Conducting interviews for a b2b sales role can be tough at first. Many claim to talk the talk but when it comes down to it, their interview skills far exceed their sales skills.
It will take a while before your HR Team can filter out the naysayers and find the pattern that allows them to hire the best candidates. However, there are a few characteristics that no training can possibly teach. Traits that come with the candidate that make great Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), often referred to as BDRs (Business Development Reps).
Here are 5 of them:
#1 - Hunger
Being hungry goes above and beyond wanting a raise, bonus or cash incentive when meeting sales goals. Hunger in b2b sales among SDRs is the idea of personal (in addition to monetary) growth. SDRs that work tirelessly to meet the personal goals they have within the company along with hitting their quotas end up being far more successful.
This is a common occurrence when business owners explore the idea of outsourcing. How do I measure how hungry my outsourced sales team is? For starters hungry BDRs will have taken the time to not just know your company but also your prospects. They’ll have identified challenges among your target audience that perhaps you have yet to discover.
There are many questions that arise when thinking of adding an outsourced sales team, here are a few of the most common - 5 Common Questions Regarding Outsourcing Sales
#2 - Ownership
A second trait you can’t teach is having a sense of ownership. SDRs that own their successes and their shortcomings are the type of people you want pitching to your clients.
In many situations (especially at work) when working with a team, people with a sense of ownership will accept accountability even if it wasn’t their fault directly. Ownership in b2b sales is extremely important as it is the best way to reach team goals. SDRs that show this trait are better team players and learn from their mistakes.
Taking ownership is also the best way for team members to speak out and learn from each other. In a work environment where no one holds themselves accountable, blame is the norm and growth does not occur. Though ownership can’t be taught, your team can know how their contributions have made the company what it is.
#3 - Work Ethic
As much as business owners try and teach this, work ethic is something you learn on your own. You may have noticed that as good a work environment as you have, there are still some people that just aren’t satisfied. They’re always looking for incentives and bonuses in order to create a false sense of happiness and only then will they give it their all. This is not only unfair to your organization but also dangerous.
One person with next to no work ethic will suffer tremendously during a slow season. Not only that but that can also turn a team of otherwise productive SDRs into a crew of individuals that see fault in everything.
Employees with a high sense of work ethic will understand the plight of slow and high seasons as well as coming up with solutions. Now, in order to keep productivity and work ethic high, as business owners, we can’t stress enough the importance of having an open environment where every problem is addressed. Money will keep a SDR happy only temporarily, but knowing that they’re part of something bigger than themselves where they’re appreciated, will truly hone the work ethic skill.
SDR Training: 6 Tips for Ramping SDRs fast
#4 - Leadership
Anyone who aspires to be great knows that an individual’s success will never replace the success achieved by a team. Basketball great Michael Jordan had to learn this the hard way. In the mid 1980s, Michael Jordan became a worldwide phenomenon. He was sure to become the face of the NBA but even with a ton of individual success, he could never do enough to get the team to respond the way he wanted. It wasn’t until head coach Phil Jackson managed to convince Jordan to play for the team instead of the team playing for Michael that the Chicago Bulls success manifested itself into 6 final victories and 6 MVP awards for Michael.
This might be somewhat of a cliche analogy to use but it is only when a successful, hard-working SDR steps up to teach his teammates to be as good as he is that your goals are really exceeded. It’s not enough to get your best rep to boss the rest around in an orderly fashion. Everyone has to be on the same page and this is achieved through proper leadership, in every level of your organization.
Here’s an example of leadership and how important it is to build a successful team - The 8 Essential Management Skills You Need to Lead a Successful Team
#5 - Listening Skills
When it comes to recruiting someone for a b2b sales position, a lot of companies prefer to hire the most experienced individuals with immaculate CVs to fill these roles. Other companies hire someone who can be molded into a star because it might be harder to teach an old dog new tricks. We’re not here to poke holes in any of these recruitment criterias, you know what works for you.
What we will say is, none of these personalities will work if they aren’t good listeners. Listening is synonymous with learning and it’s only when your SDRs have great listening skills that they can truly grasp your company goals, but more importantly the pains of your prospects. Not only this, but they’ll also be able to convey this message to the rest of your team. The best SDRs use valuable information taught to them by your clients, by their superiors and by their prospects to learn things that perhaps the higher level executives overlook.
Active listening is a skill that is imperative. This is a great article if you want to learn more - 6 Phrases that Demonstrate Active Listening.
Finding the Perfect SDR
There is no holy grail to hiring and training the perfect SDR, nor will you always find these characteristics in every single one of your SDRs. However, the more of these traits you identify, the easier it will be to reach your company goals.
If you want to learn more about b2b sales, outsourced sales team and outsourcing as a whole, please reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, check out the open guide below.