Straight out of college, I knew that I wanted to be in B2B sales. With no prior sales experience, except a retail job, I followed the path of many aspiring sales executives and accepted a job from Rev.io as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). For those of you unfamiliar with the role, my job is to set up initial meetings with decision makers to entertain switching out their Communications billing software. For Communications Service Providers, replacing their billing and back-end revenue management platform can be stressful and time-consuming. Luckily, Rev.io is the best billing and back-office software company in the Communications and IoT industry.
Since I started at Rev.io in mid-February, I’ve made 8,935 calls. There was definitely a learning curve for this role and a lot of awkward moments in the process. A failed brunch joke comes to mind as well as a CEO angrily quizzing my geographical knowledge of Pennsylvania. Despite this, the moments that stick out are the wins. It feels great to set an appointment with a decision maker after they claim – within the first 30 seconds – that they are not interested. It feels even better getting past a gatekeeper to speak to the founder of a $100+ million dollar company and setting an appointment.
I remember my first week I was scared I wouldn’t be successful because I didn’t set an appointment. I stuck with it and kept using the tools and people around me at Rev.io to coach me on prospecting and cold calling more effectively. I learned how to succeed in this role and, after 7 months, I finally hit my quota of qualified opportunities sourced and pipeline sourced in a quarter.
While a lot of people’s anxiety rises at even hearing the phrase “cold-call,” I am glad that I took this position as I have learned a lot in the process. Some advice to the newly-appointed SDRs, you need to have a good attitude to succeed in this position; you’re more than likely going to sound horrible your first few calls; and lastly, there is a learning curve to cold-calling.
1. Be naturally curious – hang in there and ask as many questions as possible on the call. I’ve had calls that I didn’t think would go anywhere, yet after 15 minutes, I found enough value to set an appointment. I make it my goal to always try to find something new about the company on each call that is relevant to what we do. You haven’t done your job as an SDR if you haven’t yielded any new information. You have just wasted your time.
2. Have confidence in your calls – if you act like an appointment is an elusive unicorn, then you won’t ever set them. I have definitely set appointments just on my attitude and confidence. If you are nervous about setting an appointment, what does that say about your product? While my product knowledge and sales ability increased over time, the catalyst to sourcing more opportunities was my increase in confidence.
3. Show them that you know them – it’s what separates you from telemarketers. It makes your pitch warmer if you tighten the aperture in your call. What sounds better?
A. We provide a communications billing software to telecom service providers.
B. We provide a sophisticated billing and customer management solutions to VoIP and internet providers in Massachusetts – we’re actually working with (client name in state) in your area to help them improve their billing operations.
It isn’t that difficult to leverage that little bit of information, but it shows that you have put in the effort and done your research. A prospect is much more inclined to listen to someone who knows them than listening to someone despondently recite the same canned line for the 70th time that day. If you have relevant information from a previous call, be sure to leverage that information.
4. Qualify your appointments – there is no point in setting appointments if they don’t make sense. My first few appointments were not qualified at all; not only did I waste the prospect’s time, but I also wasted our Account Executive’s time. Before you even call, you need to make sure that the company is an ideal fit. If they are not in the industry that you are catered to then why would you call them? While on the call, you need to make sure that you have a legitimate reason for the company to meet with us, you need to know who is meeting with us and who else will be involved in the decision-making process. If they can afford the product, and if making the decision to buy your product aligns with their initiatives and the timelines they have in place. This enables your sales team to be better prepared for the initial appointment and furthers your chance of sourcing a deal. After all, the whole purpose of an SDR is to source deals.
5. Have a schedule in place – to be a successful SDR, you need to be disciplined and have a schedule set in place. I would block off my first hour each day adding leads, doing research on Linkedin for new contacts within an organization and research on company websites to find relevant information for my calls. Then I would spend the next 2-3 hours cold-calling until lunch time: I had a goal set of making at least 30 calls before I ate lunch. After lunch, I would sit in on an AE’s call or listen to material to help me hone my sales skills and product knowledge. After that, I would keep calling until the end of the day. I made sure that I would hit at least 70 calls a day.
Being an SDR for an industry leading Communications billing software is exciting and rewarding. The SDR role with Rev.io has been a fantastic learning experience and I’d encourage any recent graduate, who’s interested in Sales, to pursue similar positions. For more information about career opportunities at Rev.io or our sophisticated billing and customer management solutions, contact us. We’re here to help!