I've interviewed hundreds of SDR candidates and some have stood out, those are the ones I hired.
Many have not stood out to me. Not because they weren't great candidates, I'm sure I have missed a few. Its because they failed to convince me that they were outstanding candidates.
Right now a lot of great SDRs are looking for work and are asking how to stand out from the crowd.
In this article, I will outline exactly how you can position yourself as the most desirable candidate, even when you have a lot of competition. Also, at the end, I will share with you how to negotiate for a higher salary.
Let's dive in! First things first...
Do NOT wait until unemployment ends!!!!!!!
This is a big one... I can't believe that so many SDRs plan on taking as much employment pay as they can. If you think it's competitive now just wait until the last month of unemployment.
Of course, if you lost your job you should go on employment to support yourself during these difficult times. That being said, don't use it as an excuse to do the bare minimum job searching required to keep the checks coming.
The type of SDRs myself, and other sales leaders, are looking for are the ones who want to work hard and provide massive value to the company. NOT people who want to take advantage of unemployment for as long as allowed before looking for a job.
Action tip #1: Start applying for jobs now, do not wait another day.
Tailor your experience to the company you are applying for
In your previous role, you had specific tasks that you would do in order to schedule meetings. This worked for you and for the company you worked for.
Here's the deal.
Even though the role is the same and you are most likely doing similar tasks, it doesn't mean the person interviewing you sees it that way.
The person interviewing you has a deep understanding of their product and the value it provides. They are looking for someone who can understand this quickly and is comfortable reaching out to prospects in the industry they serve. If they don't believe you will be able to fully understand the value proposition or prospect into the industry they serve than they will choose a different candidate.
Want to know what they use to determine this?
If you have experience prospecting into the industry they serve or selling a similar product then you have a leg up. Here is what you need to do if you don’t.
Understand their product, industry, and prospecting process and tailor your experience to that. Do not let them connect the dots on their own, they never will.
Action Tip #2: Tie your experience directly to the company's value prop. like "You primarily sell to b2b SaaS companies that have sales teams of 10 or more. I used to prospect similar companies when I worked at ABC Company. What I learned is______. (see the job search bundle below for more examples).
Don't just focus on your work experience. Share who you are as a person!
People want to work with people that they like. The HR-approved phrase for this is "culture fit."
No one wants to work with a robot and a lot of SDRs come across as robots during interviews. They talk about their daily workflow at their previous company and how they made cold calls, emails, etc. Few SDRs find a way to talk about their life outside of work. The part of them that makes them unique.
If you want to stand out as a top tier SDR candidate you must communicate what makes you unique.
Action Tip #3: Write a list of your unique qualities, skills, and best stories to illustrate them. That way you'll be ready to work it in during an interview and be engaging and memorable.
Ask REAL questions!
If another SDR asks me "What does the day look like?" or "What do your most successful SDRs do that makes them great?" I am going to smash my laptop.
The questions that you ask the person interviewing you is half of the interview.
I heavily weight the questions an SDR candidate asks me because it helps me understand where their heads at. The generic questions don't cut it.
Ask questions about the product, market, value prop. Its an interview, they don't expect you to know everything. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the product and the problem it's solving. Know the competition and ask what differentiates them. Ask what their prospects are doing to try and solve this problem without their solution.
There are so many questions that are thoughtful and show that you are curious and smart. Don't settle for scripted throwaway questions like "how many of your SDRs hit quota."
Action Tip #4: Research the company you're interviewing with and the interviewer. Write down some unique questions that you are genuinely curious to know the answers to and that are specific to them and their industry.
Make them worry about losing you to another company
If you have spent any amount of time in a sales role you know the power or urgency. Saying "FINAL DAY FOR 30% OFF" has always produced results.
This works when you are interviewing too, which is why it is important to interview with as many companies as possible as quickly as possible.
Let me tell you the dirty little secret of hiring SDRs... Great SDRs don't come around often.
That's not to say most SDR candidates don't have the potential to be great. They absolutely do. But often during an interview process, a small minority of SDRs stand out as truly outstanding because of past successes and/or terrific interviewing skills.
When you apply what I outlined above to demonstrate to a company that you are an outstanding SDR candidate, you must use that to your advantage and negotiate.
ALWAYS NEGOTIATE. Even if you like the initial offer.
Negotiating shows that you have high confidence. See the Job Search Bundle for a script, its free.
Hiring managers are going to hate that I am telling you this, by the way.
Action Tip #5: When you get an offer, don't say YES right away. Politely let them know that you've got multiple opportunities and make a counter offer. (See the Job Search Bundle for a script)
- Start applying for jobs now, do not wait another day.
- Tie your experience directly to the company's value prop.
- Write a list of your unique qualities, skills, and best stories to illustrate them.
- Research the company you're interviewing with and the interviewer. Write down some unique questions that you are genuinely curious to know the answers to and that are specific to them and their industry.
- When you get an offer, don't say YES right away. Politely let them know that you've got multiple opportunities and make a counter offer.