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SDR in Marketing - 9 Skills to Pick Up Before the Year Ends
SDR In Marketing - 9 Skills To Pick Up Before The Year Ends

SDR in Marketing - 9 Skills to Pick Up Before the Year Ends

 

 

As organizations grow and start investing in their marketing efforts especially inbound marketing, the number of leads pouring into the top of the funnel increases considerably. It becomes overwhelming for the salespersons to qualify and prospect all the leads while attending their regular sales meetings and work. There should be a process and person/team in place that prospects and nurtures the leads and that person or team is SDR (Sales Development Representative). They are also addressed as Business Development Representatives or BDRs in some organizations.

Who is a Sales Development Representative? 

 A Sales Development Representative (SDR) is an inside sales representative that focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. Essentially, they move leads through the Sales pipeline. They are usually the first ones to connect with the prospect, learn about their requirements, and evaluate if the lead can be considered qualified and should be handed over to the Sales team. 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, when all the business functions are being run in a remote model including sales, inside sales skills have become all the more important. The age-old vanilla approach of sending cold emails, calling, leaving voicemails, follow-ups, etc don’t work anymore. In today’s time, SDRs have to be good at a few essential skills to be able to perform well and move maximum leads down the funnel.

Here are the top 9 skills that SDRs should focus on gaining or honing to become the Star performer of their Inside sales team.

1. Market Intelligence

In today’s digital era where information is easily accessible, your target audience expects you to do some homework around their business and pain points before you reach out to them.  SDRs must keep track of their prospect’s industry news, policies update, and recent internal developments. This not only helps them in creating highly personalized messages but also gives them confidence during the one on one discussion with the prospects.

Ergo, they need to gather market intelligence.

Remember, the customers will be always willing to spare their time and share information once they are convinced that the SDR understands them and would like to know more about the value that their products or services will bring to the table.

Pro Tip: Set up customized Google alerts to keep track of the focus industries. Register at different industry-specific forums and websites. LinkedIn Sales navigator is also helpful in getting updates and gathering information about the prospects.

2. Tech-Savviness

Technology is certainly a big enabler for the inside sales team’s success. Harvard Business Review Oct 2019 published an interesting piece on how Technology Is Blurring the Line Between Field Sales and Inside sales. SDRs must get themselves acquainted with the tools and software that help them in automating lead management and increasing productivity.

Expertise in basic tools like CRM, email tracking, reporting and dashboards is a must.  In fact, The average sales stack has risen to six different solutions that may also include social selling tools, conversation intelligence and more

3. Know-How of Products/Services

SDRs must gain a good understanding of the products and services that they are selling. They should be able to clearly communicate how their offerings fit into the prospect’s business and articulate the value that it brings to them. They need not become subject matter experts but should be able to answer prospect’s queries and resolve doubts.

Pro Tip Gain knowledge from  product owners and other functions, watch tutorials, read product guides and industry reports. Talk to as many stakeholders as you can, and also the technical wizards to fortify your knowledge about what you’re selling.

4. Video Prospecting

We all prefer to listen to stories rather than read long emails. Video prospecting is a modern and powerful technique to introduce yourself to the prospects. SDRs should pick up basic video skills and  create short, engaging clips (no more than two minutes) to introduce themselves and communicate how their offerings will deliver value to them. Introduce CTAs at the end of the video for scheduling a call or demo.

The importance of video can be gauged from the following statistics from Campaign Monitor:

Including videos in your email marketing strategy can lead to:

  • Increasing the open rates by 19%
  • Boosting click-through rates by 65%
  • Decreasing unsubscribes by 26%

 

5. Active Listening & Probing

It is said that perceptions of listening have a significant positive effect on a customer’s anticipation of future interaction. SDRs should patiently listen to their prospects with an intent and interest and ask pertinent questions to gather valuable information.

Think of real conversations as opposed to a scripted exercise. Go deep and ask the right probing questions to extract maximum information which will not only help you for the qualification but also in preparing for the next steps.

Furthermore, having a pulse on customer conversions on social media is also a skill salesperson need to pick up.

It is said that perceptions of listening have a significant positive effect on a customer’s anticipation of future interaction. SDRs should patiently listen to their prospects with an intent and interest and ask pertinent questions to gather valuable information.

Think of real conversations as opposed to a scripted exercise. Go deep and ask the right probing questions to extract maximum information which will not only help you for the qualification but also in preparing for the next steps.

Furthermore, having a pulse on customer conversions on social media is also a skill salesperson need to pick up.

6. Creating great voicemails

A lot of times, SDRs don’t get to speak to the prospect but they always have a choice to leave a voicemail.

This is because voicemails are a great opportunity for SDRs to deliver their message to the prospect and convince them enough to believe that it is worthwhile connecting with your brand. Creating a good and crisp voicemail is certainly an indispensable skill for an SDR. Period.

7. Resilience & Optimism

Being an SDR is not a cakewalk as you will have to face rejections almost every day. That's why in addition to the hard skills, it's important to learn to self motivate and stay positive. It's also critical to learn to bounce back quickly from a bad call.

A bad call should not impact SDRs' emotional health and affect the remaining calls for the day. Resilience is crucial to keep your head in the game. Developing this ability now will also be invaluable down the road when SDRs evolve into a salesperson who will end up losing deals at times despite putting in a lot of effort.

8. Being Organized

It is an extremely important skill for SDRs as they have to do multiple activities in a day e.g. calls, outreach emails, meetings, account research, etc. Planning the day helps to prioritize the different tasks in hand with a completion deadline. They must have Sales Cadence set up and schedule of follow-ups updated on their calendars and To-do list.

Being organized also means that SDRs maintain their documents well. They must keep their databases, contact lists, and status reports updated and stored with proper nomenclature and version numbers. It is also important to regularly clean up the junk and inactive leads.

9. Critical Thinking

SDRs should have a strong presence of mind along with critical thinking.  They should be sharp enough to connect the dots by critically analyzing every piece of information that is being provided or they have access to. This will help them in spotting business opportunities and also give intelligence to sense the true potential of the leads in hand.

Conclusion

A skilled SDR with a high focus on the target market segments, right approach for different stages of the customer engagement process, and adequate knowledge of product/service acts as a great enabler for the organization’s success and has the potential to transform into highly efficient Sales leaders.

Nilesh Shihorkar
Nilesh Shihorkar

Head of Global Sales

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