SDR Productivity Tools and Methods
- Sales Development Representative productivity and performance can be dramatically improved with a combination of performance benchmarks, process improvements and technology automation.
- Software automation can prioritize call lists, deliver rich customer insights, easily retrieve information content or assets and automate repeated processes. It can also prioritize everything the Sales Development Representative needs to get done in a central digital dashboard and thereby increase prospecting time and conversions by 55 percent.
Sales Development Representatives want to improve their performance and contribution to the company. And they can do it by automating outbound prospecting, quickly distributing correspondence, auto-scheduling call-backs and automatically transferring leads to account executives when they reach sales-ready scores.
Sales process design is generally the best starting point to save time and increase performance. Here are some of the methods we have used on several salesforce performance improvement projects.
Begin with Benchmarking
SRDs incur fewer work processes than account executives. Focusing on fewer, highly repetitive tasks lends itself to performance benchmarking.
I generally start process design by comparing current activity volumes with industry benchmarks such as outbound calls made per hour or day, volume of contacts reached, first appointments scheduled and the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) transferred to the sales team. These comparisons identify the biggest deviations that offer the biggest upside opportunities.
You can also benchmark the tools used by Sales Development Reps. This analysis can identify some easy solutions.
Apply CRM Technology
SDRs incur a lot of time determining which prospects to engage. CRM software can accelerate that process by applying scoring to call lists. For example, instead of showing 100 prospects that could be called, only show the 20 that should be called because they share the closest fit to the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Or because their digital footprints show buy signals. Or maybe because they suggest the highest value potential based on their Customer Lifetime Value. Call lists prioritized by buyer purchase propensity save time and increase conversions.
You can also create Watch Lists, so when prior leads or named accounts show digital buy signals on the website or elsewhere, the reps can be alerted for quick follow-up. Software tools can also automate telephone-based prospecting with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, auto-dialers and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) to display contact record screen pops.
SDRs also spend a lot of time preparing for outbound prospecting or prospect engagement. Data append tools such as ZoomInfo or Inside View can slash the amount of time incurred by automatically transferring third party account and contact details into the CRM system.
When the prospect data is parsed into customer segments, customer insights, an Ideal Customer Profile and a 360-degree view, the SDR can engage in much more relevant, personalized and contextual conversations. This is another technique that increases conversions.
Sales Development Representatives consume way too much time looking for content and quite often not finding it. Content Management Systems (CMS) integrated to CRM software can make information such as offerings, collaterals, price sheets, proposals, contracts, customer case studies and so much more easily and quickly accessible.
Some CRM systems have their own content management systems while others provide packaged integration to SharePoint. Some CRM systems integrate CMS with workflow to dynamically display contextual links to relevant content based on the customer type, demonstrated interest, position in the sales cycle or other context. These solutions use a push-based approach to deliver the right information at the right time.
Sales Development Reps do a lot of repetitive tasks manually. Our mantra at Johnny Grow is that everything that gets repeated gets automated. Workflow tools in CRM can automate repeatable selling processes. These apps usually offer multiple workflow types for different purposes. That includes tools for synchronous or asynchronous workflows, time or event-based workflows, interactive or dialogue driven workflows, or simple variance alerts or notifications.
Workflows can also deliver on screen prompts, scripts or information when its needed. They can proactively facilitate guided selling. They can make highly intelligent suggestions such as next best action, next best offer or recommended up-sell, cross-sell or bundled solutions.
But remember, you should only apply technology after you have simplified, streamlined and optimized your processes. Otherwise, you are just automating inefficient processes.
CRM dashboards can display exactly what should be done, in a sequenced order, to aid time management, create a work rhythm cadence and improve SDR productivity. Dashboards are effective in prioritizing tasks, visualizing what should be done first, then next and so on. They can also detect performance variances and prompt correcting actions in real-time.
Recognize that fewer but higher impact performance metrics outperform a broad collection of clouded measures. Too many metrics bury the signals among the noise and make dashboards unproductive. Analytics work when they direct attention to the highest priorities. Less is more when it comes to digital dashboards.
When implementing CRM software, I often get asked how many metrics should be included on a dashboard. The answer is always the same, as many as will get acted upon.
There are two types of analytics – activity and financial – and both are important to improve performance. Activity metrics include calls made, emails sent, accounts contacted, contacts engaged, conversion rate, first appointments scheduled, meetings completed, outreach activities completed, neglected leads and call quality analysis.
Financial metrics are more closely associated with revenue achievement and include MQLs generated per period, Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) rate, opportunities generated, pipeline generated and won revenues sourced by the rep. Both types of metrics should be visualized in CRM dashboards.
Finally, Sales Development Representatives can feel like lone wolfs or detached from the rest of the selling organization. Sales managers can increase SDR productivity using Collaboration apps such as enterprise social networks (i.e., Salesforce Slack or Microsoft Teams). These apps provide reps with the tools to engage peers, find experts or retrieve answers, content or assets on demand.
These apps also help reps better connect with each other and account executives. And because they accumulate the questions posed and answers provided about customers, products, offers, solutions and other relevant discussions, they become powerful knowledgebases that can be searched and harvested for continued value. Selling is a team sport and collaboration improves results.