Before sales development representatives existed, remember telemarketers? Without caller ID, we didn’t know who was calling until we picked up the phone. We were trapped in by someone on the other end trying to sell us something, not taking “no” for an answer. We hated it.
And so did the telemarketers. They mostly got yelled at for wasting their time or simply hung up on. It was a job for the desperate and paid very little.
Sometime in the 1980s, someone went to B2B companies and proposed to set appointments for their sales process teams. They hired good candidates (better than the telemarketers) and trained their “tele-prospectors” well on the prospects they were calling into
Eventually, the client companies thought they could save some money if they brought these skills in-house. They started hiring “Business Development Representatives” (BDRs) to take inbound calls and set appointments. They hired “Sales Development Representatives” (SDRs) to make outbound calls and do the same.
And that’s where things started going wrong. This was a cost-saving initiative and most executives had “B2B telemarketing” in their minds when they posted these job descriptions. They hired junior sales reps—many from retail or financial services— and gave them basic training (mostly on their own products). They let them loose to make phone calls on their prospective customers.
What could go wrong?
This is typically a path to increasingly lower returns. Using junior-level people results in a dismal sales pipeline built, which means that more have to be hired to meet the desired quota, which leads to greater resistance of hiring skilled people at higher rates and trying to find even less expensive ways to staff this critical operation.
There is a better way.
If you are going to hire junior SDRs and BDRs, then you must use effective time management to train them and arm them with the tools they need for success. Use sales prospecting metrics (start with pipeline as your top metric), arm them with a strong understanding of the business marketing and personas they are calling into, and change the process from a phone-first to an email-first approach.
Brand your company as a source of valuable insights and information—a thought leader. Craft each email that goes out by making sure:
- Your company name and the BDRs name are in the “from” part of the email
- The subject lines are informative (and not, “Jim, quick question?”)
- Leave well designed and customized voice mails making it clear which company and which BDR left the voicemail
- Don’t forget to make sure your company name shows up on the caller ID
- Brand your emails and calls separately from your competitors until your prospects recognize you—and want to pick up and talk to your sales executives.
Don’t do what others do. Do what is in the best interest of your prospects by not wasting their time and ensuring each email and call is worthy of their attention.
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