Hiring the right Sales Development Rep, when broken down, can be a somewhat complex task. Despite the fact that this is in many cases deemed to be an entry level role, it can be quite demanding and challenging – regardless of age or professional experience, and especially if you are lacking in some inherent or prerequisite traits.
Not only does the candidate have to have the right set of skills, this must be sniffed out and assessed by the hiring team, and you must also have the timing just right. Too little experience and they will run a mile at the first sight of rejection or objection. Too much experience and the rep may, perhaps justifiably, feel that they are the ones who should be closing the deals.
So the balance must be there. Also, in the sales and marketing world, roles can often be open and closed in a very brief window of time. Adding a further layer of complexity in choosing the right candidate, as you may not have the long term advantage of warm pooling large swathes of talent Therefore, after other considerations – gut feeling or instinct has to play a part.
Resourcing tools such as Psychometric tests can be helpful in making more informed decisions. However the flip side here is that anyone with prior knowledge of those systems can answer to skew the outcome in their favour. So what you might be left with is a crafty and industrious character, but not necessarily the right person to join your Sales Development Team.
Viewing the hiring process through that lens can make it seem like a minefield. So what is the best course of action? Whittle it down to some key traits, basing your decision on what will integrate well with your style of management in your selection process.
The one trait that I find to be universal in all successful SDRs (and ultimately any sales rep) is respect. It is the underlying trait that begets other necessary traits to be successful. If the prospective rep has a respect for your company, perhaps demonstrated by some prior research that is covered in the interview process, and also respect for your time and consideration for the position, the likelihood is that they will be more coachable than someone that comes with a certain sense of overconfidence or entitlement.
Respect also usually indicates that the individual will be a better listener, as they will have a natural inclination to observe and absorb instruction from their management team. An ability to actively listen is absolutely vital to any rep wishing to succeed in a sales role, as internal communication dictates the success of any team firstly, and secondly, if they are to be successful in their sales careers, they will spend more time listening to their clients and less time speaking.
Respecting their role will also mean that they are more reliable, and in this industry consistency and reliability is key. They are more likely to take ownership of their role, realising that they are specialists chosen specifically to work their market or region, and not necessarily an interchangeable member of a team of just “numbers” to a company.
Identifying whether or not someone is respectful of their role may seem like an abstract concept. However, there are certainly ways and means of doing so – sometimes even before an interview has taken place. I often observe how any potential candidate interacts with our office manager or people they encounter on the busy office floor. A friendly and cordial interaction with our front of house here can go a long way in telling me how this person will interact with people from Monday to Friday and throughout their time with the company.
The respectful candidate will absorb the company values that bit quicker and more earnestly than that of an isolated mercenary looking to break away from the pack or show up the rest of their team. Hunger to succeed is absolutely necessary to an SDR, but not to the detriment of their colleagues.
Finally, once you have identified someone who fits the mould, you must then ensure that the respect they have for the opportunity is acknowledged, and displayed back to them mutually. Relay the gratitude you have for your reps that consistently hit their targets and KPIs. Make sure they don’t feel like they are offering up blind loyalty for nothing in return. If you communicate clearly that they are laying the foundations for a long and successful sales career and ultimately progressing to a more senior role, the rep will be assured that their consistent efforts are not in vein and ‘see the bigger picture’, so to speak.
Some may view this as an oversimplification, but in following this process we have seen our sales team grow from strength to strength and hired some amazing talent that are laying the foundations for a company in hyper-growth.
Sales Development as a Service is one of our SUPER POWERS at Product2Market. If you are looking for ways to build awareness and find new customers in Europe – get in touch!
By Gary Greeley – Head of Sales Development Services at Product2Market