The InsightSquared team of Sales Development Reps has grown rapidly in the past year. We went from having 7 reps to having over 20 reps today – a quick pace of growth when you consider that all 7 of the folks who started the year on the team have since moved up or out. We built this team from the ground-up and we’ve experienced every challenge imaginable – and found ways to succeed and overcome them.
However, what works for our team may not work perfectly for your team, but the lessons by which we found our best sales process CAN work for you. Here are our biggest takeaways and the biggest lessons from how we build a powerful SDR program.
Create a Clear Goal
In building the Sales Prospecting Team, we started with a single, clear goal: to find net new sales opportunities. This goal is simple to say, yet really complicated in practice. First, we needed to define what is a sales opportunity, exactly. At our company, a sales opportunity must have these three qualifications:
- A business that could potentially buy our software.
- A contact within the organization who has the power to evaluate our software.
- A clear need or a business pain that we can help to solve.
My team is constantly searching for these opportunities, but they’re not always easy to discover. How do you find the names of the companies that you want to call into? How do you find the right people to talk to? Once you find those people, what do you do or say to break into those accounts? This is where you need to figure out an effective prospecting process that works for your team, including talk tracks, objection handling, and more.
Unfortunately, you won’t know the most effective prospecting process for your team until you start trying different sales tactics. When we were just starting out, we made a lot of mistakes and had to learn from them quickly. Building a successful SDR team is an ongoing process of continuous, incremental improvement. You should come up with an idea or a strategy, test it out, and then reinforce what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
Our sales process from a few years ago looks nothing like our sales process today because we keep changing, adding new things, and getting rid of old ones. This testing process is all about being agile and being able to react quickly to what you’ve learned. Sometimes you’ll fail spectacularly, but that’s OK – as long as you keep going. We’ve built this sales machine and we’ve constantly been bolting things on that we think will make our machine run better. Quite simply, you don’t know what works until you know what doesn’t work.
Hire the Right People
If you’re really serious about scaling your SDR team, you need to create a hiring process that is just a powerful as your sales process. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to be an SDR.You need to define not just how you find the right candidates, but also how you interview for the right skills, how you build a strong sales culture, how you train new hires, and more.
At IS2 we have a culture that’s focused, works hard, but always has fun while doing it. We come in early and stay late, but we’re also accepting of error and have an open, learning environment. We hire people who will fit into this culture and will be able to succeed. We’ve treated this process of finding the right people just like our sales process – we constantly try new things to improve it. Recently we have started giving personality tests to try to find a better fit. If that works well, we’ll keep doing it. If it doesn’t, we’ll do something else. The key is to be consistent, keep hiring, and always keep an eye out for the right talent.
The fact is, nobody has it all figured out. Our SDR program has grown quickly and reached new heights, but there’s no real secret to our success. We just try stuff, some of it works, and some of it doesn’t. If you stay focused on your goals, are flexible and test new things, and hire the right people, you’ll be able to grow your own SDR program as fast as we have and drive sales success.