SDR Best Practices – Knowing the Inflection Points
There are four inflection points in a SDRs workflow from the moment of starting to dial a prospect, to a booked meeting that goes on the sales executive’s pipeline: Improving Connect Rates, Improving Conversion Rates, Meeting Attendance Rate, and Meeting Acceptance rate.
We will discuss the first one in some detail below.
1. Best Practices for Improving Connect Rates
Connect rates refer to the number of dials needed to connect with a targeted prospect. Connect rates are different when calling a person’s direct number versus calling a company directory to reach the target number. In fact, it takes at least 50% more time and effort to improve connect rates when using a company directory.
Furthermore, many companies have disconnected their company phones and even say they don’t welcome unsolicited calls. You either know the direct number of the person you want to reach, or you are making an unsolicited call and you will not be assisted in reaching your target.
Ideally, you want to get mobile numbers since post-COVID many continue to work from home and have their direct numbers forwarded to their mobile numbers anyway
Here are some practices to follow, and some that we recommend you stop doing.
Bad Practices to Stop
- Don’t have your SDRs waste time calling company numbers. As we said above, companies are disconnecting their company directory services. You will waste valuable SDR time trying to navigate directories that don’t even accept voicemail anymore.
- Don’t give your SDRs a long list of 1,000 and have them call each one time, and then get back to the beginning when they are done. This significantly reduces the likelihood you reach anyone since there is one in a thousand chance you reach that person at the right time they are inclined to pick up a call.
- Don’t use a list of prospects from various types and sizes of companies, industries, roles, etc. This only confuses and slows down the SDR as he/she tries to figure out what to say to each prospect.
- Don’t make your SDRs call a list just one time per prospect on any given day—you don’t know when that person is available during that day.
- Do not exceed more than 2-3 days in between voice mails, or your prospects will not have that “repetition” effect.
- Don’t try to fool prospects into thinking they are receiving a local call by using fake local numbers. Not only doesn’t this really work since it is done to death now, but even if you tricked someone into picking up the phone thinking it was their mechanic or kid’s school calling them, your SDRs are already starting on the wrong foot.
- Don’t leave unhelpful voicemails that say, “This is Joe again hoping to connect. Please call me back at…”.
- Don’t let your SDRs write or use meaningless emails with the subject line, “Amy, quick call?” and then say, “Hey Amy, don’t know if you read my previous email…”. This is probably what the prospect sees on her mobile before she opens the email, and nothing so far gives her any reason to open it. So, it won’t get opened.
- Do not just rely on phone calls and emails, some people just avoid both like the plague.
- Don’t leave it up to the prospect to figure out how to reach you.
Better Practices to Follow
- Use only direct numbers or, better yet, mobile numbers. This is one of the most effective ways for improving connect rates.
- Give each SDR a short list of say, 200 prospects to work with at any given time.
- Make sure that everyone on that list is highly homogenous—they are from the same industry, work in similar size companies, and have no more than 2-3 different roles.
- On any given day, have your SDRs use a shorter list that they will call several times during the day. For example, if you expect them to make 80 dials that day, have them work on a short list of 20 that they call four times a day at different intervals.
- Make sure you return to each list segment every 2-3 days so your voicemails have a cumulative effect and are remembered.
- Brand each call with at least your company name, and if not, with the SDR’s name. Remember you want to distinguish yourself from everyone else calling, and this is the most effective way to do so, especially if you have more memorable voice mails and emails that reinforce your brand.
- Make sure you leave distinct voicemails once a day to each prospect, that deliver a unique value proposition each time. In other words, arm your SDRs with at least 5-7 unique value prop voicemails that continually deliver exactly what you want the target to know. The whole point is to get the prospect to want to pick up and it starts with consistently delivering useful and branded information that they begin to recognize and at some point want to pick up the phone.
- Give your SDRs well-scripted emails and voicemails, preferably written by professionals who know how to write business emails that get opened. They should be highly relevant, have compelling information, and clear call to action so they get opened and responded to.
- Use different forms of messaging including sending postal cards that link your messaging, company name, and SDR name for the targeted prospect. You should do that at least once every quarter. LinkedIn messaging is also another way people who don’t look at their emails may look at the message from the lInkedIn app itself.
- Make sure that prospects have multiple ways of responding back to you, including a way to schedule a meeting with the SDR or the sales executive. Each email sent out must have a “Schedule call” or “Schedule a demo” link in it.
To summarize, the best path for improving connect rates is to do the opposite of what Sellers think from their perspective—get a large list and make SDRs just maximize on the dial side. Instead:
- Use short, highly segmented lists
- Invest in direct and mobile numbers
- Send well researched and carefully crafted emails and voicemails. Don’t expect them to pick up the first time you call (might happen but very rare.)
- Make repeated attempts to reach people several times a day and several times a week, ideally around 12-14 times before pausing for a few months, and then trying again.
Operationalizing SDR Best Practices
We listed a whole bunch of best practices so far. If you agree these are good principles to follow, your next question is likely: “Well, how do I implement them?”
The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about automation that ensures that all your SDRs follow the same steps, say the same things, and take the same actions.
Operationalizing these best practices means you bake them into your SDRs’ daily workflow so they are less likely to skip, or cherry pick what they want to do and not do.
The biggest challenge is the list segmentation, which requires alignment between Sales, Marketing, and Sales Development. All three have to agree on what segments to pursue, which personas to pursue, what the messaging is for each segment-persona combo.
If you get that agreed upon, then the rest builds on that and is mostly grunt work.
This is perhaps a good place to let you know that SOMAmetrics has built a cloud-based intelligent prospecting solution. SIP delivers the product value prop, industry, persona, competitor, and campaign data your SDRs need to conduct expert-level calls and book quality meetings and generate a viable sales pipeline.
Unlike generic sales productivity tools, SIP is a sales effectiveness solution that comes fully configured with all the right market information, transforming even your most junior SDRs into elite performers within days.
SIP operationalizes these best practices in a single solution.
Find out more about SOMAmetrics’ Intelligent Prospecting Platform and get free resources on our website at www.somametrics.com.