08 Jan 2013

Best Practices: A Day in the Life of a Sales Development Rep

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Many SDRs have a hybrid role, with responsibility for following up on inbound leads from Marketing and for doing targeted outbound prospecting. The struggle is balancing their time between the two. Below we have outlined a best practices structure to help SDRs organize their time.

 

The structure is simple, break down your day into 4 distinct sessions – Early Morning, Late Morning, Early Afternoon, and Late Afternoon. It seems like a no-brainer, but maintaining this type of structure requires discipline and focus. Many SDRs struggle with this given the typical daily interruptions (see below for “Pitfalls to Watch Out For”). Also keep in mind the intent of the structure is to help keep you focused and to fit all the necessary activities into your day. If you find it is more helpful to have your meetings in the late morning session, that’s fine, just stick to it!

 

The focus of each session is:

  • Early Morning (Top Priority: Follow Up Calls) – Use this session for scheduled follow up calls, calls to your hot prospects you’ve already identified, and to follow up on inbound leads and marketing-sourced leads. Every call should be followed by a targeted email with the same message.
  • Late Morning (Top Priority: Outbound Prospecting) – Use this session for building out your “hot prospect list”. Pick a list of target accounts to work through. Spend 3-5 minutes researching the target account to understand what they do, identify 3-5 potential prospects to call by scouring LinkedIn, Hoover’s, etc. for names and titles, and then pick up the phone and call. Repeat for each target account on your list. Once you have confirmed that you have a valid name, title and contact information for a prospect, move them to your “hot prospect list” for additional follow up.
  • Early Afternoon (Top Priority: Meetings or Follow Up Calls) – Use this session to schedule internal and external meetings, so there is minimal interruption to your other calling sessions. Any additional time in this session should be dedicated to additional scheduled follow up calls, calls to your hot prospects you’ve already identified, and to follow up on inbound leads and marketing-sourced leads. Every call should be followed by a targeted email with the same message.
  • Late Afternoon (Top Priority: Outbound Prospecting) – Use this session for more outbound prospecting to your target account list. Pick a list of target accounts to work through. Spend 3-5 minutes researching the target account to understand what they do, identify 3-5 potential prospects to call by scouring LinkedIn, Hoover’s, etc. for names and titles, and then pick up the phone and call. Repeat for each target account on your list. Once you have confirmed that you have a valid name, title and contact information for a prospect, move them to your “hot prospect list” for additional follow up.

 

 

Early Morning

Late Morning

Early Afternoon

Late Afternoon

Time(approx.)

8am – 10am

10am – noon

1pm – 4pm

4pm-6pm

Late Morning
  • follow up calls & emails
  • “Hot prospects list”
  • Marketing-generated leads
  • Target account research
  • Look up potential prospect info
  • 3-5 contacts/target account
  • Internal/External Meetings
  •  “Hot prospects list”
  • Marketing-generated leads
  • Target account research
  • Look up potential prospect info
  • 3-5 contacts/target account

 

Pitfalls to Watch Out For:

  1. Interruptions – It’s too easy to get caught up in the daily fire drills that occur. Do your best to keep to your structure. Communicate to your Reps that you can best help them by making calls, and to save non-urgent inquiries for the early afternoon session meetings. Your job is to maximize your calling time, and minimize any activities that detract from that.
  2. Create a close relationship with each of your Reps – The relationship between you and your Reps is crucial to your success. You should be in contact with your Reps on a regular basis (1-3 times/week) and have a specific agenda of what to cover to make the most of the time. The agenda might include:
    1.  A quick rundown of which prospects you are getting traction with,
    2. A review of the accounts you are targeting for outbound, and
    3. A discussion of any new accounts to add to your outbound list.
    4. Meetings & Trainings – No matter how hard you try to keep meetings in your early afternoon session, there will be company All-Hands, Quarterly Sales Meetings, Trainings, etc. where you cannot control the timing. You must do your best to plan ahead to make up the calling time so you can still meet your quota.
    5. Don’t get sucked into research – Research is a part of every SDRs day. They are valuable to a point. Give yourself an allotment of time for these activities, and stick to that. Recognize that too much research is bad, there is a point at which your efforts yield diminishing returns and will only leave less time for making calls.
    6. Be Proactive – Look for opportunities to increase effectiveness – for example, if you are sending a targeted email out to a VP of Marketing, perhaps you can send an email campaign to a list of VPs of Marketing rather than to each person one at a time.
    7. Remember your Goal – Focus on producing qualified opportunities, not just on completing tasks. If you find yourself doing too many other tasks that might be helpful – such as working on email messaging, scrubbing the database, etc. – tell your manager you need help offloading these tasks so you can pick up the phone and call a prospect.

 

Structure and discipline are critical to success and productivity in a sales environment.  The sooner you implement structure, the faster you’ll see results.

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