ExP’s Guide to building an outbound SDR team

Why should you be reading this?

There are many ways to skin a cat, many paths up the mountain, and even more ways to build pipeline. From Hubspot’s Inbound model, to the Predictable Revenue Outbound process, and every partnership, referral and reselling model in between. 

So why consider outbound SDRs? 

‘There is no quicker way to find out if a prospect has a problem you can solve than by picking up the phone.’ – Richard Smith, VP Sales, Refract. 

Speed and control. 

Most pipeline building strategies provide value, and no one strategy is better than others. However, not all approaches are equal for all circumstances. If you are looking for quick, direct and focused pipeline, there is no quicker way than outbound. 

As for control, inbound relies upon your market fit, and the priority of your prospect in searching for the services you provide. Partnerships take the process out of your hands. Outbound places it firmly in your hands. 

If you feel you have a pipeline speed, or control problem, then you should think about Outbound. 

So here are our 6 steps to building an outbound team! 

Step 1: Does Outbound make sense for you? 

First, the economics of an outbound team have to make sense. In order for it to be worth having someone (or people) outbound prospecting, you need to have an AOV (Average Order Value) that is at least £/$10k, otherwise the maximum volume of opportunities will not provide enough pipeline for it to economically make sense. 

If your current AOV is £/$10k or less, you may be looking to start outbounding to move upmarket. Although there are several other considerations for trying to move upmarket, focusing on outbound prospecting is a good strategy to influence this, as you can focus on the accounts that will drive larger orders. 

Step 2: Understanding and defining your ICP

As alluded to in step one, there is a key rule in outbound prospecting; What goes in is what comes out. The accounts that you select to prospect, define the accounts you generate SQL (Sales Qualified Leads) in, and therefore the pipeline you generate. 

It is imperative that you focus outbound prospecting on the type of accounts that will drive the pipeline you require. 

In order to define this, you need to look at your AOV, your churn, cost of sale and work out which are the best accounts in your customer base. Outbound prospecting is designed to generate more of your best customers. There is no point going through the effort of outbound to generate opportunities that will not close as quickly as possible, and churn at a higher than average rate. 

It is also worth considering that this is an excellent place to experiment with new markets, industries or sizes of customers, but this should be tempered and strategically designed for this purpose. 

Step 3: Planning your strategy

Assuming you (the reader) are in one of three categories here; a) CEO looking for more pipeline, b) Sales Leader looking for more pipeline or c) Sales Development Leader looking to diversify your inbound team and start outbounding, there will be a different level of previous participation in selling your own services. 

In any case, look at what has been done previously in order to find opportunities. Who have you spoken to? What has resonated? What channels have been successful? 

Look at these areas as a guide of where to start. Exercise some caution, as you likely will not have had the previous experience to know exactly what will/won’t work for your current organisation. However, thinking about your playbook is important. 

Step 4: Who is your BDR? 

The perfect BDR doesn’t exist. As in, there is no one size fits all. The BDR you need in your team depends on a whole number of factors. Some to consider are listed below: 

  • Level of support you can offer
  • Complexity of your buyers
  • Culture of your organization
  • Complexity of your organization

If you would like to discuss how some of these factors might affect your type of BDR, please contact coaches@exp-recruitment.com

Step 5: Start interviewing. Hire in twos

Once you know what you are looking for, it is time to look for your BDRs! Obviously you can speak to ExP about helping with this, but a few places you can also go to are online boards like LinkedIn, Workinstartups, University Job boards, etc. 

It is always worth bringing in at least two reps at a time, for several reasons. 

First, this is a role where high energy and a lot of creativity is required, so having more than one person focused on this helps provide a bounce pad for ideas, and multiplies the speed at which you can learn what will work and what won’t. 

Second, it de-risks the experiment. If you hire one, and it doesn’t drive success, how do you know it was the process and not the rep? Typically, it is very hard to identify what the challenge is when you only have one. It is OK if one works out, and the other one doesn’t. That is how you establish and refine your hiring profile, along with your process and what ‘good’ looks like. 

Step 6: Act, Measure, Repeat

Once you have hired your team, you need to onboard them and start measuring what is working. This guide is not designed to support through the onboarding process, you can find more here on how to do this. 

Here are some ideas on things to measure as you let your new BDRs loose! 

  • Activities
  • Account touched to opportunity generated ratio
  • Sales Qualified Leads (Meetings Booked) 
  • Call to conversation ratio
  • Pipeline Generated

As you identify what good looks like and baseline some of these metrics, you can improve the areas you need to and as you are ready, scale your team! 

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