Hiring the right SDR – With Daniel Lewis

Hiring the right SDR – With Daniel Lewis
Brandon Omoregie

Today, something that should be simple and easy, hiring and on-boarding SDRs, for many companies has become a convoluted process. Turnover is high and expected. The on-boarding process takes longer than necessary, and the success rate of most SDRs has dropped significantly across the board.

To have fewer problems with newly hired SDRs down the road, a little extra ‘filtering’ during the interview can be used to condense the hiring and on-boarding process. This is part of what’s necessary to accelerate appropriate ramp times and recognize revenue faster, a goal we all want to achieve.

I spoke with ClearCare, one of the fastest (if not THE fastest) growing SaaS Company in the Home Care industry. Daniel Lewis - SDR manager at ClearCare, has done an exceptional job building and scaling his team. ClearCare’s salesforce leans on Daniel’s team to assist in finding, cultivating and building initial interest in ClearCare’s product offerings.

What would you say is the #1 thing that can ruin an interview?

  • Being late and not calling or emailing in advance (30+ minutes).  If you’re late, then it shows a real lack of preparation.  There are a lot of reasons why a trip to our office can be derailed (protest, BART problems, etc), but to not have advance warning is a huge red flag.  Also, going to the “wrong address” isn’t a good excuse with all the mapping programs available.

What is your biggest pet peeve during an interview process?

  • Using a lot of filler words like um, like, you know, etc.  They all convey uncertainty and a degree of not being prepared.  However, most candidates are just nervous so they insert filler words into what they say.

What are the 2 most important qualities you like to see in an SDR candidate?

    1. Attitude.  There is a lot of literature that shows that a good attitude is more important to sales success than skill or natural ability so I look for someone who has a good attitude.
    2. Energy. I also look for good energy & confidence - not someone who is off the wall with energy or nervous but who can talk emphatically and change their tone during the conversation to keep me more interested.

What are the 3 qualities most important to you that make an exceptional SDR on your team?

    1. Adaptable. We are a startup where things change often.  If someone isn’t adaptable to change, they’ll go crazy.
    2. Good work ethic. This helps to ramp up after changes and get ramped up quickly, both of which are necessary in a startup where ROI is closely watched.
    3. Good team player. We don’t have many training resources outside of myself, so a new rep gets a good portion of their on-the-job training from their peers.  A good team player is needed to get trained efficiently and also help train other people when they are no longer the newest person on the team.

How important is previous sales experience prior to working at ClearCare?

  • I think that having good attributes like attitude and energy are more important than having prior sales experience and skills.  Experience is good because I know that the person knows what happens in a sales role and wants to be in sales.  Lastly, good training is better than no training, but no training is better than bad training.  In my experience managing and interviewing candidates, I’ve noticed that many sales organizations do not train their employees in a structured manner or with a good methodology, which means that the candidate generally has bad habits and tendencies.   I do an SDR exercise which lets me weed out the people who have acquired a lot of bad habits since I don’t have the time to break them.

One of the things I admire about ClearCare is you tend to do a great job hiring people who share your company vision. It is a great recipe for excellent company culture. How important is having an SDR share that same vision?

  • I think a culture fit is the most important factor when determining a long term fit for a team so, if you like to hire people for the long term like I do, then it’s a must that someone share the company vision and really likes the company culture.  I have never seen any employee last more than 9 months at a company where they aren’t a good culture fit.  The company vision is a part of the culture so someone needs to be able to fit in with the rest of the team/company on a personal level but also share that company vision in order to be successful long term.

How important do you view SDRs in the sales process, and how have SDRs helped ClearCare hit its revenue goals? 

  • The SDR’s are a very important part of the sales process since the other functions around the SDR, Marketing and Account Executives, are usually not good at or don’t associate a high value to prospecting and follow up with prospects.  The SDR building and maintaining the funnel from MQL to demo ensures a more regular sales cadence & allows marketing and AE’s to focus on their core competencies.

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