This article written by Rob Simmons provides practical advice and tactical recommendations that will help you build your pipeline. Rob is talented technology sales & coaching expert with Skilljar. Skilljar’s award-winning customer training platform enables you to successfully onboard, engage, & retain your customers & partners.
So, you’re finally building that lead list… now what?
What is the most efficient way to find accurate contact information?
Who (Sales Development Rep or Account Executive) should be reaching out and how?
What best practices can I employ today to achieve better/faster results?
What’s the ideal way for Sales Development Reps and Account Executives to work together to achieve success?
1. What is the most efficient way to find accurate contact information?
Your AEs are paid too much to be finding contact info; keep them focused on closing. That leaves you with two options: have your SDR team uncover contact info one decision-maker at a time, or outsource the work.
Consider the list size to choose the right option. If the list is small or you just need a few emails, have an internal development rep tackle them one at a time using tools like Datanyze Insider or our new favorite, Prospect. If you’ve got a large list (lucky you), outsourcing the work might be the right answer. Leveraging a company like Lead Genius enables you to take advantage of their efficient lead generation and enrichment services at enterprise scale, without taking valuable SDRs off the phone.
2. Who (SDR or AE) should be reaching out and how?
Did I mention yet that I’m a huge believer in SDR teams? When you hire the right young people, train them properly, and give them the right tools, an SDR team will help you smash your revenue goals. As a secondary, but still important benefit, SDR teams allow closers to focus on doing what they excel at, which indirectly can improve team morale. SDR teams also create a training ground for future sales reps and account managers at your company, demonstrating strong career progression opportunities and retaining valuable employees over time.
I’ve put together a thorough sales stack I like to leverage. When it comes to reaching out to potential clients, our favorite tool is Outreach.io. The platform makes an SDR team function as if they have 2-4x the headcount with their customized and collaborative email sequences (you can also add call tasks). Other tools I’ve found to be highly effective include Sell Hack for prospecting, Yesware for email templates, reminders, and Salesforce syncing, and Boomerang for reminders to follow up on emails your prospects may not respond to or to send messages at a later date for optimal delivery. It should be noted that most of these technologies have many of the same features. I prefer each for the task noted.
3. What best practices can I employ today better/faster results?
From leveraging these technologies to reach out to thousands of potential customers I’ve come across some valuable best practices. The first rule is to make your messaging, including subject line, as relevant to the person on the other end as possible without getting so customized that it slows you down. The subject lines I’ve had the most success with include the contact's name or company name and a brief call to action. I’m shooting for at least a 50% open rate and 10% reply rate, but that metric varies by company. Our team shares high-performing template emails and subject lines using some of the technologies listed in the previous paragraph. Templatizing our top performing emails allows us to share best practices and move quickly as we customize our outreach.
Best practices for outreach cadence vary greatly depending on who you ask. I personally feel that touching a lead every two days is nearing harassment, but others might call my sales strategy passive. I won’t contact someone more than twice in a week. When I win business, I want to be a trusted partner who has my client’s best interest at heart, not the pushy sales guy. A typical cadence we use lasts six weeks and features ten emails and two calls. This is a healthy amount of time to spend on a lead that hasn’t responded before moving on to find a new contact.
Using Outreach.io, our SDRs and AEs have developed highly effective sequences that involve both parties and help us break up the sequence by introducing a new, more senior contact mid way through. After a few emails from the SDR and a call, the SDR can set a task in Outreach.io to then loop in the AE. At this point the AE will send an email to the contact and cc the SDR. The SDR then marks the task done and resumes the sequence if no response from the contact. This strategy has generated a reply 20-25% of the time.
4. What’s the best way for SDRs and Account Executives to work together to achieve success?
In order to effectively work through a lead list and get the best return, your SDRs and AEs need to work as one unit. They should meet regularly to analyze the leads they are working, review performance metrics, as well as the quality of appointments set. A good SDR is an AE’s best friend, so I always recommend the pair head out for coffee together (on the AE’s dime) once a month and get to know each other personally. AEs have the experience that can put an SDR’s growth into hyperdrive; AEs should be motivated through your culture and direction to participate in SDR development. And a motivated, hard-working SDR who envisions growing into an AE roll at your company can grow your pipeline exponentially faster. Get your SDRs and AEs into sync, and everybody wins!