Cold calling. That’s what it is, I’ll make no bones about it. Love it or hate it, Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are one of the fastest-growing Sales positions and the reason should be blatantly obvious: the ROI is there.

We’ve built the strategy, systems, processes, analytics and hired SDR teams at multiple companies, so we’ve seen it all (almost). Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing all of the various angles for setting up and running a successful SDR team in a B2B SaaS company.

This launches our series for The Ultimate Guide to SDR Teams in 2022. We’ll update this blog with the links to each part of the series as they come out.

SDR Compensation
SDR ROI Calculator

In a Down Economy, Scale Outbound (SDRs)

If you’re worried about the next few months when it comes to the economy, you’re not alone. One of the first that dries up in the revenue funnel is inbound leads – SEO and SEM start to falter quickly as less people are looking for specific services as budgets get slashed.

Your team has to get in front of people with a message that resonates. The most effective way to get right in front of decision makers is usually outbound reachout with humans picking up the phone. As long as you’re tailoring your message to the moment and the pain that decision makers are feeling (which we’ll talk about in a later post), outbound will start to take over your inbound function quickly as search volume decreases.

Wait, Isn’t The Phone Dead?

I recently saw a post from a Sr. Director of Product Marketing at a Technology company that we all would recognize. This person was lamenting that they were getting constant cold calls and in ALL CAPS talking about how they “NEVER WORK.” I thought this was fascinating in multiple ways: first, it showed the extreme gap between Marketing and Sales even at respected companies (a quick LinkedIn search showed 40+ SDRs at their company which they clearly had no idea about). Second, it was hypocritical (see previous sentence). Third, and the impetus for this series, it was naive – if they’re calling you, companies are spending money on them, which means they must work.

And work they do.

The ROI Is There for Cold Calling in 2022

Every company is different, but I’ve been involved with or set up 3 separate SDR teams. Each time I set up an SDR team, I build a full financial model beforehand to set targets and show Executives the value. These models stretch for hundreds of spreadsheet rows with multiple complex formulas, but I’ll let you in on a secret – there’s really only 1 number that matters.

The only number that matters in SDR ROI is the Call > Demo rate.

If you make 100 calls, how many of them actually convert to a real conversation with Sales.

Guess what. The number that typically ends up being highly successful and profitable is 2%. That’s right – if 98 out of 100 calls go unanswered by an SDR, typically the whole program is wildly successful.

Again, this may differ per business, but this is a great starting point for many SDR models. You can check out more with our SDR ROI Calculator.

Extra Benefits: Preventing Revenue Leakage

Revenue leakage happens all over the place in most companies. We have ever-increasing lead sources, global reach, and a changing digital landscape so stuffing every lead through the same funnel process is not practical. This causes us to lose leads, contacts, and opportunities through the whole funnel, not to mention customer retention.

However, with someone specifically dedicated to getting leads over the fence to Account Executives, you can see a significant decrease in overall revenue leakage by implementing an SDR team. Part of this is because you’ll need to set up some serious systems to help SDRs run efficiently (more in our systems post), but also another human who’s specifically incentivized to get leads to Sales and see them through to a won deal is going to push potentially forgotten leads along.

What Do I Need To Set Up an SDR Team?

Setting up an SDR team is no small task and it should not be taken lightly. This is a brand new function (most likely) for your team, and the way that you will hire, promote, systematize, and process leads will have to change.

There’s essentially 5 categories that you need to understand to set up an SDR team:

  1. Strategy
  2. People
    1. Who
    2. Where
    3. Compensation
  3. Process
  4. Technology
  5. Tracking & Reporting

Fortunately we’re writing a blog on each one of these in this series, so sign up for updates and sit back while you get updates right in your inbox.

Final Thoughts

A quick disclaimer: Ion the Technology front I’m basically assuming that you have two pieces of technology to get started:

If you don’t have both of those, I would strongly recommend pausing your quest to build an SDR team and aggressively pursue those software tools. Without them, you won’t have the ability to run this team at scale and track the metrics needed to evaluate success and improve.

Other than that, we hope you are ready to learn about building a highly effective SDR team to scale your business.