While 9 out of 10 organisations use two or more lead enrichment tools to gain better insights into their prospects, it still takes an average of 18 calls to connect with a buyer (TOPO). That fact shows that despite all the undeniably great tools available to modern sales development rep there is still a lot of leg work to be done. There is no silver bullet in the sales stack that puts the perfect prospects on a plate. That's why prioritisation of an SDR's time is a vital subject for getting the most out of them.
The key question is, what is time well spent for an SDR?
Some tasks are obvious; outbound calling, personalised emails, building a personal brand. All these activities have direct links to the meetings the rep will book each week. However, the marginal gains come from pinpointing the activities in their daily or weekly schedule that have a significant opportunity cost in the time they cause the rep to spend away from those high return activities.
You could take the creation of the SDR's role in the first place as an example. The opportunity cost of a sales rep conducting the full sales cycle versus having specialised prospectors and closers is the efficiency and potential expertise lost by splitting their time half and half.
As a result, you end up with the SDR - AE model. In this situation, the marginal gain comes from not only cutting lost time when switching between prospecting and closing "hats" but also the expertise that can be gained by specialising in a segment of the pipeline.
So if specialisation between an SDR and AE is almost universally accepted to increase a sales team's output what is the logical conclusion from this?
It is vital that any individual in the sales process, no matter their role, can maximise the time they spend executing the activities that have the highest return on their specific objective.
For an SDR these may be;
Now it might look different for an SDR depending on their company culture. Some organisations want to break the records for outbound dials a week while others love for their SDR's to find the perfect creative hook from diving into a prospects twitter feed. Either way some tasks just don't make the cut when it comes to the return on getting meetings booked.
One activity that many organisations are taking out of their SDR's weekly schedule is the manual process of searching for contact information. While the right research before a cold call or cold email can inform an SDR on how best they spark up a conversation with their prospect, the initial process of finding and building a list of prospects is a time consuming activity that is a missallocation of a few hours each week.
While a few hours a week for a rep doesn't sound like a vast loss, if you apply the opportunity cost principle to this on an organisational scale, even a relatively small prospecting team of 10 reps could be missing out on upwards of 750 dials a week.
Larger more developed sales organisations are finding alternative teams such as rev ops to execute this task and gaining the opportunity to have those extra dials each week. Meanwhile, smaller teams often don't have the internal resource to do so but the opportunity cost remains.
As an idea for a way to pinpoint these areas of potential gain an organisation could look at their SDR training activity. Look at what areas they are being trained to be the best at: objection handling, pattern interupts, call call effectiveness etc. Any time that the rep is spending on activity that they are not trained on is time they are spending on a task that as an organisation you understand doesn't have a direct impact on their performance.
That is where the SDR job stands to be further specialised.