By Stephen J. Molen, Viewpoint Senior Vice President of Sales
When LevelEleven reached out to me to ask me to present my ideas and advice during their How to Build & Manage a Successful SDR Team webinar, I thought it was an exciting opportunity. However, I was unsure if I could fit all I wanted to say on the subject within a 30-minute window. After all, between hiring great talent, establishing effective messaging, developing compensation to drive behavior and creating a result driven culture, there were so many directions I could take it. So, I shifted gears and focused on something near and dear to my core beliefs – shaping demand.
Whether your company is in a traditional industry with long-term competition or an innovative startup your salespeople need to know how to educate buyers. After all, according to the Corporate Executive Board, most buyers are about 57 percent through the buying process when they contact a sales person. So, if you want to build a strong flywheel that meets monthly and quarterly targets, this is the first and primary issue you have to solve.
If a buyer is more than halfway through the buying process, it’s likely that they’ve had discussions with multiple competitors who have offered insights on how their solution can solve a critical pain point for the customer. So, to counter the competition, your sales team needs to focus on re-educating buyers to separate your product from the competition and showcase the added value and support that only your company can provide. The more tangible the better!
Reshaping the mindset of your buyer is a tough task that requires strong sales skills, exceptional fundamentals and a deeper understanding of what the customer is trying to achieve. In other words, you need to get to the “why,” which requires more meaningful conversations.
Another way to win more is to engage prospects when they’re still in the education phase of their evaluation process. Luckily, with modern businesses having increased visibility into critical digital engagement metrics (e.g., downloads, webinar registrants and social media engagement) it’s easier to connect with prospects during the research stage. But, those tools are only as useful as the team’s leveraging them, so be sure to instruct your SDRs to utilize those metrics to engage early and often.
Here are five essential tips to help your SDR team drive change and shape demand:
1. Engage Early & Often: Ensure your company’s web content is geared toward education. Provide your SDRs with content that helps them further the education process with prospects, versus product feature content. For example, white papers, infographics and case studies.
2. Prepare Your Sellers: SDRs that are not aligned with sales is the biggest momentum killer. Leads don’t come on a silver platter, and your SDRs need to adapt to the prospect, not the other way around. The prospect typically has a clear timeline, intent and budget allocated. Train your SDRs to expect this and ask the right questions so that the handoff to the seller is smooth.
3. Develop Tools: Your SDRs need to understand the stage each buyer is in and have the tools to address each stage accordingly. Provide your SDRs with tools to either help the buyer take a step back or get further education, depending on their stage of the buying journey.
4. Establish Metrics: Any successful sales & SDR team should have clear metrics-based performance and Key Performance Indicators. We use LevelEleven to create visibility and motivation.Here are a few examples:
■ Activities: Includes attempts and connections
■ Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): Number of handoffs booked by SDR
■ Sales Accepted Leads (SAL): Number of initial meetings into the pipeline
■ Pipeline Created: Dollar and units of opportunities
5. Monitor Results: By tracking win rates based on their stage in the pipeline, accepted leads that turn into bookings provide key insights into what is working and where your SDR team needs to improve. For example, if 80 percent of SQLs are being accepted that shows you that your SDRs are probably not qualifying enough leads, while 10 percent of SQLs being accepted means they’re likely qualifying too much.
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