My name is Lusha – I help sales professionals save time and meet their goals faster. Today I’d like to cover sales prospecting – an emerging role that is helping sales teams get more and better opportunities into their sales funnel.

The role of the Sales Development Representative has changed dramatically over recent years thanks to advancements in technology, which in turn, has affected the way consumers make their buying decisions when purchasing products and services.

Subsequently, the way we sell, and nurture leads must also change. According to The Harvard Business Review, cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time and there are over 200 million people on the ‘do not call’ list. It’s also worth bearing in mind that 57% of the customer buying journey is completed before the first serious engagement with a salesperson, according to CEB.

So, the question is, how can a Sales Development Representative nurture prospects in a modern way?

To help, I put together the following SDR Toolkit to ensure you have all the information necessary to generate high-quality leads and convert these leads into delighted customers.

1. Buyer personas

Buyer personas are an essential part of any SDR’s toolkit. It’s essential to truly understand who your prospects are. By discovering exactly who you’re talking to, you can clearly communicate how your product/service can help to solve their business challenges.

As a Sales Development Representative, you’re not just targeting anybody and everybody, hoping that along the way you make a few accidental sales. Once you get under the skin of your targets, you’ll be able to speak to them directly about the areas they really need help with and they will engage with your content and subsequently your business.

2. Alignment between sales and marketing

Modern marketing is all about warming up prospects for sales and therefore the two departments must be fully aligned for this to work. Remember, customers aren’t always ready to buy on day one and therefore traditional sales techniques are becoming less successful.

The brutal fact of the matter is that in this new digital era, buyers don’t want to speak to you unless they need to, and they are quite capable of researching products and services and making decisions on their own. And they want to do all of this in their own time and on their own terms.

So, it’s time to work together with marketing towards the same goal. Sales can help marketers understand the audience and who are the people or companies who end up closing deals. Marketing, in turn, can provide killer content to bring those exact personas to the website, engage them and deliver relevant opportunities to sales.

3. Scripted calls

This is an easy one. Ditch the script! With the decline in cold-calling effectiveness and prospects becoming less engaged via this method of selling, you need to source new methods to stay ahead of the pack. Reading from a script will no longer cut it. Prospects want to speak to real people, so when you get on the phone, be human, relatable and consultative. This will be a winning strategy over a robotic script.

This isn’t to say you should wing it. You need to make sure you’re prepared, and this is where the buyer personas come into action. Take an extra ten minutes prior to making the call, to truly understand the person on the other end of the phone. Not only will this ensure they are a qualified prospect, but will help you understand their pain points much better. In turn, allowing you to sell on your expert knowledge and what you can do for them.

4. Supporting content

Sharing supporting content with your prospects and customers keeps them engaged in a way that is useful to them – it’s not about selling! And remember, this content needs to acknowledge their challenges and aim to solve these issues for them.

By sharing interesting content, you become more than a salesperson – you’re a thought leader helping your prospects understand the space. If they aren’t ready to buy at that exact moment in time, your drip feed of relevant content will ensure that when they’re ready to buy, they will keep you in mind.

Types of content to share:

  • Blogs
  • How-to guides
  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Case studies
  • Offer a free 30-minute consultation of your expert time

5. Email templates

Do you find yourself sending the same emails again and again to your prospects? How many times until you get a reply? By creating a library of cold email templates, think of the time you could save! This should be an essential part of your toolkit and will enable you to spend more time selling and less time drafting repetitive emails!

I find the most commonly used templates include:

  • An initial connection via email
  • An initial connection via LinkedIn
  • A follow-up
  • A Break-up

See this great post from which provides 101 email template examples.

6. Break-up examples

You’ve tried and tried reaching out to a prospect and it’s been weeks since you’ve heard anything from them. You just don’t know where you stand or what to do next! It’s time for a break-up email.

Break-up emails are designed to get a response from a prospect who has gone silent on you. These emails allow you to draw a line underneath the deal and move on and can prove highly effective in such situations. What does a break-up email look like? Good question. Here are a few to get you started…

Example 1

Hi there,

I’ve reached out a few times regarding [Prospect’s Pain Point]

Are you still interested in speaking about this?

If not, please let me know so I can stop reaching out.

Thanks again for your time.

Example 2

Hi there,

I have followed up a couple of times and haven’t heard back, so I’m going to assume you’re not interested in hearing about our solutions at this time.

In the meantime, here are some resources that you might find useful along your journey:

-Resource x 1

-Resource x 2

-Resource x 3

If you’d like assistance in the future, I would love to help so please get in touch!

Tips for writing break-up emails

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it short and concise
  • Remove emotion
  • Add value

7. CRM platforms

Utilising an intelligent CRM platform such as Hubspot or Salesforce for example, enables you to take customer satisfaction to the next level by ensuring all of your customer data is in one place and accessible to everyone. A good CRM system will help to give you context before you approach the customer and you’ll know exactly when and how to approach by using this information.

If you work for an organization that doesn’t use a full CRM, try selling your boss on a lightweight startup CRM such as Streak, a Gmail add-on that lets you assign emails to accounts in a sales pipeline.

8. Email automation

A blanket email takes the approach that one size fits all, which of course, in this day and age, just isn’t the case! A good CRM system will allow you to keep track of where your customers are in their buying process. However, as a busy Sales Development Representative, you will want to use your time wisely and so utilizing email automation to nurture your leads is ideal.
Email automation tools allow you to segment your list and create sequences of emails with relevant and personalized communication, which can move leads along the sales funnel. You can use general purpose email automation tools such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact, or use a specialized email automation platform like SalesLoft which is built for sales teams from the ground up.

Email automation sequences that can be used

  • Follow-ups when a prospect downloads a piece of content or visits a specific web page
  • Meeting requests
  • Notifications once a prospect hits a specific lead score
  • Schedule a demo with a prospect

9. Top tools to look out for

Prospecting is a complex element of your role as an SDR, but thankfully there are many useful tools available to help make your life that bit easier. So, to round off our toolkit we’ve given you an insight into some of our favorites:

  • Siftery – use this free tool to help identify if a prospect is using a competitor product. This can help you conduct throughout research and be fully armed when you get in touch
  • Google Alerts – set this tool up and get alerts each time Google picks up a new mention of that term. This can be useful when researching your prospects and again can give you plenty of insight when you initially reach out
  • Calendly – this smart tool helps you schedule meetings faster. Send the link to your prospects and let them book a time that works for them. This makes it much easier rather than sending them a list of dates and times and more often than not, never getting a reply
  • Lusha – a key part of modern sales development is researching prospects and companies on social networks. But then, when you find a prospect with the right pain point, how long does it take to find a good, direct contact email or phone number? Lusha can help you enrich business profiles with accurate emails and phone numbers, shortening the path to your discovery call.

Buyers Have Changed, and So Should You

If you want today’s customers, you need to change your old sales process! The buying process has changed massively and as a result, the tactics used by Sales Development Representatives to create and nurture leads is changing. The shift has been towards a less interruptive, more invitational focus.

Better sales and marketing alignment, combined with intelligent use of CRM systems and automation tools, will give you the ability to segment your customer lists and communicate with your prospects much more effectively.

If you want to make your SDR process a notch better in just five minutes, sign up for Lusha (me). I’ll give you five credits for getting email and phone numbers of anyone you want to connect with on social networks. Try my free browser extension! I also offer a contact and company APIs and integrations with CRM systems like SalesForce.

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    This information should not be mistaken for legal advice. Please ensure that you are prospecting and selling in compliance with all applicable laws.

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