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How to Hire Sales Development Reps

“I want to grow revenue and I’m looking for tips on how to hire sales development reps (SDR’s). Any advice?”

The B2B world went nuts when Aaron Ross from SalesForce fame wrote “Predictable Revenue” about how he broke teams up into prospectors (SDR’s) and closers (AE’s, or, Account Executives)
Technically, this was not a new concept (Ever see the Movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, with Will Smith? The film is based on events that happened in 1981. SalesForce wasn’t even founded until 1999) however, the book helped bring the concept to businesses around the world, and sales directors jumped all in.
Fast forward to 2018 and you’ll see that we are on the down curve of the SDR hype but not because the strategy doesn’t work, but because, as in most things, the benefactors killed their own golden goose.
SDR’s are quitting faster than ever.
Here’s a quote from Hubspots Meg Prater‘s recent article:

“How Fast Are Salespeople Churning in 2018?

2018 report by the Bridge Group shows average rep tenure now sits at 1.5 years. That might not sound too bad — but when you consider average SDR ramp time is currently 3.2 months, you’re already down to a little over one year (15 months) of full productivity from your average sales rep.
In 2010 — a mere eight years ago — 44% of respondents reported an average sales tenure of more than three years. Today, a mere 8% report that kind of longevity in their sales jobs.”

Simple answer: Because anything your are not skilled at doing, isn’t fun, fulfilling or enjoyable.
Let me share a quick personal story with it. I think this is important.
When I first got into phone sales, I was hired with a group of 20 other sales reps. The company that hired me, hired 20 sales reps every two weeks. We were all straight commission, with the exception of the first two weeks (we would get $400 a week)
The turnover was IMMENSE and you know what, that is exactly what the company wanted. They did not want to hire sales reps that would sit on a 40k a year salary and milk it for a year and a half or so before pulling the plug.
The ones that made it more than two weeks were decent. Rarely did anyone make it past a month but if you did, you were proven to be a TOP DOG.
Now, I’m not saying we need to go back to those days of turn and burn but you have to admit, that company was on to something. They new how to quickly find the diamonds in the rough, without being stuck paying salaries for average or below average performers.
The problem today however, is that companies and sales directors are hiring people and putting them on the frontlines without building up the skill set they need in order to succeed.
The majority of sales reps LACK the BASIC FUNDAMENTALS of how to SELL. 
They don’t know what qualifying questions to ask, when to ask them, how to ask them, why to ask them and they probably wouldn’t know what to do with the prospects responses if they DID ask them.
It’s no wonder SDR’s are quitting sooner. With the economy the way it is, they can make their current pay with another company but doing something totally different, and not have to deal with the constant rejection.
I’ve been listening to Gary Vaynerchuk a lot lately and believe that 1/3 of the #SDR jobs will disappear in the next 5 years or so. Too many companies are putting ill prepared people on the phones (and email, and socially) and they are failing hard and getting burned out. Most of them never had a fighting chance.
My advice… Hire less and train more. Stop treating SDR’s or sales in general for that matter, as an “anyone can do it” role. You would never hire someone to be your accountant, or attorney and expect them to “figure it out”.
Sales is the life blood of every organization. Hire people who are COACHABLE and then constantly feed them with knowledge.
– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.


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