shots he was making around 447.
This is what it is all about; just because no one picked up the phone in the last 20 calls doesn’t mean you won’t achieve your weekly goal (whatever that may be for your specific company) as long as you hit your weekly call numbers by the end of Friday.
Reversibly, although you managed to book three meetings in a row does not translate to resting on your laurels. This may be the highlight of the day and you may not be as lucky for the rest of the day. It is recommended to envision a goal of daily call attempts and attempt to consistently reach that every single day. Everything will flow naturally if you are able to achieve this.
Further extending the basketball analogy, the number of daily calls could be compared to your shot attempts while the sales pitch would be your shooting form. It wouldn’t make sense to shoot the ball 1000 times with a different hand/ elbow and foot positioning every time. The same happens in our job.
Pitch is crucial to complete the consistency circle, otherwise we will be comparing apples to oranges. I’m sure there is a pitch that has worked well for your company historically, if not, this is something that you ought to perfect. Stick to that pitch, memorize it, read it over and over again until you are able to recite it on demand.
Remember, consistency = number of calls + pitch proficiency.
- EFFICIENCY aka “80/20 Rule”
I strongly believe in the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principle. According to this, in many cases, 80% of the events come from 20% of the causes. Or, most of our results can be explained with a small portion of our total effort capacity. This is very important to remember as an SDR, as our days are packed with little, time-consuming accessory tasks that make us lose focus and set us apart from our daily call target.
As a rule of thumb, if a task seems too “tedious” such as sending an elaborate e-mail, preparing a long PowerPoint presentation to pitch an important lead, figuring out a new organizational structure for the team and or dealing with an existing customer request, it is most likely not a task you should be executing, so please share this with your manager.
- CONFIDENCE aka “Trust”
You are valuable. In fact, you are extremely valuable to your company. You are the frontline, the top-of-the-funnel professional who is ultimately in charge of deciding who can do business with your company. You are in charge of deciding whether a lead is a good fit for what your brand has to offer and your job has a direct impact on the brand image. YOU are managing expectations.
The era of outsourcing to cheap markets has created a fairly negative aura around the job of an SDR. However the reality now is that thousands of companies depend on us to bring revenue and new business, so keep that in mind every time you make a new phone call: YOU are as valuable as the person picking up the phone. In fact, in many cases you will be earning a larger paycheck at the end of the month than the person you are talking to!
Also, self-confidence is crucial as your tone of voice is the greatest resource that you have to gain the TRUST of the client. Whatever you say, you need to say it with confidence. However, self-trust by itself will not go all the way. We need to trust one more thing…
Trust Your Product
Your product is valuable. Whatever it was that made you join the company you currently work for, I’m sure it was partly because you liked the solution that they were offering to their clients. We are all aware, especially SDRs who are in direct touch with the Sales Execs, the Product teams, and the Customer Success teams, that our product could be improved. There will always be something that your product lacks but your competitor has but we can’t miss this lead. This insecurity will surely be noticed by the lead resulting in you losing the sale. Trust your solution, be transparent to the client about what your product can and can’t do, and find that inner motivation that will allow you to transmit to the client why you chose to be a part of that company in the first place.
The Importance of Feedback
The fact is that you are on the phone and on your email 85% of your working day. You can predict what your clients are saying and how the process and product can be improved.
Your company should ensure a stable flow of communication between the SDR and Product teams to build a stronger value proposition against your competitors.
If you apply these key principles on a daily basis, you will be much closer to creating a positive impact in your company with both your attitude and results, and that is the best way to secure future recognitions.
““You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky”