The SDR role is dying and it’s not for the reasons the so-called experts warned you about years ago. To be blunt the job itself sucks. The pay alone is not commensurate with the requirements of the role. We all talk about mental health yet we continue to hire for SDR and BDR roles only to send (the often young and inexperienced) into the trenches with little to no training, thus, their first experience with sales is an awful one.
The vacuum is open. To whom you might ask? Predators such as experts, influencers, trainers, and coaches are replacing vacant leadership with their ideas of what works vs. what does not. The vacuum contains sounds from critics dumping on poorly written email content, bad voicemail messages, inappropriate LinkedIn messages, and more. The vacuum is also missing sounds of viable solutions and when we do hear a few ideas suction through, they come from individuals who couldn’t walk a day in the shoes of a modern seller, especially a business developer.
Go back into the archives of LinkedIn posts from your favorite so-called experts. Many of which told us that automation would eventually replace the SDR and BDR. Were they correct with this prediction? Of course, they weren’t. Making predictions on the future of the sales profession is foolish due to the profession itself being comprised of humans, who are as often unpredictable as they are predictable. Selling is and always will be a people’s profession aided by certain technological advancements whenever needed. Evolution is taking place and the role of SDR/BDR is not being replaced by technology but rather from lack of training, skills coaching, leadership, product innovation, clarity of career progression, and, worst of all mental fatigue.
The job is brutal and usually with no end in sight.
The base salary is mediocre at best and trying to earn commission against unrealistic compensation plans is demoralizing.
Again, there is no question that the role is dying but it’s dying from wounds sustained in the rejection battle and ultimately the inefficiency wars of poorly managed sales teams. The risk of being an SDR/BDR is not worth the reward and even if you take the role to learn, the chances of having an adequate teacher are rare. Additionally, all of the benchmark data and analysis in the world doesn’t actually apply to the person in the role, who is actually doing the job itself. Sure, it’s great to know things like salary per region, average turnover, and expectations for promotion to AE. But, that data doesn’t provide insights into the mentally grueling role of cold calling strangers to book a meeting so you can discuss a product no one has ever heard of which solves a problem that requires upfront education which the buyer has to acknowledge exists.
Did you get all of that?
If I were a hiring sales leader or founder who is either growing a sales team or building one for the first time, I would be laser-focused on hiring, training, and grooming full-cycle sellers. Tell the rest of your team to build an amazing product and push your chips into the marketing funnel. If you’re hellbent on hiring SDRs and BDRs, contact SalesGevity first. Let’s at least talk about the alternative option of outsourcing in the short-term and you relying upon our expertise as a guideship for metrics, measurement, and onboarding.
In 2016, I was hired by Dataminr as their first VP of Inside Sales. My job was to build an inside sales team from the ground up. Recruiting, hiring and training was the formula. I knew how to recruit and I knew how to hire the right people and I also knew that unless we had an onboarding program for our new hires, I would fail at building a successful inside sales department.
Up until the time I arrived, Dataminr had made its mark selling its technology to large enterprises. Think Fox News, CNN, BBC, Royal Bank of Scottland, Morgan Stanley and NYPD. The sales team that was there, if you could even call it that, was made up of industry types with domain expertise who essentially acted as customer success representatives. All very good and incredibly smart people. Dataminr’s technology served four distinct vertical markets: News, Finance, Public Sector & Corporate Security. Each vertical had its own version of Dataminr with its own distinct features and settings. The sales organization was broken up into four teams, each of which served it’s own respective vertical. My team, the team in which I would eventually build would, however, sell into all four verticals. Where was I even supposed to start? I had zero background in Finance or News but spent some time in IT security sales. Since I was a job hopper though, I did have the great fortune of participating in some of the best sales onboarding programs and I would now be able to take my learnings and build one of my own. Here is how I built and delivered Dataminr’s first new hire onboarding program in 90 days.
“Since I was a job hopper though, I did have the great fortune of participating in some of the best sales onboarding programs and I would now be able to take my learnings and build one of my own.”
Days 1 - 30: Interview & Understand
Dataminr was one of the most unique places I’ve worked at. We actually had our buyer personas working at our company. For example, in our News vertical, we had former journalists serving as domain experts and salespeople. The same went for our Public Sector team which was comprised of military veterans, retired public sector employees, and led by a West Point Graduate and Iraq War Veteran. Our Corporate Security vertical was led by a former CIA field operative. Our finance teams were made up of former Wall St traders, banking analysts, and portfolio managers. I had access to all of these amazing and talented minds. For nearly a month I met with over 30 individuals to learn about each market we served and how they would leverage our technology if they were back in their previous roles. From this exercise, our ICP was born, our go-to-market messaging was beginning to take shape and perhaps most importantly, I forged some awesome relationships. As I now look back, they were the pillars of my early success. If any of you are reading this - THANK YOU.
“From this exercise, our ICP was born, our go-to-market messaging was beginning to take shape and perhaps most importantly, I forged some awesome relationships.”
Days 31 - 60: Build The Team
Without a great team, it’s really hard to build something awesome, especially in under 90 days! Out of the 30 plus internal interviews I conducted, I gained 10 allies who offered to be a part of my onboarding program. Each ally took responsibility for creating an educational track and also teaching it. My job was to organize all of this amazing content and then compile it into a structured course that could be taught within 7-10 business days. The first draft of the course schedule looked something like this:
Imagine having one of these courses taught to you by a Stock Trader from Citibank or a retired U.S. Army Sgt? It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
“Without a great team, it’s really hard to build something awesome, especially in under 90 days!”
Days 61 - 90: Deliver and Empower
Introducing a sales onboarding program to an organization whose roots were primarily based on engineering and domain expertise was going to be a challenge. I, fortunately, reported to the President who also believed in building a predictable sales engine. Once he reviewed the draft of my onboarding plan and realized that I was able to garner support from 10 other team members, he had me present my onboarding plan to our C-suite for final approval. Once my presentation was complete, my President looked at me said, “Ryan, I think you just created the onboarding program for the entire company”.
“I, fortunately, reported to the President who also believed in building a predictable sales engine.”
Building a new hire onboarding program is the foundation of sales enablement and long-term sales success. Start with a simple approach and build upon it as your organization grows and changes. But definitely start with something rather than nothing at all.
They say the market will tell you where your business should go. I originally launched SalesGevity as a direct to salesperson coaching business. Essentially B2C. That service offering is not going away. However, as of today, our total offering as a business has changed.
Like any start-up, you are constantly learning, adjusting, pivoting, redefining and testing multiple forms of messaging. Through this process is where you begin allowing your business to take you where the business should actually be and what it will eventually become. All of which, stems from one very powerful interaction in life - conversations. Over the past 60 days, I’ve had a ton of conversations with amazing sales professionals. These conversations have opened my eyes up to another strength of mine. I love leading and coaching as equally as I do building structure and process for sales organizations.
I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured in the beginning. I’d still be lying if I said I had it all figured out right now. I do, however, know that I want to build a strong, long-lasting sustainable business. The model took some time to define but I do believe I finally have it. SalesGevity is a sales enablement business. Our model is comprised of three components: Designed, Delivered & Reinforced.
Playbooks & Onboarding - The foundation of your sales organization. Working with your internal stakeholders, we will design your custom sales playbook and new hire onboarding program. All of which will include but not limited to call scripts designed, email templates composed, discovery framework created, meeting framework created, forecasting methodology established, tech stack selected, and your sales & marketing SLA formulated. Designed.
Training & Technology - SalesGevity will provide training for your sales teams leveraging your playbook principles and framework. Consisting of either a one-week or two-week process, your onboarding program will deliver sales, operational and technology enablement. Training can be delivered live in-person or live virtually. Delivered.
Real-time Coaching - Typical sales enablement programs involve a moment in time approach. Most sales teams today are locked in a room for one or two weeks while training is jammed into their heads. Then, one week after training is completed they only retain less than 20% of what they learned. Even worse, your ability to reinforce your tremendous investment in your people becomes almost impossible to conduct. With SalesGevity's real-time coaching network, your sales reps will have access to our experienced sales coaches at the click of a button. Reinforced.
If you'd like to discuss the potential of us working together, click the Schedule Time With Ryan button below.
Last week I hosted a live paid event where I taught salespeople how to write emails that convert into meetings with prospects. You can view this presentation on-demand. Enjoy! Click the image.
On March 26, 2020, Ryan Lallier provided some actionable insights for sales professionals to deploy over the next 30 days. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and work from home requirements, salespeople are being asked to do a lot more with a lot less. Here is free access to the slides Ryan presented during his live event. Enjoy!
If you’re looking for ways to increase engagement on your LinkedIn post, my suggestion is to run a hashtag search first. Just as you would search for a company or contact name, you can conduct searches for which hashtags have the largest followings on LinkedIn. This is an important action to conduct anytime you post content on LinkedIn because it allows you to gauge and select your desired audience. I provided a quick video to show you how to conduct hashtag searches below.