Historically, they go by a variety of different name, BDRs (Business Development Representatives), SDRs (Sales Development Representatives), or appointment setters. When it’s all said and done, all are more or less interchangeable.
Over the past year, I’ve noticed a definite increase in the number of people who ask me, “Why are these roles so difficult to fill?” There are a few reasons for the difficulty associated with hiring BDRs.
First of all, most companies are seeking an incredibly smart and driven BDR. They want to find someone who will pound the phones and set a lot of appointments. However, if a BDR leaves their company, they typically don’t want to be in another BDR role and if they’re in a closing role, they don’t want to go “backwards” into a BDR role.
Secondly, appointment setting tends to get boring for many. It’s kind of like telling a fantastic runner, “You’re only going to run half of the race, and then I’m going to step in and run the remaining half. However, how I finish the race is completely irrelevant to you. You’re not going to benefit, or get punished either way based on my results.”
The big question we’re dancing around here is, “If a good appointment setter is easily going to get bored, and can get a higher paid closing role elsewhere, how do I attract a strong BDR?”
1.) Don’t Be Cheap
If you want somebody great in any role, and you know that they can secure a higher paying job elsewhere, be generous with the compensation.
2.) Make the Path to Promotion Clear
It becomes much easier to sell a BDR role when you can tell the candidate. “You need to learn how to walk before you run. This is a great way for you to learn our business from the ground up. Assuming you set 3 appointments per week, we plan to promote you to an Account Executive within 12 months, where you’ll make $100,000+”
I typically recommend that you try to promote BDRs within 12 months, especially when they have previous sales experience.
3.) Give Them Skin in the Game
Most companies that I know are willing to pay the BDRs $50-$100 per appointment but I’ve seen it as high as $400-$500 depending on how difficult it is. However, the ones that end up seeing the most success provide their BDRs with an added bonus if one of the appointments they set closes.
4.) Train Them
Over the years, I’ve hired BDRs that make anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000. Regardless of their salary, they all need some degree of training.
Some BDRs, especially junior ones, will be patient in an appointment setting role. However, they need to feel like you’re investing in them so that they’ll have the opportunity to get promoted to a closing role. Otherwise, they will start to feel like they are forgotten and being left behind to stay in this position forever.
5.) Celebrate Victories with Them
The salesperson always seems to get the credit. When a big deal closes, recognize the BDR as well.
6.) Make it Fun
Being that appointment setting isn’t the most fun thing in the world for most individuals, do your best to make it fun for them by having contests. When I’ve suggested this to some companies, they say that they don’t want to spend a lot more money.
That’s not a problem. Consider running a contest for an extra vacation day. The prize doesn’t have to be anything big, but throw some excitement into the contest, and put people in teams. Even small things like free tickets to a sporting event, or a gift card to a good restaurant can go a long way to exciting employees.