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Demand generation for early stage health tech companies

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Lessons learned in the trenches of hiring healthcare SDRs

Sales Development is a specialized role that focuses on building the top of your sales funnel by setting new meetings and demonstrations for Account Exec’s, Sales Leaders or Founders. If you look at a typical sales org chart you might find Sales Development Reps (SDRs) or Business Development Reps (BDRs). While there may be slight variation amongst different companies, these reps are focused on outbound lead generation and prospecting.

Sales Development Reps spend their time researching and sending highly targeted messages to specific personas within ideal customer accounts. Let’s try that again, without the jargon: SDRs write emails and make phone calls to people at specific accounts that will benefit from your product or service. The goal of an SDR is to set up as many meetings as possible using a calculated and balanced communication plan, so as not to turn prospects off with over messaging. To do this, they need to understand your prospects pain points better than anyone else. Successful SDRs are able to return many times their cost in qualified pipeline for your company.

“Great, it’s a no-brainer, I’m going to hire an SDR! What could possibly go wrong?”

Not so fast. There can be drawbacks if you aren't prepared. Here are a few areas that make hiring a successful SDR more difficult than you might think:

Recruiting

Finding an SDR should be easy, right? Many first time managers plan on finding a recent college grad or intern and train them. If only it were that easy! A quick search of Indeed for “sales development representative” shows 58,205 job postings. Holy smokes!

Why are they going to choose your early stage startup when other companies are offering higher pay, stable finances and name recognition? Hint: The one that chooses your company *might* not be the best candidate.

Learning Curve

The healthcare industry uses jargon that isn’t part of everyday life.. There’s a steep learning curve to understand what your prospects are really saying. If your reps aren’t familiar with the language, they can easily lose credibility when speaking with prospects.

Management

How do you know if your rep is successful? Unless you’re able to dedicate a significant amount of time to managing and coaching your SDR, it’s going to be a hard question to answer. Questions to ask yourself may include:

  • How many activities should I expect?

  • How many accounts should we target per week or month?

  • What’s a good conversion rate?

You might think it’s easier to manage a single SDR, but how do you benchmark their performance?

Retention

According to The Bridge Group, the average tenure of an SDR is 1.4 years. Once you’ve enjoyed six to nine months of full-productivity, expect to start this process over again! If you have a team of one, and that one leaves, new pipeline growth grinds a halt. You might ask your AE or VP to pick up the slack, but they’re going to be focused on closing business.

This is not meant to be an alarming post by any means. On the contrary, it’s meant to save you some of the inevitable growing pains that come along with hiring SDRs. If you find yourself questioning whether or not you should hire your own team or partner with a company like Elevation Demand, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Even if my team is successful, will I ever hire more than one or two reps?

  • Have I ever managed an inside sales rep?

  • Do I have the bandwidth to onboard and train a junior hire?

  • Can I afford (in time & opportunity cost) to wait three months before my rep is up to speed?

  • Do I have a defined path for my SDR to grow their career?

  • Does the financial arrangement work?

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, your chances to successfully onboard and retain an SDR are lower. If you answered yes to the majority, then it could be a great move for your company. Either way, we're here to provide the resources needed to bring success - whether that's outsourcing all SDR activities or helping to bring your new SDRs up to speed.

If you’re interested in learning more about sales development in healthcare, subscribe to our blog today!