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8 Simple Rules To Leading An SDR Team

4 min read
Sep. 25, 2014

SDRs are an integral cog in any SaaS sales machine.

Without a steady stream of demos, sales are unpredictable. At the worst, the stream runs dry and closers are left to twiddle their thumbs.

And that is what you want to avoid like the plague.

It is important to have a leader devoted entirely to growing, training, and improving your SDR team. Their role should revolve around combatting top of the funnel objections, cold calls, and list building.

Here are 8 simple rules that will help you with leading an SDR team:

1. Hire Around Your Core Values

Culture is a crucial part of any team, and it should be treated as such when hiring.

At Salesloft, our core values are positive, supportive and self-starting. We look for these values in every candidate, and don’t make exceptions.

VP of Sales at Pardot, Derek Grant, suggests using a “canoe test” to determine whether or not candidates are a good culture fit. The tactic is simple. While you’re talking to a candidate, decide whether or not you would enjoy your time together and trust them to pull their weight if you were in a canoe together.

If you don’t enjoy spending time with them, you probably won’t enjoy working with them.

2. Encourage Open Lines Of Communication

For a leader to be really helpful, they have to be accessible.

At Salesloft, the Head of Sales Development works in the same space as the rest of the team, giving them real-time feedback and always being open for questions.

The team also uses Google Chat, so they can constantly interact without interrupting the flow of others in the room, especially while reps are on calls.

3. Onboard Quickly And Effectively

Make it easy for new reps to hit the ground running.

First, provide them with a playbook that outlines your entire process. This will give new hires a reference point for how to prospect, make calls, and send emails. They won’t have to re-discover a process that is proven to work, but will simply be able to build off of it.

For the first month on the job, give reps a lower quota so they have time to adjust to a new work environment and build confidence.

Once they’ve adjusted, they’ll be more likely to hit the full quota their second month.

4. Invest In Quality Training

While hiring is important for obvious reasons, a good leader will invest in training and growing reps.

Reps should not simply be handed a playbook and told to jump in.

Instead, have them sit in on demos and practice cold calls with different members of the company. Teach them how to use your tools effectively and make sure reps are confident before having them reach out to prospects.

5. Set Weekly Meetings

Being proactive about problems can save a huge amount of time.

In order to address team struggles and facilitate open communication, a weekly team meeting is important. It gives reps the chance to discuss their past week’s worth of prospecting, calls, and emails, and gives the team lead insights into common struggles and successes.

In addition, reps should have one hour of one-on-one training each week. This time will be specifically devoted to building their specific weaknesses, practicing calls, and asking questions.

6. Stay Organized

A good leader practices what they preach.

Since SDRs have to pass the baton to Account Executives, data needs to be clean. The data in CRM should be meticulously recorded and easy to find.

It also helps to log and record phone calls so that leads can review them with their reps during their meetings and give them an opportunity to hear how they sound on the phone.

7. Be Smart About Compensation

Sales development is an innately metrics-driven role. Reps need to qualify appointments and demos, cold-call, and send emails on a daily basis. It’s important for you to compensate reps based on metrics that matter the most to your business.

At Salesloft, the golden ticket is demos completed, holding reps accountable for their prospects actually showing up and giving AEs a chance to close.

By incentivizing your most important numbers, reps are more likely to rise to the challenge and hit them.

8. Use A Playbook

We’ve mentioned the use of a playbook for on-boarding, but what happens as products and processes change?

Your playbook should be extremely fluid. Each quarter, update it to reflect your newest changes and distribute it to your team.

The more details you can outline within your playbook, the better. Every process that is defined, helps avoid questions and confusion.

Interested in the recently released playbook Salesloft used to surpass $3 million in ARR? Download it for free below: