Sales Development Representative top tips

Adam Sockel

Apr 19 2023


At Orum, we appreciate that building a successful sales organization encompasses a vast array of aspects. Pipeline comes from a combination of a healthy tech stack, a sustainable calling culture, tooling your reps want to use, and managers who understand what it takes to build a thriving team. You can have all of these incredible assets but if you don’t have sales reps willing to pick up the phone, fail, learn, and keep going everyday, you won’t ever be able to build a reliable pipeline.

In a recent post, we shared tips for being a great sales manager from our own subject matter experts. Several of their tips revolved around how to hire impactful sales reps. In the past, we’ve also discussed how to win the interview as a sales rep. But what about after you’ve been hired onto the team? 

We asked several of our sales development representatives what it takes to succeed in a position that can feel like a daily emotional roller coaster. Here’s what they had to say.

How to succeed as a sales development representative

The first piece of advice offered by Orum sales reps is to research your ideal customer profile (ICP). This is something that should take place during your ramp up period when you first start. A good sales rep knows you can't start practicing your pitch and value proposition until you fully understand the pain points your buyer persona is having.

Next is to familiarize yourself with your organization’s tech stack tools. While a robust tech stack can seem intimidating, especially for those unfamiliar with most platforms, familiarity comes with practice. Soon you'll develop a click path for each aspect of the job and know the ins and outs of each tool. The tools work together to provide you with proper contact information and prospecting details so when you start reaching out to contacts, you’re set up for success. The more you use these tools, the more comfortable you’ll become.

Speaking of using your tech stack - be willing to jump in, and don’t be afraid to fail. Sales, by its nature, come with failure. You’re going to be told “no” a lot but the sooner you appreciate that this isn’t a reflection of your skillset, the faster you’ll be able to counter those objections and turn them into genuine opportunities.

Talk to peers and mentors within your sales organization and role-play with people outside your organization. These two go hand-in-hand for multiple reasons. You want to take every opportunity to learn from more experienced team members, but when possible, role-playing with people outside of your circle will help you expand the types of responses and personalities you can practice with. When practicing with others on your team, be comfortable NOT using someone else’s pitch if it feels forced. Take their framework and put it in a way that sounds like you.

Speaking of practice, learn a script, then put that script away. Get comfortable through practice. Once you have it down, put it away and focus on active listening and conveying those important talking points in your own voice.

Remember, you’re just having a conversation with someone. Don’t overcomplicate what it means to be a sales rep. Don’t overthink. That leads to jitters, nerves, and call hesitation. At the end of the day, you’re just educating your prospects, and the worst thing that can happen is they say “no”. Reframing the process to feel like simple communication removes the stigma from your activity.

Don’t compare yourself to others, but don’t be afraid to reach out to those doing well. It’s human nature to see what others are accomplishing and feel frustrated that their success isn’t your success, especially as a new rep. Don’t get angry. Learn from what they’re doing. Remember that you’re all on the team together, and they will want to see you succeed as well.

Tactical ways to be a better sales rep

Many of the tips provided by our sales reps are vital for anyone just getting started. They are great ideas designed to reduce ramp time, establish a healthy mindset, and help you hit those initial quotas.

They also provided more tactical suggestions for building a sustainable approach to success. These include time blocking your calendar. Set time aside dedicated to various tasks. Our reps use this time to research and prospect. They start their mornings with an email review and market research. They look at industry information for the prospects they’re calling and read recent postings from other successful sales reps in their network. 

When it’s time to start prospecting, they recommend breaking out your outbound tasks into short blocks. Six 20-minute call blocks will help you stay sharp and fresh throughout your sessions as opposed to a single two-hour task. This process also enables you to build out call lists by industry or persona so that your pitching can be consistent for each prospect.

When it comes to follow-ups, their advice is straightforward. Have a method to make sure you’re actually doing them. Hold yourself accountable. Don’t let all that research and prospecting go to waste by not reconnecting with the people you speak to. 

Most CRMs have a way for you to enter a manual task for your prospect with reminders, but if yours doesn't, there are plenty of free tools you can use to make a follow-up calendar. We recommend creating the reminder task as soon as possible after the call, even if it’s following the whole call block instead of when you hang up. Try it both ways and see which workflow works best for you. Once you finish your calls, complete those follow-ups while they’re fresh for both you and the prospect.

Our reps also offered advice when you hit a rough spell and struggle to hit your numbers. Listen to the calls from other reps that led to booked meetings. Focus on the tone, pace, pitch, and what worked for them. These recordings can help refine your talk track if you’ve gone astray. 

When we asked our sales managers what advice they had for new sales reps, they leaned on ideas anyone could master. Have a consistent process for prospecting the right people. Consistency matters over everything. Stay even-keeled both emotionally and from a production standpoint. Tasks can snowball if you aren’t consistent. Much like our sales reps recommended, our managers emphasized the importance of time blocking for tasks.

They also were open and honest about the different approaches Orum’s reps use. If you're comfortable making a large number of calls daily, brute force your way to quota. There are also people who multi-thread prospects and tend to work more efficiently. Both approaches can work, but if you’re going to brute force, be extremely mindful of burnout. 

At the end of the day, you need to remember you’re human. There are good days and bad days. You’re going to put in the activity everyday. Take a step back and take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

Looking for more sales development tips? We've got plenty more where this came from.