4 New Year’s Resolutions for Sales Development Reps that are Worth Keeping

January 8, 2015 Sam Laber

For many, New Year’s is a good time to reflect on previous accomplishments, drink (a lot of) champagne and set a few personal and vocational goals for the upcoming year. This in mind, below are 4 resolutions that will serve every sales development rep well in 2015. Enjoy!

1. Start living by the 80/20 rule

If you haven’t come across the 80/20 rule yet, the theory can be summed up nicely in this quote:

Focus on 20% of the actions that will deliver 80% of the results.

For SDRs, this means focusing on 20% of the prospects that will account for 80% of your sales opportunities. In 2014, how many times did you go back and forth with a prospect that you  weren’t even sure had enough budget to buy your product in the first place? How much time did you spend uncovering email addresses for contacts who weren’t even decision makers? How many times did you reach out to a prospect that wasn’t currently in the market for your product?

In 2015, it’s time to get down to business and be honest with yourself about which prospects are worth hustling for and which aren’t.

2. Learn to “love the battle”

For those prospects who are worth the extra effort, it’s time to bare down and learn to enjoy all the hoops they make you jump through to get the meeting.

I first heard the phrase “love the battle” from my soccer coach during a particularly grueling game back in high school. It was about 90 degrees out, we were playing on a turf field, and our extremely physical opponent dwarfed us in height, weight and facial hair. After the first half, none of us wanted to get back on the field, but what the coach was referring to made sense and can be applied to your outlook as well.

In SDR speak, loving the battle means teaching yourself to relish the oftentimes painstaking back and forth between you and your prospect. You know, the email threads that look like this:

[Introductory email]

Prospect: …Okay, but what do you do exactly?

You: We’re a digital acquisition company that does this, this and this, which impacts your bottom line in this, this and this way. Do you have time for a meeting next week?

Prospect: How do you compare to this other digital acquisition company?

You: We’re different in a number of ways — we have stronger reporting features, faster load times and cost $200 less a month. Are you interested in jumping on a call to learn more?

Prospect: I see. Sorry, I’m still not sure what it is exactly that you do. Do you have a product overview or case study that I can read?

You: [Pulls hair out and takes a snack break]

You get the point.

In 2015, task yourself with staying calm, cool and collected during these exchanges. This will help you keep an even tone, and enable you to impress your prospect with how much you know about your solution and the problems he’s trying to solve. Then, when you finally book the meeting, you’ll have all the confidence in the world the next time a prospect gets inquisitive.

3. Try something new each month

Trying something new may seem like a cop out resolution, but as every successful sales rep knows, it pays to experiment. Here are a few things to try in January:

  • Stand up when speaking to a prospect on the phone. It will give you more confidence as you are literally “thinking on your feet”.
  • Connect with your prospect on LinkedIn and leave a brief note BEFORE sending your first outreach email or making your first call. This little trick helped our very own director of outbound sales achieve a 52% reply rate on cold emails. See webinar
  • Experiment with different follow up cadences and sending times. Try emailing your c-level prospects on Sunday evenings when they are likely online, prepping for Monday morning meetings.

4.  Compete with yourself, not those around you

This one’s important and probably shouldn’t be listed last. Oh well, it happens.

If you’re an SDR, chances are you’re on a team with a few other SDRs. Chances are these guys like talking about how many meetings they’ve been setting or the most recent opportunities they’ve created that have closed. Chances are your metrics and performance are publicly available via some sort of CRM dashboard as well.

In 2015, it’s time to make a mini pact with yourself — control what you can control and not a thing more. Focus on the quality of the prospects you source, the number of emails you send, the calls you make, and the tidbits of knowledge you pick up from every training you attend. Focus on beating yourself — don’t worry about beating the guy next to you.

Happy new year everyone!

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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