As an Account Executive, you play the role of one of the sales superheroes of your company. And like every good superhero, you have a sidekick—your SDR—the Robin to your Batman. Your sidekick has a clear mandate: doing whatever it takes to get you meetings. However, how well they do this may be more dependent on you than you expect.

To learn how to get your SDR to be a lean, mean, prospecting machine, we spoke with Chris Park, a top-performing SDR at Emissary, to understand the keys to unlocking the potential of an SDR.

The Quarterly Planning Meeting

As with most roles, having a plan and a process to follow that plan is key. As an AE, you need your SDR to know and understand your account plan and strategy to get you both where you want to be by the end of the year. Each quarter, sit down with your SDR and go over your account plan in depth. (We mean it, by the way—don’t let the meeting get bumped due to prospect calls like it usually does).

That means making sure your SDR has a clear picture of:

  • Your sales goals for the quarter
  • How many leads it will take to get there
  • How many calls and emails it will take to generate those leads
  • A timetable with benchmarks for how many leads need to be generated by when

Now that you’ve covered the high-level stuff, it’s time to talk tactics. Make sure your SDR understands:

  • Your key channels and how and when to use each
  • The variety of call scripts and when they come into play
  • Key messaging to use as you uncover challenges and pain points
  • Core messaging to use within different industries

This may seem like simple stuff, but ensuring you’re both aligned on goals, expectations, and tactics is key for staying in lockstep throughout the quarter. From there, check in weekly, and charge your SDR with providing weekly updates on lead volume and the number of calls and meetings scheduled. If he or she is behind schedule, why is that the case and what are they doing to catch up? These weekly sessions can give you a valuable window into what’s happening on the ground and provide an avenue for coaching and growth.

Training for Success, Building Confidence, and Being Resourceful

Speaking of which, most successful duos have each other’s backs, and the relationship grows as they continue to learn from each other—both personally and professionally. As an AE, being a mentor to your SDR will help to ensure success for both.

As Chris discussed, with early career SDRs, it’s important to provide regular feedback.

“If they’re not performing, you need to let them know tactfully and in a way that won’t discourage them or make them fear that their job’s on the line,” he said. “Have ongoing one-on-ones, and help to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Give them room to develop, but make sure their KPIs are clear.”

Playing a role in your SDR’s education will benefit you both. You can start by introducing your SDR to new tools for audience segmentation and communication or bringing in expert insights from Emissary professionals who used to sit on the other side of the table. Demonstrating your investment in your SDR will also serve to motivate them to invest in their own education and success.

At the end of the day, though, this is sales, and motivation often comes attached to a dollar sign. So how can you leverage that to inspire your SDR?

Recognizing Success

While your SDR will be compensated based on the targets set forth at the beginning of each quarter or year, there are other ways to grease the wheels along the way. Sometimes an organization will be fully supportive of SPIFs (sales performance incentive funds) to put a small bonus on a short-term goal (e.g., “Whoever secures the most meetings today gets $100 cash when they leave today.”), but there are other ways that you can take this into your own hands.

You may not always be able to control the comp plan, but there are ways you can show your appreciation for the positive impact your SDR has on your deals. Take your SDR out for drinks after successfully closing the client you’ve both worked hard to acquire, or host quarterly dinners to celebrate your team. In order to succeed, you and your SDR need to be in sync regarding your plan, your process, and, most importantly, your goals. You know how important your SDR is to your success, so make sure that they know it too.

Executive Insights

SDRs are a vital part of a successful sales team, but they’re more than entry-level dialers waiting to move up the food chain. They’re people, too—young ones at that—and they need guidance, management, and motivation if your sales team is going to succeed. Setting a plan in place with clear goals, and then coaching and motivating them along the way is key for helping them help you close. Remember, Robin saved Batman’s bacon plenty of times, and your SDR can do the same for you—if you put in the effort.