3 tips for SDR leaders: how to develop a top-performing team

Posted June 10, 2021

By Brooke Bachesta

SDR Manager at Outreach

An SDR leader's job is to lead a team of sales development representatives (SDRs) and help them achieve their goals.

To accomplish this, leaders need to be prepared to invest in their SDRs and follow best practices for their team’s success.

This can be tough with the abundance of distractions in today's digital world, though.

To best manage these distractions and achieve your goals, here are some best practices SDR leaders can follow to ensure your teams develop the right skill sets and stay focused.

How to check on your team’s health outside of KPIs

It’s 2021, and the days of only checking calls and emails are long gone; moreover, if you’re just doing that, you’re doing your team a disservice.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t measure your team’s effort in the form of KPIs — but relying solely on the question “did my team hit their effort KPI today?” is no longer going to cut it.

This is in part due to the breadth of data we have access to in today’s market.

So what are some other areas to look at to keep your team chugging along? Let’s dive in.

Are reps actively working their book of business?

It’s no secret that KPIs exist for a reason: to work your book of business (BOB).

So how can you determine if sales development reps are working their BOBs?

Step 1: Determine if accounts and prospects are in active status.

Step 2: If you haven’t already, invest resources into cleaning up your CRM to scrub accounts for things like billing country, use case, etc. Afterward, use a labeling system so SDR teams can prioritize qualified accounts.

Step 3: If each rep is given X number of qualified accounts, determine what percentage of these they should work at a given time. If the number falls below that, chances are that reps are cherry-picking accounts.

A higher number could mean they're either highly effective and need more accounts, or they’re at risk of burning through their BOB with poor prospecting.

Outside of account penetration, how are sales development reps handling overdue tasks?

Of course, in an ideal world, SDRs would maintain zero overdue tasks.

But this isn’t always the case. To come to terms with this reality, it’s essential to define a number you’re comfortable with reps being at.

For example, is anything over 40 overdue tasks a no-go zone? If so, make this clear, and develop a plan of attack if reps start to reach or exceed said number.

If reps are constantly drowning in overdue tasks or simply lacking motivation, they may bottleneck their outbound strategy and cannot sequence more accounts.

When reps are overdue on tasks for longer than a week, consider implementing a planning day where their only focus is cleaning up tasks and planning how to tackle accounts.

What is the overall quality of rep activity?

Finally, at face value, activity may look OK — but what is the quality of that activity?

It pays to factor in a level of quality control by occasionally auditing a rep and their activity.

For example, with email sequences, you may check to see if your team is aligned with the overall outreach strategy that your sales and marketing teams created.

If not, it may be time for a coaching session to get reps on the same page.

Another area to review could be your reps’ call dispositions.

If you know your reps book 50 percent of meetings on the phone, take a look at their call dispositions to see where they may be getting stuck when they connect with prospects.

For example, at Outreach, we expect a ~6% correct connect rate (where the right person picks up every 6 out of 100 dials), and our top reps have a conversion rate of 20% or higher. Assuming all goes well, our reps each book at least 14 meetings per month when they make 60 minimum dials daily. Keep in mind that most reps far exceed that KPI and are thus able to book more meetings.

Using a platform like Outreach, you can easily see where reps get stuck.

If you find, for example, that reps keep getting blocked by a gatekeeper (such as an executive assistant or receptionist), it may be beneficial to host a coaching session on effective ways to reach the decision-maker.

Or let’s say a rep has many attempts but hardly any connects, it's safe to assume that they are either calling office lines (800 numbers) and getting stuck in phone trees, or perhaps they're just terrified of the phone and need more coaching.

Any outcome generally has a solution, but as an SDR leader, you need to have access to the right data in order to accurately judge rep activity.

Developing a high-performing SDR team

The best sales development reps generate a lot of leads — but they also have the skills to work their books of business well.

The key? Step outside KPIs and analyze how your reps work their BOB, if they consistently have overdue tasks, and whether they are doing quality activity in general.

We hope you find these insights helpful as you develop your own top SDR team!

To learn more about building a high-performing team, schedule time with our team of sales development leaders.


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