Sales Empowerment Group Blog

Building a BDR Program - 5 Things we Learned from Brian Bourke at SEKO Logistics

Last week, we hosted a webinar with special guest Brian Bourke, Chief Growth Officer at SEKO Logistics. During this (virtual) fireside chat, we asked Brian how he started his BDR program, what were some of the strategies and technologies he put in place, and how did he grow the program from a receptionist making a few phone calls to a team of 15 full-time BDRs actively filling the pipeline with new opportunities. 

There's tons of great content in this conversation and it was hard to narrow our blog post down to just five. If you'd like to view the entire webinar, you can access right here. You can also learn from Brian and other growth leaders in our recent ebook, "Building a Best-in-Class SDR/BDR program." 

For now, let's dive into 5 of our key takeaways. 

1. Don’t silo the BDR program as a marketing, sales, or enablement function. It's a "Revenue" function


The quicker you realize that everything is sales, the easier these conversations go because you realize that everyone [on your team] is just somewhere on the spectrum of sales. Everything is sales. In marketing, I saw our role as enabling sales. The BDR program enables sales even more."

- Brian Bourke

#2 - Start with a best-in-class CRM to track progress and give your BDRs the tools/tech they need to succeed


At the beginning, you should focus on quantity over quality. You're making a bunch of calls to get people on the phone, have conversations, learn about your potential buyers.

Over time, the focus shifts from quantity (number of bats) toward quality (talking to the right buyers). But you have to go through the quantity stage first to figure out who your buyer is and what the messaging should be.

To make sure you're keeping track of this data, you need a solid CRM. BDR programs require an extensible, scalable, usable internet-based CRM. You have to be able to download leads and export, do reports and pull dashboards and your salespeople have to be using it by the way. These tools enable your sales and marketing teams.

You have to understand what's important to you for the first couple of months. It's not going to be wins and profit. It's going to be more about the leads generated, how many calls are made, and just start there with how you're building it. And then you start to progress as you move on down the funnel and as your opportunity starts moving down the sales cycle.” 

3. Listen and learn from your BDRs 


Building off the last point, your BDRs are talking to prospects in the market every day. From these conversations, the BDRs will have great ideas and learnings on how to best position your company and what messages resonate since they're living this out. With this in mind, don’t push messaging on BDRs, let them shape the messaging. 

4. BDR Program as your Farm System + "Moneyball" Marketing/Sales

Going with two baseball references here.

First is viewing your BDR team as your sales team's Farm System. This is the home of your future all-stars. For a deeper dive on this concept, check out our e-book Build Your Sales Team's Farm System.

Our CEO, Brian O'Neil, shares a few thoughts below on career pathing and the importance of promoting from within as you grow your team. 

On the Moneyball front, it's the same concept as the movie/book featuring the Oakland A's innovative system. Instead of just focusing on the big stats that everyone's paying attention to (overall sales number), you dive deeper, get more granular, and look at the sales equivalents of on-base percentage, batting average, etc. 

Over time, this creates a more specialized sales team. Your closers focus solely on closing new business – the part they are best at doing. Your BDRs own and master the top of funnel. It doesn't make sense to measure your closers on new meetings set. Likewise, doesn't make sense to measure BDRs by close rates. The statistics you're tracking for the BDRs are # of calls, talk time, opportunities created. All of this is tracked in your CRM. 

Because it's Opening Day as we write this post, we can't help but make one more baseball analogy. 

When launching or growing your BDR program, you don't want to chase perfection. Don't want your BDRs to be afraid of failure. It's like a baseball player only getting a hit 3 times out of 10, that's not failure, that's a Hall of Famer!

"Failure is not a bug, it’s a feature. When you quickly scale a BDR team, you’ll learn faster, talk to more people, create more leads. Downside – You’ll have a few mistakes. Accidentally calling an existing customer. Calling a competitor. But you don’t have to be scared of these mistakes, it’s part of accelerating growth."

This is also why it's important to start with a team of BDRs - even if that's just two reps. Having one BDR go through all the ups and downs by themselves is a difficult challenge. A team builds each other up and also covers more ground. 

5. Don’t forget to promote your BDR program internally

The success of your closers will naturally stand out on the scoreboard. It's easy for leadership and/or the board to see: Here's the new customer, here's who brought it in. 

The success of the BDR program flies a little more under the radar. So it's important, as you scale the program, to promote the success internally. This helps you secure more investment to continue adding to the team in terms of personnel and technology. As Bourke said: 

“We think of it as if it's a campaign and we have to sell it internally. If we don't spend the time to sell it internally, we lose their buy-in. You have to get leadership excited about the stats, get them excited about on-base percentage, runners in scoring position and earned run average.”

If you enjoyed this webinar, stay tuned for our Virtual Sales Summit rolling out this April and our continued webinar series the rest of 2021. You can also subscribe to our blog below to stay up to date with tips and tricks for starting and/or growing your BDR team. And if you have any questions or looking for sales help at your organization, we'd love to hear from you. You can email us or contact 312-283-4653

Tags: Sales Incubation, Logistics, BDR