Attention SDR’s: Four Questions You Need to Answer about Your Next Employer

Choosing your next employer is a more involved decision than a left/right swipe. The job search environment is precarious- with employers and prospects using their most flattering pictures to attract each other. There’s too much at stake to simply say yes/no before digging to ensure you’re a match.

I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when working as a sales development rep (SDR) — and especially what to look out for in a company when it comes to assessing whether you should be going on that first date.

Here are four questions about your prospective company you need to answer before considering joining them.

1. Do you believe in them?

Most startups today aren’t selling a product, but an idea. That idea is tied directly to the company’s identity. Before you can sell them, or sell for them, you have to know them. Finding out as much as you’re able to about the company before you ever make your decision to work with them is imperative. This includes looking for reasons to decide against joining them.

You need to research the company’s sales opportunities in the market. After all, this is how you’ll make your money! If you can’t see the need for your prospective company’s product, don’t buy into their competitive advantage, or you don’t believe in the company’s vision, move on. These are essential factors to be successful and fit in culturally as an SDR. You’re going to be the top of the sales funnel speaking to customers. If you don’t buy in, neither will they.

Start with market research

What other information should you look for? If you go to a source like Glassdoor, you’ll find company reviews that might include the working hours, interview process, salary information, etc., provided by people experienced with the company. But don’t stop there, and don’t trust everything you read — check as many different review sites as you can, including Google company reviews and Yelp, as one-off reviews can sometimes be manipulated either by the company or disgruntled past employees. If you read something in a review that concerns you, dig deeper to see what you can find or ask your interviewer about it directly. If something bothers you now, it will only get worse once you’ve committed to them.

You also want to find information on a company’s employee turnover rate, particularly for sales reps. SDR turnover isn’t uncommon, but too much turnover is a huge red flag. Consider asking your interviewers how long they’ve been with the company. Ask them about their team’s tenure too. If everyone is new, but the company has been around for several years, ask why and trust your instincts when they give you an answer. Sometimes companies need a fresh start too.

2. Does their training program revolve around your needs?

Salespeople want every advantage they can have. You should make certain you’re going to be trained properly and set up for success. A scheduled week of training may seem enough, but if it’s someone from HR running a session for example, they may not be able to adequately explain the things that you really need to know. Look for a company where the bulk of the training is conducted by the people who actually do the job. Your experienced co-workers and managers should know the ins and outs of what success looks like and they should want you to succeed, too.

During the hiring process- ask your interviewers about the training program and how the company sets new team members up for success. If your training is conducted via modules, watching videos, and completing quizzes, are you really learning how the company operates? There’s a difference between how a company says they operate and how people are actually doing the job. Proper training should allow you time to shadow a top performer and see their workflow. You should also be given the option to ask for additional training on anything that isn’t perfectly clear.

3. Do you want to be a part of this company?

Having the right company culture is all the rage these days, and for good reason. As a logical extension of this, it’s important to get a sense of the other employees working at the company, and whether you’ll enjoy working with them. For example, if you’re not enjoying the interview process, or people look miserable working there when you come in, then it’s probably not a good place for you.

Remember, you’re choosing the people you’ll be working with. Will you enjoy meeting with them on a daily basis, working together? Are you excited to be part of the team? Will you be able to learn from them, and feel comfortable asking questions and speaking your mind? If you’re not feeling the vibe with the people conducting the interviews and they’re going to be your future boss or colleagues, that’s not a good sign — this will almost certainly manifest as a problem later.

4. Do they care about your feedback?

A universal quality valued in companies is their willingness to listen to employees. When SDRs feel like they have a role and a voice in how the company is steered, how decisions are made, how the sales process is conducted, etc., it makes them confident and valued.

As part of checking out the company culture, consider asking questions in the interview about how offering suggestions or new ideas are usually handled at the company. Ask about the last time the sales process was changed. This is all about knowing if there’s transparent communication and how suggestions are considered. It helps you see whether you’d be a valued member of the team or just another cog in the machine. Or even more powerful, suggest a change to the process or a new idea for testing messaging during the interview process and gauge the response.

Above all, trust yourself when evaluating any opportunity.

Ask yourself these questions before committing to any company and evaluate the answers honestly. Augury is a startup that I found and measured using the criteria on this list, and I’m very happy I did. We’ve only been together a few months now, but I have high hopes for our future.