It’s undeniable that organizations across industries stretching beyond B2B startups, are beginning to build out sales development teams. While it seems like technical recruiters are forever seeking out software engineers, open positions for sales development representatives are on the rise – and rightfully so.
If you’re either hiring internally for SDRs, or a recruiter placing these roles, you know how competitive the landscape is. The majority of SDR positions look and sound identical, all offering some variation of a “perk”. Unlimited PTO, ping pong tables and company outings, or maybe a gym membership or in-office work out facility. There isn’t much loyalty baked into these roles, because SDRs will hop from company to company based on a better compensation plan. Companies will try anything to attract the right talent, but find it difficult to retain them.
But maybe if we look beyond traditional applicants, in non-traditional places, we can find the “right” SDRs that will grow with the organization and become a tenured and influential leader.
Here’s the Who, What and Where of SDR recruiting that’ll help you attract the right and retain candidates.
The Who: Find the Right Talent
While the majority of companies require an experience level of at least 1-2 years in sales development role, they’re shorting themselves in terms of a talent pool. A typical SDR is usually right out of college or fresh into a corporate role, and easily moldable. While it may seem easier to ramp and SDR with experience at a well-known organization, they may join with specific skills that aren’t transferrable into your business model, or even worse, bad habits they’ve picked up in their previous role.
The most successful SDR hires have a range of experience outside of sales development roles, and those candidates are worth a second look. Consider candidates with experience in the service industry, hospitality, customer service or retail jobs, fundraising or even athletes. They have a strong mindset towards helping others, being an advocate or face of an organization, and past experience in roles that seek the acceptance of others. The workflow of an SDR can be taught, but the mindset and decision making isn’t learned as easily. Position interview questions to uncover those underlying skills and mindset. Those hires will also support the core values of your company, not just join for the ping pong table and free snacks.
The What: The Impact Quality SDRs Have on Your Organization
The most obvious reason for a strong sales development team is quality pipeline generation. Scaling the SDR team will scale pipeline and future opportunities beyond what marketing, outbound sales reps or account executives can do on their own.
But if you think beyond the obvious benefit, the impact of talented SDRs is far more than their lead prospecting efforts and contribution to the sales funnel. They are the future of your organization – they’re young and hungry to learn your business, willing to work hard to prove themselves, and eventually come into leadership positions that impact the next generation of hires. They’re creators of culture and morale, and they’re proficient with upcoming technology and new sales tools. They’re quick learners and adapters to software you may have in place like email automation tools, video software like Vidyard, or meeting scheduler tools like MixMax.
The Where: Interesting Places to Find SDRs
If we’re thinking of the most common SDR applicants, we’re thinking recent college graduates. It’s their opportunity to join a company and work their way up to become the next sales leaders, or transition into a different department in the organization.
If we’re thinking recent college graduates, we have to meet great candidates where they spend their time. Just as sales tactics evolve to meet buyers on their preferred channels, companies have to get in front of quality SDR hires where they interact, and that’s social media.
Make sure to beef up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages. Align your social media manager with your recruiting or hiring managers to talk through job promotion strategies. Your brand image has to be strong, unique to them, and cohesive with the rest of your marketing resources.
Check out different avenues beyond traditional social media, like even Tiktok or Upwork. Many freelancers or outsourced consultants do great work, and you can see how they perform on a smaller scale before hiring them on full time.
The best place to find SDRs is in your own backyard, if you have an existing SDR team. Their network of friends or past colleagues may bring an existing bond and morale to the team, and also empower current SDRs to step up in leadership roles and train their friends. Involve a referral bonus in their compensation structures that makes sense and incentivizes them to bring on quality (not just anyone) to the organization.
Here’s to the ever-evolving, continuously running sales engine that is sales development. If you have a champion SDR at your organization, recognize their success today. Empower them to attract similar talent and consider non-traditional candidates that may help scale your team and future success!