Radical Pipeline Strategy — Use SDRs to Build and Grow Your Sales Pipeline

Radical Pipeline Strategy, by SOMAmetrics

I have built, implemented, and retooled Sales Development Organizations and Inside Sales over the course of my career. Because of that, I have seen the status of SDR Organizations improve. The solution is a Radical Pipeline strategy.

However, there is still a misperception about the value of the SDR team. For many years, I have been advocating that the SDR Organization is a strategic part of the Sales plan. Companies make fundamental mistakes in hiring and in the execution of best practices that will help build a quality pipeline.

For example, companies continue to build their SDR teams with junior people. (Read more on “How Difficult Is It to Generate a Meeting? Common Misuses of SDR Teams in Appointment Setting”) The rationale is that this is a low-level job that doesn’t require a lot of skill. 

Wrong! Companies end up having their most junior people interacting with their most valued prospects; a prospect who may have 10+ years of experience in the industry isn’t going to be interested in speaking with someone who has no experience.

Radical Pipeline Strategy Sets the Role of an SDR Straight.

Another fallacy is that the role of a SDR is to set viable appointments for sales.  If that is how you position your  SDR team, you will get meetings, but they won’t be viable; many meetings will not generate pipeline.  The role of the SDR is to generate a high quality sales pipeline.  This is done by qualifying leads and setting appointments with decision makers. The qualification and appointments are a means to the end. A radical pipeline strategy will help your company to achieve revenue targets.

The key to a healthy, radical sales pipeline begins with the Sales Development Organization. Implementing proven best practices as recommended in my blog (download the CRM Field Mapping Resource here) will enable your company to build and grow your sales pipeline.

6 Key Points to Establish and Expand your Sales Development Organization:

1. The Sales Funnel is King!

Instill collaboration between Sales & Marketing to ensure a quality sales pipeline. These departments must develop and agree on qualification criteria and other key metrics in order to ensure consistent sales pipeline growth. Revenue growth will cease without quality Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) and a healthy Sales Pipeline.

2. Hire experienced staff.

The SDR team is most often the first contact a prospect will have with your company. Therefore, it is counter-productive to assign entry-level employees to these positions. They lack experience in selling complex solutions and communicating with senior-level executives. Experienced professionals are readily available to hire. They love the “hunt” and know how to speak to the C-Suite. I have worked with many “retired” VPs of Sales and Marketing who want to get back to work and love this role. Hire experienced people (someone who has a sales background and at least 5 years of experience calling prospects) This is one decision your company will not regret.

3. Focus SDRs on one Solution.

Efficiency begins to decrease as SDRs are asked to sell and learn multiple products or solutions, especially if they are complex. Focusing on one solution will enable your SDR team to deliver a quality sales pipeline.

4. Develop and implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), or metrics, to manage a team. 

Once the KPIs have been established, assign each team member to create a plan that outlines a process to reach their goals (Add GOSPA Blog and Slide Show here). This empowers team members to carry out each task and take responsibility to meet their objectives. Managers will help their SDR team members to ensure the practicality of these plans. These plans also provide a blueprint to manage activities and measure results, both for the Manager as well as the SDR. 

5. Develop an SDR Playbook.

A SDR Playbook is a set of tools that guide SDR’s through the qualification process. This playbook must be written and assembled by individuals with sufficient knowledge, such as experts from Product Marketing or Sales.

6. Build compensation plans that drive desired behavior. 

A satisfying compensation plan motivates SDRs to excel at their duties. Create compensation plans that focus on the Sales Pipeline and revenue growth.

Here are the elements of a good SDR compensation plan:

Meeting Set: Pay a small amount for a meeting set, for example, $50 per

Approved by Sales: The meeting happened and sales approved the prospect and is adding to the sales pipeline, for example, $200 per

Give your SDR an annual Pipeline Quota from meetings they set and give them a percentage of achievement, for example, 5%

Give your SDR a revenue from pipeline set goal and pay a higher percentage for the achievement of that goal, for example, 10%

These 6 best practices will help you to build a great foundation for your SDR team. By applying these best practices, your team will produce a healthy and robust sales pipeline which will help you close more deals and hit your revenue targets.

Download the CRM Field Mapping and GOSPA Planning Resources.

Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development.  This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

Find out more about SOMAmetrics’ Intelligent Prospecting Platform and get free resources on our website at www.somametrics.com.