Tips for Building an In-House BDR Team

The most disrupted functions of the revenue model during the pandemic were inside sales teams and BDRs.  These reps need a lot of coaching and roleplaying, but no one works side-by-side anymore. ❌ Friendly competition is a major motivator, but digital camaraderie is an oxymoron. ❌ And of course reps are “smiling and dialing” to office phone numbers that no one answers. ❌ To navigate these changes, we’re interviewing BDR managers about how their playbooks have changed.

>> Related: It’s Time to Abandon TQL and SAL in Your Lead Funnel <<

We’ve worked with Lorraine Joseph for years, and she literally wrote the book on BDR teams.  In this interview, she fired off dozens of surprising tips!

Q:  When do you recommend creating an in-house BDR team, and when do you recommend hiring a BDR agency?

Lorraine:  I always recommend building an in-house BDR team versus hiring an agency.  I’m asked that question a lot, and I’m very upfront.  Always, bring it in-house.  For a few reasons:

  • You get better results and better performance.
  • And (perhaps more importantly) you can organically grow a sales team, and can promote BDRs to AEs with minimal ramping.

Q:  Why do you think companies are tempted to outsource?

Lorraine:  They don’t want the headache.  They think it’s a plug and play… “if we outsource it, they’re going to set appointments for us.  And we don’t have to do any of the management.”  Standing these teams up does take work.  You’ve got to hire.  You’ve got to train.  You have to navigate if it’s managed by Marketing or Sales.  Then there’s ongoing list management, reporting, and HR headaches.

It’s tempting – especially for startups – to believe outsourcing will alleviate the overhead management AND still deliver the leads they need.  But in reality, outsourced teams just can’t deliver.  Even if you write scripts and emails in-house.

Q:  How can companies reduce that overhead if they’re building an in-house BDR team?

Lorraine:  Companies do a lot of things wrong with a BDR team:

  • First, they hire too many BDRs at once.  Bad choice!  It’s better to hire one, build the foundation, build the structure, and then bring another person on board.
  • Two, they focus the BDR team on inbound leads first.  Wrong!  Start every BDR on outbound, even if Marketing is delivering kick ass leads.  Following up on hot inbounds is really easy, and it can ruin reps.  By ramping them on outbound, we create hunters.  They’re hungrier.  They’re more experimental.  They think faster.  Later, when they work inbound, they know how valuable those leads are, and they don’t waste them.
  • Third, companies (and especially agencies) take too long to onboard.  This is not a weeks-long process.  Throw them into the swimming pool, get past the phone anxiety, and have them making calls on day two.
  • Lastly, and I know it’s counter-intuitive, only use the phone.  For the love of God, keep BDRs away from LinkedIn Sales Navigator, email, and Calendly. I cannot stand Calendly!

Q:  Wow!  I did not expect you to say that!  Why is that?

Lorraine:  The “stack” is really simple:  get a great data tool with solid cell phone number data, and have BDRs focus 100% on calling cell phones.  Are you clutching your pearls!?  Mobile numbers have been exceptionally fruitful for us in terms of connections and setting meetings.  And it’s especially good for reaching c-levels.

Q:  Do people ever get offended you’re calling their cell phone?

Lorraine:  We’re rarely asked “how did you get my cell phone number?”  And if we are asked, we simply say, “It was provided to us.  Is there a different number you’d like us to call you on?”  I have yet to have seen a contact say, “Sure, here’s more of my contact information.”  Even when we reach people on vacation (which happens all the time!), they still talk to us and we book meetings.  We usually double our connection and meeting rates when we switch to 100% cell phone data.

Q:  What tools do you trust for quality cell phone data?

Lorraine:  The two best ones are ZoomInfo or SalesIntel, and I lean more towards SalesIntel.  It’s cheaper than ZoomInfo, and the cell phone data has been really good.  Of course, no data provider is 100% accurate.

 

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