I understand that the title of this post might seem ludicrous to some. But bear with me, because I’m going to give you four compelling reasons why sales experience shouldn’t be your primary concern when hiring new SDRs.
One of the most common things that managers look at before hiring new sales development reps (SDRs) is a proven track record of success. I get it. Not everyone has what it takes to make it in sales, and turnover can be costly. In fact, DePaul University’s Sales Effectiveness Study found the average cost of turnover for a single sales rep to be a whopping $114, 957!
But consider that when it comes to SDRs, your hiring assumptions may be all wrong.
Reason 1: It’s Easier to Teach Than Un-teach
It’s easier to teach good habits than un-teach bad ones. As an example, I’ll share a brief story about a time that my own bad habits caused me to fail at something. Back in college I started taking classical guitar lessons with my girlfriend at the time. I had been playing guitar for 5-6 years already and could bust out a pretty mean rock and roll lead guitar. My girlfriend, on the other hand, had barely touched a guitar. For me it was a struggle. Classical guitar requires you to hold a guitar differently, sit differently, hold your hand differently … just about everything is different. I had already developed heaps of “bad” habits that I needed to unlearn. My girlfriend, on the other hand, quickly learned the “good” habits, and within 6 months was better than I was at classical guitar. I ended up getting frustrated and went right back to playing rock and roll.
The same is true in sales. I’ve seen sales reps who are wildly successful at one company move over to another company and fail. The reason is that they’ve built up habits to win at a previous company that might not translate to their new role. They might not follow up with leads as fast as you’d like or use CRM incorrectly. However, first-time SDRs will have no bad habits to unlearn.
Experts agree. During a recent webinar we participated in, one panelist, OpenView Partners’ Sales Strategist CeCe Bazar advocated for hiring millennials SDRs who are unseasoned because “they are often fresh out of school coming in with the blank slate, therefore, they are an ideal profile because they don’t have many bad habits in need of breaking.”
Reason 2: Competition for New Reps is Stiff
Right now sales recruiting is truly a sellers market. VCs, board members and C-level execs are putting increasing pressure on sales leaders to ramp up sales teams quickly. As a result, competition for experienced reps is at an all-time high. And as a result, average experience at hire for SDRs is at an all-time low (1.8 years according to The Bridge Group). Rather than spending more for SDRs with more experience, it might make more sense, before making a hire, to predict which SDRs have the capacity to succeed. Our recent blog post reveals some of the most important qualities to look for when hiring new SDRs.
Reason 3: They Have Something to Prove
I’ve heard millennials called “entitled” and “lazy.” But time and time again, I’ve found the opposite to be true. The right hires will, from their first day, be looking for opportunities to add value. They will do everything in their power to turn their first post-college job into a success story. They will endeavor to fit in with your company’s culture. Then, they will try to stand out by being exceptional. They will work longer hours when necessary. And with the right tools and training, they can outperform those more experienced reps that your competitors paid so much to hire.
Reason 4: They Are the “Ultimate Stalkers”
Chances are that there is a lot of useful data on the web about any given prospect or account. The best SDRs can not only gather that information, but do so quickly. A great point that CeCe Bazar made during our webinar was that young sales hires tend to be “the ultimate stalkers.”
Think about it. Many millennials are often already masters of using social media to gather information. The same set of skills that they’re using to Google prospective Tinder dates can easily translate into finding useful details about sales prospects from LinkedIn and other sources.
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