Newsletter #2: SDRs Are Near and Dear to Me

Newsletter #2: SDRs Are Near and Dear to Me

I’m writing today about working with an extended SDR team. Until recently, I was involved in a business offering services such as outsourced SDRs, first as a co-founder and partner and later as an advisor. The journey had its ups and downs but was full of lessons.

Sales Development Representative (SDR) is a sales role primarily focused on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. SDRs connect with potential leads through various communication channels and identify those who fit the company's products or services well. Their main goal is to generate and qualify leads to hand off to the sales team, usually by setting up a sales call between a lead and an account executive. SDRs' contribution streamlines the sales process and enhances the sales funnel's velocity.

During my time with the agency, I probably did all the possible jobs, from prospecting for contacts to cold calling and emailing them. But as one of the founders, I mostly sold our services, managed accounts, and coached SDRs, with a hint of administrative jobs on the side. During this journey, I had another full-time job, but luckily, I had a great co-founder and a great management team.

I want to uplift others in sales.

The reason I founded the agency was the same as with GTM Club: I want to uplift others in sales. Working with SDRs allowed me to help young professionals start their sales careers.

Now, I want to share some of the lessons from that journey.

Accelerate, scale and conquer with an extended SDR team

The mission statement for the GTM Club newsletter is to help you accelerate your sales-led go-to-market. So now, based on my experiences running an SDR agency and as a buyer for the same service, I share how you should use and deploy your extended team to accelerate, scale, and conquer. Some might consider this as a hot take.

Some might consider this as a hot take.

The most common mistake when utilising an SDR agency is using and living by the terms external and outsourced. A better approach would be to speak about an extended team.

When we say outsourced and external, we mean just that. The SDRs work elsewhere, are led by someone else and are only noticed when they succeed in setting up a sales call. You give the outsourced SDRs a mission—”get me 30 opportunities in my pipeline,” for example —and off the team goes.

Is that how your sales team has become as good as they are now?

Probably not.

Your sales team collaborates nonstop, communicates constantly, and celebrates victories together. I’m trying to say that SDRs should be your team's extension. There should be collaboration, communication, and celebration equally with them.

There should be collaboration, communication, and celebration equally with the extended SDR team.

The main criteria for selecting an SDR partner and the overarching goals for extending the SDR team should be access to the right talent, flexibility, and the ability to benchmark. The cost side of things can be a bonus or mandatory hurdle. There are multiple ways to price SDRs' work, but I would not use a low-cost option unless my offering would be a super commodity and the sheer scale of activity would be the path to success.

We built our agency entirely remotely (thanks to Covid-19). Still, as a buyer, I have had an SDR from an extended team collaborate at our office, join us at an expo overseas, and participate in all team events.

No matter if you are working remotely, on-site or hybrid, you can find ways to arrange practicalities with SDRs so that there is a platform to communicate timely and ad-hoc (like shared Slack or Teams channels), have SDRs participate in your team meetings, and avenues to share feedback of appointments set. I strongly advocate cutting out the middlemen and having SDRs and account executives collaborate freely as they would when the payslip has the same company logo. As a leader, you can follow SDRs' progress through the KPIs.

I would even have extended team members participate in booked sales appointments to learn how they go and how to improve their messaging to new prospects. Nowadays, most of the work is done over Zoom or Teams, so practically, the only things preventing tight collaboration are internal processes and parties' willingness.

Do I hear the gentleman back there mentioning that investing this heavily in an SDR outsourcing company makes them indispensable and expensive? Maybe so, but only if they succeed and do good work helping you reach your targets and scale your sales. Any marvellous SDR, regardless of who they work for, is indispensable. These are happy problems to have.

Any marvellous SDR, regardless of who they work for, is indispensable.

So, to sum up, the foundations for a good partnership with an extended SDR team are the same as those of any successful organisation: One tightly knit unit working together to achieve shared goals.

Your Invitation to Engage

As always, I welcome any feedback you might have about the website's content or this newsletter. I’m especially interested in your thoughts about the format we are now trying: a few blogs about a selected topic followed by a monthly newsletter tying it all together before jumping to the next topic. Is this a good approach, or should I try to drop content from multiple topics between these newsletters?

Speaking of the next topic, it will be about outbound sales.

Also, I want to mention that we have opened a new channel for GTM Club followers. I was a big fan of Artifact, a content curation tool from the founders of Instagram. It was a real bummer when they closed it down about a month ago.

After a multi-year break, I returned to using Flipboard to find relevant news due to losing Artifact. It’s interesting to follow what they are now doing regarding federating content, but closer to home, I’m happy to announce that GTM Club now has a magazine on Flipboard.

If you use Flipboard, follow us here!

See you in April!

Here's to success,

GTM Club