Growth problems? Try treating your sales development reps (SDRs) like vital resources rather than cogs in a machine.
That’s the message from Trish Bertuzzi, the President of the Bridge Group, which she shared with Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell on the latest episode of the B2B Revealed Podcast.
Upend Your Expectations for How SDRs Should Work
Sharing insights from her book, The Sales Development Playbook, Bertuzzi demonstrates the connection between SDR job satisfaction and sales growth.
First off, it’s important to acknowledge that SDRs are put in a very difficult position.
As Bertuzzi says, “It’s a hard job, we make it harder by not giving them what they need to stay longer.” SDRs are provided with little training, the wrong tools, and are managed by people who expect the average tenure to last only about a year. It’s little surprise then that when SDRs outgrow their roles they also tend to outgrow the company.
Bertuzzi believes there’s a way to fix some of these key issues, to the benefit of both the SDRs and the organization as a whole.
Give SDRs the Freedom to Grow Into the Perfect Role
In order to improve the SDR work environment, Bertuzzi urges companies to give SDRs the freedom to grow, without expecting too much, too soon.
To do this, Bertuzzi is a big proponent of micro-promotions.
“What we talk about in the book, and what we talk about with our clients is creating a learning culture and creating micro-promotions,” says Bertuzzi. That means getting rid of the system of of promoting SDRs to account executives after they’ve outgrown the introductory SDR role.
“If you’re an SDR1 you just do the SDR role, you’re an SDR2 maybe you get to start participating in discovery calls and even maybe running some of those discovery calls. You’re an SDR3 maybe you get to run with a couple small deals.”
By following this system, SDR’s responsibilities increase with their experience. Incremental changes in job title and compensation provide more of an incentive for SDRs to stick around.
Sharing from personal experience, Bertuzzi says that ultimately it’s “all about advancing them through a learning process that gives them the full set of skills they need to be successful.”
Equip Your Team with the Right Tools and Tactics
SDR success also depends on mastery of a few key communication skills.
Bertuzzi emphasizes that SDRs should have a solid grasp of how to use a phone and send effective emails.
While these skills can improve with training, it’s best to hire people with a natural inclination for the role from the start.
Bertuzzi describes how one company had SDR applicants spend a day shadowing the current team. After seeing what the job would really be like, only 50 percent of them continued to express interest in the role.
In all honesty, it did make recruiting more difficult. At the same time, it also meant that the people who were hired came in with a clear expectation of what the job would be like, making them more effective.
More SDR Wisdom
Listen to the full episode for more SDR answers, such as:
- Where does the idea of “all bound” fit in a world of outbound vs. inbound?
- Which is more effective: PACT (Pain, Authority, Consequence, Target-Profile) or BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Time-Frame)?
- What qualities should you be looking for when hiring for your SDR team?
- What are some effective outreach tactics for phone, voicemail, and email?