SDR File’s Lesson 1: Discovery Beatings

This is the first article of The SDR Files and I am launching this media series with the intention of sharing it with contributors from around the SDR world. Before I get into what The SDR Files is all about I wanted to share some personal news for any of my friends that may be reading this post. In a shocking turn of events the couple that never (ever) wanted to have a baby is now incredibly excited to be expecting a little girl. Bianca and I are thrilled but before my life dramatically changes let’s get this series rolling…

My SDR Year

In 2016, I had a special opportunity to work as a Sales Development Representative for a small technology company. For me this position was very much like the movie Intern with Duane Miller playing my co-star Vince Vaughn. I took this job for many reasons but mostly to learn and man I learned more in one year than I ever thought possible. See, up to this point in my twenty year career I’ve already been successful selling logistics to enterprise and leading a start-up business. Because of my background I was able to extract and absorb a treasure trove of information from the great people I encountered during my SDR journey.  The SDR Files was created to showcase those valuable lessons as well as real life tips from other SDRs and their managers.  

Like most SDRs, my role at the company was to create new opportunities via cold calling and emailing. This particular technology company was founded in the early 2000’s and developed a best in class TaaS for multilingual website development. The service and how it worked wasn’t a simple explanation and like most tech companies we were trying to get prospects into a Discovery Meeting. Of course, the Discovery Meeting was handled by a senior level AE/SE who would use visuals to describe how the tech worked. That brings us to The SDR Files’ inaugural topic: Do SDRs need Discovery Meeting content to secure Discovery Meetings?

The SDR Stats

The 2500 cold calls I made as an SDR gave me a ton of perspective. The 320 connections that resulted taught me a lot. But it was the 64 conversations with Vice Presidents and major corporations that made things crystal clear. After going round and round with decision makers trying to get them into Discovery Meetings I came to realize something really important. These VPs weren’t rejecting my company as a possible vendor, they were refusing the Discovery Meeting itself. I realized this because how could they be rejecting my company when they had completely no idea what we even provided. The solution I found to this problem is forth coming, but let me share my thoughts as to why this happens in the first place. 

As sales people we see Discovery Meetings as an opportunity to give prospects an in depth view of our company’s offering with no obligation to make a purchase. Decision makers are also aware there is no commitment but may still view a Discovery Meeting as the beginning of a relationship. In addition, by accepting this meeting they may again have to tell a salesperson NO and that’s never fun for anybody. Keep in mind this decision maker has probably been suckered into other Discovery Meetings that weren’t at all pertinent to their business, only then to be stalked for the next several months. I think the most important thing for SDRs to understand is there may be more than we know keeping prospects from committing to our Discovery Meetings.

The Discovery Meeting Solution

Those of you that hung around for the solution to this discovery dilemma are getting your money’s worth. Wait this is free, dang!  No worries I still got you, the solution to this problem is simple but it’s also really difficult at the same time. During conversations where you find yourself repetitively asking for a commitment to the Discovery Meeting, stop doing that. Instead focus on telling the decision maker what you can do for their business and what makes your company special. Yes, that could mean getting into some of those details that the AE shares during their Discovery Meeting. Calm down AE, if the SDR doesn’t take this particular conversation further you’ll still be waiting on the sidelines. It’s very likely the decision maker will need more specific information about what your company can do for their business before they’ll commit to anything.

In my last few months working at the tech company I stopped trying to get decision makers into meetings altogether. Instead, I just started giving them the Discovery Meeting on the cold call without any visuals. I was able to get it done in four of the last seven conversations I had with VPs and I thought that was really good. By the end of the cold call those decision makers completely understood the technology and could at least start thinking about how it might benefit their business. If you’re an SDR and you want to be able to do this you have to be a MASTER of what your company provides. You can easily accomplish that by asking a lot of really good questions. Don’t be too shy or too proud or too whatever to ask questions to those sales people at your company who know what’$ up! 

This article was originally posted by Matt Wanty on LinkedIn Apr 3rd, 2017.

#sales #sdr #coldcall #coldcalling #discoverybeatings

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