With only a couple of years of sales under my belt, I am no expert in the field but in those few years, I have had amazing mentors and top-notch training to guide me. One thing that I quickly realized is all of my mentors had similar advice on how to set yourself up to be successful in Tech Sales. The multi-talented team at AlwaysHired in San Francisco really broke down the basics of what we need to do to build a solid foundation for a successful long term career in Tech Sales. I want to share some of those things with others who might be starting their sales career as a SDR.
5 things I learned that every Sales Development Representative should do to hit quota1. Set mini goals to make sure you are on target As a SDR we have a quota that needs to be hit but a lot of us lose focus and quickly fall behind. I learned to break down my quota into daily or weekly sections instead of just looking at the big picture (monthly/quarterly). This puts the focus on small milestones that all add up to the larger goal. When you do this, the importance of every call or email is not forgotten. I often looked at the total time I had left as a way to make excuses for not being productive in that moment. Now that I break down my goals into mini segments, I know exactly what I need at any point of the day for me to reach my set goal. So track how many calls you need to make hourly or how many DMs you need to reach daily as a way to keep yourself on pace. 2. Every call should have more than one objective I know the #1 objective for us is to book a demo but realistically that won’t happen on every call we make. That’s just part of the reality of this industry. So set objectives that don’t revolve around you closing that lead. Before you place calls, tell yourself the things you want to accomplish on that call that will help you grow. We all have things we can get better at and if we use every call as way to put those things into action, every call will be successful regardless of whether we close it or not. 3. Ask strong questions to get to the core of their issues This is the most important thing I have learned in my recent past. I constantly fell into the trap of asking the obvious weak-minded questions and it would lead to a failed conversation more times than not. A weak question is focused on you or your company. For example, “Did you know our product can improve your productivity?” A strong question focuses on them or their business. For example “What products do you currently use to improve your productivity?” You can then use that as an opportunity to probe deeper into what they like and dislike about their current solutions. I have been using this advice in real world conversations and it has completely changed the way people interact with me. 4. Open yourself up to criticism and ask your peers for help When I was just entering sales, I refused to look to my peers for advice because I thought I was admitting defeat. I would look outside for help when all the help I needed was right next to me. Eventually, through my mentors, what I learned is that people love when you ask for help and there is always someone else who has gone through what you are facing. So when you are struggling to book demos or reach a decision maker, turn to the person who is killing it and ask them for their best practices. It won’t only get them to feel good about what they are doing, but you will improve your skills as well.“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” - Winston Churchill5. Learn from other teams within your organization Our success does not only lie in our team leaders hands. Every single team in the Company has an impact in what you do, so reach out to the people on those teams. Don’t be afraid to go to Marketing with questions on the type of leads they are acquiring or how those leads are performing once you get them. Go to the Sales Ops team and ask them to provide you with details on how they come up with a certain KPI or how to check those numbers yourself. It’s always good to learn from other departments because they are effecting your role as well. The more you know the better off you will be."It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” - Warren BuffettI have grown to be more open with my teammates, take criticism as a learning experience, and focus on the prospect’s needs before mine. Those key changes in how I work day to day have allowed me start off on the right foot and continuing to practice these simple steps will keep me moving forward. I hope others in my shoes can use what I have learned to propel themselves as well.(Updated by Kevin Lehman)So what else can you do it hit quota?6. Research your customer thoroughlySalesperson A has an understanding of the customer's product. He/she has looked at news surrounding the potential client and finds out some of their main problems. Salesperson A is able to ask more focused questions because of a better understanding of the potential customer's pains.Salesperson B barely even knows what the customer's business does. "They do something involving SaaS." Salesperson B has to start ut with generic questions and then eventually is able to probe pain after a long, grueling conversation.Who is more likely to book a meeting and hit quota?7. Analyze your successesWhat do they have in common? What is consistently working for you? Think of medium of communication and what you actually say. Was your success lucky or is there some solid reasoning behind your success. Build on it.8. Analyze your failuresThis is just as important as analyzing your successes. Why? Because you can make immediate changes to your strategy if something isn't working. Sometimes hearing yourself speak will help you understand where you went wrong. Did you talk too much? Should you have asked a different question in that scenario? This will help you hit your quota.