As new SDR’s are hired and brought on board post-pandemic, a good majority face the extra difficulty of having to ramp up remotely, without the assistance of AE’s and other SDR’s to learn best practices from. Although there has been a rise of sales intelligence tools like Chorus & Gong, there is nothing that can replicate the office environment in terms of learning. This means that businesses must lookout for a variety of key traits and characteristics to be confident in the success of any new SDR hire. We have identified these core skills & traits as: Organised, Proactive, Curious, Coachable, Brave and they must possess Grit (ideally bucket loads of it). These traits are no longer nice to have but need to haves for SDR’s in 2022, in order to ensure the candidate will be a certain success. If there are any doubts that the SDR does not possess the above qualities, they should not be hired as it would be a disservice to all parties involved and cost the hiring company more problems in the future.
Below we assess each individual quality and their importance to the SDR role in a remote work environment. We also outline methods hiring managers should be using when interviewing candidates, as well as questions to listen out for from the candidates. Ultimately, SDR’s should be treating the interviewer as a prospect throughout the whole interview, constantly qualifying the interviewer. In fact, many of the best SDR’s may have cold-called the business in the first place to set up the interview. More often than not, the questions that candidates ask, are often more important than the answers they give during an interview.
This is a paramount trait of the Sales Development Role. Every SDR should demonstrate this quality during the interview process. In order to be a success in the role, they will need to possess exceptional organisational skills and manage their time efficiently on a daily basis. Examples would be thorough research before executing any cold outreach to prospects, it is also needed when planning and mapping their own Accounts & Territory as they join any new team. This skill should be a foundation for any SDR and by looking out for the following signs during an interview, you will have a better understanding of whether they are organised and prepared for the interview.
- Did the candidate turn up on time or 5 mins before the Zoom meeting started?
- Did they ask if there was anything to Prep before the interview?
- Ask the candidate what they know about you, did they do their Due Diligence on LinkedIn?
The SDR role can be a slog and demoralising at times, especially during periods of uncertainty and market downturns when buyers are less receptive. This feeling can be magnified even more so when a team is operating remotely and there is a lack of face time and camaraderie with other colleagues. GRIT is invaluable to have as an SDR as you face constant rejection on a daily basis and the SDR’s who possess bundles of GRIT, will be able to shrug off rejections easier and will be more inclined pick up the phone on a continuous basis, leading to greater results.
GRIT cannot be taught and is most often than not developed during one’s formative years in their personal or professional life. Character and perseverance through adverse conditions help develop a thick skin or stoic mindset for some individuals. To gain a deeper understanding to whether a candidate possesses GRIT, ask the candidate about previous roles inside and outside of sales, some of the least glamorous roles may prove they are willing to get stuck in and get their hands dirty and that have the drive and willingness to succeed. Their personal life can also unveil a wider personality from failures & successes. Notably, elite sports players or candidates that have excelled in individual sports at a high-level, usually have GRIT in abundance due to the hours of sacrifice they have put their bodies and minds through on the training field.
- Lean into the candidate’s personal life and background story outside of their C.V
- Look for previous work experience that is non-sales related
This is a rare quality and a tough attribute to uncover during the interview process but an important one, nonetheless. SDR’s who are willing to fail quickly and often early on in their tenure (within their first 6 months) are the ones who will climb to the top of the leader board and rapidly progress to become the foundation of any sales team, likely progressing into AE roles. Reps who are brave enough to feel uncomfortable and exposed in certain situations like cold calls, discovery calls and demo’s early in the role, will learn quicker than their peers who are less willing to challenge themselves and test their limits.
- A good way to see if a candidate possesses bravery is to ask them to pitch you the product during the interview over a mock cold call. Not only will this show you if they’re organised & proactive, but you will be able to judge their bravery by how they react and if they give it a good attempt.
- Again, discuss the candidates personal stories- this can also show bravery that they can share experiences openly.
Intellectual curiosity is another invaluable trait for any SDR. Curiosity for the core product offering that the SDR will be selling is very important and will enable an SDR to articulate the business’s value proposition to prospects seamlessly, leading to higher results. Salespeople who are genuinely interested in the product they sell will vastly outperform their colleagues. Again, this cannot be taught and is a rare skill that divides average SDR’s to the high performers. A wider, more macro curiosity of the business is also important for any new hire and listening out for the questions outlined below, shows that a candidate is not just interested in the short-term role, but has a genuine interest in the long-term health of the business.
Tips: Elite SDR’s will generally ask the following questions:
- How are the KPI’s & targets are broken down?
- Is the commission plan uncapped? Are we paid monthly or quarterly?
- Do we receive commissions on any Deal that closes?
- What is the Inbound velocity of Marketing Qualified Leads?
- How much revenue is generated per meeting booked?
- What is the LTV/CAC ratio?
- Can you describe the company culture?
- What is your management style?
- Can you give me some insight into the sales team’s Tech Stack?
- What do we get in terms of Marketing support?
- Do we provide free trials?
- What’s the average deal size and length?
- What’s the future growth plans of the firm, funding, acquisitions, IPO?
- Competition, how do we compare, where do we win/potentially lose?
This trait is key to ramping quickly and shows that the candidates are self-aware and are striving for improvement. SDR’s with this trait are great for team culture and can help level-up the existing team adding value to colleagues. You can’t put a price on SDR’s that are genuinely looking to develop on a daily basis, it’s a powerful trait that will improve the skillset of surrounding colleagues.
Tips: It can be difficult to judge on Zoom but look for the following cues:
- Was the candidate writing notes?
- Did they ask for feedback?
- Did they thank you for unsolicited feedback and do they sound like they want to learn new skills or are excited to sell into a new market/product vertical?
Again, very important to the role as we work remote. New hires won’t be micromanaged remotely and won’t be asked to pick up the phone on an hourly basis, they will have to do it themselves. Self-starters will thrive in a remote environment.
Tip: lookout for the following below:
- Did the candidate prospect you and source the interview themselves?
- Has the candidate asked to meet other SDR’s in the team and any AE’s they’d be working with?
- Did the candidate ask to see a Product Demo or have access to a Sandbox?
- Have they asked about the formal training and onboarding process?
- Did they ask if you (the interviewer) had any hesitations in hiring them?
- Did they follow up with a thank you email after?
Overall nothing will compare to meeting candidates in person, but the above should work as a foundation in order to weed out the good candidates from the greats. Miss hires can be a huge cost to start-ups, even more so due to the remote work environment, so if any SDR does not meet all 5 of the above qualities they should not be hired. We use the above process to screen candidates before they are accepted onto the Entr Tech Academy- industry knowledge and product verticals can be taught but an individual’s characteristics cannot. If you are looking to hire a team of SDR’s that possess all of the above traits, get in touch with us here at Entr Tech.