How long should it take for an SDR to become sufficiently effective?
Tom Slocum estimates that an SDR won't be sufficiently effective for two to three weeks.
Do you believe that performance improvement plans (PIPs) are effective?
One sentence summary of the response: PIPs can be successful when used effectively, strategically, and with well defined individual goals.
Why should Sales Development Representatives rehearse their calls so often?
Answer in a nutshell: Practice should be a continual daily effort to improve word choice, delivery, and emotional control on the call, especially when plunging into a new script.
Ricky Pearl: So today on a couple of pointers podcast, we've got Tom Slocum from SD Labs, founder of SD Labs, Everything Outbound, Outbound Agency, outbound consultancy, Tom welcome to the show.
Tom Slocum: Thank you for having me, Ricky. Long time coming. I'm excited to be here and chop it up with you
Ricky Pearl: Right Tom, I'm gonna fire off a couple of rapid fire questions and I'd love it if you could just give me one answer. I'm sure there's a few. We just need You ready to go?
Tom Slocum: Let's okay, let's do it.
Objection: I'm too busy
Ricky Pearl: Give me one way to answer the following objection. I'm too busy
Tom Slocum: Hey, Ricky, I obviously you weren't expecting to carve out some time and have a 20-minute conversation. When would be an appropriate time to connect with you?
Objection: Not now
Ricky Pearl: I love it. Good ask at the end. How would you answer the following Objection. Not now.
Tom Slocum: That's okay. Obviously calling you outta the blue here, Ricky, I am curious what's top of priority for you at the moment
Objection: We don't have budget
Ricky Pearl: That's great. Give me one way to answer the following objection. We don't have budget
Tom Slocum: Huh, who has budget nowadays? Really what I've been able to do with a lot of the clients is, after we discuss, we're able to find some real value and honestly find some other ways for your company to utilize this software. So we might be able to pull budget from some various other places. Why don't we first just hash out the details and see if it's even relevant for you at the moment.
Tom Slocum: If you have some time on Thursday at two o'clock to talk more around it.
Objection: Send me an email
Ricky Pearl: Great CTA at the end. I like that. Give me one way to answer the following objection. Send me an email.
Tom Slocum: Ah-huh. Hey, I do this often. As much as you write the song and dance, I would love to send you an email capture everything that I would love to discuss with you on the phone. But I know you're probably not gonna look at it. Do you mind if I just tell you for the reason for my call and we can figure out if it's reason to continue the conversation?
Objection: We already have a solution
Ricky Pearl: That's awesome. Give me one way to answer the following objection. We already have a solution
Tom Slocum: Most people already do, and I'm really glad, Ricky, you're staying on top of this gap in your org and already have a solution in play. Outta curiosity, what are they doing for you at the moment and how has the experience been thus far?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, that's great. Cool. Awesome. What we're gonna do now is I'll ask you, these are slightly meatier questions. Same story, No need to waffle on. It's quick, short, sharp, give answer and you can justify it. But either way, we definitely wanna keep it under a minute.
How long should it take until an SDR is effective enough?
Ricky Pearl: Cool. So Tom, how long should it take until an SDR is effective enough?
Tom Slocum: You obviously could say the full three months for them to get their bearings, but I'm a big believer in getting a rep and an SDR cranking within about two to three weeks, you should be able to have a full program, give them the nitty gritty to start selling the meeting and having conversations with the prospects.
Tom Slocum: Because that's where they're gonna learn the best and be able to excel in their learning quicker is when they're getting right to it. So to have an effective SDR on the trenches, you're looking at three to four weeks, if not sooner.
Do you think PIPs performance improvement plans work?
Ricky Pearl: Brilliant. Tell me, Tom, do you think PIPs performance improvement plans work?
Tom Slocum: That's a great question. Pips can be when they're strategically used. More often than not, it's not really good for either or, right? The leader or the rep, most of the time people will check out. They don't even wanna reach it. , but if you can strategically leverage your PIP with some real goals and really define it with the rep, I've seen a lot of people save their jobs and still stick around and be able to turn it around.
Tom Slocum: So I think PIPs can be healthy when use correctly.
How many calls is enough for a classic outbound motion that includes cold calling?
Ricky Pearl: That's great. Tell me, Tom, how many calls is enough for a classic outbound motion that includes cold calling?
Tom Slocum: Is that daily or over a weekly period?
Ricky Pearl: Daily calls.
Tom Slocum: Yeah. Yeah I would say what I've seen in my career is about 50. Dials per day. 250 a week is what you're seeing where you're able to create a healthy pipeline. You're getting some good touches in there. So most successful reps are averaging that 50 to 70 mark, where you get those special one percenters who are pushing it out in 20 to 30 dials.
Tom Slocum: But you wanna stay around 50 a day or average out to about 250 a week, to see a healthy pipe.
What channel is better? Phone, email, LinkedIn, what have you seen?
Ricky Pearl: That's great. Tell me Tom, what channel is better? Phone, email, LinkedIn, what have you seen?
Tom Slocum: I'm a cold caller phone all day, and the reason why is because it's speed to lead. You're able to build a hu human relationship. You're able to clarify and have context and work on tone and delivery. So I just feel that anytime I'm trying to source a meeting, I will always choose that phone as my primary channel to make that happen.
Tom Slocum: Before I'd lean into social selling or email as a channel
Ricky Pearl: I'm with you there. As much as we want all the other channels to be our primary driver for meetings, books at Pointer, it's just never as effective as the phone. And 90% of our meetings still do come from the phone.
Tom Slocum: A hundred percent.
Ricky Pearl: Tell me, Tom, how do you reduce no-shows
Tom Slocum: This is where discovery as an SDR, a sales development rep and an account executive becomes so important. To prevent no shows, you really gotta understand the challenge or gap that this person is having, or even the goals that they have set, and reinforce that in your follow up. Hey Ricky, I can't wait to talk to you on Thursday around how we're gonna help you pick up your connection rates and enrich the data that's happening so your reps can have higher connection rates and longer conversations.
Tom Slocum: You wanna drill that pain and so they know exactly when they're coming to that. Many times they'll hop in, look at their calendar, and they're scrubbing it. And if you're not defining what that meeting is about, they're gonna X you. They're gonna cut you off or reschedule you or no show you because they look and they don't remember what this is about.
Tom Slocum: So utilize that, follow up and lock in that pain and challenge and tell them exactly what to expect from that meeting. So when it comes up on their calendar, they're excited to come talk to you. And that's how you commit your no shows.
What are you seeing at the moment? How many touches is it taking on average until you get a good conversation?
Ricky Pearl: Love it. Tell me, what are you seeing at the moment? How many touches is it taking on average until you get a good conversation?
Tom Slocum: Every vertical every motion has a unique set for that, right? But on average, you're looking at our anywhere from 7 to 12 touches before you're getting engagement from somebody. And that's, again, leading with value providing gives. And trying to build that relationship. But most of the market is seeing anywhere from 7 to 12 touches before they're able to secure that meeting.
Tom Slocum: In the space that's at enterprise mid-market level, you're seeing SMB with a turnaround of about 72 to, 72, 3 to 5 days ish, right turnaround where they're able to prospect and get that meeting on the books.
Is Social selling a free for all?
Ricky Pearl: Fantastic. Is Social selling a free for all?
Tom Slocum: No. I think social selling is, a lot of people can dive into it. I think it is something you can learn, but there are some true fans out there that are, really leaning into social selling with the right training, with the right goals, and it requires the right market and organization to support the motion.
Tom Slocum: So I don't think it's a free for all for everyone, just. yet But there are quite a few orgs now buying into the social motion and they're finding a lot of success in there. So I still think it's capped and reserved for an elite group or vertical, but we will soon have it becoming a full motion for most orgs.
What is more important when you say something, what you say or how you say it?
Ricky Pearl: What is more important when you say something, what you say or how you say it?
Tom Slocum: This is my favorite. I believe in, It's how you say it. It doesn't matter. You can see, somebody on your team might be a comedian. You could drop that same joke on a phone call and it doesn't work for you. It's all in a delivery and a tonality that you're saying. It's just like my favorite out of curiosity, right?
Tom Slocum: You can say, Rick, Ricky, Hey, it's Tom. How much do you weigh versus, Hey, Ricky, outta curiosity, how much do you. weigh Because of the word choice and how I'm saying it, it creates an entirely different emotional response. So it's all about how you say more so than it ever comes down to what you are saying
How often are you practicing your calls? When you first start a new script. And how often do you recommend new SDRs practice their calls?
Ricky Pearl: Fantastic. How often are you practicing your calls? When you first start a new script. And how often do you recommend new SDRs practice their calls?
Tom Slocum: I think practice is an every day. It never stops. I don't think you should ever stop. You still see some of the greatest athletes still going into the locker room, still going into that training facility and putting into work, no matter how great they've become, because you've gotta be a practitioner.
Tom Slocum: You've gotta put into practice, especially when diving into a new script, get that motion going, play out that call all the way through. Call friends, call your friend your friends, your family, your coworkers, and play through that motion as much as you can because that's when you're gonna start playing with word choice and your delivery and how you say something.
Tom Slocum: So I practice a lot with a new script. I try to get the rotations in there as much as possible, just so I can feel much more at ease on the phone. I control my emotions and I'm out able to add a little creativity cuz I know the motion of the. script So I can start bending it and playing with it accordingly.
What is your ideal email length?
Ricky Pearl: That's great. Onto email, what is your ideal email length?
Tom Slocum: Hundred words or. less No novels, no word vomiting. Not a big old thing. I think way too many reps are trying to sell everything in the kitchen sink in one email versus I like some bite size conversational pieces, something very brief that is simple and relevant, and gets directly to the point. So try to stay within a hundred words or less, and make bite size emails versus long winded ones over extended time
Personalization vs Relevance
Ricky Pearl: Awesome. Now on those emails, personalization versus relevance.
Tom Slocum: Relevance. It's all about relevancy. Tying into personalization is amazing when you tie it in. If you're not tying it in, it's just you reaching for something. I don't really care like about the personalization as much more as I do. Is what you're reaching out. Did you find the right triggers?
Tom Slocum: Did you do your research? And is this something that's actually up my alley when a lot of times I'll get outreach? That doesn't even make sense for me. And they did all the personalization, but it just doesn't make sense to me. So it doesn't even matter how good that personalization was. So I'm gonna vote relevancy.
Tell me three tools that you think every SDR should have
Ricky Pearl: Fantastic. Tell me three tools that you think every SDR should have.
Tom Slocum: Lead gen number one. It layers your CRM over your LinkedIn. So if you're a social seller, I think it's an amazing tool to bridge and help you run quickly in your motion. I also think getting a data provider of some sort. I any sort even as an SDR in your org, you could find some great free accessible tools.
Tom Slocum: So I think you always need to be verifying your data. Make sure you're helping your email deliverability with good emails and you're enriching your phone numbers so you can have greater connects. So try to find a data provider. And third, I would honestly say Canva because I think SDR should start getting creative in creating their own content for outreach, their own PDFs, their own documents, things that they've seen work within their closed one customers or their prospects, and start creating their own collateral that can be approved by marketing.
Tom Slocum: And have them start, having a part in the process there to send out to their prospects. So those would be the three I would recommend. Most SDRs get. today
What are the five most important attributes for an SDR to have?
Ricky Pearl: What are the five most important attributes for an SDR to have?
Tom Slocum: Self starter attributes, right? You're resilient, you're gritty. You have a growth mindset. You're very open, you're creative. You wanna push the limits on things. I also think, Good email, copy, email, writing a writer, looking for a lot of folks that are comfy in writing. I would love to teach you and I wanna support you, but I would love somebody to be able to be really good at writing, having some good skills within that copy and marketing lane a little bit.
Tom Slocum: Those are some things I'm looking for when I'm scaling out my team right now or if I was right. I want somebody that is creative with a growth mindset. Self starter, hardworking. I don't need to hold your hand. I think somebody that doesn't need to be babysat, that can come in, get the job done, and has that heart of a champion right, to come in and get to it, is some attributes that I usually look for when looking for an SDR.
On average, what percentage of reps should be on target?
Ricky Pearl: I love it. Now you have an organization with a hundred sales reps. You can set this target to wherever you like. On average, what percentage of reps should be on target?
Tom Slocum: That's a toughie. That's always a fun one. Alot of nuances to what that entails But man, you gotta have at least 80% of your team exceeding. There's gonna be that 20% that might give you struggles that you're gonna have to work with. But if you have a real scalable outbound motion, a great market fit, you've done all the right frameworks and foundational things, most of your reps should be hitting with that 80% with a great mentor and coach leader in front of them.
Tom Slocum: I would expect out of a hundred, you've got 80 of your reps pretty much hitting quota. And doing great things. And then you've got about, 20 of those that you've gotta maybe handle and work with a little bit differently.
Do you think that SDR should join those calls, those initial meetings with their AE?
Ricky Pearl: Now the SDR sets up a meeting often for the account executive to join a discovery call. Do you think that SDR should join those calls, those initial meetings with their AE?
Tom Slocum: Absolutely. Absolutely. When I ran an enterprise team, that's what we did, right? We were on, I believe the SDR should always be on the first 10 minutes of that call to make that intro, make that handoff, set up, that call for success, and then help that relationship be built between the AE and the prospect.
Tom Slocum: Do I They have to be there the whole time. Not necessarily, but when you're an initial sdr, Yes, and you're onboarding. You should be going through as many demos as you possibly can within the first two weeks, and then after that, it's at least just making those first 10 minutes, make that intro, set that hand off, off well, and then get out of there and on to back to booking more meetings.
What are some of the things that you promote the SDR and account executive do to facilitate smooth handovers?
Ricky Pearl: On that handover, what are some of the things that you promote the SDR and account executive do to facilitate smooth handovers?
Tom Slocum: I think it's constant communication. If you're using Salesforce, use Chatter right? As soon as that meeting's booked, that opportunity is created. Chatter the rep, give them as many notes as possible. Let them know exactly what's going on. Too many times a lot of reps will do flybys. And then when that meeting comes a week later, four days later, they forget.
Tom Slocum: So I try to use documentation, make good notes. I think you need to have some qualification steps in your CRM that your SDR must put in, to make that happen. And then have the AE do post follow up. So in Slack, in Chatter, as soon as that demo and discovery is over, they are now chattering back exactly key notes, key things that were happening in that discovery and what next steps look like.
Tom Slocum: So I believe there should always be communication on the
How do you think an SDR can help an account executive multi thread?
Ricky Pearl: In that early stage of discovery, or even once an opportunity has been opened within an organization, how do you think an SDR can help an account executive multi thread?
Tom Slocum: I think an SDR does a great job at being able to come in from the bottom up while the account executive comes from the top. down Let them talk to the higher ups, why the SDR might prospect into the manager, director level, talk to those folks and have the AE coming in from the top or vice versa which might ever work.
Tom Slocum: But I absolutely do believe SDRs can pitch in and support their multithreading with the AE
How often do you think an SDR should have a one to one with the SDR manager?
Ricky Pearl: Fantastic. Onto the SDR management. How often do you think an SDR should have a one to one with the SDR manager?
Tom Slocum: at least every week. Every week, at least once. You need to be constantly evaluating, looking at things. As you guys get more seasoned, you can reduce that frequency, but I really think it should be ma, at least once a week you're checking in, you're going out to lunch together, or you're having a conversation and helping that rep get better.
Tom Slocum: Reflecting on the past week and setting goals for the future and then figuring out where you can support that throughout.
What's your typical approach on how many meetings booked or meetings attended to set as the target for an SDR?
Ricky Pearl: One of the challenges companies have is how to set a target for an SDR. What's your typical approach on how many meetings booked or meetings attended to set as the target for an SDR?
Tom Slocum: I really try to reverse engineer. So when I'm consulting or working within orgs, I try to figure out what our already current closed one customer database looks like. I try to establish what our average touches are. How many ti, how many people do we need to speak to in order for a meeting to be booked?
Tom Slocum: All of these touch points to then reverse engineer what our target goal is for the year as far as ARR and our average contract value, right? I reverse engineer. I look at all of these numbers to figure out how to work backwards to set those realistic targets that makes sense on proven methods. If I don't already have that database, I'm looking at industry standards in order to figure that out
Can you list off some of the platforms that you've used through your career?
Ricky Pearl: On sales engagement platforms Can you list off some of the platforms that you've used through your career?
Tom Slocum: I have used outreach, I have used, I deployed them at one squad. I deployed Sales Loft. I've deployed Outplay. I've looked at Mail Shake Apollo. There's quite a few tools out there. But I have pretty much dabbled in every single one of them or deployed them within an org.
Do you find that sales engagement platform is the difference between success or failure, or it's still more just about the activity that SDRs doing?
Ricky Pearl: Do you find that sales engagement platform is the difference between success or failure, or it's still more just about the activity that SDRs doing?
Tom Slocum: Always about the activity. I really don't think an SEP is either gonna make or break, it enables you to do. more But at the end of the day, it still needs you to run. You still need to be making sure the copy you're loading up into it is successful. You're putting in the right cadence touches, you're putting in the right prospects, the right data.
Tom Slocum: All of that is in your control. You're not just gonna wake up, load up an SEP and magically hit your numbers. It still requires that human effort and that data and that science to make sure it's being utilized to its, best potential
Tell me should SDRs get paid on meetings booked booked meetings sat new opportunities created, or actual revenue?
Ricky Pearl: Tell me should SDRs get paid on meetings booked booked meetings sat new opportunities created, or actual revenue?
Tom Slocum: This is fun. I've done this for multiple orgs. Looking at, different experiences within comp. I think the best one is still being meetings held, right? Not meeting booked, but meetings held, paying an SDR of when they booked a meeting and that person shows up. And then being paid on the backside of that going into stage two opportunity.
Tom Slocum: It is very hard to tie a revenue at times. And this is probably a hot take that we could discuss at another day. But I think meeting held and stage two progression are really the best indicators in paying out a comp structure to support the AE and SDR alignment.
How do you currently use video in prospecting?
Ricky Pearl: me how do you currently use video in prospecting?
Tom Slocum: I use video as my fourth or fifth, fourth plus touch. I'm not really doing it in the intro or the cold. I'm using it more as I've tried the traditional channels, the email the cold call, maybe even the social, and now I wanna get really creative and so I'll bring in video. At that fifth or fifth element to try to bring in, that engagement and that creativity, later in the sequence.
Tom Slocum: So I use it in various ways to show them the product, show them why I'm reaching out, what my triggers might have been, some good piece of content that would make sense for them. I'm more of a show and tell kind of video prospector, versus just the screen face to face. So I try to give them reason as to why there's value in that video
Do you think live coaching for SDRs works when a manager's actively speaking into the ear of the SDR whilst they prospecting?
Ricky Pearl: Do you think live coaching for SDRs works when a manager's actively speaking into the ear of the SDR whilst they prospecting?
Tom Slocum: Hot take alert I don't, I think that is so disruptive, derailing. As much as we'd love to manage that micro moment, we gotta lay that play out and work on that stuff in the background. Imagine a coach running out to the court while Steph Curry's about to take a shot and he edits it and says wait.
Tom Slocum: Move you're gonna mess it up. So just let it play out. Listen, and then give that constructive criticism on the back end once that call is complete. I don't really believe in jumping in live
Ricky Pearl: A hundred percent. I've only ever seen live coaching working for rarely long demos or discovery calls. It's 35 minutes. It's an hour long call. A manager can jump in and say, You, I think you need to start focusing more on this point. But in that seven seconds, You don't have time. Like you mentioned, it would be like like trying to give someone, tips on their serve whilst they're already swinging.
Tom Slocum: Yeah, that's it. Yeah. You wanna do it on the back end. And only in those longer situations where you have time to talk in their ear while the prospect is maybe talking, like you said, to discovery, the closing process, those things are a little bit different. But when you're on the front lines and that rapid fire moment I can't have you here.
Tom Slocum: I need you to wait till I'm done.
One tip for managing your mindset as an SDR
Ricky Pearl: A hundred percent. Give me one tip for managing your mindset as an SDR.
Tom Slocum: Think of it as gardening You have to plant the seeds and not everything's gonna bear fruit that day. It takes time, it takes nurturing, and it takes doing the fundamentals, watering it, giving it sunlight, and giving it nutrition. And that's the same thing you have to do as an sdr. So detach from the home runs and the big swings and just focus on doing the fundamentals on a day to day.
How much intimate product knowledge do they need to have before they can prospect?
Ricky Pearl: SDRs coming into a new organization have a lot to learn. New industries, new verticals, new product products. How much intimate product knowledge do they need to have before they can prospect?
Tom Slocum: Very high level. At the end of the day, the true position of an SDR is to sell the meeting. Not the whole kitchen sink. So I believe that they need a very high level to be able to connect the dots and focus more on what the tool can do to solve the problems that is realistic to their personas. And then go out and start getting the practice in and the conversations, find out what's the, what the prospects wanna learn, and then take that information back and learn from there.
Tom Slocum: But I think it has to be very high level, and sell the meeting more so than the product.
What's one pointer that you have for how SDRs can structure their day to be more productive?
Ricky Pearl: What's one pointer that you have for how SDRs can structure their day to be more productive?
Tom Slocum: Time blocking. It's my favorite thing to do if I'm an SDR right now on Sunday nights, I'm looking at everything I have to accomplish in the week, what responsibilities I have, prospecting time, admin hours, and then I structure my week out accordingly. Time blocking start and end times and respecting those so I can make sure I'm hitting everything that matters in that week. And then setting my non-negotiables as well, my prospecting hours, they are non-negotiable. I won't do things during those and move that calendar accordingly. But time blocking is by far the best thing. When you were trying to take the fire hose of SDR-ing and break it down into smaller pieces.
What's your take on cold calling after half past three on a Friday afternoon?
Ricky Pearl: Might be controversial. What's your take on cold calling after half past three on a Friday afternoon?
Tom Slocum: I think it's great. Most of your competition isn't doing that, and Friday afternoons are some of the best time to connect with folks. They're in a high spirit, they're wrapping up the weekend. Just be brief, be light, and get right to the point and let them and respect their time. But I think it's always a great day to call on Friday afternoons, because your competition isn't
Ricky Pearl: Now Either as a rule or as an exception, what's the earliest you would dial someone?
Tom Slocum: The earliest is I definitely respect the legal laws. I don't call most folks before 8:00 AM unless I have a prewarmed up conversation with that person. But in their time zone, I don't pull before 8:00 AM. Most folks start around 8 9:00 AM every day, so I try to stay within. That's my earliest that I'll call somebody.
Ricky Pearl: Fantastic. Tom, I'm all outta questions
Tom Slocum: Yeah, we did it.
Ricky Pearl: We did it, man. That was great.
Somebody wants to get hold of you at half past three on a Friday, how do they do it?
Ricky Pearl: Tom. I've got, I would do, I do have one more question. Somebody wants to get hold of you at half past three on a Friday. How do they do it?
Tom Slocum: They hit me on LinkedIn. That's my live and breathe channel. If you want any opportunity to get in front of me, engage in my content on LinkedIn, or hit me in the dms, and I'll more likely see you there than I will in any other channel or box that I have out there. Or realistically, gimme a cold call.
Tom Slocum: And you definitely have a high chance to reach me as if you cold call me.
Ricky Pearl: That was fantastic. How do you feel about now just having a little that was a lot of questions in 25 minutes, mate you must you must need to go grab a tea. But we could have a slightly bigger discussion just around SDR management in general.
Tom Slocum: One of my favorite. Yeah.
Why do you think so many SDRs aren't hitting quota?
Ricky Pearl: So I hear these stats and obviously I think it's pretty hard to verify, but 70% of SDRs are under quota. Why do you think so many SDRs aren't hitting quota?
Tom Slocum: One on the side of the sdr. It's the pressures, It's the scares of the what ifs. It's the burden of everything they have to do that they are not. Structured appropriately. They are not, they don't have the right mindset. There's a couple things there on an individual level that they have to assess. And the other piece to that is managers are phoning it in.
Tom Slocum: Most managers are promoted cuz they were top performers, not because they were leaders or great coaches. It was simply because they could perform. Now they're responsible for handling 10, 15 folks. And that can be a challenge for them. And many times they don't know how to coach somebody through what they might need.
Tom Slocum: So I think it's a kind of both sides of the coin. You've got SDRs on, on, on mindset, problem and a fundamental problem. And then you have the managers who are not phoning it in, not being enabled and developed. And some just being purely lazy that are disrupting that, that relationship and causing the quotas to not be hit
How likely do you think an SDR is to succeed without an SDR manager?
Ricky Pearl: You're a new startup. You want to make your first sales hire. They're often thinking, Oh, I need leads in the door and hire an sdr. How likely do you think an SDR is to succeed without an SDR manager?
Tom Slocum: Takes a very special breed, to do that as a self starter that can manage themselves, and that's very hard to. find So I don't find it that successful. More often than not, the orgs that I'm consulting and speaking to did exactly that, and now they're in trouble. Or they've had two or three SDRs coming in and they just can't get 'em to retain or stick.
Tom Slocum: And I simply ask them about their onboarding process. And they don't have one, they don't have a setup. They're just expecting this person to come in and do it. So with no playbook, no structure, no manager under them, there's really no direction. And more often than not they'll not reach the expectations of what that startup was looking for.
Tom Slocum: They'll be misalignment costing that relationship
Ricky Pearl: And here's a challenge. They need to hire an SDR who has experience because they don't have sales leadership to intimately manage this individual. But SDRs that have experience aren't looking to be an SDR anymore. So if you find an SDR with three plus years experience, that HAP is happy to be the first SDR at your organization, you might be hiring a lemon.
Tom Slocum: It's a very tough thing to find. But if you can find it right you find that person that is ready to be that player coach. They still love being a practitioner, but they're starting to move up in their career and they want that added responsibility. So they come in there and they can self start, they can function, and they know eventually in a few months become your manager.
Tom Slocum: I've seen a lot of folks do that. I know of quite a few folks that have done that exact path, but it's a rarity
Ricky Pearl: It really is. I think I see it fail more often than it succeed
Tom Slocum: Yes
Why is the average tenure of an SDR so short?
Ricky Pearl: Why is the average, Why is the average tenure of an SDR so short?
Tom Slocum: Because it's so high pace, right? You gotta think you're doing 20, you're doing the same exercise on a repetitive nature. Within 12 months. And so that kind of gets stale and stagnant, and that's because of leadership. They're not leveling this person up through that growth. It's just on rinse and repeat on a month to month basis.
Tom Slocum: So I think a lot of it has to do with the leadership and the employee relationship, because you're keeping the rep board they're stagnant. They're doing the same thing. You gotta mix in a lot with them. Around month 6 to about 12 is when that transition starts happening. And you gotta be cautious.
Tom Slocum: So you gotta start upsizing their, like skin in the game, switching up their day, getting 'em on different things. Otherwise they will burn out in a short amount of time, and then they're moving on to the next.
Ricky Pearl: In your experience, just give this a pass or a fail, an SDR that doesn't have a professional development plan and continuous weekly training
Tom Slocum: Fail
Ricky Pearl: Every time. What do you think would have a high likelihood of success? A phenomenal SDR, but no enablements, no managements, no support internally, or a strictly average SDR that has full enablements, a fantastic SDR coach and all the support that they need.
Tom Slocum: The average SDR everyday
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. I think that's one of the interesting things that companies are doing wrong. They're looking for these top performers, but the beauty of building management and structure and support into your organization is you can retain that much better. You can then have a higher churn of SDRs, but you're able to build them up.
Tom Slocum: Yep. Every time when you could start somebody from that average level and give them enablement and coaching to thrive. They will go to battle for you every day. You give a seasoned experienced sdr, nothing and expect them to ha carry the burden for your squad. You're gonna lose them in a matter of months.
Tom Slocum: So it's clearly all about investment into your people and they will ride with you for as long as they, all humanly possible.
In your experience, what is the worst part about being an SDR?
Ricky Pearl: In your experience, what is the worst part about being an SDR?
Tom Slocum: the enablement in coaching. The fact that a lot of 80% of SDRs out there have to figure it out on their own. Let's be real. You guys are out there in the trenches and just piecing it together. You're going around and having a dig for the gold yourself and up level yourself, and you're not getting it around your teammates, your circle, your management.
Tom Slocum: So I think a lot of it has to do with, that's the hardest part is getting your coaching and development to be catered towards you and where to find it. Right now in this. space
Ricky Pearl: Tom I feel like I've gotten so many golden nuggets here. I'm just gonna upload this all into Gumroad Sell it as a course because this was a masterclass.
Tom Slocum: Thank you. Thank you. Dropping Value wherever we go.