[Blog post by Elliot Okiwelu]
You’re a sales leader at a technology company. You ask yourself, do I want my Account Executives handling everything from prospecting to closing or do I want to separate the two?
On one hand, you only have AEs to work with and they do everything needed through the entire sales cycle. On the other, you could hire Sales Development Representatives to handle outreach, prospecting and qualifying. They could be tasked with setting appointments with prospects that closely fit your Ideal Customer Profile. If your SDRs do a good job at this, your AEs could spend their day talking to qualified prospects and doing what they do best, understanding the need, making a recommendation, and completing the sale. You can probably tell that this is the way I’d go and many rapidly scaling tech companies agree as well.
The field of sales development is booming. These folks build the pipeline you need to generate predictable revenue key to scaling. The SDR role is also a fantastic way to groom your future AEs. Let’s keep it real, SDRs are entry level sales folk and cost less. Developed well over a year or 2, they could be your next high performing AE crushing it at your president’s club dinner table. Now there’s a good look for your company! You become known as having a culture of career progression and upward mobility. Again scalable.
Let’s discuss building an SDR team. Think about it, you’re an SDR Manager, a Director of Sales or perhaps even CEO of an early stage company. Where do you start?
It’s something I’ve had to work through. I asked myself, what does my ideal SDR candidate look like? What kind of education and experience am I looking for? Fresh out of college? Majored in business, humanities, computer science? Should I attempt to do this myself while managing other critical aspects of the business? Am I skilled in recruiting? Try to pull SDRs from other companies? Use my network? LinkedIn? Hire a recruiter?
In my last role we did it ourselves. We posted SDR roles on Lever and a couple of other sites. The candidates started slowly rolling in. I reviewed the resumes. Set up an initial call. If that went well, invited them in to meet with the team. The entire team, well at least 3 or 4 others in the sales department. Discussed and made a decision as a team. If it was a go, on to references, background checks and the lot. I’m happy to say that almost everyone we made an offer to come on did so and those that joined performed quite well in hindsight :-) but the process was labor intensive and inefficient.
One week, I received an email about a workshop on SDR hiring through the Kapor Foundation (I’ve followed for years and highly respect) in collaboration with a sales bootcamp and some notable tech companies like Asana, Airbnb and more. I decided to attend. Hey, it was in downtown Oakland, free food and drinks and evidently I had enough pain around the hiring process.
I recall having my mind blown and returned to work the next day to tell the team what I had discovered. There was a bootcamp that prepared diverse candidates who had been through an application and interview process, done the work it took to understand tech sales and the SDR role, received the interview training they needed and were ready to get to work!
It made perfect sense. It had been happening on the technical side for what seems like eons. Coding bootcamps eliminated the need for perhaps unnecessary college degrees, years of waiting to actually get a chance to work, high drop-out rates and student loan debt. In fact, one of our developers had come from one of these coding boot camps and was doing quite well.
I never had the chance to work with the company, Always Hired Sales Bootcamp, during that stint but now I do. I’ve joined forces with the team at AH to grow our partners and placements. We are looking for a few good companies in/around San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles who are seeking SDRs to partner with. If interested, reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have free online sales training videos available on our Teachable.
The online sales training videos will help you learn some sales skills as well as give you a preview of what our bootcamp training is like.
And if you're asking yourself: "How can I find a bootcamp near me?" Our real sales bootcamp that includes live, instructor-led curriculum from former SDRs at Salesforce, Linkedin, and IBM, can be done virtually!