My dog is not a fetching dog. Butterball will never land the part in a dog food commercial if it requires a slow motion shot of him gracefully gliding through the air, catching a Frisbee, and then proudly trotting it back to the owner. If the part required scenes of a dog obsessively sniffing every other dog butt in the park, Butterball would DeNiro the hell out of that role.
It's not that Butterball's an idiot or completely immune to training – he’ll successfully fetch on occasion – it’s just that his personality is better suited to other endeavors. Excessive eating and sleeping, for example. I could keep pouring my time into training him and he’ll likely improve, but why bother? My other dog is a champ at fetching and basically mastered the art on his own.
Training a sales development rep is most effective (and less costly) if you hire the right people.
As with any pursuit in the dog or business world, personality type will affect performance and certain character traits are better suited for sales development than others. I won’t bore you with a regurgitation of Type A personalities versus Type B or introverts versus extroverts – it’s too generalized anyway and most people possess qualities from both.
Ideal Traits of a Sales Development Rep
I recently came across an article listing the what various sales managers felt were the best personality and skills of a successful SDR. It was the usual fare that could honestly be applied to a variety of careers - charisma, passion, resourcefulness, strong work ethic (come on now, since when the hell is "weak work ethic" an option?) Adding my own to the mix, I realized that my top SDR traits could also double as a rejected eHarmony profile.
- Insensitivity – It goes without saying that a thick skin is helpful when cold calling, but an effective SDR must take insensitivity to a new level. Sensitivity tends to lead to assumptions, e.g. "I left 3 voice mails, they clearly aren't interested since they haven't called me back." I don’t know why someone hasn’t called me back after multiple attempts and honestly, I don’t care. My first job is to get someone on the phone. Period.
- Stubbornness – Nothing motivates me more than a ridiculously rude contact shutting me down before a meaningful conversation. It kicks me into my most stubborn gear, voraciously hunting down other contacts and pursuing them in the hopes of proving that first person wrong. This stubborn motivation yields positive results more times than not.
- Be Relentless – “Used to describe someone who does something in a constant and determined way without stopping or becoming less forceful.” This one essentially combines aspects of the first two qualities in one great word. I don’t know a single SDR that achieves continued success without being unrelenting.
Have some input? Don't agree with me? Let me know in the comments! I love to argue! (In the good way, not the train wreck of Facebook comments sort of way).