Sales development representatives (SDRs) and business development representatives (BDRs) are important parts of the sales funnel, helping organizations find and qualify leads. When they are running at top speed and peak efficiency, you have plenty of promising leads in your sales pipeline. When they aren’t, leads are harder to come by. This makes it important to support SDRs and BDRs so they can consistently perform at the top level.
How can you help your business development agents succeed in sales? Whether you're working for a larger firm in the commercial real estate industry with a dedicated biz-dev team, or you're a small business owner wearing many hats — including biz-dev — this post will help you level up your sales development strategy.
Codify Your SDR Workflow
Succeeding in sales begins with creating a system, a process or a defined workflow, so your SDR or BDR team has the right processes and tools to attract leads and convert them into long-term relationships for your business.
Every day, SDRs and BDRs face a long day of conversations and rejections while hoping for a few wins. This can leave one eager to find ways to skip past steps that feel frustrating or cumbersome. While you want your team to be efficient and find ways to improve their time management skills, skipping steps in your sales process usually isn’t a good idea.
The solution? Codify your sales process by detailing best practices and workflows. Don’t leave it to individuals to determine the best way to manage leads or hope everyone remembers what they need to do to move leads forward. Instead, map every step of your process, from locating and reaching out to qualifying leads and following up post-appointment.
Your process map shows the way leads should flow from beginning to end, and it includes tools and if-this-then-that directions, such as discovery questions to ask prior to passing the lead to senior sales reps. In addition to a larger, more detailed flow chart, print an infographic or checklist of your sales process.
A word of caution: Your sales process map should remove inefficiencies, not create them. It also shouldn't stifle your team's creativity.
Use Next-Level Research Tools
The CRE industry is complex and includes a diverse range of asset classes, such as office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, and multifamily properties. Each asset class has its own unique characteristics and requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Behind these assets are a multitude of professionals from contractors and land developers to attorneys and financiers that play a part in every piece of CRE on the market.
Finding CRE decision-makers within this type of interconnected, complicated landscape is difficult on the best of days. Learning enough about potential leads to having a meaningful conversation is even harder, which is why you need to employ new and novel ways of researching and connecting dots.
The solution? Provide your SDRs and BDRs access to smart sales development platforms. While traditional SDRs and BDRs are combing through Google, LinkedIn, public records and purchased lead lists, smart SDRs are killing it with intelligent CRE platforms.
"We took 14 years of commercial real estate data and created a platform that is specifically designed for sales teams," said Ben Hertz, General Manager. "Our goal was to create efficiencies by streamlining vast datasets into an interface that's incredibly easy to use."
Specifically made for the CRE industry, Biscred's platform provides laser-focused data so teams can spend more time talking to leads instead of fishing for them. They eliminate much of the need to cross-reference data across multiple sources and can dramatically reduce the time it takes to perform due diligence prior to reaching out.
Track and Value Metrics That Matter
Metrics are important but not every metric carries the same weight. The SDR and BDR world is a bit of a numbers game, but just setting “calls per day” as a metric may not really help move the needle. Instead, focus on valuing and improving metrics that support your organization’s goals. For example, if demos close more deals, the number of demos is a more valuable metric than calls per day. If you have a long sales cycle, touchpoints per account might be an important number to track.
Placing more value on metrics that push leads closer to the finish line will sharpen your team’s focus and provide greater insight into how to improve your overall numbers. The same idea applies to coaching your team. Focus more on coaching to improve areas that directly apply to success instead of focusing on numbers that indicate busy work and volume.
The solution: Many SDR and BDR teams use general, industry metrics as a foundation such as accounts touched per month, calls per day/week/month, meetings booked, appointments kept and closed deals. Identify and focus on key performance indicators most likely to lead to conversions. Determining which metrics most often predict success looks different in every organization, so you’ll need to analyze your data carefully.
A good starting place may be to evaluate closed deals and look for commonalities among them. Is there a relationship between the speed at which a rep contacted a lead and your close rate? Can you see numbers that support the claim that multiple touch points during a given amount of time more often lead to a sale?
Speed Up Tasks and Boost Efficiency
Sales is time-consuming by nature. It takes a considerable amount of time to identify leads, reach out to them, discover their needs and build relationships. This involves a lot of manual work and some steps cannot be rushed, like the time it takes to have meaningful conversations.
SDRs and BDRs also have to coordinate with other members of the sales team and make solid notes that help the next rep. Ideally, they should be looking for creative ways to improve their performance and find more qualified leads. This can be hard to do when you’re continually working your database and filling up your day with busy work and cumbersome tasks. This is where tools and tactics that speed up tasks come into the picture.
The solution: Some areas you can’t rush, but there are ways to speed up some of the more mundane and time-consuming steps in the SDR and BDR process. Apart from using a smarter sales development platform to cut the time it takes to find and research leads, SDR and BDR teams can use the following tools to improve efficiency:
Email templates: Create a series of email templates to personalize and send out to leads and prospects at various steps of the sales process. These make it quick and easy to send personalized emails. Keep them in a central location so everyone is always using the most up-to-date version.
Call scripts: Create call scripts for leads and prospects at various steps in your sales process. These can be full scripts or bullet points that act as reminders of items to touch on during the call.
Resource library: Create a resource library that SDRs and BDRs can use to quickly find and send helpful info to leads and prospects. Having items in a central location makes it easy for teams to stay on the same page and ensures that the same info is being shared. It also eliminates frantic file searches looking for a case study of FAQ to send out.
Communication tools: Email is great, but it isn’t the quickest way teams can communicate. This is especially important for workers that may be on the phone and need information quickly. By using communication tools like Teams, Slack or Rocket.Chat your team can collaborate, quickly ask questions and receive fast support.
SDRs and BDRs play a critical role in generating high-quality leads and driving revenue growth. Within the CRE landscape, this role is even more complicated and critical to success. By embracing these strategies, SDRs and BDRs can spend more time on profitable work and less time on busy work.