The Top 10 Core Competencies for SDRs: Identifying Transferable Skill-Sets In Industry Changers and Entry-Level Candidates

Last week in my interview with Tito Bohrt  (Click here to check out the video), he asked me, “what I thought I had done differently than other SDR (Sales Development Representative) Managers to find the right candidate that has the most chance to succeed”. My response had to do with how I think I’ve hired more industry-changers than other SDR Managers.

While other Managers are holding-out for the SDR candidate that’s “done it all” – I intentionally seek out entry-level SDRs and industry-changers. Check out the video for my description of an “industry-changer”.

After reviewing the interview a few times this weekend, I wanted to write a quick follow-up post about this.

The key with bringing in entry-level reps and industry-changers is identifying a set of useful skills (innate and learned behaviors) that will transfer to their role as an SDR.

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There are a great deal of quality people out there that are ready and able to make the transition. You just need to know what you’re looking for and how to identify it.

It can be difficult to assess people during the interview process, doing your best to envision how successful they will be in the role. I’m hoping you’ll find this post helpful if you’re in a position where you’re hiring SDRs.

Below you’ll find a list of The Top 10 SDR Core Competencies that I tailor my interviews and my line of questioning to when interviewing SDR candidates:

  1. Prospecting Skills & Prospecting Endurance – This one is at the top of the list for a reason. It takes loads of prospecting stamina to do the SDR job effectively… every day. Combine that with the tactics it takes  to be a professional prospector. Where in their past have they had to sustain high levels of activity (Professionally. We’re not talking about that marathon they ran last year.)?
  2. Creativity – Thinking outside of the box is fundamental to being good at gaining access to decision makers. You can’t just ask people if they’re “creative”. This will be evident in their previous work and should be confirmed during your interviews.
  3. Communication/Listening Skills – Can they clearly communicate? Period. This will be apparent right away. Make sure you pay close attention to everything they write as part of this. During the interview they should ask good questions as a way of demonstrating their communication abilities. If they’re not asking questions in an interview, how well do you think they’ll do it on the phones? SDRs have to punch above their weight class every day on the job. box-sport-men-training-163403 Can you really see this person successfully conversing with your target personas?
  4. Resourcefulness – As an SDR, no day is the same. No conversation is exactly the same. As a result, unpredictable scenarios will inevitably arise and it’s important that you have someone in the role that can find a way to address a wide-range situations.
  5. Process Oriented – While it’s important that SDRs be resourceful in situations that are outside of the normal operating cadence, it is equally important that they be able to follow instructions and work with minimal supervision.
  6. Team Player / Role Player – The SDR position is designed to serve quality engagements with qualified prospects to their counterparts in the field and therefore, demonstrated experience of taking pride in being a role-player is vital. Where in their past has their success been interdependent with others?military sniping near rock
  7. Organization and Technical Aptitude – SDRs have to juggle a lot and without a system for staying organized, they’re bound to fail. Everything an SDR does takes place inside of an application of some type. can be intuitive to some and overwhelming to others. If the candidates technical skills are not verified, you’re going to spend more time helping them learn new skills, than selling. Do not assume candidates can juggle, or that they will learn how to navigate technical landscape within your business.
  8. Comfortable with Change – With a new department in a growing company, it’s likely that there will be adjustments to the Sales Development program. The people on the team must be able to “Move with the cheese” as you tweak the formula in order to achieve the necessary outcomes.
  9. Coach-ability – SDRs will receive tips and suggestions from all sorts of people in the business, not to mention the coaching they receive from their direct manager. Marketing will adjust their messaging. Sales reps will critique their emails. Sales Managers will inspect and advise on the data they enter into Coaching will be coming at them regularly so make sure you check their ability to intake and apply coaching.
  10. Professionalism & Business Acumen – Professionalism isn’t just showing up on-time to the interview wearing a suite. It’s the competence expected of a professional. This comes down to a person’s self-discipline, personal accountability and overall integrity. Their professionalism ties directly to their ability to navigate and understand the branches of business.

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The questions I ask during the interview vary depending on the candidate’s experiance.

In my next post, I’ll give you the top interview questions that I ask SDR candidates to potentially confirm what we’re looking for in their existing set of skills.

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If you have decided to implement a Sales Development practice within your business, and you would like help from an expert in setting it up, click here to contact me so that we can schedule a call to discuss your plans in more detail.

Derrick Williams

3Link Consulting LLC

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