The 2019 Beginners Guide for Inbound SDRs

SDR Guide Illustration

How to master inbound sales and lead research to drive meaningful conversions that convert.

What’s the burn-out rate for your SDRs? According to the market average, from the moment you hire a new SDR on your team, he/she has 15 months to make an impact before they move upwards or onwards. So how can you make those 15 months count? In this blog post, we are going to show you how to ensure your SDRs are driving effective conversations and how they can maximize their time to generate great leads.

We’ll cover both aspects of collecting data through self-research and through utilizing enriched data within your Salesforce. Next, we’ll discuss the best ways to incorporate that knowledge into your conversion, and lastly, we will give you top-notch tips on how to increase your lead to customer conversion rate.

Let’s dive in!

Inbound vs Outbound leads. What’s The Difference & Why Should You Care?

Inbound

An inbound lead is a marketing-influenced lead. Maybe they read your company’s blog, or downloaded material, but they became aware of you through your marketing team’s efforts.

Outbound

An outbound lead is one that YOU make the first contact with. The lead probably does not have prior knowledge of your company and might not even have an interest in your product.

Due to the difference between inbound and outbound leads, the reps approach to the prospect is absolutely different as well! Your time allocation of how to research and prepare for your call greatly contrasts.

Step 1- You just got your first lead. Now what? Double Check!

Wooho! Your first lead is in! The first step you want to take is to ensure the lead is actually qualified and worth your time. Start off with making sure this isn’t a duplicated contact that already appears in your database. Then, validate the data entry. It is not uncommon to come across inaccurate information from form submissions. If you’re using a lead scoring mechanism, poor quality data might impact the score and present a lead as qualified when in fact it really isn’t.

How to Tell Time Wasters Apart From Hot Prospects?

No matter what you sell or who to, buyers are usually in one of the three following stages:

  1. Searching for alternatives- according to CEB, 57% of the buying process is complete once prospects start independent research. The seller has a 17% chance of winning the business when they engage at this stage based on Aberdeen.
  2. Status Quo- the prospect is happy with the status quo and sees no reason to change.
  3. The Window of Dissatisfaction- the prospect is unhappy with the status quo but is too busy to change. The first salesperson to contact the prospect during this window has a chance of 74% of winning the business (Forrester Research).

Step 2- Gather prospect information from your CRM

Marketing activities

Most marketing teams these days are using a marketing automation platform that allows you to get full insight into your lead’s journey with your company from the first touch all the way to inbound lead. Looking into the full timeline of activities associated with the lead, will allow you to not only reference certain actions: “I saw you downloaded our white paper on camels in the middle east.. I can actually share with you a bunch of other ebooks we wrote on this topic”, but to also interpret which products is of his interest, and a gist about how readily does he seem to buy your product (usually based on the number of times he viewed your pricing page or specific product pages). All these factors are important to know before picking up the phone.

This insight gives you the power to generate more revenue by having a more effective phone call. Imagine the time and patience saved if you did not have to repeat the same information the lead has already read through on your website. It is just enough to give a quick brief and to ask him if he needs more elaborations. The key to success is by using the journey given to you to create a buyer-centric sales experience. The personalized phone call will increase interest and higher chances of the lead collaborating with you.

Enriched contact and firmographic data

Using sales intelligence tools, you’re able to get enriched leads profile that will allow you to prequalify the leads, and only leave the product-specific questions to the call itself. Tools like Lusha, allow you to auto-enrich your CRM with contact and firmographic data (up to 80 different data points!).

Step 3- Optimize for decision-makers.

So you’ve sifted through all that wonderful information from your marketing automation and CRM and clearly have a good grasp of the prospect you’re about to reach out to. It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty — can your lead actually pull the trigger on a purchase decision?

Your marketing team is eager for you to call every MQL that they generate. While we’re definitely in favor of world peace and marketing-sales peace consequently, we vouch for questioning the lead’s role in the organization, a second before picking up the phone. Reaching the decision-maker will often require you to call your inbound lead, ask to be introduced to X who will introduce you to Y who will introduce you to the decision maker, but before you start that journey, ask yourself the following question to ensure there’s value in your next conversation: “Historically, what role does your typical decision-maker hold?” and then: “based off your understanding of this inbound lead’s company org chart, how many potential intros will be needed for that person to connect you with the actual buyer?”. Clearly the answer to this question is depended on the ACV (Annual contract value) of the product you’re selling, but it’s safe to say that on average, 4-5 connections should be your limit.

Step 4- Be ready with pain-based talking tracks

Your prospects will eventually buy from you only when they have the money and the authority to do so, but no purchase will be made, before there’s a true business pain out in the open, looking to be solved. If your prospects don’t have business pain, they have no need. And without need, there’s no hope for a sale.

The best practice to figure out which pain point your prospect holds, is by asking the right questions. The best way to respond adequately to those needs is by preparing what we like to call: phone call pains tree” that helps you deliver the right value and further ask the relevant qualification questions, based on the need that was revealed.

We recommend you to build your phone call tree as a work-in-progress doc and constantly modify it depending on the feedback you get from your calls.

Step 5- speed to lead!

Some people believe that just because someone filled a form, does not mean that they want to be contacted by a sales rep, or they are not yet ready to buy. Although there is some truth to such critics, studies (by HubSpot) show that 71% of buyers want to hear from reps in the first stage when they are looking for opportunities to improve their business, while 62% when they are trying to solve a problem. Just 2% of prospects don’t want to engage with sellers at all during the buyer’s journey.

The 3 best questions to then ask inbound leads

According to Craig Elias, recently selected by LinkedIn as Canada’s #1 B2B Sales Expert (#15 globally): When you pick up the phone and say, “I’m following up on your information request. Can I take two minutes of your time and ask three really quick questions?” In all the years that Elias used this method the answer has always been “yes.” According to Elias, the 3 best questions to then ask inbound leads are as followed:

  1. “Did you get the email with the link to the resources you’re looking for?” — this will demonstrate your reliability.
  2. “When you read about this or saw this, what resonated and made you say, ‘Hey I should check this out’?” — usually, “How did you hear about us?” are in forms. Instead, this question will help the marketing team understand what’s working and what doesn’t. Also, learning about what aspects grab buyers’ attention helps salespeople customize their communication efforts for maximum engagement and response.
  3. “I’m curious. What happened recently that made this content more relevant or more important?” — this question will help you understand the trigger event that drove your customer to your content, but also reveal what buying stage they’re in.

These are just the best questions to ask according to Elias. Of course, there are more Q&A that happens in a phone call with an inbound lead.

50% of buyers choose the vendor that reaches out or responds to them first
The InsideSales Lead Response Report

Let’s conclude!

Sales success rests on successful qualification. The company’s food chain starts with you, being able to find good fit prospects that will end up being happy customers. Following the steps above will ensure you keep that burn rate low and enjoy your role as an SDR with less frustration and more satisfaction.

About Tom Shelly

Tom leads Product Marketing & Content at Lusha, and previously at Bizzabo. Her areas of expertise include sales enablement, go-to-market strategy, customer education, product positioning, competitive intelligence, and launch campaigns.

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