Building out your SDR capability in Q1

Attracting top talent is a priority for many organisations at the start of the year. But, SDRs are different. How can you ensure you hire A-players to your SDR team?

When organisations get their SDR capability right, it creates enormous opportunities. It allows sales leaders to allocate the skills of experienced salespeople to the end of the sales cycle, knowing the start of the cycle is taken care of. As we move into a new year (and decade), most companies will be looking at expanding headcount in their sales teams. They will be planning and strategising, working out how many salespeople to add and what sorts of people will be successful there. However, uncovering the best SDRs can be a challenge for a variety of reasons. 

Steve Jobs said, ‘I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well-advised to go after the cream of the cream… A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.’ How are you going to make sure you only hire A-players to your SDR team? Let’s find out more.

The challenges

Why is hiring SDRs so difficult? There are several reasons:

  • Little to no experience to judge them on – candidates applying for SDR roles are likely to be recent graduates, short on sales experience and metrics you can evaluate
  • Many talented graduates do not see sales as a profession – you may need to sell them on sales as a career. They may have a negative image of sales, or not even know what it is! (Getting a current SDR to help write the job description can help here)
  • There will be a great deal of competition for genuinely good candidates who are aware of their value

Also, the SDR role is demanding. You face almost constant rejection every day. Even once you have hired someone, you need to upskill them and build their resilience if you want them to stay. We’ll talk more about retention in our next article.

The solution

When you don’t have a candidate’s past sales performance that you can measure, you need to create a framework that helps you find the attributes you are looking for and hire based on attitude and aptitude.

I have always loved the concept of SDR assessment days, where you get to assess candidates over the course of a longer period of time (a day) across a range of exercises. You’ll see how they can perform on an individual level, as well as in group situations.

At assessment days, potential SDRs may be asked to do tasks such as coming up with an elevator pitch. There could be roleplays, like an introductory phone call. There should also be group exercises; it’s key to see how SDRs interact with their peers and colleagues, even if SDR is primarily an individual contributor role.

When you hold assessment days, you should be looking for several different signals that someone will be successful as an SDR:

  • Raw talent – that X-factor that puts them ahead of the crowd
  • Curiosity – eagerness to find out more about the role, the company, the people and your customers
  • Coachability – you need someone eager to learn, who can take on feedback when it is essential for their development
  • Personality – while selling can be coached, you have to have someone who is comfortable talking to new people. After all, not everyone is like that
  • Team interaction – you want someone who will fit in well with the rest of the team, who embraces the competition that being in a sales team brings

Find out more

When you have a strong framework for hiring SDRs, when you know what you’re looking for and how to spot it, building out your SDR capability needn’t be a challenge.

At Salesworks, we help you find and recruit the people who will get you to your growth objectives. From identifying the skills and requirements to defining the role and finding the candidate, we’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure you only recruit the A-players you need.