Business development representatives (BDRs) are an essential part of your organization. They aren’t just salespeople—they’re responsible for going out and cultivating business, identifying new target audiences and customer groups, and otherwise developing your business. Of course, what BDRs do specifically will vary from one company to the next. In order to set the team up for success and help them improve over time, you have to know what their role is in your company.
Will you have your BDRs focus on nurturing leads? Driving new business? Qualifying potential leads? They can do all of these things, or only one of them, or something different entirely. When you know what their focus is, you’ll be better able to provide them with the tools and tips to improve their selling habits.
The first and best thing you can do is to make sure that all of your BDRs understand digital selling and have that digital-first mindset because customers do. The digital sales funnel is similar to the traditional model, but it does have some differences. For starters, many prospects won’t even reach out to your BDRs until they’re halfway through the buying journey or further. They’ve already done the rest of the work on their own.
Provide your team with ongoing training and support. Make sure that they understand products or services inside and out, as well as how to transfer those into solutions to the problems that people are having. Make sure that they understand how to:
Most of the time, your employees are only falling short because they’re not being given what they need. If you provide them with educational opportunities, they will gladly run with them.
You can’t turn back time, but you can put plans in place to change things moving forward. Check your hiring practices. Look at the job listing for BDRs and see if it properly explains the job, expectations, and required skills. Look for ways that you can improve your acquisition of BDRs.
This may also include more training in various areas, including digital selling and how to engage with customers to discover pain points and provide solutions. Look at the type of BDRs your biggest competitors are using and then aspire to find those types of professionals for your company. Demand more from your team and they will deliver from day one.
One of the biggest reasons that sales teams, including those with BDRs, fail, is because they have a close-minded approach to sales. They think in one linear format and expect the sales pitch to be this standard, specific “pitch” that drives home the deal every time. Unfortunately, that’s not how sales works (or has ever worked, really). People want someone to talk to. They want someone to solve their problems. They want to know they’re choosing a business that can provide them with whatever they need.
By making sure that your BDRs are open-minded and ready to actively listen to prospects, you’ll be setting them up for much better success in their sales efforts.
Curiosity drives innovation and sometimes it doesn’t get enough positive attention. However, when you’re trying to improve the sales tactics of your BDRs, you’ll want to employ all the tools that you have. Their own desire to find new and better solutions is something that you want to embrace and encourage.
A growth mindset also helps BDRs to continue to grow and develop their skills because they are always willing to learn and improve. They can think outside the box and use tactics that make sense for each interaction, which can lead to big improvements in sales and elsewhere.
360-degree feedback is essential for success. The annual review process is dated and ineffective because it only reflects on what has been either “good” or “bad” in past performance. Creating a culture of ongoing feedback allows people to get tips and insight right away so that they can adjust their efforts and improve their sales approach immediately.
This means there’s no more waiting, no more lag for the sales to catch up with the improvements, and there are no more arbitrary annual reviews that don’t really provide your team with any immediate value. When you encourage feedback, you’ll get a more engaged team of BDRs who are willing to go the extra mile because they know that you’ve got their back.
One of the best things a salesperson can have is an agile mindset and a willingness to try new things. If you find 100 ways something won’t work, you’re that much closer to finding the one that does. Sales tactics don’t always work the same on every prospect, or for every market. Therefore, it’s important to encourage BDRs to try new tactics and keep track of what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be improved in order to be effective.
All of the elements discussed above will do one very important thing: instill confidence in your BDRs so that they feel more secure in their role and more capable of doing their job. When your BDRs are confident, they will be more flexible and willing to adopt new sales strategies because they know it’s for the greater good. They won’t take things personally and they will perform better as a result.
While you’re improving sales, think about how you can streamline other operations. For example, you can partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai to act as your 24/7 answering service while also providing support for lead intake, appointment scheduling, and outreach campaigns.