Usually, people imagine one of two things when they hear the word ‘sales’. They either envision someone sitting in a dark grey cubicle and calling random people to sell the product. Or they think of Leonardo Di Caprio’s character from Wolf of Wall Street. And despite the movie being about the stockbrokers, that’s the general image most have about sales. That it’s a world where aggressive pitches, nice suits and countless handshakes are a key to everlasting success.
But this generic stereotype today is far from reality. Sales processes are more complex, there are entire teams working behind every successful deal, and countless hours are spent on researching and understanding the client. Yes, sales have definitely changed a lot. And to better understand how much it actually did, we talked to a Sales Development Representative (SDR) here at Tesonet, Mantas Mikšėnas, about what this job entails in this day and age.
Ok, let’s start from the beginning. Can you explain what a SDR is?
It’s safe to say that a Sales Development Representative is a core piece of every sales team. They are required to know the ins and outs of every process in the sales team, be the gurus of the market and on top of everything, constantly improve everyday processes. To say that we have a specific everyday workflow would be an understatement. New projects, market changes and improvements are crucial for a successful business.
What your usual day in the SDR team looks like?
It starts with waking up in the morning and getting ready like an average Joe. But, as the name of the industry speaks for itself, my job is all about selling and this means closing deals. So, the second I check my phone or computer the hustle starts. I need to constantly check on my current prospects if everything’s going smoothly, book a few calls to clarify technical or any other issues, set up meetings about the current and new project. And of course, the most exciting part – continuously work on getting new leads. Building trustworthy relationships with the prospects take time, but to see your hard work pay off is one of the best feelings.
You mentioned that prospecting is an important part of your work. Do you have any tips for finding new clients?
The best tip I can give is to never stay in the same place. While dealing with potential customers, you’ll always need to be one step ahead. The market is always changing and because of that – we as salespeople – need to change too. Cold emailing and cold calling might have worked fine in the past, but now the conversations are shifting to social networks and live chats.
So you’re saying the days of cold emails and cold calls are over?
In my opinion, it’s dying. Fast. Inboxes are piling up with emails more and more, most of us have hundreds of unread emails and are spammed with newsletters. This age is all about innovation and we need to be innovative as well, adapting to the changes in lifestyles. For instance, today people need to make many choices here and now, that’s why live chats are booming. It’s the same with cold calling – calling someone at the wrong time can be a fatal blow to a deal. I believe doing your homework is the most important thing – get to know the prospective clients and their habits.
But emails are still considered one of the most appropriate ways to contact. So how do you craft a cold email that doesn’t end up in the trash?
A cold email should be as personal as possible. Everyone hates spam campaigns, right? So as I mentioned before, it’s all about the homework you do and putting it into use. Know your customer’s pains, targets and values. Don’t send a block of text and expect them to read it. Keep it short and simple, be specific and get their attention. Once you hit the right spot – listen and respond.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
I believe the biggest and most common one is stress. Not everyone has the patience and the energy to be a SDR. It takes serious mental strength to deal with everyday prospects or customers. As you may imagine, not every response you get is positive and encouraging. There are many prospects that don’t sugarcoat it – they tell you how it’s. You just have to put on your professional face since you represent the product you are selling. Emotion control, time management, strategic thinking – these should be your strengths if you want to overcome challenges as a SDR.
Last but not least – how do you turn ‘no’ into a ‘yes’?
Some may call me an asshole or annoying, but persistence is the key. When I’m driving home from work and am listening to some smooth jazz, in the back of my mind I’m thinking what steps should I take when someone isn’t responding. Keeping track of your prospects, knowing them more than they know themselves and always keeping your mind occupied – that’s a key to success. If everyone said ‘yes’ instantly, it would be a boring job for sure, and I’m always up for a challenge.