5 Tactics Winning SDRs Utilize

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We recently hosted an excellent webinar featuring guests Denni Griffith and Terry Ledden. While the focus of the session was speed-to-lead, both Denni and Terry kept coming back to an important point: prospects don’t want to be sold to by you; they want to buy from you.
What’s the difference between those two scenarios? Control. Prospects want to be in control, and so much of the buyer’s journey is now in their hands.
So what are successful sales development reps (SDRs) doing to make more contacts and sales? Let’s take a look at five tactics and review how effective sales reps use them.

  1. Follow Up
  2. Video
  3. Voice Messages
  4. Sales Emails
  5. Cold Calling

Follow Up at the Right Time and Frequency

There’s a myth out there that you have to contact a web lead within the first five minutes if you want a shot at closing the sale. In fact, Gabe Larsen of InsideSales.com says you are an idiot if you aren’t calling within the first five minutes.

First off, I’m not sure about calling your potential customers idiots, but that’s a discussion for another blog post. Second, his assertion that you must make contact in the first five minutes is just not true, according to the research. Maybe it was at one time, but the latest data from the study, Sales Engagement Best Practices: A Study of 130,000,000 Sales Interactions, conducted by Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa tells a different story.

When SDRs contact leads within the first 10-to-60 minutes, they have higher win rates compared to those leads contacted before the ten-minute mark. Why? Well, think about it. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes.

You just downloaded a white paper or piece of sales collateral. You would like a little time to read it and think about it on your own. Instead, a rep has just emailed, direct messaged you on Twitter, sent a LinkedIn InMail, and called before ten minutes has passed. (OK that’s a bit of an exaggeration – only a bit of one, though.)

When you call too quickly, you take control away from the prospect. Give buyers a little time to review what they downloaded. Even if someone asked you to call, don’t make that person feel like you’re a stalker. Contact your lead within that 10-to-60 minute window. However, don’t wait longer than the first hour. Your chances at a successful outcome dive when you wait too long.

While that first contact timing is critical, we all know that successful selling is about more than the first contact attempt. The top-performing SDRs understand this and use a front-loaded sales cadence with focus on persistent follow up within the first four to five days as the sweet spot.

Make Use of Video

Video is a major part of the digital world today. You can’t spend any time on social media without seeing multiple videos. It’s easier for people to digest visuals than text and helps to build a connection. Including a video in an initial email increases click-through rate by 96%. That’s huge! If you’re not using it yet, it’s time to add video to your sales process.

Creating video doesn’t have to be hard or expensive either. As long as you’re among the 77% of adults that own a smartphone, you already have all you need to get started creating video. Video is a simple, personalized touch you can add to your communications arsenal. For a list of tools to make it easier to share videos, check out our post Does Video in Sales Really Impact the Sales Process?

Leave Great Voicemails

Don’t think of the voicemail box as a dreaded black hole your sales reps will fall into if the prospect doesn’t pick up. Strong salespeople have a plan and know what to say in a voicemail message to inspire a callback.

An effective voicemail provides context for why the SDR is calling, a bit of value, and an ask. Instruct your salespeople to repeat their phone number, and keep it short – less than 30 seconds is ideal.

Voicemail is a powerful tool, but it’s a repetitive task that can take up quite a bit of time. Luckily, it can be automated. With the proper tools, pre-recorded messages can be dropped into mailboxes while your sales rep moves on to their next prospect.

Send Sales Emails

The average open rate for email is currently 17.62%. It’s critical to construct a subject line that will encourage the receiver to open the email. Forbes recommends touching on the prospect’s pain point and how your product or service can help.

Getting the email opened is the first step. A well-written email is concise and written in a tone that isn’t too formal. High-performing sales emails include an enticing offer and a splash of social proof for credibility.

Consider taking historical data from your team’s sent emails to create email templates that can be customized for individual prospects. Not only will it save your SDRs time, but it will also increase the chance you’ll get the outcome you want – in most cases, a response.

Don’t Neglect Cold Calling

Champion salespeople aren’t afraid to cold call. The Balance stated that “60% of more than 1,000 polled senior executives from the IT industry reported taking an appointment or attending an event after receiving a cold call or unsolicited email.” Cold calling works, no matter what the naysayers claim.

Encourage your SDRs to share their expertise to build trust and rapport with their prospects. Thinking of themselves as an expert consultant instead of a salesperson puts them in the mindset to dig deeper and help the prospect address their problems.

Technology can help with cold calling too. Instead of digging through a spreadsheet of leads to find the next person to call, lead routing solutions can queue up the next- best lead.

Successful SDRs incorporate an array of sales tactics to get a positive outcome. Remember what I said at the beginning? Prospects don’t want to be sold to by you; they want to buy from you. It’s all about control. High-performers remain in control by using multiple sales techniques while making the prospect feel like they have the power.

What tactics are your high-performers employing? Let us know in the comments below.


Darryl Praill

Darryl Praill, Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft, is a high-tech marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience spanning startups, re-starts, consolidations, acquisitions, divestments and IPO’s. He has been widely quoted in the media including television, press, and trade publications. He is a guest lecturer, public speaker, and radio personality and has been featured in numerous podcasts, case studies, and best-selling books.

Praill is a former recipient of the coveted Forty Under 40 Award, and has held senior executive roles in leading companies including Sybase, Cognos (now IBM), webPLAN (now Kinaxis), and CML Emergency Services (now AIRBUS). He has raised over $50 million in venture funding across multiple organizations and consulted with world-class corporations including Salesforce, SAP, and Nielsen. He is a Computer Science graduate from Sheridan College.

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