How to book more qualified sales meetings as an SDR
For any company to sell their products/services, they need to generate qualified sales leads.
The job of a Sales Development Representative in an organisation is to organise qualified sales meetings through cold calling, email and social outreach. In this article we will provide some guidance on how you as an SDR or your SDR team members can book more qualified meetings.
One of the biggest problems we see when assessing an SDR is their lack of product knowledge, specifically when it comes to objection handling. The ability to handle objections when speaking to a prospect from cold is crucial, and is often what sets apart the top performers from the average.
It’s very important to identify when an objection can/should be handled and when the prospect is genuinely not interested/there is no need. For example, if a prospect says ‘there’s no need for this’ or ‘I’m not interested’ then it is a waste of everyone’s time to try and push for a meeting – just thank them for their time and move on.
Some hardcore players in the space may argue you should try and convince them otherwise, but we believe sales is about getting yourself in front of prospects who have a clear need/challenge which you can solve – not convincing them of a problem that doesn’t exist. Whilst you may be able to convince a prospect to take a call, if there’s no need/challenge then they will not buy anything from your sales reps – and as an SDR you want to keep your sales reps onside at all costs.
A common objection we hear is ‘please send me some more information first’. Often, an inexperienced SDR will not identify this as an opportunity to push for a call and that the prospect is actively showing interest.
A great tool we use internally for all objections is to first acknowledge the objection by saying something like ‘yes I can of course send you some more information’, and then pushing for a meeting by saying something like ‘if it’s ok with you i’ll also send through a calendar invite and if it looks relevant we’ve killed two birds with one stone. Does that work for you?’.
If they say no and they just want more information in the first instance – that’s fine, you now have a warm lead to follow up with in a few days time. If they say yes that sounds reasonable, you have a calendar invite waiting to be accepted and also more information for them to digest.
Being a top performing SDR is about finding the balance between having a killer instinct and being respectful and professional, if you’re too pushy you will rub people up the wrong way and if you’re too passive you’ll never lock in times with busy prospects.
Put your ego aside
One of my favourite hooks to close a meeting when a prospect asks a complicated question is to say ‘I’m quite junior in the company but my colleague will be able to talk you through this in detail – are you free on Tuesday or Wednesday next week to jump on a call with him/her?.
Often an SDR will feel the need to try and pretend they know it all, and lose the meeting in the process.
The objective of an SDR is to qualify a prospect/account and set up a meeting for the sales rep – put your ego aside and if you don’t have the answer, put them in contact with someone who does. Prospects are human too and will appreciate your honesty.
Efficiency is the key to becoming a top performing SDR. Whilst your company may provide you with an endless list of numbers to call, it’s often very inefficient to just call through each number line by line. When you’re looking at a list of accounts/prospects, ask yourself who you think is most likely to book a meeting. Who is your companies biggest and most reputable reference?
If your companies biggest customer is Coca Cola, the first companies you should be calling are food and beverage organisations because there’s a high likelihood they will be experiencing the same need/challenge.
If your company recently closed a big deal with the Head of Projects at BHP, it would be inefficient to only call the Heads of IT at Financial Institutions. Identify which industries/verticals/job titles your messaging resonates with, and attack this area hard. Your job as an SDR to book as many highly qualified meetings as possible, go for the easy wins.
A key differentiator between top performing reps and average reps is their ability/confidence to ask for referrals and contact information of the right people to speak to.
If a prospect says ‘I’m not the right person’, first acknowledge the objection and then ask for a referral by saying ‘No problem if you’re not the right person, who would be responsible for this?’. If they give you a name, you must ask for their contact number. A common mistake is people not asking the question, the worst they will say is ‘no sorry I can’t give this out’ – and you’re in no worse position than when you started.
When a prospect gives you a referral and a contact number, it is gold dust for an SDR. You have a very easy opener for the conversation, ‘Hi x, I just spoke to your colleague x and they said you’d be the best person to speak to about x’.
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