Over the last 10 years, we've hired, trained, and managed over 1,000 BDR/SDRs.
During this time, we've developed our own version of Cooperstown with our iconic "Wall of Fame" in our Chicago office. The "Wall of Fame" displays the plaques of sales professionals who got their start at SEG, put up amazing numbers as a BDR/SDR, then moved up to the "big leagues," launching their "All-Star" careers with their B2B client.
We had a chance to sit down with two "Wall of Famers," and hear about their experiences at SEG. They also shared advice for any BDR/SDR out there, especially those who are just starting out.
Before sharing these video interviews, here's a quick introduction to Jillian Laughlin and Mykhal Suide.
And our baseball theme wouldn't be complete without sharing a couple of SEG "Rookie" cards!
Jillian graduated from Indiana University. She worked at SEG from June 2019 - March 2020 calling on large enterprise accounts. Her batting average (aka ability to set new sales meetings) was through the roof!
Jillian's partnering company, Cerity Partners, quickly noticed Jillian's talent and she was promoted in March 2020. She continues to thrive in the big leagues.
Mykhal is an incredibly fast learner. She worked with one client for 9-10 months at SEG then transitioned to another without missing a beat. Mykhal never let one bad call derail her for an afternoon. Not even sure it phased her for 5 minutes! Always went right back to it.
In her role today at Optimum Safety Management, she does the normal BDR work, but also helps with research, gives insight on campaigns, and is the go-to person for questions about the company CRM. Mykhal is never one to say, "Sorry, that's not my job." She always goes above and beyond, finding new ways to help her client. Proud to call her an alum!
Alright. Enough from us. Let's hear from Mykhal and Jillian!
1. How do you overcome cold calling nerves?
Five tips and tricks:
1. Make it more conversational
2. Listen to what the prospect is interested in, mirror, ask questions on that topic
3. Learn the script in the beginning but don’t be rigid. Go “off-script” as you become more comfortable
4. Increase product/service knowledge
5. Practice cold calls with co-workers
2. What was the training like at Sales Empowerment Group?
Features of SEG's training program and ongoing coaching:
- Roleplay/practice calls
- One-on-one coaching
- Group meetings, brainstorm, workshop
- Listening to calls, finding "filler words," areas of improvement
- Preparation for the next role, getting ready for the transition from SEG to the client
3. Any lessons learned from SEG that have stayed with you?
Couple of tips:
Believe and be confident in what you're saying - If you believe in your message, you can speak to it more clearly. Without that belief, that's when nerves start to feel more intense and you lose the prospect.
It's just a conversation - Feels more intense because of the whole cold call dynamic but, at the end of the day, you're talking with the prospect one-on-one. Take a deep breath. Get to know the person on the other end of the call and then share about your organization's mission and how you can solve their problems.
Don't be forceful with your information - Be present in the conversation. Listen to the prospect. Expand on what they want to talk about. You don't have to force the conversation back to a set script.
Don't overlook or bypass gatekeepers - When you're speaking with a gatekeeper, remember, a lot of times they have all the pertinent information. Talk to them. Listen. Ask questions. They may tell you what the company's looking for, when do they make buying decisions, or when the contact you're looking for will be in the office.
4. What's the most challenging part about being a BDR/SDR? Most rewarding?
Most challenging part: Cold calling. At least at the beginning while you're building up your confidence.
"You will get a couple calls where it's not so friendly, not so nice. Some people do not want to talk to you. That can be a little hurtful in the beginning, but once you build your skin up to be resistant against that, it'll build your confidence and you'll be able to get past someone saying no, no, no, no, no. Because for every 10 no's, there's one yes."
- Mykhal Suide
"The no's are hard at first, but don't take it personally. The more confident you are, the more conversational you are, things will go better."
- Jillian Laughlin
And the most rewarding parts?
"Getting the correct point of contact, the decision maker, making those calls, setting a meeting, moving an opportunity to the company, that is a phenomenal feeling. But also having a true understanding of the purpose of the firm and explaining that to other people; I think once I finally felt comfortable enough to leave that script after a month or two, it felt so successful when I would be asked a question and I could give a response immediately without being unsure or having to look at something. It felt great to be able to talk well about what we were able to offer."
- Jillian Laughlin
"Persistence. When you keep going on, keep pushing forward, and you're not letting all the obstacles get in the way of finally making contact and going forth with whatever happens after that, that's the best feeling for me, because I know I didn't give up on myself and I did not give up on my company and what I know we can do to help the other company."
- Mykhal Suide
5. Do you keep up with your former colleagues from SEG?
Putting in the daily grind as a BDR/SDR is hard to do if you're flying solo. That's why we're proud of our environment at SEG where new hires join 100 other BDR/SDRs so they're never on an island, figuring things out on their own.
But after SEG, after people move on to different clients, do they still keep in touch anymore?
"I do, actually! We continue to stay in contact, we have a group chat, we did Facetimes during COVID. Virtual happy hours. Some of them have become my absolute best friends."
- Jillian Laughlin
"We're still friends to this day, have each other on social media -- not just LinkedIn -- but like actual social media. We have our Facetimes. We go out to eat. Happy hours. Just hang out. We still talk to each other about what we're currently doing in our life, not just about work, but personal life. We're always there to encourage each other on our next step in life."
- Mykhal Suide
Follow Sales Empowerment Group on LinkedIn to hear more alumni stories. And if you're looking to launch a BDR/SDR career of your own, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can contact us here.
Who knows, maybe we'll be sharing your alumni video interviews here some day too!