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3 Observations After Coaching 600+ SDRs

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Chris Ritson

8 Dec 2023

3 mins

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Humans are terrible at identifying their strengths and weaknesses. 

As salespeople, we are no different. 

In this newsletter, I’ll outline the 3 biggest skill gaps I’ve seen in the 600+ SDRs I’ve coached. 

Let’s dive in. 

Skill #1: Choosing the right accounts to work on

Some people call this ‘list building’ but that’s not a skill. Anyone can put a few accounts in their name and say they’ve built a list. 

The skill part comes in being able to identify why an account is worth your precious time today. 

I recommend you have 3 ‘types’ of account: 

  • Immediately prioritised - aka you start working it TODAY 

  • Deserves to be in my list - aka you will work on but not necessarily today 

  • Doesn’t deserve to be in my list - aka not worth your time right now 

To be great at choosing the right accounts you need to understand ICP. 

ICP means ‘ideal customer profile’ and is determined by 3 factors; account metrics (industry, size etc), persona metrics (job title etc) and most importantly timing (timing triggers such as new person to role, headcount growth, anything that indicates change at the company). 

Most SDRs who fail at choosing the right accounts miss the ‘timing’ part. 

My recommendation:

  • Dedicate 30 minutes everyday for ‘list building & prioritising’. The more you practice, the better you’ll be. 

If you want more help with choosing the right accounts I wrote another article here

Skill #2: Verbal communication in TWO way conversations

Every SDR I know can pick-up the phone, make dials and say a few words if a prospect answers. 

Not every SDR can have a conversation that leads to a meaningful two-way conversation. 

The biggest difference I’ve found between SDRs who can and those who can’t is simple; 

→ They don’t understand prospect Psychology 

Imagine if you were cold called by someone you have never spoken to before would you trust them? It's unlikely right? 

Instead, you probably feel frustrated, and try to exit the conversation. 

This is the same position our prospects are in when we call them. It's something I call ‘The Zone of Most Resistance’. 

Learning to navigate The Zone is the single most important skill anyone cold calling can develop. 

Why? You'll have longer, more productive conversations leading to more meetings booked. 

My recommendation:

  • Have a script to help you get through The Zone 

  • Dedicate 2 hours everyday to cold calling. 

  • Don’t say ‘I’ll do 50 dials’, say ‘I’ll call until I have 3 conversations so I can practice my skills in The Zone’. 

If you’d like to learn more about The Zone of Most Resistance you can here.

Skill #3: Ability to keep the conversation going over long timeframes

Everyone calls this ‘nurturing’. You’ll here people say things like: 

  1. ‘‘Nurture it’’ 

  2. ‘‘Add value’’ 

This leads to most SDRs to sending a whole lot of very irrelevant material to prospects. 

Or, never following following up at all. 

Now bare in mind around 30% of the accounts SDRs contact daily will NOT be in the market right now. How can we expect to re-engage them later when we've nurtured them so poorly? 

Strange thing for me is, I rarely see any SDRs trained on how to nurture effectively. 

Instead, we’re so focused on booking meetings today so we forget about making investments into accounts for the future. 

The challenge for SDRs is those investments need to be relevant and easy to consume. 

My recommendation:

  1. Dedicate 1-2hrs (dependant on how many you have) weekly to ‘nurturing’ your ‘not right now’ accounts and prospects. 

  2. Make every step you send personalised and relevant to the problem you believe they have. 

If you’d like to learn more about nurturing you can here.


So there you have it, the 3 skill gaps I see most underperforming SDRs have. 

  • Identifying good fit accounts that are worth their time (today) 

  • Verbal communication in 2-way conversations 

  • Ability to keep the conversation going 

If this is helpful, please forward this newsletter to your teammates. 

Good luck folks!! 

Podcast on Sales Training Mistakes

A few weeks ago I metup with Mafalda Johannsen who runs The Sales Training D(R)eadly Sins Podcast to run an episode on …you guessed it Coaching SDRs. 

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the biggest mistakes I see in training and coaching SDRs you can give it a watch here.

Hope it’s helpful, folks!

Weekly Send-Off:

I hope you all have a great weekend, here’s my tweet of the week:

Until next Friday at 1.05pm, au revoir from me, Bridge, and Isaac 🙂

Whenever you’re ready, here are 2 ways I can help you: 

The next leader bootcamp starts in January. Join 50+ others and save your seat here

The next bootcamp starts January 22nd. Join 80+ others and save your seat here.

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.