Sales Development Representatives & How To Use Them Effectively

About 50 percent of the virtual professionals we place with clients are fulfilling clients’ sales development outcomes. That means about two thousand five hundred of the five thousand virtual professionals we have introduced to clients have been working in sales. Through that experience, we have garnered a lot of evidence about how best to prepare virtual professionals for sales — and we have created a concrete system to ensure that you have success with yours too.

Virtual professionals can help you and your business enormously when it comes to generating and converting leads, that is, taking a potential customer who may have an interest in your business, or even may never have heard of your business, and turning that lead into a warm opportunity. That warm opportunity would include a sales meeting, and if all goes well, a sales quote. Preparing virtual professionals to succeed with this out- come is one of my favorite things to do because the path to having your investment in sales development reps (SDR) pay off in terms of revenue is clear-cut and highly measurable from an outcome basis.

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When I say pay off, I’m not speaking merely of an increase in sales. In business, I like a three-to-one return. If I’m spending $5,000 to put someone in place, I want to see a $15,000 return. Your top concern about onboarding a virtual sales team will probably be “How do I do this?” Well, you could just put someone in a seat and say, “OK, now go sell for me,” and ask that individual to be accountable for some metrics you have made up in your head. In fact, as an entrepreneur, your go-to mode is probably that you jump right in first and worry about the how later. That is classic entrepreneur behavior, and in general, it’s a great attribute. In this instance, however, I’d like you to resist that and reframe your thinking.

This is a situation in which having a concrete plan will pay off in real dollars. Think about onboarding an SDR as if you are running a relay race and you have a baton in your hand. You’re fully committed, and you’re killing it at Usain Bolt speed. As you approach runner number two, she holds out her hand expectantly to receive the baton. But instead of passing it to her, you throw it to her. It misses its mark, striking her in the head, and she stumbles. Not smart, right? You have just set up your talented teammate to fail. And that is the biggest mistake that people make when they hire VPs: They chuck the baton rather than smoothly hand it off. So, all you need is a recipe for a smooth handoff.

Have Bulletproof Scripts

Scripts are in the virtual professional’s arsenal. Here are the elements you should painstakingly document in written form for your new sales team members. Of course, the content will vary depending on the type of business you are in, but for the moment, I will give you examples based on what we use at MyOutDesk.

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A Clear Elevator Pitch

Know your elevator pitch. The base formula for a good elevator pitch is “I serve [who] to do [what], so they [get this result].” Ours is: “We instantly scale growing companies with virtual professionals.” That is what we do at MyOutDesk, in a nutshell. The elevator pitch is such an important piece for you to craft and for your VPs to absorb. You all need to be on the same page as you communicate your company’s value, and once you have articulated this clearly and documented it transparently, your VPs will be able to advance that message. They will communicate it in exactly the way you would.

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Know Your Value Proposition

This might seem a bit obvious, but many business owners think their value proposition is just that — obvious — and they fail to document it concretely for their virtual sales reps. Give them the information they need to be clear in their conversations about why your clients choose you. What is the benefit they see? We hear time and time again from our clients that they are overwhelmed, and alleviating that overwhelm is where we add massive value. They are so busy, and we are the “easy button” for finding talent to help them. There is no way they could find five people to interview in forty-eight hours…but we can. We have already vetted them. The MyOutDesk value proposition: “We provide indispensable VPs to growing businesses.” If you can articulate your value proposition clearly to your virtual professionals and have that in written form somewhere they can refer to, you are hitting one out of the park from the outset.

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Have a Process for Handling Objections

When you give your virtual professionals your value proposition, you are giving them the ideal outcome. But you also have to prepare them for the challenges they’ll encounter. Document all the objections that a potential customer might have for your product or service, and your virtual professionals will wear it like armor in their conversations with leads. They will be ready to answer potential customers’ objections in a friendly way. Why might a customer say no? What answer could your virtual professionals give that might turn that into a yes? Help them to anticipate these issues.

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Have a Positioning Document

A positioning document expresses how your product or service fills a need that competitors don’t, so this is a critical piece for a sales development rep to know. At MyOutDesk, our positioning document has expressions along these lines:

  1. We have helped over five thousand clients grow their businesses.
  2. We make sure that every virtual professional you interview is exceptional and MOD-certified because of our thorough vetting process.
  3. We have been in this business for twelve years and built an industry around serving medium and small businesses.
  4. We provide Market Force™ personality profiles to accurately match talent.
  5. We provide medical benefits, microloans, vacations, and conferences for our virtual professionals.
  6. MyTimeIn is our proprietary software that helps track outcomes and provides daily task oversight.
  7. We have a Chief People Office in the United States that personally vets our virtual professionals.
  8. Your partnership with us benefits our Charity Impact Movement (503c). We give away thousands of dollars every year to impoverished communities.
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These are points on which none of our competitors can compare. Anyone who tries to stack up against that will have a huge challenge, and the only way they can win is through offering a lower price and lower quality. MyOutDesk is the price leader and has the highest quality available, so this is exactly where I want our competitors to be (a lower-priced alternative). If they offer lower prices, we can say, “Look at all the value we have to help your business scale. If you are looking for the cheapest, that’s not us. If you are looking to scale effectively, while ensuring a great end product that gives value to your customers, we know how to do that.”

Have a System for Measuring Results

You and your sales virtual professionals will know you are scaling the business when you have clearly defined processes for measuring the following:

  1. Leads received:This is the number one thing you must track. How many leads are coming into your business every single day, week, and month?
  2. Number of calls: How many calls did your virtual professionals make to those leads?
  3. Leads converted: How many of those calls went from being just a lead to an actual opportunity to sell?
  4. Speed to lead: This is a metric that really matters. How much time elapses between when the lead comes in to when the call goes out, and does it convert successfully? For example, a lead might come in at 1:00, and they get a call five minutes later.
  5. New clients/sales: How many new clients resulted from this process? This is the bottom line. Have a system in place that tracks all these things in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.
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Avoid These Failure Points

What I have described so far are the things you need to do to be successful in scaling with your virtual SDRs. Based on my vast experience, I’d also like to give you come common pitfalls to avoid.

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  1. You don’t have enough leads: I like to have five hundred new leads a month, but your number will depend on what industry you are in and what your sales cycle looks like. I always like to have three to five salespeople behind our virtual SDRs. An SDR’s job is to convert a lead into an opportunity, right? And the salesperson’s job is to turn that opportunity into a client. It is important for the SDR to feel like he or she is on the same team with the salesperson, and vice versa. Having enough leads and enough salespeople allows you to test who is closing and who is not. We once had a client come to us because he was upset his team wasn’t converting enough leads. It turned out that the salesperson wasn’t immediately calling the leads once they got converted into an opportunity, instead letting them go for two or three days before calling. It’s very important that you have enough people and a measurement for speed to lead for both the VP and the salesperson here in the United States.
  2. You aren’t doing daily and weekly meetings: I like a daily morning meeting with a little music and a little coffee, so everyone can talk about the wins. Everyone is talking about where their energy is and how they are feeling, and we are putting positivity out early in the morning so that feeling can be conveyed through the phones. Weekly meetings are for making commitments to sales and conversation goals.
  3. You aren’t tracking conversations: Someone who is having forty or fifty conversations per day is going to have a different result than someone who is having ten. You want to set concrete goals for the number of conversations and share those in your daily and weekly meetings.
  4. You don’t have activity-level measurements: Your system for measuring results should include everyone on your team. How many calls did each person make? How many times did each person try? How fast did each person handle the opportunities in front of him or her, and how often convert? These are important metrics to have for each individual.
  5. You aren’t going after the 3Rs: As I mentioned in chapter 11, referrals, recommendations, and reviews are critical to your business. It is astounding how many businesses fail to harness the power of these three things. We chase them ruthlessly at MyOutDesk. In fact, we get referrals all the time from people who have never even done business with us. There is a woman in Texas who has sent us three or four clients. I had only one conversation with her, five years ago, and she hasn’t bought from us, but she keeps sending us people because I had a great conversation with her. If you aren’t pursuing the 3Rs with your team, you are miss- ing out. As you can see, my prevailing message about how to set up your virtual SDRs for success is communicate, communicate, communicate. Assume nothing, and document everything.
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