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How to build your own SDR Laboratory

The single best thing I ever taught SDRs (and myself)

Chris Ritson

12 May 2023

3 mins

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You’re all legends for opening and reading this. 

Don’t know me yet? My mantra = People>Profits. For life. 

First, here’s the juice… 

Most reps don’t know why they are winning or losing. 

In 2017, I imagined a world where reps could identify the why behind their results (good or bad). 

So I started building an ‘SDR Laboratory’. 

Here’s the most impactful study I ever ran… 

A short study I ran: 

Hypothesis; Reps who can use data effectively will hit targets more consistently. 

My findings (n=120+ SDRs): 

  • SDRs who can A/B test effectively ramp >3x faster 

  • SDRs who have A/B tested their work are more consistent performers 

  • SDRs who are able to demonstrate (with data) what works overachieve more regularly 

It turned out that teaching reps to A/B test and to build their own ‘Lab’, was the single most impactful thing to results I ever did (outside of hiring and being kind to people). 

Now, A/B testing sounds simple but the secret is patience. 

This also allowed me to be in control of the data behind our progress as a team. 

Simply put, it stopped the guesswork behind messaging.

Steal my 5 ‘Lab Rules’: 

1/ Max 3 tests per week: 

For example; 

  • Test 1: Subject Line A v Subject Line B 

  • Test 2: CTA A v CTA B 

  • Test 3: Cold Call Opener A v Cold Call Opener B 

Focusing on 3 areas gives you focus on micro-specific areas rather than everything all at once. 

Micro-wins are what move the needle over time. 

2/ Never remove both variables 

For example; 

If Subject Line A got a 30% open rate. And Subject Line B got a 25% open rate. I would remove B and keep A. 

The next time I test Subject Lines I’d test Subject Line A v Subject Line C. 

That way I know I’m starting at a minimum 30% open rate. 

Even if that’s not the end goal. Its progress. It’s a baseline to build off. 

Then, continuously remove the worst performing on each test until you reach your goal. 

3/ Have an end goal for each item 

An item could be: 

  • Open Rate 

  • Response Rate 

  • Bounce Rate 

A target could be: 

  • 60% Open Rate 

  • 15% Response Rate 

  • <5% Bounce Rate 

Having an end goal is important for knowing where you are now against what ‘great’ looks like. 

Being able to see progress over time against a goal is incredibly motivating for you and the team. 

I regularly show open rate, response rate etc data improvements to my team to reinforce the value of testing. 

4/ Have a minimum data set. 

For tests on email variables, I have a minimum data set of 100 emails sent for A and B. 

For cold call scripts, I only tweak my script once per month - this gives me a chance to have enough conversations to know if it works or not. 

5/ 1-hour Analysis every Friday 

This is SO SO underestimated. 

I dedicate 1-hour a week to analyzing the results of my tests and deciding what tests I will run the following week. 

Since I started my business 7 months ago my email open rates have gone from 44% to 72%. 

I have run 11 A/B tests to get there and I have never dropped lower than the 44% I started out with. 

All because of disciplined A/B testing. 

Encouraging reps to spend time analyzing their results is 101 in 2023. 

Any questions? Email me, folks. Good luck!!

SDR Leader Spotlight:

For all the new subscribers, every week I spotlight a new SDR Leader because they deserve it. If you’d like to be part of a future edition reply to this email. 

So, please meet, Lauren Reeves, SDR Manager @Tipalti

Her journey:

This is unique. She studied Journalism (good writers are underrated in sales) in Cardiff. She was the 1st SDR at THREE separate companies (just FYI 1st boots on the ground is SO hard! Mad kudos.) The 3rd biz she was at got acquired and she decided she wanted to take the leadership route. Lauren was a top performer as an SDR but someone who didn’t want the AE route. She’s now in her first leadership gig and loving it! 

Her mantra (in her words):

Have a weep, have a sleep and everything will be okay. 

Her advice for new SDR leaders:
  • Be patient with yourself. You’ll wobble sometimes but remember it’s a journey, enjoy it! 

  • Continue being your authentic self. Don’t fall for the trap of going into ‘leader mode’. 

  • Adapt your style to the person in front of you. 

Thanks, Lauren. You Legend! 

P.S. I’m launching something new just for SDR Leaders next week, watch this space. 

If you want a sneak peek just reply to this email (it’ll come straight to my inbox).

That’s all for this week folks. 

If you found this newsletter helpful:

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Whenever you fancy it, I help B2B SaaS companies in 3 ways:

  • SDR Training Programme

I will teach your team the EXACT training frameworks I used to build, grow and scale 3x global SDR teams at B2B SaaS companies contributing >100M ARR. 

  • SDR Strategy

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.