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5 Common Bad Behaviors in SDRs and How to Avoid Them

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When the average person thinks of a “Sales Rep”, what commonly comes to mind is someone who is charismatic, competitive and someeeeeetimes….a tiny bit, well…pushy. 

Like any persona, any role and any personality trait, there are both good and bad things that come with it. 

Unfortunately, Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are not immune to bad habits in their work, and these traits can impact the reputation and sales of the company they work for. 

Hey – we’re human. It’s okay. But the best SDRs are the ones who can identify when they’re falling into bad habits and have the desire to improve to do the best work they can. 

Luckily, we’re here to help with that! 

In this article we’ll list the top 5 most common bad habits in SDRs, and walk you through the best ways to convert leads into sales by doing the opposite. 

To start, let’s take a moment to review the most common complaints about SDRs during phone calls and decide if you have experienced any of these during phone calls you’ve been on. 

Because chances are if these are things you don’t like to deal with in your personal life, your leads don’t want to deal with them in their business lives either.

Do you like…Your obvious answer:
To have promises made to you that are later not kept?No
To be interrupted before you’re finished speaking?No
To have someone over-explain something to you?No
To have jargon thrown at you?No
To have someone try to convince you of something you don’t believe in?No
To have someone be really pushy and tell you what you want?No


If you answered no to most or all of these, then you have the building blocks to develop a successful SDR team – because you’ll make sure your SDRs don’t do them.

Let’s break these points down a little more below so you can prevent and stop bad behaviors in your SDRs before you risk losing leads. 

1. Overselling and Overdoing it

Not all leads are qualified for your product, and your product doesn’t qualify for all leads. 

Yet, under the pressure of trying to sell – and often being rewarded for quantity over quality, many SDRs are often primed to oversell. 

SDRs who try to sell a product to whoever they speak to are not going to be well-received most of the time. Some SDRs over-sell the product by promising it’ll solve problems for a business that really doesn’t need it. This is a problem because it means you’re not going to get a sale and you’ll have a dissatisfied customer who’s not going to recommend you to any of their colleagues in the future.

Fix: Reward your SDRs for quality – not quantity. Ensure your SDRs clearly tell their prospects honestly what your product can and cannot do for them. If they have an expectation of your company that you cannot fill, then ensure your SDRs tell them that, and tell them why. 

Building relationships with leads is all about trust and transparency. Being forthright about what you’re able to offer is the foundation of that trust. And, this trust, begins with your SDRs trusting that you genuinely care about the quality of their leads. 

2. Talking, but not prospecting 

Most SDRs are charismatic (read: they are good at talking…and like to talk). 

Again, when under the pressure to hit a call quota in a tight time frame, it’s easy for SDRs to fall into the bad habit of trying to mash as many words as possible into a quick phone call. 

It’s vital that your SDRs remember:

Let your leads do most of the talking during sales calls. 

Your SDRs should be trained to listen to what your leads are telling them (take notes, even!) instead of just planning what they’re going to say next about your product.

In these conversations, if your SDRs are asking the right questions and listening to each answer, they will learn: 

     a) what software your leads are looking for and why they need it,
     b) what their pain points are in their business,
     c) how they plan to use the product in their business, 
     d) and why they’re talking to you about it instead of one of your competitors. 

Armed with all this information, you’ll be able to personalize your sales pitch so perfectly to meet the lead’s needs that your business partnership will feel like common sense to both of you. 

Great customer service is a great way to keep old clients coming back – and make them want to refer you to their networks! 

3. Poor preparation (or poor training) 

When you call to order a pizza, do you only start to think about what you want to order after they’ve answered the phone call? We (and the entire pizza industry) sincerely hope not.

Your SDRs need to have a plan when it comes to what they need to say, and how and what they can offer each prospect. 

Poor call prep is often a symptom of one of three things:

  • Your SDRs aren’t experienced
  • Your SDRs haven’t been trained
  • Your SDRs are under too much pressure


Your SDRs should be prepping for how they will qualify each lead before they make the cold call or send the email to engage. Yes, it takes time and effort to do this for every lead, but it is important for building a good relationship. 

Your SDRs need to take the time to look your leads up online and if you’ve generated these leads with an internal data system, check the specs and find out what you already know about them. Are they a startup? Are they connected with another lead you or your colleagues have converted in the past? 

These are great conversation starters, and when you’re an SDR, conversation is your greatest tool. When someone tries to connect with you in your personal life, you’ll probably like them better if they make an effort to get to know you. The same is true in B2B sales. 

4. Little to no follow-up

Making sales can be stressful and nerve-wracking. Making purchases even more so.

Leads require multi touchpoints to make a significant decision and purchase. 

Again, often under the pressure of achieving a quota, working within a very strict time frame, having little to no training, or experience – many SDRs fail to follow-up with their leads. 

Your SDRs should not expect a sale at the end of their first conversation – they should however, expect the conversation to continue…later on. 

Your SDRs should be booking check-in calls for pre-planned dates and times and take the pressure off of quick sales by building an alliance with your leads. This business relationship will benefit you both in the end, so give them space, respect, some control and follow-up! Your SDRs will see how quickly they learn to trust them over other SDRs. 

5. Disengaged and overall dysfunctional

Look – we all have moments where we are less motivated, burned out or have a bad week. But when your SDRs are repeatedly disengaged, or aren’t operating as they usually do – it can be hazardous to your entire sales operations. 

“Team dynamics in sales is vital. While most SDRs perform well with a bit of competition – too much competition can have a negative effect. I’ve witnessed a sales team that was put under so much pressure, that instead of upping their game, SDRs on the team began to lie about their stats, and morale was low. Creating the right atmosphere for performance is a fine balance – but you can never go wrong when it comes to collaborating and learning from each other.” – Martin Qyra, Director of Sales & Business Development, Hyperio. 

It’s critical that you keep your SDRs engaged – and beyond rewarding performance – this often can be rectified by professional development, new training and mixing up old strategies for new ones. 

Learning in the SDR world can take different forms. Here are some examples of ways to inject your team with new sales strategies:

  1. Mentorship or shadowing with a more experienced colleague with a great sales reputation, 
  2. Encouraging collaboration between coworkers – what tips do they have for strategies that have worked for them, 
  3. One-on-one sessions with a supportive manager who can steer SDRs in the right direction, 
  4. Professional development training 


The
take-away message is that even the best SDRs can fall into bad behaviors – but providing the optimal environment for your SDRs to thrive is critical to mitigating many of these behaviors. 

One of the best ways to avoid these behaviors all together is to recruit top sales talent and have an experienced manager steer the ship. In today’s market, a key solution is to consider sales outsourcing. 

If you’ve never considered outsourcing before – take a look at this complimentary pro and con list we’ve made here. 

Want to chat more about B2B SaaS software sales or get some great tips for free? Call us to find out more. 

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