Teaching SDRs to Communicate with Different Stakeholders

Sasanka Atapattu
October 13, 2016

It’s not uncommon for your less experienced employees (often BDRs or SDRs) to have trouble with business acumen. In fact, in our survey of nearly 100 SaaS Sales Leaders, business acumen and the ability to communicate with different stakeholders were two of the biggest concerns across the board.Today’s buying process often requires buy-in with various stakeholders in order to find the right person and then actually reach that person. Depending on the size of the account, adaptability in communication style is necessary to keep a deal moving forward or lose it completely.So how can I help my SDRs get there?The good news is that as a manager who is growing your SDR team, you have the opportunity to have your SDRs start working on these skills before it’s too late. Cross-functional communication isn’t only important in getting an appointment or closing a deal, it’s critical for younger business professionals to learn how to communicate cross-functionally within an organization.Depending on where an SDR wants to go in their career, they likely will have to deal with many stakeholders not only externally, but internally to get things done. So this begs the question: How often do you have your SDRs set appointments and meet people within your organization? Have they spent time with the product manager? Engineering team? CFO?The easiest, most effective, and honest resource to up their acumen may be sitting in the same office as you.By learning how to communicate with these stakeholders (both by email and in person), your SDR is learning how an organization works and how to adjust and adapt their tonality and approach with different personalities and personas.Make it a part of your employees’ development to spend time with higher-ups, especially those with titles or functions that they will be targeting.Sometimes you don’t have the luxury.If your team is really small or you don’t share an office with the target persona in your organization, you need to look for other resources. As a manager, director, or emerging executive you need to dig into your own network for people who would like to advise.As a small team ourselves here at LaunchSource, we seek out advice from our advisors, and I’m constantly setting up my team with people in my network who are willing to help. You will be surprised how many people are willing to help out. If that means taking your team and an advisor out for dinner or drinks, trust me, it’s well worth it. Nothing will be as useful to your green employees than being able to ask direct and honest questions to their target persona. They’ll be gracious for the direct and honest feedback and will appreciate the learning opportunity.Business acumen is critical for success, but the root problem is the inability to communicate and adapt to different styles. There are some great books and blogs that can always help, but there’s nothing like experience and practice. So if you are thinking about promoting your SDR to an Enterprise Rep, or have SDRs who need to be doing better with their business acumen, look internally for a mentor and create an open dialogue between that person and your team.