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SDR Benchmarking report 2023

Cold Calling

Cold Calling

Cold Calling

Cold Calling

Scale from 0 to 20 meetings per month

Scale from 0 to 20 meetings per month

Scale from 0 to 20 meetings per month

Scale from 0 to 20 meetings per month

Aug 28, 2020

Aug 28, 2020

Aug 28, 2020

Aug 28, 2020

We choose to ramp up our sales team during this pandemic. This is a tricky decision because we haven't onboarded or ramped up sales professionals via zoom in the past. We hired 2 SDRs in April. 

We knew it would be more challenging for them to settle into the team's remote culture, get trained, and, most importantly, schedule meetings with prospective customers, given the COVID situation. 

We need to solve quite a few challenges before the SDRs could test the waters and get started with generating leads. Here are a few:

  • Mock calling:- Our SDRs just graduated from college and are green. Given that exposure to US Market is a new adventure for them, and they had no experience in cold calling, it was evident that we need to train them on a good number of mock calls before they could confidently communicate with the prospects. 

  • Accountability in the SDR Team:- Many experiments were going on simultaneously - be it the different types of outbound campaigns, preparing lists for each of the campaigns, and measuring results for each experiment. The hour's need was to assess each of the SDRs' strengths and assign responsibilities to each of them accordingly.

  • Instilling confidence in the SDR's:- We were aware that the COVID situation was unfortunate, and the target market wasn't in the most ideal condition. It might be overwhelming and demotivating if the meetings are not booked. We needed to work together as a close-knit team and build an environment to get the best out of each other.

How do we do this?

'How do we do this?' is the big question. That is when my CEO, Kalyan, suggested that we try out the 'SDR War Room' tactic. This is one of the most commonly used tactics among the best performing sales teams. The way 'SDR War Room' tactic works is - "Imagine as a team you are all going to war - you'll have to train each other, address each other's problems to make a better version of what you are and go all in to book meetings. Assume this as a War. Just give it all." That's it. 

The key to making the 'SDR War Room' tactic work is identifying the right challenges to work on and focus on those aspects. Every sales team will have different challenges, and the SDR team needs to focus on addressing those challenges. 

Our goal is to make sure that each SDR books 5 meetings per week, and we want to ramp them up in 5 weeks to accomplish that goal.

Structuring the SDR War room

Initially, we came up with a simple structure of doing a daily 30 mins catchup among the SDR team to go over the details of our campaigns every day. We felt this will improve our execution and help us get into a better rhythm. The first few days, we kept it quite an open house, and based on the questions that popped up consistently, we have structured the SDR War Room meetings like the one shown in the below image:

Learnings from the previous day (5-minutes)

  • It was really important for the team to exchange each other's learnings for scaling our efforts and getting regular feedback on what could have been improved. Our discussions were centered around improving email open rates, assessing which templates were working best for the team, and deriving insights from meaningful conversations with prospects. 

  • Overall, This shared learning culture helped us stay relevant, aware, productive, and build a stronger team relationship.

Plan for the following day (5-minutes)

  • We made sure to discuss each other's responsibilities for the following day so that we didn't have to compete for resources or step on each other inadvertently as we worked simultaneously to achieve our priorities for the following day.

  • Planning about the upcoming outbound campaigns and always maintaining our outbound calendar helped us assign deadlines to every task beforehand for the perfect execution of the campaigns at T=0, be it the email sequences or preparing lists for the same. I will write about our campaign planning in the next post. 

Any wins/losses that need to be addressed (5-minutes)

  • The team made sure to take out time and celebrate every win - be it a booked meeting or a good cold call. I can't emphasize the importance of celebrating small wins. It just helped us keep team morale high. 

  • The losses were taken in a stride too. A simple question followed, "What could we have done better?"

Mock call session (15-minutes)

  • In the last 15minutes, we made sure to practice mock calls, prepare efficient calls and voicemails scripts. Initially, our new SDRs had cold calling blues (I had the same nervousness when I started cold-calling). We wanted to help them in overcoming their fears. 

  • During the mock call sessions in the SDR war-room, we ensured the SDRs were trained in facing the most uncomfortable situations with ease. The sessions started with basic objection handlings and ramped up to challenging scenarios with advanced objection handling. These objection handling sessions helped the SDRs to understand more about the product and prepared them to help prospects. 

  • We ensured that after each mock call - we addressed the shortcomings and discussed what went right. Each SDR had new learning every day. The best and the worst mock calls were recorded for team members to listen, analyze, and derive learnings.

  • The regular mock call sessions helped the SDRs shift their mindset from a sales one to a consultative one.

We ran the SDR War Room process for a lot of weeks now. Every day, we stuck to the structure and trusted the process. We reported the metrics around the number of emails we sent out, calls we made, and LinkedIn connections sent out. In addition to these metrics, we also discussed the overall responses we received and the number of meetings booked to get the hang of our daily improvements.

These days, we also keep brainstorming new ideas and share regular learnings and feedback, enabling us to get the desired momentum we wanted. All our work had now been channelized in a very organized way, and we started seeing results. 

This SDR War room approach not only helped us ramp the SDRs and empowered them to go from 0 to 20 meetings per month in a month but also taught us a great lesson with regards to team work - "It's not the team with the best players that win. It's the players with the best team that wins."

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