As an inbound sales development rep (SDR), it’s very easy to be a little bit reactive.
Every day, leads come in through marketing efforts, downloadable content, demo requests and more. While successful account executives have the mindset of going after new business, this might not come as naturally to SDRs.
But it’s your job as the modern sales leader to coach these reps around becoming proactive salespeople.
Most sales professionals want to be able to advance within their career; for SDRs, that oftentimes means making it to the role of account executive. However, inbound reps won’t be able to make this leap until they are actively and effectively managing their sales process.
How To Turn Inbound SDRs into Proactive Sales Reps:
Do More with Inbound Leads
When an inbound lead comes in, SDRs typically get an alert and reach out to the lead within the next 3-4 business hours.
To make a real connection, proactive sales reps should dig deeper into the lead’s motivation.
Instead of just being reactive to the fact that the lead was interested in your company’s content offering, encourage your reps to do more research. Have them not only look at what the lead downloaded or requested, but also dive into their visit history on your website via your team’s marketing automation.
Was the lead looking at a blog about sales metrics or looking at your pricing page? This can indicate where the lead is within the buyer’s journey and will help the rep craft a message.
You know that the more research a rep has, the more equipped they are to handle a conversation. Prompt your reps to do as much research as possible, like reviewing company websites and LinkedIn pages. Just make sure they know how to do so efficiently, so this doesn’t consume more time than necessary.
Refine Sales Technique
If you think the research steps you just read sound more like the process for an outbound sales rep, you’re absolutely right. That brings us to the next point: Inbound reps should also learn how to be outbound reps and constantly refine their sales skills.
Some sales leaders don’t even think there should be a permanent line between inbound and outbound reps. Many have established a round robin system for SDR roles.
That means that for one or two quarters, part of the SDR team works on inbound, and the other part works on outbound. After that time is up, they switch roles. (The inbound SDRs switch to outbound and vice versa.)
This way, your SDRs have the opportunity to work in both inbound and outbound roles. You’re giving them the opportunity to learn the in’s and out’s of both roles, therefore equipping them with different skill sets for their sales career.
But don’t switch up the roles too often (more than quarterly). Otherwise, reps won’t have enough time to fully learn and refine those skills.
Engage in Training and Thought Leadership
Training is a huge component of creating proactive inbound reps. You should constantly train them on sharpening their inbound/outbound sales aptitude in team meetings, weekly one-on-one discussions and separate, real-time coaching sessions.
You can also introduce a certification process, where your sales reps demonstrate their proficiency in specific sales techniques. Studying and being tested for specific certifications takes reps outside their day-to-day tasks, and allows them to concentrate on one skill or topic.
Make certifications for the activities that matter most to your sales process, like prospecting, live calls or objection handling. When these certifications are set up properly, only reps who are adept at each meaningful sales activity will be able to pass.
Finally, prompt your inbound reps to become more proactive by being thought leaders in the industry and for their roles. Ask them to read and share content on social media and via email. Even have them write a blog about sales and share it with peers.
Ensure that your inbound SDRs are actively engaged in all of these exercises, and you should see them transform into proactive sales reps, which is mutually beneficial for you both.
But don’t leave yet! We’ve got a multitude of more expert advice for you. Secure a copy of these tips from sales experts: