4 Interview Questions You Should Ask Every Sales Development Rep

December 9, 2014 Sam Laber

Anyone who has had the privilege of building out a sales development team knows that successful SDRs come from a variety of different backgrounds. Some are introverts, some are extroverts; some want to stay in sales, some don’t; some love cold calling, some look at a phone and feel like throwing up; some have years of experience under their belt, some are fresh out of college; some… okay, okay, you get the point.

Bottom line is that it’s extremely difficult to know whether or not the person you’re interviewing for the SDR team is going to be a top producer AND a solid cultural fit. At Datanyze, we’re actually in the process of building out an SDR team ourselves (hint hint), so we thought to share a few of the interview questions we ask every candidate who walks through the door.

*Note: If you’re interviewing with us and found this post, nice work — but that’s only the start!

1. Take me through your resume — in 90 seconds or less.

A common mistake SDRs make when reaching out to prospects is presenting way too much information at first pass. So even if there was a nugget somewhere in that last email or call attempt, it most likely got overlooked amidst a sea of feature descriptions and ROI stats.

This in mind, one of the most valuable skills any SDR can have is selectivity — or, choosing what’s most important within a given set of information and making sure to communicate it clearly and effectively. Asking your candidate to give a quick, 90 second overview of their resume forces them to be succinct and focus on the experiences they believe will be most relevant for the role. Plus, it gives you more time to ask follow up questions and really dive into specific areas of their background.

2. Describe our product like you would to your grandparents.

This one’s fun — and, believe it or not, tremendously effective.

As we know, older generations are typically a bit slower to understand and adopt new technologies, so a great way to test a candidate’s knowledge of your product is to make them communicate it’s core value in simple terms. Make sure to really challenge them as they go by asking them to clarify any words that you believe wouldn’t be fully understood by Gam-Gam herself.

3. You’re charged with booking 1 sales meeting by tomorrow, how do you do it?

In any type of interview, asking your candidate to take you through a job-related task in a detailed manner is a great way to get some insight into their thought process.

In this case, you want your candidate to be as thorough as possible without receiving too much guidance from you. For candidates who have been SDRs before, you should expect this process to be pretty refined, so challenge them through every detail. A close-to-perfect answer would cover most, if not all of the following:

  • What companies will they go after and why?
  • How many companies will they find, and how will they find them?
  • Which department/seniority level are they going to target and why?
  • Where are they going to find the right person?
  • How are they going to get in touch? Where will they go to find contact information?
  • What are they going to say?
  • How will they handle objections?

4. What is one feature we could add to improve our product?

We love this one, and here’s why:

Being an SDR is no walk in the park. It takes hours of preparation, constant hard-work, and a never-say-die attitude when things aren’t going as planned. So unless you’re managing NASA’s new SDR team for the Mars mission, you’re going to want to make sure that every candidate you interview is truly passionate about the product they’re going to sell.

If your candidate is truly excited about their upcoming interview, they will, most likely, discuss your product with a few friends beforehand and maybe even think critically about your space for a few minutes. This in mind, give your candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity (and preparation) by asking them what they would do if given the keys to the product. If you’re lucky, this could spark an awesome conversation that really brings out your candidate’s passion for not only the job, but the company as a whole.

About the Author

Sam Laber

Sam is the director of marketing at Datanyze. He's a big John Hughes fan who occasionally fills the DZ office with the sweet sweet sounds of 90s rock giant, Creed.

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