Freddie Marryat, Marketing Manager, EngageIQ

Research is killing the SDR. In today’s market, the buyer expects a personalised pitch with detailed knowledge about their challenges to even hook them into having a meeting. Finding that detailed information takes time and effort, which results in too little time on the phone and dismal results. 

So, research is dead right? Wrong. Traditional researching techniques of google searching, trawling through social media and reading an annual report’s highlights are things of the past. To gain results in 2020, SDRs are turning to intelligent data platforms which deliver insights at a touch of a button in a matter of seconds, allowing them to pick up the phone more often and have more relevant conversations when they get through to the buyer. 

This blog will look at SDRs, why they are looking to this newer form of research and why traditional research techniques are a thing of the past.

The Old-Fashioned Balancing Act

Traditionally, SDRs had to walk a tightrope when it came to prospecting research. 

On the one hand, sales is a numbers game. The more calls made, the more likely a rep will succeed. On the other, building rapport between the SDR and the buyer is essential.

Balance is key. When SDRs lean too far toward research, they waste valuable call time. When they lean too far toward call time, their pitch is generic and won’t stand out. It’s hardly the most natural thing, however, and it’s often down to you, the line manager, to help your SDRs find their centre of gravity. 

Luckily, a support pole is at hand in the form of intelligent data. 

Good research will always be essential for successful cold calls. But intelligent data offers a better and faster way to get the information you need.

Download Our Own 3 Minute Research Checklist

Why Research is Still Essential

When we say research is dead, we mean traditional research. The need for high-quality prospect research isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, Dianna Geairn, the founder of The Irreverent Sales Girl, believes researching prospects in order to personalise outreach efforts is one of the most important tasks an SDR can do. 

Research builds rapport. The more a rep knows about a prospect, the easier it will be to think of something interesting or witty to break the ice. This way rapport is built quickly and increases the likelihood of getting a positive outcome. 

Research delivers value. By taking time to understand who the prospect is and what they do, an SDR will be able to tailor their pitch and discuss likely pain points. They may even be able to discuss precisely how they have helped a similar company in the past. 

Research elevates the pitch. SDRs who want to stand apart from the dozen or so other cold pitches their prospect gets each day need to make sure they know more than the competition.

Research Can Be Detrimental

Research is essential, but it’s easy to do too much. At the end of the day, sales is a numbers game. If you’re not making 100 calls every day, you aren’t making enough calls, period. And too much research is probably to blame.

The vast majority of an SDRs time isn’t spent selling. Ken Krogue puts this figure at a whopping 64.8% — that’s nearly two-thirds of an SDR’s day! That means two-thirds of the time reps isn’t spent generating revenue. If a rep spends 20% less time researching and 20% more time calling, think how much more revenue they could bring in. 

It’s not just a case of making enough calls and spending enough time on the phone. It’s about using time wisely. Most of the prospects reps speak to won’t convert. According to a survey by Marc Wayshark, 71.4% of SDRs said more than half of their initial prospects weren’t a good fit. That means reps are wasting time researching targets who will never convert, no matter how good their research is. 

It’s also easy to get ‘analysis paralysis’ from researching too. Reps can get so hung up trying to find a bit more research that they become hesitant to make the call.  Reps need to trust their selling skills and their ability to converse with a buyer. As Phill Keene, Chief Of Staff at Encamp, says, no amount of research will get your prospect to answer the phone.

Buyers Expect More

Research is essential, but it’s easy to do too much. At the end of the day, sales is a numbers game. If you’re not making 100 calls every day, you aren’t making enough calls, period. And too much research is probably to blame.

The vast majority of an SDRs time isn’t spent selling. Ken Krogue puts this figure at a whopping 64.8% — that’s nearly two-thirds of an SDR’s day! That means two-thirds of the time reps isn’t spent generating revenue. If a rep spends 20% less time researching and 20% more time calling, think how much more revenue they could bring in. 

It’s not just a case of making enough calls and spending enough time on the phone. It’s about using time wisely. Most of the prospects reps speak to won’t convert. According to a survey by Marc Wayshark, 71.4% of SDRs said more than half of their initial prospects weren’t a good fit. That means reps are wasting time researching targets who will never convert, no matter how good their research is. 

It’s also easy to get ‘analysis paralysis’ from researching too. Reps can get so hung up trying to find a bit more research that they become hesitant to make the call.  Reps need to trust their selling skills and their ability to converse with a buyer. As Phill Keene, Chief Of Staff at Encamp, says, no amount of research will get your prospect to answer the phone.

“71.4% of SDRs said more than half of their initial prospects weren’t a good fit.

Reps Can Find Balance With Intelligent Data

As I said in the introduction, reps no longer have to make the kind of trade-off between research and call time described above. Intelligent data bridges the gap between researching and calling by allowing reps to automate a huge chunk of their researching process. 

With high-quality intelligent sales data, reps won’t need to scroll through LinkedIn profiles or browse the company’s’ website. The vast majority of the information SDRs need about a prospect is presented to them in an easily digestible format. All reps need to do is to scan the data and pick up the phone.

Intelligent data will be a massive benefit for SDRs who find the task of balancing research and call volume incredibly stressful. In fact, prospect research has been named the most challenging part of the sales process. Not any more.

Download Our Own 3 Minute Research Checklist

Intelligent Data Makes Managing SDRs Easier

As a manager, helping your SDRs strike a balance between time spent researching and time spent making calls isn’t the only benefit of incorporating intelligent data into your sales process. Intelligent data can improve their performance when making cold calls in several key ways:

Speak to High-Intent Prospects

A large chunk of prospecting time is spent trying to find suitable companies and decision-makers to call into. With intelligent data sets that highlight companies with the highest purchase intent, SDRs needn’t waste time researching prospects who aren’t likely to buy. Instead, they can focus their energy on the opportunities that matter most. 

Use Better Contact Details

When you’re trying to balance time spent researching with time spent calling it can be hard to get all of the information you need. Is it worth spending 10 minutes trying to find a mobile number or direct dial when reps can just call the company switchboard?

Intelligent data takes this question out of the equation by providing SDRs with all of the information they need to make a successful call. This can include a direct dial or mobile number, the best time to call and the contact details of other decision-makers in the same department. 

Better Personalise Calls

The more information SDRs have at their fingertips, the easier it is to grab a prospect’s attention and build a rapport at the very start of the call.  

Intelligent data can provide reps with far more insightful and accurate information than they could acquire on their own, helping them to identify relevant talking points like a known issue or a competing product.

Have a More Engaging Conversation

All these points combine to create significantly better engagement on calls. When you’re calling the right people at the right companies at the right time and discussing the right pain points, a prospect will feel like you’re reading their mind. Booking a meeting becomes a case of when not if. 

Our Reps Spend as Little time Researching as Possible

While we think research is crucial to a successful call at EngageIQ, we encourage our SDRs to spend as little time researching as possible.

As a rule of thumb, they try to keep research under five minutes and ideally no more than two. That means there’s a strict limit on how many sources they can look at. Typically, it will only be a handful of sites like LinkedIn and the company website. Occasionally, they’ll run a quick Google search and look at sites like Discover.org and Crunchbase. 

These sites should give them all they need to personalise the introduction and their pitch. Maybe they have something in common with a prospect or share a connection. Maybe they’ve helped similar companies, or understand the unique pain points facing that industry. 

Whatever the tidbit, it’s all about building a narrative so their call is significantly more personal and engaging than the other cold calls their prospect receives. 

Start Using Intelligent Data with EngageIQ

EngageIQ is the smartest way to increase the performance and efficiency of your inside sales team. Our platform combines machine learning technology with the purchase intent data we gather from 20,000 calls every week to provide your team with intelligent data on the companies most likely to convert. Names of decision-makers, direct dials, background information, best times to call, all the data you need to have a successful conversation is at your fingertips. 

Book a short EngageIQ demo today.

Or, if you’re not ready to commit to an intelligent data solution just yet, download our reps’ research checklist.  

 

Images by: Pixabay, Tim Gouw, Snapwire