The success of your sales team starts with who you hire. The profile of what makes a great sales development representative (SDR) has evolved.

SDRs have to balance email, the phone, and LinkedIn to book meetings. And with the rise of  conversational marketing and sales, SDRs need to adopt best practices for using live chat to engage with buyers.

There’s good news though. Live chat will become your SDRs new favorite way to booking meetings. Many of the SDRs you’ll hire will already be using messaging tools.

Typically SDRs are hungry to learn how to be a great salespeople. They have intrinsic motivation and have been using messaging-based tools for many years. Things like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage.

Many SDRs have ambitions to become account executives or manage a team of SDRs in the future. You should always be sharing why it’s so important to excel at  the job they’re responsible for today. The skills they’re learning will pay them back over the course of their entire sales careers.

If you’re selling an enterprise-grade product to very sophisticated buyers, you might consider hiring more experienced SDRs as opposed to those right out of college with limited to no prior experience.

Some pitfalls you should watch for are an SDR trying to get to the next step in their career too quickly, losing interest in what they’re doing, and / or not showing urgency. Try to hire SDRs who are passionate about sales and want to get really good at it by developing their own craft.

Good SDRs should be hungry to learn about your product, industry and business. Context switching is another important skill since SDRs switch between many different activities often.

Most importantly, you need to clearly set goals and share context behind why those goals are important.

Here are some traits you should check for in the interview process:

  • Patience
  • Outgoing nature
  • High standards
  • Highly organized
  • Strong writing ability
  • Ability to deal with obscurity
  • Self starter, intrinsically motivated
  • Good active listening skills
  • Desire to be the best
  • Ability to adjust to and learn new technology quickly

Focus on a candidate’s confidence before experience.

The most successful SDRs do three things:

  1. Focus on answering questions quickly and accurately
  2. Are great listeners and respond with good follow-up questions
  3. Have mastered the art of recommending the best next step for the buyer

As a hiring manager, make sure you’re also outlining the career progression steps for SDRs so candidates know there’s a path for them if they succeed.

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