Retaining SDRs: How to Keep Talent Onboard

Author:

Operatix
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

126

Retaining SDRs: How to Keep Talent Onboard

Aurelien Mottier & Robert Westell

Operatix

Michael Hanson

Growth Genie

Anyone with a sales team knows how difficult hiring and onboarding can be – particularly as the demand for skilled, experienced SDRs grows.


While you may have considered the lengthy timescale and cost of hiring a sales team, you may not have factored in the most frustratingly common problems sales managers face – the difficulty of retaining SDRs and the high rate of churn.


Maybe you’ve nailed the process of finding and hiring talent, but holding onto them is another factor entirely. Career SDRs are seemingly few and far between, with employees often using the role as a stepping stone to becoming an Account Executive or Marketer.


In this Episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, Founder and CEO of Growth Genie Michael Hanson chats with CEO of Operatix Aurelien Mottier and COO of Operatix Robert Westell. They discuss how Operatix implemented an internal career path to help keep their top talent on board, motivated and consistently developing, as well as how doing so can help with retaining SDRs.



Understanding the Churn Rate


As an SDR’s talent, confidence and skillset grow, so does their desire to further their career – typically leading them to become an AE or marketer. Unlike other roles, however, there is a sense of urgency in doing so, resulting in a high churn rate that can leave a gaping hole in a sales team if the need to develop isn’t met internally.


“With the type of demographic we hire, there’s a real urgency to want to be promoted. It’s probably the essence of why we built the career path – we still want people to feel as though they are developing.”

Robert Westell, COO at Operatix.



Aurelien explains that you cannot expect an SDR or BDR to stay in the role forever – while career SDRs do exist but are incredibly rare. More often than not, they’ll start their careers and be approached by recruiters, vendors and clients trying to tempt them to join their teams.


To ensure you’re retaining SDRs, you must understand what drives them beyond money rather than practically forcing them to look elsewhere for the next challenge – and they won’t have far to look.



Retaining SDRs: Building an Internal Career Plan


With the above in mind, it’s clear that the key to retaining SDRs is to ensure their desire to develop and excel is well fed. That is why Aurelien and Robert created the Operatix Academy and career path – a unique strategy that Michael hadn’t seen before. 


Ambition is a driving force behind a successful salesperson, and so ensuring you can satisfy their need to accelerate their careers without having to go elsewhere is an undeniably appealing aspect. At Operatix, there is a four-step career path that allows you to rise up the ranks, excelling in the role and reaping the benefits of doing so.


“We created the career path to make staying with Operatix a bit more appealing. It gave people a four-step process within the life of an SDR so that they can actually see progression. You can actually have a career path where you climb the ladder as an SDR.”


Robert Westell, COO at Operatix


The Four-Step Career Path


  • Step One – Rookie: this is where new hires and those with limited experience start off at.
  • Step Two – Prodigy: once you’ve hit the delivery milestones as well as showing the required behavioural and attitude requirements, you’ll become a Prodigy.
  • Step Three – Superstar: as with the above, a Prodigy must increase results and show a commitment to developing their skills to move onto this stage.
  • Step Four – Legends: this status is at the top of the career ladder as an Operatix SDR.


Each step brings with it its own goals and incentives, giving the team something to strive for and acting as a thank you for demonstrating a consistent performance. 


While the incentives do include an increasing financial bonus, the little things can be a big motivator – even more so than a paycheck. It’s natural for employees to want to feel appreciated and valued, particularly as they climb up the ladder.


At Operatix, this includes the ‘Wall of Legends’, where those who reach this status get their photo on the board. When creating a plan to help with retaining SDRs, go beyond splashing the cash and consider what you can offer as a true token of appreciation. 


“It’s the small things that mean a lot to people. It’s not just the paycheck that matters, it’s how much I’m respecting the organization. That element of social recognition is important.

Aurelien Mottier, Co-Founder and CEO at Operatix


When building an internal SDR career plan, ensure you choose measurable goals that strike the balance between achievable and challenging. At Operatix, it’s largely based on the average number and quality of leads reached in a six month period. Before launching your program, it’s vital to ensure you can properly track each employee.


By having a timescale and set requirements, employees know exactly what they have to do to progress – it’s essential to make it as clear as possible. 


Expanding Careers from Within


While it’s impossible to keep someone on board forever, allowing your talent to accelerate their careers internally will allow them the satisfaction of progression and thus assist with retaining SDRs. Whether you take on a ‘promote from within’ culture or utilise an SDR career ladder, ensure that your teams don’t stay stagnant in their role or you may find them being tempted to go elsewhere.


“Turnover in our business is inevitable, it’s a conveyer belt of talent. If we’ve got a good person who is giving us 12 or 18 months of their life and they want to progress but we don’t have the right career path, that’s on us.


Aurelien Mottier, CEO at Operatix


While you may not be able to remove churn altogether, emphasizing a strong level of support and understanding the need to develop can be the difference between holding onto your high-performing SDRs and losing them to a recruiter selling them the dream.


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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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