No matter how strong and positive your sales team culture is, these are still the realities.
SDRs are the unsung heroes of the modern sales team. The role is tough, the rewards can feel too distant and it can be a grind. It’s easy to slip into a rut.
In my experience, ruts are like a plague on an SDR team. Sure, sometimes its just one SDR that is feeling burned out, but that usually spreads out across the team. And when ruts happen, performance slips and targets are missed. And that’s not good.
I’ve previously outlined a creative role playing exercise that can help lift an SDR team out of its rut. But when an SDR team is really drained, that’s not nearly enough to re-energize everyone.
Here are some other ways to change things up for your SDR team and keep everyone engaged, passionate and productive.
Sometimes a fresh view can help stimulate someone. When things are feeling a bit stale I like to have everyone change desks/cubicles so they are sitting somewhere new, ideally next to colleagues they haven’t interacted with in the past. This is more stimulating than you think it would be.
Have your SDRs shadow each other.
Set up time for SDRs to shadow each other for a day. Sure, the rep that is doing the shadowing isn’t banging out calls, but they are experiencing their role from a new perspective and that will help them be more effective when they return to their responsibilities. And it’s a win for the SDR who is being shadowed as well—they bring their A game to impress their colleague with how great they are at their job. Everyone is on their toes during a shadow day.
Have your SDRs shadow AEs.
Most SDRs aspire to be promoted to an AE position. Spending a day with an AE exposes them to the aspects of the job they may not always get to see and helps build their knowledge of the buyers journey. This will help them have better prospect conversations and be more fluent in general. And, hopefully it inspires them to keep improving their skills to they can make the leap to AE.
Have SDRs shadow in other departments.
If you aren’t careful, an SDR can feel like a cog in the wheel. And that sucks. Great SDRs understand the bigger picture of the customer experience, customer outcomes and the organization itself. This helps them bring value and context to their prospect conversations. Your buyers will have a better experience with your SDRs if they have a deeper understanding of the entire customer journey. And your SDRs will have more knowledge which will help their results. Set up time for SDRs to shadow colleagues in marketing, customer success, support and operations.
Get out of the office.
As a team, get in the habit of taking a quick daily walk. Try informally meeting for breakfast a couple of times a month. Go as a team to a local business or educational event. The SDR role can be isolating, so building your internal SDR community is important. They will learn from each other and support each other in slumps if you help foster that culture.
Does your team have a culture of celebration? Getting a prospect to say yes. Getting a prospect through a qualifying conversation. Getting a prospect to show up for a meeting. These are real wins and they should be celebrated as such. When the team has a good week, end with a catered lunch on Friday. When the team had a record-breaking “no show” month, have a happy hour. Or better yet, just send everyone home early on a Friday afternoon to show you appreciate what they accomplished. Find moments, all the time, to weave in appreciation and unique little celebrations.
Change the schedule.
Schedule a day where everyone comes in late, and leaves late together. Perhaps a day that runs 12pm to 8pm. Bring in dinner and make it an event. If it’s scheduled well, the break in routine will be appreciated, and calling prospects at a different time will work new muscles. Run a surprise contest that day for the most qualified appointments (or whatever you want to incentivize).
Everyone knows what you are incentivizing and what targets to hit to win. That’s ahead of them. Design some retroactive & random contests as well, such as announcing at the end of the day who made the most dials that day and giving them an on-the-spot $100 bill, or rewarding the most appointments set in the middle of the day. Try to mix it up and keep it unexpected. These help remind everyone to pay attention to the fundamentals of the role, day in and day out.
Schedule executive face time for your SDRs.
SDRs are usually the most entry level in the organization, and they know it. Even experienced SDRs are aware of their overall place in the hierarchy. If your company values SDRs as highly they should, get them some dedicated and regular time with leadership. To sustainably maintain high rates of calls and emails, it helps tremendously to be passionate about the vision and mission of the company. Hearing about these things first hand from leadership can help transfer this passion to your SDRs, and likewise, leadership can learn about aspects of the SDR role they might not otherwise see or hear about.
Keep it up.
There are lots of other creative, low-cost ways to keep your SDRs engaged and happy. SDR ruts are avoidable if you are deliberate about the culture you create, and make the right investments of your time and energy into systematically building in ways to sustain the ongoing efforts of the role.