“Your SDRs are the concierge desk of your business. They’re the front lines of communication — the first impression.” Powerful words from the ABSD workshop, a fireside chat with Ralph Barsi and Jacco van der Kooij at the end SalesLoft’s Rainmaker conference earlier this year.
The statement stuck with me, and in the weeks following the workshop, I’ve begun to realize why.
First impressions are everything
Earlier this year, I made the move out to San Francisco to expand the SalesLoft family to the left coast community. As I’ve adjusted to my new home, in a city that hustles harder than an intern on a coffee run, I’ve learned first-hand the importance that first impressions have on new relationships.
In a sales world parallel, it’s critical to give your buyers a stellar first impression and a world-class experience, from first touch to renewal. And in the modern sales organization, Sales Development Reps are that first touch. They’re the first interaction, impression, and ultimately, the steward of your business for your buyer’s experience. And you must empower them as such.
Note: We’re not talking about technology here — although that’s deserving of its own conversation. We’re talking about public relations and the knowledge, soft skills, and expertise it takes to navigate those interactions.
The best way to arm your front lines with the knowledge needed to field questions like experts? Ralph Barsi believes it starts with onboarding. Spend 20% of the time training your reps on your company (history, product, core values, etc.) and 80% of the time on your customers.
When I first heard this I thought, “What a brilliant concept.” Your business exists solely to serve your customers — to truly understand their needs, pains, and businesses — and what better way to show true empathy than focusing the majority of your SDRs’ attention on them?
But how do they become customer experts?
Well, how many of your SDRs have actually spoken with your customers?
My hypothesis: likely none.
The solution? Have your SDRs interview customers. Help your SDRs understand their buyers. Bring customers into the office, to your SKO, or even go to where they are.
And believe me, between the customer and the SDR, you’d be surprised who ends up taking away the most value from that interaction.
Get your SDRs to find out what your buyers think about every day. What keeps them awake at night… What their daily schedule looks like… What pain points they experience, and the context in which they feel those pains. The answers to these questions are the keys to the castle when engaging in conversation with your buyers.
But remember, this concept goes beyond onboarding. You must train your reps continuously — don’t expect that they’ll remember everything after that single onboarding session. Train them on the process, and enable them to be the experts of your customers, market, and solution — now and forever.
SDRs are like the mini-CEOs of your business: the Chief Education Officers. Their mission: to show empathy for their customers needs, and to consult them on best practices. If they are positioned to be trusted advisors for your market and industry, your customers will feel the love and sincerity oozing from them every step of the way.
From first impression to renewal, make every SDR-customer interaction count.
This is a sponsored guest post from a Sales Hacker partner.