SDR? AE? BDM? SVP? Hustler…?
Safe to say, I hadn’t had much exposure to the world of Inside Sales prior to Refract. I’d worked in field and event sales before this role, but entering the world of SaaS was a totally different ball game; I knew from the get go I was in for a whirlwind ride.
I knew I had ability and the drive to succeed but the whole concept of an SDR was completely new. Being the least experienced individual in the organization whilst simultaneously being responsible for the top of funnel was quite daunting to say the least!
Six months down the line I can safely say my expectation of the roller coaster to come has been well and truly met. Where once I was hesitant, now I thrive; and how once I only saw a problem, I now strive for the solution.
I can’t say I’m anywhere near the finished article, not that I believe you ever can be, but I wanted to represent SDRs in the UK by sharing my experiences. I’ve picked out 4 standout lessons from my experiences, and I’ll go into more detail below. However, my stand out message is that practice makes perfect. Only by reviewing what went before can we learn from it, continue to take steps forward and be the quota crushers that we are.
Let’s dive in:
1) there is no such thing as a mistake, only an opportunity to learn
For me, this cannot be overstated! During the first couple of months, it’s common to find a chip developing on your shoulder. My ideal prospects were publishing great content encouraging people to reach out whilst lauding their own superstar reps but I couldn’t get through to them.
Inexperience and naivety were clouding my vision. Luckily, I’m surrounded by a great team who invested their time in me and my development. Here at Refract, we truly do practice what we preach and embrace our own technology to drive our skills development. Whether it was by going back through my calls and emails to find missed opportunities or moments of greatness, or creating scenario challenges to prepare me for the common objections I would be facing, I began to master my trade.
Making a mistake in a new role is like breaking in hiking boots, painful at first but you’re all the better for it on the other side.
2) don’t carry over ‘bad’ days
To quote Tom Segura, one of my favourite comedians, “some people suck”.
There is little worse as an SDR than having the prospect you’ve researched and tried to get in touch with over and over again ask ‘is this a sales call?’ or shut you down before you get the chance to engage them.
Sales is not a dirty word, you know that you have a great product that they WILL be interested in so their close mindedness is their loss, not yours.
Momentum is huge, don’t get bogged down in a bad interaction; rather strive to make the next the one that turns your fortunes around.
3) listen to those who’ve got the t-shirt
As with any venture, you must forge your own path but don’t believe yourself above the advice of those who walked the path themselves several times before.
I was lucky enough to attend the SaaStr conference in San Francisco as part of the Refract delegation and whilst there, I made sure my ears were open to all the top tips I could gather. Certain speakers stick with you more than others and safe to say, Josh James is somewhat of an inspiration.
Slightly closer to home, over 5000 miles to be exact, we have started our own sales meetups in Newcastle – ‘Pizza for Closers’. By initiating discussion and sharing ideas you can only come out more knowledgeable than you were when you entered, that’s certainly no bad thing.
So whether it’s conferences, podcasts, books or colleagues, become a sponge to advice. You have two ears and one mouth… keep that golden ratio!
4) be human, use YOUR voice
Each and every one of us engages in sales conversations multiple times a day. Whether it is in a B2B or B2C environment, we know how we like to be sold to and what works.
Translate this across to how you control your own interactions. Nobody enjoys a conversation with a robotic waiter, or an uninterested shop assistant so don’t be that person to your prospects.
As with everything in sales there is a debate to be had regarding quantity over quality but I sit firmly on the side of the latter. In your interactions, engage and relate to people, use their content (hint, hint…) to open up a conversation, people like to talk about themselves and their organisation.
Please don’t spray and pray, it’s obvious and you won’t stand out.
So there we have it, six months later and I can look back with pride at my learning curve. I’ve gone from nervous starter to hitting targets whilst always striving to continue my development.
I can’t possibly put my personal progression down to one thing but can only encourage you to review your interactions and performance, only then can the champagne moments of sales become the norm!
Jacob is currently an SDR for UK based sales coaching and conversational insights platform Refract. This is his first venture into Inside Sales having held a variety of sales based roles throughout school. When not crushing quota he likes to watch, as he says, the ‘original’ football or travel the world. Make sure to reach out on LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions.
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