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5 skills every SDR should master

October 10, 2019

When you have great SDRs engaging with prospects at the start of the B2B sales process, it makes closing deals much easier at the end. SDRs are there to:

  • Introduce your ideal prospects to your organisation through B2B lead generation
  • Qualify them
  • Move them through their journey until a dedicated closer takes over

However, the SDR role is by no means secondary or entry-level. Being an excellent SDR requires a great deal of skill and hard work.

We sat down with David Bentham, Cognism’s Sales Team Manager, to find out what makes a top-performing SDR. David is an expert when it comes to scaling a B2B sales team. His drive and motivation have pushed Cognism’s sales team to achieve outstanding results. David is a manager and mentor to Cognism’s fast-growing team of talented young salespeople. Who better to ask?

David shared with us 5 skills that every SDR needs to master in 2019. Let’s find out more.

1 – Organisation

To be a top SDR, organisational skills are imperative. It may not be the most glamorous part of the sales strategy, but it’s nonetheless essential. Your admin game has to be strong!

At Cognism, we have a motto: “If it’s not in the CRM, it doesn’t exist.” Most other sales teams will have a similar philosophy. Calls need to be logged quickly and in detail. You need to create follow-up tasks that others can follow easily. 

It’s vital to have an in-depth technical knowledge of your CRM, to help your team, but also yourself. For example, if you can quickly build reports, you can better analyse your own performance and improve it.

2 – Active listening

Ideally, for a cold call, you want the prospect to be doing 70% of the talking. You, the SDR, should only be talking for 30% of the time. That means you need to be a good listener. 

The best SDRs listen carefully to what the customer says, as well as how they say it. Then, they respond accordingly. It’s being able to do this that stops you sounding like a robot, which can happen quickly if you don’t have a handle on it.

We know you make hundreds of calls a week, but your prospect wants to think that they’re the only person on your mind!

3 – Knowledge

To be a top-performing SDR, you need to know your stuff:

  • Your product
  • Your industry
  • Your competition

If you can demonstrate a breadth of knowledge to your prospects, you’ll gain their trust. They will then be more open to your message and be more likely to book demos and attend meetings.

4 – Creativity

Think of the number of cold calls, emails, LinkedIn messages and everything else a prospect receives every day; the best SDRs find a way to stand out from the crowd. 

In 2019, standard sales training tells SDRs to create personalised emails based on the articles prospects write, or their educational background etc. – but now, everyone is doing that! It’s all about staying ahead; thinking outside the box to get noticed.

Video is an excellent tool for creative SDRs. It’s a quick and easy way to get attention. There is a great example of a successful sales video in this Cognism article

5 – Passion

Everyone needs to have a passion for what they do if they’re going to become successful. For SDRs, that means becoming a sales geek. SDR work is famous for being difficult and repetitive at times. However, the best will seek perfection within those constraints. They will consume books, articles, webinars and more. They will own the process of getting better. 

This passion is what keeps you coming back, staying engaged in a repetitive job where you face a mountain of rejection.

Keep learning, keep selling

Here are David’s final thoughts:

If you’re an SDR, you should be looking to master these skills every day. Curiosity is the key. When you are genuinely curious about your prospect and how you can help them, you will succeed. When you have a sense of curiosity about other ways of doing things and how you can get better, you will win.

Find out more from Cognism

Cognism is the number one toolkit for the modern SDR. If you’re a sales team leader who wants to help your team prospect intelligently, engage successfully and close deals more quickly, talk to us! We’re excited to show you what our powerful platform can do.

Request your demo now