A Successful B2B Sales Development Organization
Part III: Tips for hiring, training, and motivating a high-performing Sales
is the final part of a three-part series on architecting a highly effective Sales
Development (SD) function. To view the first two articles, please visit www.kickstartall.com/resources.html
part 1 of our series, we discussed the business objectives for building an in-house
SD function and 5 steps for setting up a successful SD operation. In part 2, we
discussed tips for managing the lead generation funnel including list selection,
profiling, the VITO approach, and qualifying techniques. Once you have defined
your SD operations and processes, it’s time to begin hiring, training and
motivating your team.
a B2B sales development role, you need intelligent, educated, and motivated individuals.
Minimum skills, personality and experience requirements should include:
* Bachelor's degree
* At least 2 year’s experience in an outbound B2B SD role with consistent
* Strong communication skills (oral and written) and a professional voice
* Strong time-management and organizational skills
* Pro-active, persistent, and goal-oriented
* Experience partnering with multiple inside or field sales reps
It is easier to train an experienced Sales Development Rep (SDR) on your company
and products than it is to take someone from your industry and train them on the
SD role. Beware of hiring an inbound, customer-service type of individual. They
seldom do well in an outbound, cold-calling environment.
Begin your hiring process by interviewing all candidates over the phone. After
all, their job is phone-based so you need to make sure that they can communicate
effectively in this medium. They will also be using email extensively, so make
sure they can write well and type quickly. A good method to evaluate skills is
to have the candidate treat you as if you were a prospect. Candidates who are
not serious about joining your company or do not have the experience and skills
to complete this task will likely not follow through with this assignment.
Meet face-to-face with candidates who make it through the first phone interview
and prospecting assignment successfully. If they look promising, have them interview
via phone or in person with the reps they will be partnering with to get the reps’
assessment. They will be working closely together, so a strong personality match
Perform reference checks to verify quota achievement and discuss work styles.
Is your candidate self-motivated, hard-working, and optimistic? Or does he/she
complain, point fingers and cause conflict within the team?
Training your SDRs is an ongoing process. Continual monitoring and coaching is
imperative if you want a high-performing team. Initial training should include
the following areas:
It is very useful
to create a Sales Guide that encompasses all of the content listed above. It can
be used by the entire sales organization including channel partners.
* Focus on the 80% of frequently asked questions and emphasize benefits over features
* Pricing (SDRs typically do not need detailed pricing, however, they do need
to be able to give prospects an estimate)
Skills & Techniques
* Target market characteristics
* Elevator pitch
* Navigating to the decision makers
* Listening and probing techniques
* Qualifying criteria
* Objection-handling tips
* Closing techniques
Phone system, headset, SFA/CRM system
* Rules of engagement for interacting with direct sales, channel, marketing
* Call tracking and reporting
* Process for “recycling” or nurturing prospects
Background and Competitive Environment
* Customer references
* Case studies
* Competitive positioning
your new SDRs have started their training, have them sit in on calls with other
SDRs and the inside or field sales reps they will be partnering with. They can
begin by first handling inbound calls and following up with warm leads (web hits,
tradeshow leads, etc.) before moving on to the more challenging outbound role
Begin with a well constructed compensation plan. A good model is 50% base, 50%
incentive or 60% base, 40% incentive. The bulk of the incentive should be tied
to results that the SDR directly controls: scheduled appointments, completed demos
and qualified leads passed to sales. The remaining incentive can be tied to revenue
for qualified leads that convert. This insures that SDRs give highly qualified
leads to their reps and if appropriate help expand contacts to drive the opportunity
to closure. To encourage high initiative and teamwork, double pay on closed deals.
SDRs often earn a fixed bonus per closed deal while field reps earn a percentage
high performers with quarterly and annual kickers and never cap their incentive.
Your goal is to have them consistently over achieve their quota.
In addition to a fair and motivating compensation plan, use time-based programs
with incentives for achievement of specific, measurable goals. Set both individual
and team goals for qualified appointments within a 4-6 week period. Make it fun
with a theme and goodies tied to that theme. Track progress on a white board so
that the entire team can monitor their performance vs. their fellow SDRs and the
entire team. A little competition will get your SDRs fired up and increase productivity.
Also, be sure to promote the campaign to the entire sales organization and upper
management to increase the visibility of the team.
is much more, but with these tips on hiring, training and motivating your SDRs,
you will have a successful and productive organization.
offers workshops and tailored SD programs to assist SD teams of all sizes. For
more information on these topics, please contact Mary Gospe.
About the Author:
Mary Gospe is principal and co-founder of KickStart Alliance. For more information,
contact Mary at
© 2003 KickStart Alliance