I am a believer that SDRs have the most difficult job on the sales team—trying to break through to busy buyers to get that first “yes”, drawing them into qualifying questions and gaining commitment on the next steps. This stuff isn’t easy.
And trying to do that, all day, every day, day in, day out, can feel…well, like…um…a treadmill. While an AE has a high degree of variability in their day—ranging from discovery calls to demos to follow up calls, team evaluation settings, and procurement or closing calls, an SDR doesn’t.
I have so much respect for SDRs in general, but especially for the ones that can come in every day, consistently, for months banging out calls and emails with hustle and enthusiasm while never getting into a rut. I have seen these unicorn SDRs in the wild, and they are truly inspiring.
But, they are a rare breed. Most SDRs will go through highs and lows, hustle and burn out. And at some point along the way, they may hit a wall. Every call will start to sound the same, using the same exact message, the same tone of voice, the same responses no matter the objection, the same approach. They just aren’t on their toes, responding and hearing their prospects the way they are when they are on top of their game.
It’s not their fault, they are only human (see treadmill comment above).
In my experience, ruts usually happen across the team almost simultaneously. One SDR falls into a rut and before you know it everyone is sort of sleepwalking through their days, dialing & firing off emails like zombies.
Two issues with this—first, the obvious. If SDRs are zombie-like, results are probably down and they are starting to see a slump on the horizon. The less obvious is burn out that leads to staff turn-over or cracks in the culture. People feel bored and one way they act out is to complain or seek change.
You can avoid a lot of this though. In times like these, I have a simple exercise I like to do to help everyone get out of the rut.
Improv-style taboo role play
The first thing I do when I smell a rut coming is a brainstorming/roleplay where everyone uses responses they would never actually dream of using on a real prospect. Anything goes. Literally. Be snippy. Be rude. Use NSFW humor. It’s as close to improv as you can get without an improv class.
It may take awhile for everyone to warm up to this, but once they get going, you will get everyone comfortable saying the first thing that comes to mind. It’s not serious, or intense, it’s just fun.
Next, shift the role play to focus on responses and questions that would be prospect-appropriate, but outlaw use of any messaging in your current toolkit, or any standard, typical responses your team gives. Responses need to be unique, original and creative.
Sure, many responses won’t work in the real world. But you will get some new, fun messages to add to the toolkit, and you will have dusted off the under-worked parts of the brain. If it’s a success, do it several times over the course of a month and watch how much more creative everyone gets. And change it up if you can—do it while taking a group walk around the block, or at a local cafe, or have a role play happy hour. The idea to inject the fun, and creativity, back into the SDR’s day-to-day.
Better to never have your SDR team fall into a rut. Here’s how to avoid it.