Sales development has shifted, as buyers take more control over their own journey. Customers today are defined by self-guided research spanning multiple touchpoints.
The level of skill and success for sales development representatives (SDRs) is often measured based on quantifying their outreach attempts, SQLs in the pipeline, or average deal size. The problem with depending on those metrics, however, is that they don’t provide the rich context when it comes to the “why” behind each win and loss.
Sales enablement tools like Bigtincan fill in this critical gap, allowing SDRs to access “why” metrics like content engagement and conversation histories that give more direct sightlines to their audience and provide real value to prospects.
The most successful sales development reps combine soft skills with the latest technology and insights, helping customers evaluate options and solve problems in a way that goes beyond what Google has to offer.
Here, we’ll go over some sales development representative tips that’ll set you on the path toward more sales.
Sales development representative skills every pro needs to master
Our experience in the sales enablement industry comes with a holistic view of the sales process, and an understanding of how businesses can better collaborate and work more efficiently.
While tools like Salesforce, SalesLoft, and Bigtincan’s sales enablement software make life easier for SDRs, soft skills like time management, persistence, flexibility, and critical thinking are essential qualities for doing well in this role.
1. Tap into your curious side
In today’s relationship-focused, consultative-selling environment, successful SDRs should consider themselves “lifelong learners.” Not only does developing deep industry, product, and organizational knowledge help reps become better at their jobs, it will also serve them well as they grow in their career.
A study from Aberdeen found that product and service knowledge rank among the top three qualities of a top-tier sales rep. The next highest are having an understanding of the buyer’s experience, and an ability to solve prospect problems. In other words, knowledge is (selling) power.
SDRs need to know their product or service inside and out while also having a clear understanding of their customer profile and the challenges their prospects face. With a sales enablement platform, reps can quickly gather new information through internal resources, online research, training sessions, industry events, and meeting with colleagues.
Pro tip: Set a goal for yourself to read at least one industry article a day. It’s a small step toward becoming more informed, and it won’t take long for you to learn the latest trends and best practices that can help you improve your selling skills and apply them to real-life prospects.
2. Become an active listener
A chatbot might be able to sum up a prospect’s qualifications in a single sequence, but the human connection still matters during the qualification stage. As such, one of the most important sales development representative tips is making sure you ask prospects a direct question, then listen quietly for a response.
When you have an opportunity to dive deeper, ask questions that build on what the prospect says — try asking, “Can you tell me more?” or “How long do you think it will take to reach that goal?”
Skilled reps have a knack for uncovering opportunities in the answers that prospects provide. Over time, you’ll start to learn what phrases indicate whether someone is a qualified lead and what solutions bring the most value to the individuals you have on the line.
3. Embrace rejection
The sales development rep faces some familiar challenges, from handling objections to finding qualified leads. Yes, people are going to hang up on you, but ultimately, it’s not the end of the world.
And when you do book a meeting and a prospect doesn’t show up to the call, just know, it happens. While it is annoying, patience is key, as you can always book another one.
The reason that getting comfortable with rejection matters here is simple; when you let every “no” get to you, you miss out on learning opportunities as well as the chance to connect with someone who might make a great client later.
4. Be open to receiving feedback
For some, the first response to constructive criticism is to become defensive or closed off. If that’s you, SDR might not be the best role for you. That being said, coachability is among the most important sales development representative skills out there, perhaps even more so than your ability to ask great questions or empathize with a prospect during a cold call.
Sales is all about ongoing measurement and improvement, which requires a high level of self-awareness. You’ll need to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to recognize problem areas like neglecting to ask follow-up questions or failing to bring up budget on a call.
Sales enablement unlocks sales development representative skills
Sales Enablement doesn’t just support field reps, it makes life easier for SDRs, marketers, and everyone else we work with.
Some organizations focus solely on the outside sales rep who struggles to organize their notes in the CRM, or can’t find the right content. But it’s worth noting that inside sales reps, too, benefit when their organization invests in a sales enablement platform.
SDRs can send the right content to a prospect with the press of a button, and later, learn how, exactly, that prospect interacted with the white paper or case study they received. Sales development reps also gain access to detailed product information or sales training content that supports ongoing learning. And then, there are collaboration tools that connect SDRs with marketing and allow experienced sellers to coach rookie reps.
It can be very overwhelming coming into a fast-paced sales environment not knowing much about the product or the industry. Opening access to the training content and sales collateral needed to succeed is a game-changer for SDRs, saving them time to focus on what really matters — selling.
To learn more about how sales enablement supports sales development reps, as well as the rest of your organization, download our Essential Guide to Sales Enablement for 2019.