Will a Sales Development Rep (SDR) Hurt My Brand? What to Look For in An Outsourced SDR team (Your Sales Team’s Secret Weapon)

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development

Important topic today...One of the biggest factors to the successes we see with our clients is when they take a multi-channel approach to getting leads - it’s a huge contributor to converting leads into sales appointments. Our campaigns via LinkedIn, email, Facebook, and even making good old fashioned phone calls all contribute to create a robust pipeline of quality sales opportunities for our clients.

Today, I want to talk about one facet of this multi-channel approach - and that’s what role our Sales Development Rep’s (SDR’s) play in the appointment booking process, and how to know if they’ll pay off and if hiring a similar role is right for you.

If you’re looking to hire salespeople, or you’re in the process of building an effective outbound sales strategy, it’s likely you’ve come across the term.

How An SDR Supports Your Sales Team

To start, let’s talk about what the SDR’s do. Essentially, their job is not to sell your services and products. SDR’s are simply your sales appointment setters.

Note: Some people use the title Business Development Rep (BDR) but they are effectively performing the same role. The distinction is primarily used for organizations that have two unique purposes for these roles and use the name difference to differentiate between the two.

This function gives a multi-channel strategy a huge boost because a good SDR will, on your behalf, email and or call prospects who’ve already had some interaction with you, whether it be through a LinkedIn connection, a LinkedIn group, email, or they requested a white paper, or report, or some other interaction. They provide another channel to connect with prospects, along with a very personalized touch to your outbound lead generation, and help nurture prospects into booking appointments.

In other words, unlike sales reps who have a quota to fill and who close new deals,

  • SDRs reach out to new leads 
  • push people to book appointments 
  • and keep the pipeline flowing

This allows you to let your closers close instead of making phone calls to new leads or digging around trying to find new sales opportunities.

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Common Concerns… Is An SDR Right for Your Business?

Some of the people that my team and I have been talking to are concerned about outsourcing their sales development to SDR’s. 

  • ...They’re worried that the SDR won’t know enough about their company to close a sale (or that they might even leave a negative impression on prospects, risking the brand’s reputation)
  • ...Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past with outsourcing their sales development.
  • ...Or perhaps they’re concerned about the costs of outsourcing this type of task, and does it really help anyway?

All valid concerns that are easily addressed when you know how to maximize your SDR’s results. Keep reading to learn how we’ve done that LinkedSelling and why they’re a great choice to help your team book sales appointments.

Interested in learning more?

Schedule a time to talk with our Director of Client Strategy to get more qualified
sales appointments on your teams calendar!

Find the Right People

First of all, it’s important to note that not all SDR’s or outsourced sales development services are equal. You want to look for professionals, possibly who have experience in sales and definitely who are open and receptive to in-depth training. You should not and cannot just hire a random person off the street. 

While I believe you can get an SDR up to speed relatively quickly on how your business works, they still are representing your brand and need to be professional. 

This is especially important for us at LinkedSelling, too; we’re not hiring salespeople we picked up off the street. Our team of SDRs is professional, experienced and trained using our proven methods to help get more appointments on the calendar. 

If you want to sound professional, you need professionals in your corner. Making sure you’re working with professionals also brings peace of mind that they won’t misrepresent you or your business while speaking to your prospects.

A properly trained SDR realizes the importance of professionalism, positively representing your brand, and treating your prospects well.

Give Them the Proper Tools (And Guidelines)

Second, let’s talk about training. Many companies who offer SDR services provide calls to prospects but they don’t provide training on the whole process, so the call can seem out of place and disjointed to your prospects. 

For example, at LinkedSelling, we train our SDR’s to be highly aware of the entire sales process, so that it’s a streamlined experience for our client’s prospects, and then when they call those prospects, they follow scripts that our clients approve.

Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help your SDR’s get more appointments:

Provide the Right Script

A prepared SDR is a good SDR. If they practice and know what to say in every situation, they will always be an asset to your brand, not a liability. You’ll want to provide a script that both...

  • References the previous outreach your prospect has been exposed to, making the call from the SDR seamless and easier for your prospect to want to book an appointment.
  • And includes a 10-30 second “commercial” or elevator pitch about your company and services that fits your brand and your messaging.

The benefit of using this is that the SDR can provide just enough information to whet your prospect’s appetite enough to book a call, but not actually sell your services on your behalf. It’s just enough to “sell” the appointment.

To help you with a script, your SDR’s script needs 4 parts in order to move the prospect to an appointment.

When done properly you will get 1 of 3 outcomes from the prospect …

1. They ask for more information right away

If the prospect starts asking questions about price or detailed specifics about your product or service, they are trying to shortcut the sales process. A well trained SDR needs to know how to control the conversation and push the prospect to the next step.

Your SDR’s favorite phrase here should start with “That depends…”

Let’s say a prospect asks about pricing right away. Your SDR’s response should be something like. “That depends Paul… we have solutions that are as low as $67 a month and solutions that are $10K a month. Every client and every campaign comes with a different set up needs so the pricing varies. That’s something that Jon can go into more detail about on your call.”

You see what that does? Remember, the SDR is not selling your product or services. They are only selling the appointment. By deflecting the question and saying that 

Same thing applies if your prospect starts asking about specifics of your service, project scope, or anything else. The SDR will direct them to book a call with your sales team to answer those questions.

2. The prospect agrees to take the appointment

This one is easy but it is important that your SDR knows exactly what to do when they agree to get them scheduled and on the calendar of your main sales reps for the meeting. 

3. The prospect is not interested

If this happens, don’t worry. More people will say no than those who say yes. That’s true in any level of sales. At this point your prospect just needs to thank them for their time and get off the call. Even if someone is not interested now, it doesn't mean they wont be interested later. So you want to leave the call promptly and professionally as to respect the prospect and their time. 

Interested in learning more?

Schedule a time to talk with our Director of Client Strategy to get more qualified
sales appointments on your teams calendar!

Set Your SDR’s Up For Success

Honestly, this is where a lot of companies who offer SDR services fail. They have the best of intentions but really don’t provide the training or support needed to justify the expense of an outsourced SDR team. This results in a waste of time both for you, and your prospects.

Here are some strict DO’s and DONT’s we follow when it comes to sales development, that will be beneficial for you as well:

DO:

1. Create a seamless experience for your prospects by incorporating your SDR strategy into a multichannel integrated system (in our case, our SDR’s are an integrated part of our multi-channel approach and know exactly what content our client’s prospect has been exposed to).

2. Use your SDR’s to call people solely to move them to the next step, not to introduce the company for the first time, OR to make sales calls.

3. Direct your SDR’s to call semi-warm, targeted prospects. For example, they’ll:

  • Call opt-ins (leads) after they’ve submitted on online form or requested an e-book, etc.
  • Call potential leads who’ve connected with you via LinkedIn messaging campaigns
  • Call people who’ve emailed you, are in a mutual group, or who’ve otherwise shown some interest.

DON’T:

1. Call off of untargeted, purchased lists

2. Call random people out of nowhere

3. Make calls that don’t flow with where the customer is in their journey

4. Sell services or make promises

5. Be unprofessional or start making calls without training and practice

6. Vary from the script

Is This A Role You Can Effectively Outsource?

If you’re considering developing an outsourced sales development team, or are looking at different options, whether in-house or outsourced, there are a few things you should consider.

1. An SDR should enhance your brand not hurt it
This is a question we get sometimes, and it’s a good one to ask anyone who offers SDR services. I can’t say the same for every company, but that’s why we look for professionals, with experience, and then train them on our methods and unique sales approach. They are also trained on your business and given the scripts and tools to confidently represent your brand and refer any questions to the sales appointment.

2. The strategy & approach matters (do it right or don’t do it at all)
After working with various companies and outsourcing sales development teams ourselves, when we started offering this service for our clients, we knew exactly what we wanted to give them.
 
That’s the benefit of working with a team who didn’t get it right… now we know what to avoid at all costs. And from experience, I can tell you, it makes a difference…

Because if you don’t get it right, you’re throwing money and time down the drain - for both you and your prospects.

So what’s the RIGHT way to incorporate SDR’s? We’ve found that the best approach are SDR’s who can provide a seamless call that naturally encourages and continues the conversation you’ve already had with your prospects. Your SDR’s should be trained to understand enough about your company to “sell” the appointment only and to always direct any questions from your prospects to the appointment.

3. Outsourcing vs. In-House
Should you outsource or build an in-house sales development team? There are many factors to consider here but let’s start with the top three:

  • Cost of hiring out your team
  • Cost & time spent managing that team
  • Outbound Strategy and Optimization

Investment Needed For Building Your In-House Sales Development Team


What financial investment is it going to take to build out an internal sales development and outbound lead generation program?

Let’s start with the Sales Development Representatives (SDR), your troops on the frontline making first contact with your prospects.

So at the very minimum, if you had a sales staff of 3-4 sales reps you would need to bring on 2 SDRs. Meaning you’d be investing ~$160k every year on SDR talent alone. 

And SDR’s are just part of a full team.

Investment Needed for Outsourcing Your Sales Development Rep’s

Having a team of specialists handle your sales development ensures that you not only go to market significantly quicker but you also don’t have to worry about burning budget and prospect relationships on trial and error. You protect your brand, and you see better results (ie more quality sales appointments on the calendar).

A lot goes into a well-oiled sales development program that an already experienced outbound sales development team has already tried and tested...

  • What tech to use for your messaging? 
  • What dialer to use for your phone calls? 
  • What service to use for acquiring leads lists or data? 
  • How to efficiently build trust with targeted accounts on LinkedIn without turning your best prospects off? 
  • What messaging is currently resonating with your target market and ideal prospects?

That’s just the start of it. 

This is where the true value of an experienced lead generation and sales development agency is on full display.

By outsourcing to an agency like LinkedSelling you can get an entire, trained & tested, Sales Development Team for less than the cost of a single SDR, without the headache of hiring, training, attrition, trial & error, technology costs, and everything else that comes with hiring and managing an internal team.

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