How a Well-Tended SDR Pipeline will Blossom with Leads — dD SDR Jack Carenza
Winter hibernation is over. Hand wash your car, clap together your salt-caked boots and let’s celebrate. February and March are dreary and tiresome even for the Inuits among us. Imagine how the C-level executive feels when his phone rings with an unsolicited phone call for the third time in an hour. Cabin fever has a way of draining our social tendencies and patience, so from a psychological perspective, it would make sense if you have seen lower levels of activity, quality conversations and meetings scheduled.
That being said, if you are any good at what you do, through these barren months, you have made connections; You have spoken to prospects who have asked for a call back in Q2, or have shown interest in your product/solution, but need time to research and better understand their initiatives. These are the seeds of a profuse lead-garden. It is your job to nurture them through the cold months — germinate them indoors until the sun is warm and the rains are plentiful.
These prospects with whom you have spoken, and identified distant interest (we refer to them as an Inside Sales Qualified Lead or Pipeline) are especially delicate. As a collective, my Sales Development team and I have identified some best, and worst, practices for converting your pipeline into meetings.
Take copious, detailed notes of your initial conversation. These notes will function as your spear point when you follow up. Write down the prospect’s initiatives, their current process, and all other relevant information they provide. If a contact tells you they are interested in your product or solution, but that they are going on a three-month safari through the African Savannah, you better damn well write it down and reference it when you call back in three months. (Note: if someone is going on vacation and tells you the exact date they are coming back, it is best practice to wait a week after their return date to call. Paint yourself in the best light by telling the prospect you know when they returned, but gave them a week to get their life in order before reaching back.)
Provide industry or product/solution intel as it becomes available. The date arranged for following up might be a month out, but if a major change occurs that would affect the prospect’s industry or responsibilities, send them a note. If your product or solution wins an award or introduces a new capability, send a note. Engagement in this manner will have a prospect eyeing the calendar awaiting your call without feeling pressured to get back in touch.
When the time does come to call back, refer to your notes and know what you are going to say. Be confident. This is a warm phone call, and if you did your job, the prospect will anticipate you calling. Ask questions that open up the conversation, and have dates in mind beforehand for the appropriate next steps.
Leave the prospect on your call plan or cadence. Do not add them to a mass email list. Do not call them the next day as if it is the first time you have spoken. You worked hard to build enough trust to initiate a second conversation. It is much easier to lose this trust than to gain it.
Continue heavily prospecting contacts within the same account. Let the account breathe. Hopefully, from your initial conversation you know that the ISQL is the right person to speak with. Work colleagues talk, and the last thing you want is them talking about you in a negative light, assuming you are calling down a list.
Reach back at the appropriate time unprepared to have a conversation. Again, you worked so hard to unlock the door, and crack it open. An unengaged, ill-planned call can obliterate your hard work.
As we move into April, take a lesson from nature. The world around you is thawing, and that includes the ice-cold prospects you contacted in January, February, and March. Do not throw these months away, find the quality conversations you had and tend to them. Soft April rains (prospecting) coupled with fertile soil (your initial legwork) will surely bloom into a garden of opportunity for your company.
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