Career advice delivered to you.
One of the most important characteristics to have as a Sales Development Representative (SDR) is a willingness to keep learning. The reality is, in the fast-paced world of sales, things are constantly changing and evolving. The tactics that worked yesterday may be all but obsolete a year from now and vice versa. Staying in the know and being open to learning new things is the key to ongoing success.
That being said, there are some lessons that have already been taught, particularly from those in the marketing realm. Let’s take a look at a few of those valuable lessons SDRs can learn from marketing and how you can leverage them to improve your performance and further your career.
“The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”
The details matter
Salespeople are notoriously busy, and as such, can be prone to errors. The problem is, even seemingly minor mistakes can often lead to much bigger problems in the overall plan. Whether it’s as insignificant as a misspelled name or something more serious like a misquoted price, the trickle-down effect can be significant.
Marketers know that the devil is in the details, and it’s an important lesson that others can and should take note of as well, including those in sales. The best way to pay attention to detail is to be open to collaboration.
Add value in every step
Let’s say you’ve been tasked with drafting a script for telephone outreach. Rather than holding your cards tightly to your chest, why not reach out to your colleagues in marketing to gain their insight on the piece before you put it into practice?
Not only will a second set of eyes help reduce the likelihood of errors, but your friends in marketing might have something valuable to add that can make your message even more impactful.
Knowing your target audience makes a big difference
Marketers focus a great deal of their effort on researching, learning about and gaining a deep understanding of exactly who they’re trying to reach.
By looking deep into the market, segmenting that market, and identifying critical problems and opportunities that exist within each of those segments, the marketing department is able to develop the most effective strategies to sell to each type of prospect.
Meanwhile, on the sales team, Sales Development Representatives are typically focused more on one-on-one selling, envisioning the individual on the other end of the phone as the target audience to whom selling is the most important thing.
Look at the bigger picture
In reality, SDRS are just a piece of the puzzle. By taking a step back and looking at the big-picture goals of the organization, like marketing does, the sales team will be able to spend their time more effectively targeting the right prospects.
What are the specific problems your product or service addresses? Does the person on the other end of the phone have that problem? If not, you’re wasting your time. Instead, move on to prospects whose pain points you can address.
By gaining a deeper, more accurate understanding of who your ideal customer is, you’ll be able to optimize your efforts for better results.
Preparation shouldn’t be an afterthought
Retired American basketball coach Bobby Knight once said: “The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”
Perhaps no group takes the importance of preparation to heart more than marketers. Salespeople, on the other hand, due to the fast-paced nature of the job, tend to be more “fly by the seat of their pants” kind of people.
The most successful marketers know that it takes a great deal of patience and preparation to get a campaign off the ground. Understanding what approach, message, tone, etc. is likely to resonate with the audience being targeted will make the campaign much more successful.
That same approach can be applied to SDRs. Figure out which prospects are the ripest for conversion and then focus your efforts accordingly.
Focus on quality first
For instance, instead of just calling everyone on your list, take the extra steps to identify quality leads first. It may take a little more time on the front end, but the time you’ll save by avoiding irrelevant prospects will more than balance that out.
As an SDR, you’ve got much to learn from the folks on the other side of the coin, starting with the three important lessons above. Being open and having a willingness to learn will ultimately make you better at your job and set you up for future success in whatever path you choose to take.