It’s tough out there for SDRs. Outbound prospecting is never an easy job, but it's even harder right now. Lots of dials, many of them unanswered, low email open rates, frozen budgets, seemingly endless rejection, and on and on.
But some outbound SDR teams have figured out how to thrive, even now. How?
We’ve talked to dozens of sales development leaders and learned what makes the best ones hit their opportunity creation number month after month.
Top-performing SDR teams have a few things in common. Of course, they have amazing training and coaching, lots of opportunities to learn from more experienced sales reps, and supportive managers. But they also share something else you might not expect - a different approach to sales territories that ensures every rep is working the right book of accounts at the right time.
Some SDR teams have a wild west model of prospecting - each rep hunts for accounts on their own. Others take a geographic or industry-based approach, assigning each rep a patch of accounts to work. Others use a pod model, where an SDR is paired up with an AE, and they work the same list of accounts. Some even divvy up prospect accounts by company name and use an alphabetical assignment approach.
But high-performing SDR teams take a different approach to their account books. They use a model called dynamic books - a flexible, time-focused, continuously optimized approach to account allocation. They assign smaller but continually refreshed books of accounts to reps to work, to ensure reps know exactly which accounts to focus on at any time.
- A "use it or lose" model of account ownership, where SDRs have to actively work accounts to keep them in their name. Otherwise, unworked accounts will be redistributed to reps with available capacity. This encourages reps to put in the work to keep high-value accounts.
- Frequent account distributions and retrievals. High-performing SDR teams use dynamic account allocation that regularly and frequently distributes new accounts to reps, as well as retrieves accounts from reps that are unworkable or worked to completion. This ensures a fresh book of accounts at all times, and a more focused set to work.
- Capture "get back to me" dates. When a prospect asks a rep to check back in a few months or provides information about planning timing or existing contract dates, make sure your reps make note of that, so you can follow up at the right time. This helps you reach accounts when they're ready to buy.
- Well-defined fit and timing criteria to determine a prospect account's potential, and the processes in place to surface those high-potential accounts quickly based on those signals. This may include an account score, as well as intent or propensity-to-buy data.
- Insights into current account allocation and rep books. SDR leaders know the size of their addressable market, how much TAM coverage they have with their current quota capacity, the kinds and quantity of activities a rep can manage in a day or week, and more. They also know this may vary by rep, customer segment, product, and more.
- Clear rules of engagement and SLAs. Everyone on the sales team needs to know and follow a clear set of rules of engagement, including who works what accounts when, what counts as "working" an account, and more. This is particularly true for outbound reps - how many touches over what time frame? What makes an account qualified to hand off to an AE? Get our free RoE guide here.
- Continuous monitoring and reevaluation. The best sales and ops leaders are metrics-driven, and know what data to look for, how to interpret that data, and when to make course corrections. SDRs can work through a large set of accounts quickly, so there's lots of data available to SDR leaders for optimization.
These best practices comprise a dynamic book management approach to territories. Dynamic book management is a modern way of allocating accounts to sales reps, that continually matches rep capacity with the best available accounts. It’s a flexible alternative to traditional sales territories that helps companies react more quickly to market changes and increase attainment, especially for outbound teams. It's adaptable and automated, and ensures every rep always has a balanced book of the highest-potential accounts available.
For more tips for SDR leaders, download our free SDR success toolkit.