When you’re managing an SDR team, there are a whole host of acronyms you use. For instance, Common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are activities such as calls and emails, Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) and Opportunities (OPPs–although not an acronym still an abbreviation!) are used throughout the industry.
But, I like to go back to my football days and use the acronym of Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM) as the ultimate indicator of how well my team is performing. With the rise of the social term #squadgoals, I thought it would be fitting to discuss how I promote a team mentality amongst my squad of SDRs–a squad I very much consider myself a part of.
1. Foster an Environment of Collaboration
In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Tear down that wall!” You need an open floor plan. Push desks together, have them work at a giant table, pull down dividers—do whatever it takes to make sure your SDRs can hear each other’s conversations and that you, as a manager, can hear as well. Now give them feedback, right there on the floor—and make sure it’s constructive. I suggest you give your feedback loud enough for everyone to hear because the rest of your SDRs are probably having the same issue. Just remember to be tactful with your feedback—constructive vs. criticism. Then, empower them to give each other feedback—as a manager, you can’t sit at your desk all day long.
2. There is no Failure, Just Success and Opportunities to Teach
This has to be your modus operandi. As a manager, you have to remember you are managing your company’s next generation of Account Executives. The future of your company depends on your ability to cultivate talent from your SDRs. When an SDR’s call goes bad, it’s your opportunity to step in and talk about what he could have done differently.
Should there have been more pre-call qualification? Did he not do enough research? Make sure there is a clear understanding on what he could do in the future to prevent a bad call from happening again. Do not simply acknowledge the problem, give a clear solution on how to make it better.
3. Ask Them to be the Best Version of Themselves, Not of other SDRs
No two SDRs are alike, in fact, they are often very different. To that end, you need to manage people differently by encouraging them to play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses. As an example, some SDRs are great on the phone, but don’t send the best emails. Some SDRs have a great technical understanding of your product, while others are ultra-charismatic. Let them do what they do best, while managing them against their weaknesses. Sit SDRs together so they can learn from each other. Put the charismatic one next to the technical one, put the great caller next to the great emailer.
4. Group SPIFFS Rock, do them Often
The best SPIFFs I’ve ever run have been group SPIFFs. For example, if my team sets a certain number of meetings for Dreamforce, I’ll take all of them to a day of wine tasting in Sonoma. It’s a team goal and it drives an “I don’t want to be the guy/gal that let’s the team down” mentality. This also incentivizes your top-performers to share their best practices with your lower performers. Make this information public by putting it on a whiteboard or by using a software like Hoopla.
5. Eliminate Obstacles and Barriers that Prevent your Team from Succeeding
This should be 90% of your job. When people ask me what keeps me up at night I always respond with “Doing everything I can to make sure my team can succeed”. That means constantly evaluating new technology, testing out new messaging, and experimenting with new cadences. This also means working closely with marketing to ensure the leads coming to the SDR team are marketing qualified and ready to be called. Sales Development cannot be an island, it’s as cross-functional as any department in a business.
6. My Secret weapon–Predictive Marketing
You can set up the world’s best seating chart, you can foster the world’s most collaborative environment, you can set up amazing SPIFFs, and you can eliminate as many obstacles as possible but if your team doesn’t have the right leads to call or doesn’t know how to find good leads in your company’s CRM, your team is sunk.
Because predictive marketing creates lead generation and scoring models based off of how your marketing, SDR and sales teams create opportunities, I sleep well at night knowing that my team is constantly receiving high-quality leads and they can very quickly find great leads in our CRM.
Have you considered using predictive marketing for your SDR team?