The Rise and Fall of the Inbound SDR

Kelli Diffenderfer
April 26, 2022
min to read

How to reimagine your inbound process, increase conversions, and grow your revenue 

The Rise and Fall of the Inbound SDR

Kelli Diffenderfer
April 26, 2022
min to read

How to reimagine your inbound process, increase conversions, and grow your revenue 

Recently, we posed a question on LinkedIn.

We asked our community what they thought of the role of inbound SDRs — specifically, whether or not they’re still relevant:

The answers were a mixed bag. 

Many individuals (20%) agreed that inbound SDRs aren’t the most effective way to qualify and route leads. 

At the same time, many other individuals (54%) were steadfast in their belief that their inbound SDR team was indispensable. 

The other 26% were undecided. 

Let me back up for a second and explain the thought process behind the question, “are inbound SDRs irrelevant?”.

This question isn’t meant to be a jab at an organization’s sales acumen or a personal attack on inbound SDRs themselves.

It’s meant to question the foundation of the inbound sales process — going back to when the idea of the inbound SDR was first introduced.

Since then, it’s become the playbook marketing and sales leaders go back to time and time again whenever they’re building a sales org.

While I agree that inbound SDRs are capable and intelligent, I think, in many cases, they could serve a better purpose elsewhere within the organization.

Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of Chili Piper, clarifies that while he doesn’t believe in the role of inbound SDRs, he doesn’t suggest laying them off or dismissing them entirely.

“Quite the opposite,” he said. “We want to promote everybody. But the important part is that the job we were asking inbound SDRs to do was not a sales job. It was a scheduling assistant job. Sales is about influence. It’s about leading people to do something that is good for them. It’s not about booking a time on a calendar — that’s something that is fundamentally administrative in nature.” 

It’s time we reimagine the entire inbound process, starting with the SDR. 

“At Chili Piper, we never had inbound SDRs,” Nicolas continued. “We had automated that process from day one — obviously, that’s our product. But we have found that there are more and more opportunities for SDR-like talent to help the business. And this is what we’re going to talk about — where you can redeploy your SDRs and make them real sales resources as opposed to administrative resources.” 

In this article, we’ll share actionable ways you can improve your inbound process and walk you through how to redeploy your inbound SDRs, sharing tips from top marketing professionals.

“The job we were asking inbound SDRs to do was not a sales job. It was a scheduling assistant job.”-Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of Chili Piper 

The rise of the inbound SDR

When examining the inbound process, it’s important we look at what led to the creation of the inbound SDR role. 

We can then begin to see the gaps and shortcomings that remain in place and better identify how to fix them.  

The idea of the inbound SDR was born from a need to:

1. Protect AEs’ time and allow for greater specialization

In the early days of B2B SaaS, the AEs managed the entire inbound sales process.

These full-cycle reps were:

✔️ Following up with demo requests

✔️ Qualifying

✔️ Holding demos

✔️ Fostering relationships 

You name it, they were doing it. 

But the role became so specialized that AEs were wasting their time (or doing a poor job). Not to mention they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of demo requests and meetings they were receiving. 

Enter inbound SDRs.

Inbound SDRs came in to replace the qualifying and scheduling function of the AE, giving AEs the opportunity to hone their selling skills and focus on building relationships.

2. Gatekeep the leads that were making it onto AEs’ calendars 

The idea was brilliant — an SDR was the perfect gatekeeper to make sure only the best and highest intent leads were filling up the AE’s calendars.

Inbound SDRs prevented AEs from wasting their time meeting with individuals who weren’t qualified or weren’t really interested. 

Rather than chasing down mediocre prospects, AEs were served high intent leads on a silver platter. 

And for a while, it worked.

Until it didn’t.

The fall of the inbound SDR

In theory, using an inbound SDR makes perfect sense. And it was certainly better than the alternative — a full cycle AE.

In practice, it was slow and inefficient. 

Many companies soon realized that splitting the sales cycle between these two groups only masked the real problems in the process.

And created new problems.

Tension developed among AEs and SDRs over lead routing, lead quality, opportunity credit, and more.

What’s wrong with the inbound SDR playbook?

While it put a bandaid on some issues, it didn’t truly fix them. 

Yes, it alleviated some of the AEs’ workload and pushed opportunities along. But it still wasn’t as efficient as it should have been. 

AEs and SDRs alike were haunted by disorganized spreadsheets

Leads were slipping through the cracks.

The outcome?

Mediocre conversion rates and revenue left on the table. 

Do you know the average conversion rate for B2B SaaS companies?

The average B2B SaaS company converts landing page visitors at around 9.5%.

And of those who book, 40% actually attend.

That means 60% of people who raise their hands for a demo never convert.

Why do companies struggle so much to convert leads? 

There’s simply too much friction in the buyer journey. 

 Technology that automates the inbound process, like Chili Piper’s Form Concierge, is one of the only surefire ways to increase conversions. 

We spoke to Krishan Patel, VP of Product at Apollo, about their inbound process before Chili Piper.

Apollo’s lead conversion was much higher than average, sitting at 60% — but it wasn’t good enough. Krishan believed there was no reason they couldn’t close that gap and convert the other 40% of leads.

And they did.

“Right after we implemented Chili Piper, we saw a 50% increase in inbound meetings booked.”-Krishan Patel, VP of Product at Apollo

“Out of all the people that submitted a demo request form, about 60% of them actually ended up getting to the meeting. So we realized that there was a big dropoff that seemed like it should be easy to fix with a solution like Chili Piper. Right after we implemented Chili Piper we saw a 50% increase in inbound meetings booked. So our conversion rate on people submitting a demo request form and actually booking a meeting — that increased immediately.”

With the help of Form Concierge, Apollo shattered the ceiling of what we believed lead conversion could be. You can read their full customer story here.

Friction, friction, and more friction 

I also had the privilege of talking with Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly. He shared insights into their inbound process, and the key moment he realized they needed to reduce the friction in their buyer’s journey. 

Why is friction so bad?

Bottom line, it creates a poor buyer experience and reduces your chances of converting visitors into customers.

Let’s take landing page forms for example: Did you know that for every form field you have, your chances of converting a prospect decreases by 3%-5%? 

That’s why Mark is so passionate about reducting friction in the buyer journey. Here’s a glimpse into his experience:

“It was an experience where I was buying software, and you know I’m a big believer in reducing friction — I tried to buy enrichment software and I went to about five different sites and I tried to book a demo or talk to someone and my process looked like this:

Many times it was just a chatbot. There were no forms. There was no email. And the chatbot was a general help bot like, ‘hey we’ll get back to you in seven hours’. Three out of five experiences I didn’t get a reply until the next day.”

When someone did follow-up with him, it would be an inbound rep asking how they could help… Even though he had already included a message specifying what he wanted to talk about. 

Friction anywhere in the buyer journey leads to a poor experience and makes prospects less likely to purchase your product.

“I had an SDR reach out at a few of the companies to book a meeting,” Mark continued. “And I was like, ‘okay great, what’s the pricing for this thing?’. And then they couldn’t tell me pricing — it was ‘I gotta qualify you first before I can get you in front of someone’. Like no-no, I’m qualified, just give me the pricing, I want to buy! And then they’re like, okay. So I got an account executive and it took me five days to get in front of the right person to talk to someone.” 

This situation seems outrageous, but it tends to be the norm. 

“In B2B, in tech in general, I feel like we throw common sense out the window,” Mark said. “Imagine if you were in a retail experience and walked into a store and said, ‘I really want to buy those jeans’. And someone was like, ‘you’re a 34? Let me get my person to come here and assess you and make sure you’re the right fit for these pants. Come back tomorrow and we’ll see if we can get you into those jeans’.” 

Mark wanted to make sure prospects coming to Dooly had as easy an experience as possible. They wanted anyone to be able try their product or talk to their team with as little friction as possible.

“We’re always trying to get to, again, the fastest speed to lead possible,” Mark said. “Because, at the end of the day, five minutes is often the difference between an interested prospect either talking to a competitor, or losing interest. You gotta strike while the iron is hot.” 

“At the end of the day, five minutes is often the difference between an interested prospect either talking to a competitor or losing interest.”-Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly

Mark also shared Dooly’s tech stack for reducing friction and increasing speed to lead:

“We brought together a number of different tools, and we made it so that our booking and our show rates now are up by I believe a margin of 20% to 30% from where they’ve been. A big part of that is speed to lead,” Mark said. 

Mark said reducing some of the chatbot conversations and email back and forth has been a game-changer in reducing friction and improving their qualification process.

“In terms of the tech stack specifically, we looked at a number of different options,” Mark said, “Right now we’re using Clearbit as our enrichment tool, Chili Piper as our lead routing, and we still use Unbounce for some of our campaigns.”

“We evaluated a number of others but that ended up being the best fit to create the fastest buying process with the least amount of friction.”

A powerful piece of Chili Piper’s solution is giving people the power to schedule meetings on their terms. Not only is it speedy and efficient, but it also gives people greater incentive to take the meeting seriously and show up — a component often lacking in meetings scheduled by SDRs.

What’s the true cost of an inbound SDR?

Another problem? 

SDRs don’t want to be SDRs forever. Or even for very long, according to a report by DePaul University

They either burn out, move on, or move up to a more senior role.

In fact, the average company only gets about 12-15 months of productivity from their SDRs before they turn over — and only 8% of SDRs stay in the role for more than three years. 

The average cost of replacing an SDR? 

You’re looking at around $97,690

Considering the high cost of replacing an SDR and the even higher turnover rate, you can understand why it’s not the most lucrative model. 

“We need to rethink the future of the SDR position,” Nicolas said. “In the old days, it was SDR: Twelve months. Senior SDR: Another six to twelve months. And then you’re going to be promoted to AE (or leave). 

“It felt like the SDR position was serving time — you were being punished and you had to work longer, call, call, call until you could finally make it. And to this day we still have SDRs apply to [Chili Piper] and say, “I’m sick of it because they won’t promote me to account executive.” Because for some reason, they expanded that serving time to eighteen months instead of twelve months. This is not at all how we think of it at Chili Piper, and it’s not how we think you should think of it. Everyone should acknowledge that the SDR job is unbelievably strong training and education and that they can serve multiple functions in an organization.” 

By automating the inbound process and redeploying SDRs to more vital business areas, you can increase your conversion rate and generate more pipeline by utilizing them in more meaningful ways.

Are you leaving money on the table? 

Find out how much could you be saving by implementing Chili Piper and redeploying your inbound SDRs

Do inbound SDRs hinder speed to lead?

One of THE most important parts of the inbound process is speed to lead

This begs the question: Are inbound SDRs equipped to immediately respond to every request or inquiry? 

In most organizations, the answer is no. 

Even waiting five minutes to respond to demo requests is too long and could be costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Yet, over 80% of companies take longer than five minutes to respond to demo requests. 

Considering a lead is 21x more likely to convert if contacted within five minutes, this is a huge misstep.

How can you take your responses from fast to instant?

Apollo was sending follow-up emails within minutes of prospects submitting demo requests.

But it still wasn’t fast enough. 

That’s because the “five minutes” timeframe is woefully outdated. If your speed to lead isn’t instant, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities.

“Before Chili Piper what we did is we had a demo request form and when people would submit it, we had leads go into Salesforce, go into Apollo, and within minutes they would get an email from one of our reps with a Calendly link asking if they want to book some time,” Krishan said. “Some percentage of users would book those meetings right away, but a lot of them would actually book on our second follow up that went out a day later, or our third follow up email that went out the day after that.”

After the second, third, and fourth follow-up, Apollo’s inbound SDRs started to become more like outbound SDRs — chasing leads that raised their hand for a demo but never booked a meeting. 

Apollo took this knowledge and implemented a solution.

“What we realized is that out of all the people that submitted a demo request form, about 60% of them actually ended up getting to the meeting. So we realized that there was a big dropoff that seemed like it should be easy to fix with a solution like Chili Piper.”

They didn’t want ‘good enough’. Even though their conversion rates were above industry standards, they knew they could be better. 

They thought, why settle for a 60% conversion rate when they could be at 100%?

“At this point, we’ve set 5x as many meetings as we did last year before starting with Chili Piper. And our revenue is around 300% higher with a sales team half the size.”
-Krishan Patel, VP of Product at Apollo

“Our inbound process is pretty simple now with Chili Piper,” Krishan said. “Someone goes to our demo request form and if it’s a qualified lead they’ll see our reps calendars immediately and be able to book with the rep that’s assigned to their account.”

If it’s an unqualified lead, their reps send a follow-up email to qualify them a bit further and see if they actually want to take the call. 

“All of those inbound users have a really good experience where now they don’t have to wait around for an email to come to them,” Krishan said. “They go to our website directly and they’ll be able to see what times are available to them and they’ll book it. And they don’t forget about it — it’s on their calendar. So we’ve seen a dramatic lift in how soon meetings are booked.” 

No matter where they put a call to action, or how they A/B test messaging around booking a meeting, the knew the experience was going to be dead simple — prospects see a calendar and book immediately. 

“Right after we implemented Chili Piper we saw a 50% increase in inbound meetings booked,” Krishan said. “So our conversion rate on people submitting a demo request form and actually booking a meeting, that increased immediately.”

And because they fixed their conversion rate by optimizing their landing page, they were able to focus more effort on acquisition and getting people to that demo request page. 

“It was definitely helpful building the foundation so that we could think about focusing more on inbound pipeline generation,” Krishan said. “Before, we always focused on outbound pipeline generation because we didn’t really have much faith in our company to generate inbound. But this was the first step — increasing our inbound conversion rates so that we don’t send a bunch of people to a page where 40% of them are dropping off immediately.” 

“At this point, we set five times as many meetings as we did last year before starting with Chili Piper and our revenue is around 300% higher with a sales team half the size.”

The takeaway? No matter how capable, how brilliant, or how hard-working your inbound SDRs are, they will never be as fast or effective as a tool that automates the process. 

Do you want to respond to every lead instantly and schedule a call automatically? Find out how

Time is money: How much are slow responses costing you?

When people come to your website, chances are they’re ready to buy. They’ve done their research in the dark funnel and want to talk to a sales rep right then and there. 

You need to make it easy for them to schedule a call immediately — this is what we call the straight-to-meeting imperative. 

Anything less than an instant response will cost you significant losses in revenue. 

“It’s like when Amazon goes down for a second. Every second it’s down, they’re losing millions of dollars. [In B2B] it’s the same, but people don’t realize they’re leaving money on the table.”
-Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly

Mark gave me the full scoop on just how important speed to lead is in driving revenue at Dooly: 

“We use Chili Piper Concierge, so if a rep is actually available in that moment, they can one-click and speak to that person literally right then and there on a Zoom call. Within potentially 30 seconds they can go from being interested in Dooly to speaking with the account executive working that enterprise opp and getting any of their questions answered in real-time.”

“If you could pair that to the example of me sometimes taking seventy-two to eighty hours to even get pricing from a tool that I’m actively trying to buy, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. [Companies who don’t respond instantly] are leaving money on the table. It’s like when Amazon goes down for a second — every second that it’s down they are losing millions of dollars. It’s the same, but it’s a dark funnel of people who don’t realize they are leaving money on the table.” 

How can companies redeploy their inbound SDRs?

Now that the technology exists to automate the lead qualification, distribution, and scheduling aspects of the inbound process — inbound SDRs are no longer necessary.

But before you think we’re suggesting laying off all your inbound SDRs, we propose an alternative option: Redeployment.

Something we talk a lot about at Chili Piper is mobilizing your inbound SDRs to different areas of your business, where they can be more efficient and help move deals along rather than slow them down. 

“SDRs should be much more strategic to the organization as opposed to being scheduling assistants,” Alina Vandenberghe, CEO at Chili Piper, said. “You want them to be salespeople. Their mission should be to influence all of your channels to make sure those meetings happen.”

Your inbound SDRs could be making much better use of their time and talents elsewhere within the organization. 

According to Mark Jung, the key is to look at their strengths and use them to your advantage. 

“You could literally do anything you want [with your inbound SDRs],” Mark said. “And I think that any company that thinks very rigid in terms of their systems and like, ‘this is the role that does X’, is going to quickly lose the talent war with the current state of the market — so I would be flexible and really start to lean into where your SDRs strengths are.” 

Here are five ideas for reimagining your inbound process:

1. Go allbound: Have your inbound SDRs join ABM campaigns 

What exactly is the difference between outbound and allbound?

Allbound is more refined than a pure outbound campaign. It’s all about coordinating with marketing, finding the right messaging, and being thoughtful in how co-engagement between marketing and sales will work. 

With allbound, you can launch an account-based marketing campaign that goes after specific accounts and companies, targeting them with marketing and SDR outreach.

“What we found is that when both work together, we’re more likely to get that meeting. We are more likely to get that engagement,” Nicolas said.

“Marketing and sales have to collaborate,” he continued. “Much more closely than they used to. It’s no longer: Marketing brings an email address, and sales chases it. It’s all about how do we influence people together? How do we bring them to a level of interest so that when they land on a website they’re ready to buy — or very close to that? That’s this allbound concept.” 

Influence comes from repetitive touches — a decision isn’t made by a one-time process of seeing an option and choosing. 

Prospects see an ad, see the email from an SDR, talk to their friends, and then come to the website. Each successive touchpoint will improve the odds of prospects landing on your website and booking a demo. 

“The data shows that when we do allbound, it works better,” Nicolas said.

2. Create an ADR team

Have your SDRs reach out to existing customers to upsell and cross-sell on-base accounts. 

You can use an ADR (account development representative) team to identify opportunities for upsell or expansion by informing current customers about new products and features.

“We use a process similar to the SDR process of getting their attention, but on a warm basis with more reference points,” Nicolas said. “It’s not a pure cold outreach SDR job — it’s a collaboration between the SDRs, the account managers, and the marketing team on the new product. Influencing our customers to buy our new products.”

“I see it badly done with all the products I use,” Alina said. “There’s potential for me to use many more features and many more products from the same company, but I don’t know that they exist.”

Failing to promote additional products and featuresl is a common challenge companies face — oftentimes, their customers just don’t know that there’s extra functionality or new products. 

“This turns your SDRs into evangelists on potential upsells and upgrades that your customers may want, but don’t know exist,” Alina said.  

Pro tip: Have your ADR team focus on free trials or freemiums. If you want those customers to eventually convert to the paid version, you’re going to need a salesperson. But you may not be ready to send in an AE because there’s some work still to be done on influencing them — that’s something that an SDR can do. 

“The influence world has become much more sophisticated, and all these teams need to work together,” Nicolas said. “So an ADR rep for freemium makes a lot of sense and has the tools to book meetings, engage, and route to the right person in real time.” 

At Dooly, their BDR team is very much full-stack. 

“Because we have a dual funnel right now and we have enterprise customers, and mid-market, and a freemium motion — we have so many different go-to-market tracks that we haven’t eliminated our sales team,” Mark said. “We’ve scaled it up, but they’re doing different things. So it’s more about where we prioritize their efforts.” 

Many of their SDRs focus on freemium efforts. Getting those people engaged and getting them in front of a rep for upsell.

3. Use SDRs in your partner ecosystem

Partner ecosystems are all about helping your partners sell your product. 

Have your SDRs help partner managers warm up and nurture prospects. Partner managers are typically busy managing relationships with existing partners — instead, allocate SDRs to look for new partnership opportunities: 

SDRs can help with co-marketing opportunities with partners and quota relief for cross selling solutions.

“What we’ve found is that these partners have a job to again, influence their prospects towards getting a meeting with Chili Piper,” Nicolas said. “It’s very similar to the other influence that we’ve mentioned earlier. And that may be for on base or it may be account based.”

Chili Piper has three types of partners:

  1. Community partners: Community members who send us referrals
  2. Product partners: Product partnerships — for example, Chili Piper has a partnership with Clearbit because it makes sense for customers to use both products together
  3. Channel partners: Channel partners — consultants and integrators who are experts in helping their customers get more productivity and recommend Chili Piper for the inbound process

“The prospect is typically not yet ready to buy the solution and there’s a bit of help needed with the partner to get them to that level,” Nicolas said. “And assigning an SDR to act as an advisor, again influencing, act as an advisor to the prospect is a key step in the process to make sure we go from possible interest, to booked demo. And everybody wins, right?” 

Partners get more work, and the company gets more deals.

SDRs should excel at these early steps of influence and can help partners’ clients go from a vague interest to a confirmed interest. 

How can SDRs help influence the partner ecosystem?

“Getting creative, doing research on them, finding out what does matter to them,” Mark said. “Taking the discovery notes from that opp, gifting motions, podcast invites, event invites, things like these.”

4. Focus on multi-threading

Multi-threading is all about building relationships with as many stakeholders as possible in your target accounts. 

Use your SDRs to make sure all relevant stakeholders are involved with the deal from the start. Once a prospect schedules a demo, SDRs can target all other members of the company who may need to be present at the demo to ensure there are no roadblocks and you have buy-in from all necessary parties.

When multiple points of contact are involved, you’re: 

  • Less likely to be ghosted if you’re in touch with multiple individuals within the target account
  • More likely to win the deal if all relevant stakeholders are engaged and present on the demos 
  • More likely to generate pipeline and opportunities — the more contacts you reach out to, the higher the chances one of them will see the value of your solution and champion it to others in the company

You can use SDRs to influence managers and executives across multiple departments — the more, the better.

“At Dooly, we focus on building relationships,” Mark said. “We focus on helping to multi-thread and find the other people involved in the deal. We have them focus on supporting strategic accounts. As qualified inbound people come in…it automatically gets qualified, goes to the account executive — the right person. How can you have that SDR then make sure that they’re working with that AE and finding the right people in that deal?”

Mark said that they use their BDRs to help encourage and nurture people as they’re evaluating Dooly or engaging with their platform. 

“Rather than running discovery, we tend to approach our buyers based on the type of buyer they are and what their stage is,” Mark said. “So for example, we use enrichment software to make sure that if you are a Fortune 500 company talking to us looking at a 2000 seat deal, that we have an account executive, and a BDR, and everyone who’s gonna be on that first call to make sure that we can understand the right pain points, reach out to the relevant stakeholders and build connections.”

A big part of why they’re successful is they can direct their SDRs to the right fit accounts using Chili Piper’s Salesforce and Slack integrations.

“Anytime demos get booked we have that automatically come into Slack,” Mark said. “We have enrichment information sitting in Salesforce and then we have Salesforce reports that showcase: Here are the best fit companies that you should be reaching out to that have booked demos or have a demo coming up, and that way they can really focus. So it’s led to less qualification, and more insight gathering and building relationships with the right people to help accelerate and progress deals.”

Companies that use a multi-threaded approach have a higher chance of winning deals. By using SDRs to gather information and build relationships, they can be much more effective and strategic with new accounts. 

5. Lean into social selling

Unlike social media marketing or advertising, social selling is using social media to build relationships and establish yourself as a credible, knowledgeable source to prospects. 

Social selling enables your business to connect with potential customers in a familiar setting and build trust. If done well, it can even replace the dreaded cold call.

With so many social media platforms, knowing where you should focus your efforts may be tricky.

“Where I would focus is gonna be dependent on the company, their motion, and where their buyers live,” Mark said. 

Once you’ve decided where you want to focus your efforts, you can get started on the how of building relationships with your target audience: 

  • Develop your brand and personality on LinkedIn — share useful, funny, engaging content
  • Establish friendly rapport with individuals or companies you’d like to work with — actively connect with prospects and mutual connections
  • Join LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to your industry — engage with peers and network with prospects

Even if you don’t see an immediate impact, odds are, prospects will think of you first when they’re ready to purchase your product.

“Personal branding on LinkedIn is a big thing we encourage at Dooly, because we sell to salespeople,” Mark said. “Sales people tend to live on LinkedIn, and outside hours (or during), Instagram — and places like that. If you have a team who are great at creating content and building a personal brand, have them start to generate pipeline in that way, engage with your buyers, use them as a vehicle for social selling.”

Ready for some quick facts?

✔️ Companies that use social selling create 45% more sales opportunities than companies with little social media presence.

✔️ They’re also 51% more likely to hit their quotas. 

✔️ 62% of marketers credit LinkedIn with helping them generate twice as many leads as their next-best performing social channel. 

Social selling works — make sure you’re taking advantage of it by encouraging your SDRs to build their personal brands and build relationships.

SDR growth path

Being an SDR is a fantastic way to get started in a company and learn the job. SDRs have to understand the market, the prospects, and the customers, and it’s one of the best ways to get trained on the company’s fundamentals. 

But when companies are reluctant to let go of their inbound SDRs, they begin to stagnate. They get stuck in an outdated sales process and lose deals to companies who have allowed their inbound process to evolve. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can redeploy your SDRs and set them on a better path for growth. 

Instead of getting twelve, maybe fifteen, months out of your reps, you’ll be able to retain your talented employees for much longer.

“There are so many cool things that your inbound SDRs can be doing,” Nicolas said. “There are valuable, interesting things that would get them on a growth path.”

A growth path doesn’t have to look like: Inbound SDR ➡ senior inbound SDR ➡ AE or SDR manager.

One key thing we’ve learned at Chili Piper? 

SDRs can be valuable in different departments.

“At Chili Piper, our SDRs have the choice to go and work in any department afterward,” Nicolas said. “We strongly encourage our SDRs to change. We have SDRs who’ve become product managers. SDRs who’ve become customer success reps. SDRs who’ve become event managers. We have no restriction on the possible path.”

The critical thing is that as an SDR, they’ve really learned the basics. They’ve really understood what the product does, the company’s personas, the value proposition, and the go-to-market strategy. 

So whatever job they do next, they have the foundation to help them succeed.

“There are a million use cases you could roll out,” Mark said. “And it all depends on, again, the business. It could be community, it could be anything. But get creative, lean into your people’s strengths, and make sure that you’re finding a way to create the best buying experience.” 

Ready to join the straight-to-meeting imperative and automate your inbound process?

Schedule a call with our team to learn how.

Recently, we posed a question on LinkedIn.

We asked our community what they thought of the role of inbound SDRs — specifically, whether or not they’re still relevant:

The answers were a mixed bag. 

Many individuals (20%) agreed that inbound SDRs aren’t the most effective way to qualify and route leads. 

At the same time, many other individuals (54%) were steadfast in their belief that their inbound SDR team was indispensable. 

The other 26% were undecided. 

Let me back up for a second and explain the thought process behind the question, “are inbound SDRs irrelevant?”.

This question isn’t meant to be a jab at an organization’s sales acumen or a personal attack on inbound SDRs themselves.

It’s meant to question the foundation of the inbound sales process — going back to when the idea of the inbound SDR was first introduced.

Since then, it’s become the playbook marketing and sales leaders go back to time and time again whenever they’re building a sales org.

While I agree that inbound SDRs are capable and intelligent, I think, in many cases, they could serve a better purpose elsewhere within the organization.

Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of Chili Piper, clarifies that while he doesn’t believe in the role of inbound SDRs, he doesn’t suggest laying them off or dismissing them entirely.

“Quite the opposite,” he said. “We want to promote everybody. But the important part is that the job we were asking inbound SDRs to do was not a sales job. It was a scheduling assistant job. Sales is about influence. It’s about leading people to do something that is good for them. It’s not about booking a time on a calendar — that’s something that is fundamentally administrative in nature.” 

It’s time we reimagine the entire inbound process, starting with the SDR. 

“At Chili Piper, we never had inbound SDRs,” Nicolas continued. “We had automated that process from day one — obviously, that’s our product. But we have found that there are more and more opportunities for SDR-like talent to help the business. And this is what we’re going to talk about — where you can redeploy your SDRs and make them real sales resources as opposed to administrative resources.” 

In this article, we’ll share actionable ways you can improve your inbound process and walk you through how to redeploy your inbound SDRs, sharing tips from top marketing professionals.

“The job we were asking inbound SDRs to do was not a sales job. It was a scheduling assistant job.”-Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of Chili Piper 

The rise of the inbound SDR

When examining the inbound process, it’s important we look at what led to the creation of the inbound SDR role. 

We can then begin to see the gaps and shortcomings that remain in place and better identify how to fix them.  

The idea of the inbound SDR was born from a need to:

1. Protect AEs’ time and allow for greater specialization

In the early days of B2B SaaS, the AEs managed the entire inbound sales process.

These full-cycle reps were:

✔️ Following up with demo requests

✔️ Qualifying

✔️ Holding demos

✔️ Fostering relationships 

You name it, they were doing it. 

But the role became so specialized that AEs were wasting their time (or doing a poor job). Not to mention they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of demo requests and meetings they were receiving. 

Enter inbound SDRs.

Inbound SDRs came in to replace the qualifying and scheduling function of the AE, giving AEs the opportunity to hone their selling skills and focus on building relationships.

2. Gatekeep the leads that were making it onto AEs’ calendars 

The idea was brilliant — an SDR was the perfect gatekeeper to make sure only the best and highest intent leads were filling up the AE’s calendars.

Inbound SDRs prevented AEs from wasting their time meeting with individuals who weren’t qualified or weren’t really interested. 

Rather than chasing down mediocre prospects, AEs were served high intent leads on a silver platter. 

And for a while, it worked.

Until it didn’t.

The fall of the inbound SDR

In theory, using an inbound SDR makes perfect sense. And it was certainly better than the alternative — a full cycle AE.

In practice, it was slow and inefficient. 

Many companies soon realized that splitting the sales cycle between these two groups only masked the real problems in the process.

And created new problems.

Tension developed among AEs and SDRs over lead routing, lead quality, opportunity credit, and more.

What’s wrong with the inbound SDR playbook?

While it put a bandaid on some issues, it didn’t truly fix them. 

Yes, it alleviated some of the AEs’ workload and pushed opportunities along. But it still wasn’t as efficient as it should have been. 

AEs and SDRs alike were haunted by disorganized spreadsheets

Leads were slipping through the cracks.

The outcome?

Mediocre conversion rates and revenue left on the table. 

Do you know the average conversion rate for B2B SaaS companies?

The average B2B SaaS company converts landing page visitors at around 9.5%.

And of those who book, 40% actually attend.

That means 60% of people who raise their hands for a demo never convert.

Why do companies struggle so much to convert leads? 

There’s simply too much friction in the buyer journey. 

 Technology that automates the inbound process, like Chili Piper’s Form Concierge, is one of the only surefire ways to increase conversions. 

We spoke to Krishan Patel, VP of Product at Apollo, about their inbound process before Chili Piper.

Apollo’s lead conversion was much higher than average, sitting at 60% — but it wasn’t good enough. Krishan believed there was no reason they couldn’t close that gap and convert the other 40% of leads.

And they did.

“Right after we implemented Chili Piper, we saw a 50% increase in inbound meetings booked.”-Krishan Patel, VP of Product at Apollo

“Out of all the people that submitted a demo request form, about 60% of them actually ended up getting to the meeting. So we realized that there was a big dropoff that seemed like it should be easy to fix with a solution like Chili Piper. Right after we implemented Chili Piper we saw a 50% increase in inbound meetings booked. So our conversion rate on people submitting a demo request form and actually booking a meeting — that increased immediately.”

With the help of Form Concierge, Apollo shattered the ceiling of what we believed lead conversion could be. You can read their full customer story here.

Friction, friction, and more friction 

I also had the privilege of talking with Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly. He shared insights into their inbound process, and the key moment he realized they needed to reduce the friction in their buyer’s journey. 

Why is friction so bad?

Bottom line, it creates a poor buyer experience and reduces your chances of converting visitors into customers.

Let’s take landing page forms for example: Did you know that for every form field you have, your chances of converting a prospect decreases by 3%-5%? 

That’s why Mark is so passionate about reducting friction in the buyer journey. Here’s a glimpse into his experience:

“It was an experience where I was buying software, and you know I’m a big believer in reducing friction — I tried to buy enrichment software and I went to about five different sites and I tried to book a demo or talk to someone and my process looked like this:

Many times it was just a chatbot. There were no forms. There was no email. And the chatbot was a general help bot like, ‘hey we’ll get back to you in seven hours’. Three out of five experiences I didn’t get a reply until the next day.”

When someone did follow-up with him, it would be an inbound rep asking how they could help… Even though he had already included a message specifying what he wanted to talk about. 

Friction anywhere in the buyer journey leads to a poor experience and makes prospects less likely to purchase your product.

“I had an SDR reach out at a few of the companies to book a meeting,” Mark continued. “And I was like, ‘okay great, what’s the pricing for this thing?’. And then they couldn’t tell me pricing — it was ‘I gotta qualify you first before I can get you in front of someone’. Like no-no, I’m qualified, just give me the pricing, I want to buy! And then they’re like, okay. So I got an account executive and it took me five days to get in front of the right person to talk to someone.” 

This situation seems outrageous, but it tends to be the norm. 

“In B2B, in tech in general, I feel like we throw common sense out the window,” Mark said. “Imagine if you were in a retail experience and walked into a store and said, ‘I really want to buy those jeans’. And someone was like, ‘you’re a 34? Let me get my person to come here and assess you and make sure you’re the right fit for these pants. Come back tomorrow and we’ll see if we can get you into those jeans’.” 

Mark wanted to make sure prospects coming to Dooly had as easy an experience as possible. They wanted anyone to be able try their product or talk to their team with as little friction as possible.

“We’re always trying to get to, again, the fastest speed to lead possible,” Mark said. “Because, at the end of the day, five minutes is often the difference between an interested prospect either talking to a competitor, or losing interest. You gotta strike while the iron is hot.” 

“At the end of the day, five minutes is often the difference between an interested prospect either talking to a competitor or losing interest.”-Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly

Mark also shared Dooly’s tech stack for reducing friction and increasing speed to lead:

“We brought together a number of different tools, and we made it so that our booking and our show rates now are up by I believe a margin of 20% to 30% from where they’ve been. A big part of that is speed to lead,” Mark said. 

Mark said reducing some of the chatbot conversations and email back and forth has been a game-changer in reducing friction and improving their qualification process.

“In terms of the tech stack specifically, we looked at a number of different options,” Mark said, “Right now we’re using Clearbit as our enrichment tool, Chili Piper as our lead routing, and we still use Unbounce for some of our campaigns.”

“We evaluated a number of others but that ended up being the best fit to create the fastest buying process with the least amount of friction.”

A powerful piece of Chili Piper’s solution is giving people the power to schedule meetings on their terms. Not only is it speedy and efficient, but it also gives people greater incentive to take the meeting seriously and show up — a component often lacking in meetings scheduled by SDRs.

What’s the true cost of an inbound SDR?

Another problem? 

SDRs don’t want to be SDRs forever. Or even for very long, according to a report by DePaul University

They either burn out, move on, or move up to a more senior role.

In fact, the average company only gets about 12-15 months of productivity from their SDRs before they turn over — and only 8% of SDRs stay in the role for more than three years. 

The average cost of replacing an SDR? 

You’re looking at around $97,690

Considering the high cost of replacing an SDR and the even higher turnover rate, you can understand why it’s not the most lucrative model. 

“We need to rethink the future of the SDR position,” Nicolas said. “In the old days, it was SDR: Twelve months. Senior SDR: Another six to twelve months. And then you’re going to be promoted to AE (or leave). 

“It felt like the SDR position was serving time — you were being punished and you had to work longer, call, call, call until you could finally make it. And to this day we still have SDRs apply to [Chili Piper] and say, “I’m sick of it because they won’t promote me to account executive.” Because for some reason, they expanded that serving time to eighteen months instead of twelve months. This is not at all how we think of it at Chili Piper, and it’s not how we think you should think of it. Everyone should acknowledge that the SDR job is unbelievably strong training and education and that they can serve multiple functions in an organization.” 

By automating the inbound process and redeploying SDRs to more vital business areas, you can increase your conversion rate and generate more pipeline by utilizing them in more meaningful ways.

Are you leaving money on the table? 

Find out how much could you be saving by implementing Chili Piper and redeploying your inbound SDRs

Do inbound SDRs hinder speed to lead?

One of THE most important parts of the inbound process is speed to lead

This begs the question: Are inbound SDRs equipped to immediately respond to every request or inquiry? 

In most organizations, the answer is no. 

Even waiting five minutes to respond to demo requests is too long and could be costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Yet, over 80% of companies take longer than five minutes to respond to demo requests. 

Considering a lead is 21x more likely to convert if contacted within five minutes, this is a huge misstep.

How can you take your responses from fast to instant?

Apollo was sending follow-up emails within minutes of prospects submitting demo requests.

But it still wasn’t fast enough. 

That’s because the “five minutes” timeframe is woefully outdated. If your speed to lead isn’t instant, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities.

“Before Chili Piper what we did is we had a demo request form and when people would submit it, we had leads go into Salesforce, go into Apollo, and within minutes they would get an email from one of our reps with a Calendly link asking if they want to book some time,” Krishan said. “Some percentage of users would book those meetings right away, but a lot of them would actually book on our second follow up that went out a day later, or our third follow up email that went out the day after that.”

After the second, third, and fourth follow-up, Apollo’s inbound SDRs started to become more like outbound SDRs — chasing leads that raised their hand for a demo but never booked a meeting. 

Apollo took this knowledge and implemented a solution.

“What we realized is that out of all the people that submitted a demo request form, about 60% of them actually ended up getting to the meeting. So we realized that there was a big dropoff that seemed like it should be easy to fix with a solution like Chili Piper.”

They didn’t want ‘good enough’. Even though their conversion rates were above industry standards, they knew they could be better. 

They thought, why settle for a 60% conversion rate when they could be at 100%?

“At this point, we’ve set 5x as many meetings as we did last year before starting with Chili Piper. And our revenue is around 300% higher with a sales team half the size.”
-Krishan Patel, VP of Product at Apollo

“Our inbound process is pretty simple now with Chili Piper,” Krishan said. “Someone goes to our demo request form and if it’s a qualified lead they’ll see our reps calendars immediately and be able to book with the rep that’s assigned to their account.”

If it’s an unqualified lead, their reps send a follow-up email to qualify them a bit further and see if they actually want to take the call. 

“All of those inbound users have a really good experience where now they don’t have to wait around for an email to come to them,” Krishan said. “They go to our website directly and they’ll be able to see what times are available to them and they’ll book it. And they don’t forget about it — it’s on their calendar. So we’ve seen a dramatic lift in how soon meetings are booked.” 

No matter where they put a call to action, or how they A/B test messaging around booking a meeting, the knew the experience was going to be dead simple — prospects see a calendar and book immediately. 

“Right after we implemented Chili Piper we saw a 50% increase in inbound meetings booked,” Krishan said. “So our conversion rate on people submitting a demo request form and actually booking a meeting, that increased immediately.”

And because they fixed their conversion rate by optimizing their landing page, they were able to focus more effort on acquisition and getting people to that demo request page. 

“It was definitely helpful building the foundation so that we could think about focusing more on inbound pipeline generation,” Krishan said. “Before, we always focused on outbound pipeline generation because we didn’t really have much faith in our company to generate inbound. But this was the first step — increasing our inbound conversion rates so that we don’t send a bunch of people to a page where 40% of them are dropping off immediately.” 

“At this point, we set five times as many meetings as we did last year before starting with Chili Piper and our revenue is around 300% higher with a sales team half the size.”

The takeaway? No matter how capable, how brilliant, or how hard-working your inbound SDRs are, they will never be as fast or effective as a tool that automates the process. 

Do you want to respond to every lead instantly and schedule a call automatically? Find out how

Time is money: How much are slow responses costing you?

When people come to your website, chances are they’re ready to buy. They’ve done their research in the dark funnel and want to talk to a sales rep right then and there. 

You need to make it easy for them to schedule a call immediately — this is what we call the straight-to-meeting imperative. 

Anything less than an instant response will cost you significant losses in revenue. 

“It’s like when Amazon goes down for a second. Every second it’s down, they’re losing millions of dollars. [In B2B] it’s the same, but people don’t realize they’re leaving money on the table.”
-Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly

Mark gave me the full scoop on just how important speed to lead is in driving revenue at Dooly: 

“We use Chili Piper Concierge, so if a rep is actually available in that moment, they can one-click and speak to that person literally right then and there on a Zoom call. Within potentially 30 seconds they can go from being interested in Dooly to speaking with the account executive working that enterprise opp and getting any of their questions answered in real-time.”

“If you could pair that to the example of me sometimes taking seventy-two to eighty hours to even get pricing from a tool that I’m actively trying to buy, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. [Companies who don’t respond instantly] are leaving money on the table. It’s like when Amazon goes down for a second — every second that it’s down they are losing millions of dollars. It’s the same, but it’s a dark funnel of people who don’t realize they are leaving money on the table.” 

How can companies redeploy their inbound SDRs?

Now that the technology exists to automate the lead qualification, distribution, and scheduling aspects of the inbound process — inbound SDRs are no longer necessary.

But before you think we’re suggesting laying off all your inbound SDRs, we propose an alternative option: Redeployment.

Something we talk a lot about at Chili Piper is mobilizing your inbound SDRs to different areas of your business, where they can be more efficient and help move deals along rather than slow them down. 

“SDRs should be much more strategic to the organization as opposed to being scheduling assistants,” Alina Vandenberghe, CEO at Chili Piper, said. “You want them to be salespeople. Their mission should be to influence all of your channels to make sure those meetings happen.”

Your inbound SDRs could be making much better use of their time and talents elsewhere within the organization. 

According to Mark Jung, the key is to look at their strengths and use them to your advantage. 

“You could literally do anything you want [with your inbound SDRs],” Mark said. “And I think that any company that thinks very rigid in terms of their systems and like, ‘this is the role that does X’, is going to quickly lose the talent war with the current state of the market — so I would be flexible and really start to lean into where your SDRs strengths are.” 

Here are five ideas for reimagining your inbound process:

1. Go allbound: Have your inbound SDRs join ABM campaigns 

What exactly is the difference between outbound and allbound?

Allbound is more refined than a pure outbound campaign. It’s all about coordinating with marketing, finding the right messaging, and being thoughtful in how co-engagement between marketing and sales will work. 

With allbound, you can launch an account-based marketing campaign that goes after specific accounts and companies, targeting them with marketing and SDR outreach.

“What we found is that when both work together, we’re more likely to get that meeting. We are more likely to get that engagement,” Nicolas said.

“Marketing and sales have to collaborate,” he continued. “Much more closely than they used to. It’s no longer: Marketing brings an email address, and sales chases it. It’s all about how do we influence people together? How do we bring them to a level of interest so that when they land on a website they’re ready to buy — or very close to that? That’s this allbound concept.” 

Influence comes from repetitive touches — a decision isn’t made by a one-time process of seeing an option and choosing. 

Prospects see an ad, see the email from an SDR, talk to their friends, and then come to the website. Each successive touchpoint will improve the odds of prospects landing on your website and booking a demo. 

“The data shows that when we do allbound, it works better,” Nicolas said.

2. Create an ADR team

Have your SDRs reach out to existing customers to upsell and cross-sell on-base accounts. 

You can use an ADR (account development representative) team to identify opportunities for upsell or expansion by informing current customers about new products and features.

“We use a process similar to the SDR process of getting their attention, but on a warm basis with more reference points,” Nicolas said. “It’s not a pure cold outreach SDR job — it’s a collaboration between the SDRs, the account managers, and the marketing team on the new product. Influencing our customers to buy our new products.”

“I see it badly done with all the products I use,” Alina said. “There’s potential for me to use many more features and many more products from the same company, but I don’t know that they exist.”

Failing to promote additional products and featuresl is a common challenge companies face — oftentimes, their customers just don’t know that there’s extra functionality or new products. 

“This turns your SDRs into evangelists on potential upsells and upgrades that your customers may want, but don’t know exist,” Alina said.  

Pro tip: Have your ADR team focus on free trials or freemiums. If you want those customers to eventually convert to the paid version, you’re going to need a salesperson. But you may not be ready to send in an AE because there’s some work still to be done on influencing them — that’s something that an SDR can do. 

“The influence world has become much more sophisticated, and all these teams need to work together,” Nicolas said. “So an ADR rep for freemium makes a lot of sense and has the tools to book meetings, engage, and route to the right person in real time.” 

At Dooly, their BDR team is very much full-stack. 

“Because we have a dual funnel right now and we have enterprise customers, and mid-market, and a freemium motion — we have so many different go-to-market tracks that we haven’t eliminated our sales team,” Mark said. “We’ve scaled it up, but they’re doing different things. So it’s more about where we prioritize their efforts.” 

Many of their SDRs focus on freemium efforts. Getting those people engaged and getting them in front of a rep for upsell.

3. Use SDRs in your partner ecosystem

Partner ecosystems are all about helping your partners sell your product. 

Have your SDRs help partner managers warm up and nurture prospects. Partner managers are typically busy managing relationships with existing partners — instead, allocate SDRs to look for new partnership opportunities: 

SDRs can help with co-marketing opportunities with partners and quota relief for cross selling solutions.

“What we’ve found is that these partners have a job to again, influence their prospects towards getting a meeting with Chili Piper,” Nicolas said. “It’s very similar to the other influence that we’ve mentioned earlier. And that may be for on base or it may be account based.”

Chili Piper has three types of partners:

  1. Community partners: Community members who send us referrals
  2. Product partners: Product partnerships — for example, Chili Piper has a partnership with Clearbit because it makes sense for customers to use both products together
  3. Channel partners: Channel partners — consultants and integrators who are experts in helping their customers get more productivity and recommend Chili Piper for the inbound process

“The prospect is typically not yet ready to buy the solution and there’s a bit of help needed with the partner to get them to that level,” Nicolas said. “And assigning an SDR to act as an advisor, again influencing, act as an advisor to the prospect is a key step in the process to make sure we go from possible interest, to booked demo. And everybody wins, right?” 

Partners get more work, and the company gets more deals.

SDRs should excel at these early steps of influence and can help partners’ clients go from a vague interest to a confirmed interest. 

How can SDRs help influence the partner ecosystem?

“Getting creative, doing research on them, finding out what does matter to them,” Mark said. “Taking the discovery notes from that opp, gifting motions, podcast invites, event invites, things like these.”

4. Focus on multi-threading

Multi-threading is all about building relationships with as many stakeholders as possible in your target accounts. 

Use your SDRs to make sure all relevant stakeholders are involved with the deal from the start. Once a prospect schedules a demo, SDRs can target all other members of the company who may need to be present at the demo to ensure there are no roadblocks and you have buy-in from all necessary parties.

When multiple points of contact are involved, you’re: 

  • Less likely to be ghosted if you’re in touch with multiple individuals within the target account
  • More likely to win the deal if all relevant stakeholders are engaged and present on the demos 
  • More likely to generate pipeline and opportunities — the more contacts you reach out to, the higher the chances one of them will see the value of your solution and champion it to others in the company

You can use SDRs to influence managers and executives across multiple departments — the more, the better.

“At Dooly, we focus on building relationships,” Mark said. “We focus on helping to multi-thread and find the other people involved in the deal. We have them focus on supporting strategic accounts. As qualified inbound people come in…it automatically gets qualified, goes to the account executive — the right person. How can you have that SDR then make sure that they’re working with that AE and finding the right people in that deal?”

Mark said that they use their BDRs to help encourage and nurture people as they’re evaluating Dooly or engaging with their platform. 

“Rather than running discovery, we tend to approach our buyers based on the type of buyer they are and what their stage is,” Mark said. “So for example, we use enrichment software to make sure that if you are a Fortune 500 company talking to us looking at a 2000 seat deal, that we have an account executive, and a BDR, and everyone who’s gonna be on that first call to make sure that we can understand the right pain points, reach out to the relevant stakeholders and build connections.”

A big part of why they’re successful is they can direct their SDRs to the right fit accounts using Chili Piper’s Salesforce and Slack integrations.

“Anytime demos get booked we have that automatically come into Slack,” Mark said. “We have enrichment information sitting in Salesforce and then we have Salesforce reports that showcase: Here are the best fit companies that you should be reaching out to that have booked demos or have a demo coming up, and that way they can really focus. So it’s led to less qualification, and more insight gathering and building relationships with the right people to help accelerate and progress deals.”

Companies that use a multi-threaded approach have a higher chance of winning deals. By using SDRs to gather information and build relationships, they can be much more effective and strategic with new accounts. 

5. Lean into social selling

Unlike social media marketing or advertising, social selling is using social media to build relationships and establish yourself as a credible, knowledgeable source to prospects. 

Social selling enables your business to connect with potential customers in a familiar setting and build trust. If done well, it can even replace the dreaded cold call.

With so many social media platforms, knowing where you should focus your efforts may be tricky.

“Where I would focus is gonna be dependent on the company, their motion, and where their buyers live,” Mark said. 

Once you’ve decided where you want to focus your efforts, you can get started on the how of building relationships with your target audience: 

  • Develop your brand and personality on LinkedIn — share useful, funny, engaging content
  • Establish friendly rapport with individuals or companies you’d like to work with — actively connect with prospects and mutual connections
  • Join LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to your industry — engage with peers and network with prospects

Even if you don’t see an immediate impact, odds are, prospects will think of you first when they’re ready to purchase your product.

“Personal branding on LinkedIn is a big thing we encourage at Dooly, because we sell to salespeople,” Mark said. “Sales people tend to live on LinkedIn, and outside hours (or during), Instagram — and places like that. If you have a team who are great at creating content and building a personal brand, have them start to generate pipeline in that way, engage with your buyers, use them as a vehicle for social selling.”

Ready for some quick facts?

✔️ Companies that use social selling create 45% more sales opportunities than companies with little social media presence.

✔️ They’re also 51% more likely to hit their quotas. 

✔️ 62% of marketers credit LinkedIn with helping them generate twice as many leads as their next-best performing social channel. 

Social selling works — make sure you’re taking advantage of it by encouraging your SDRs to build their personal brands and build relationships.

SDR growth path

Being an SDR is a fantastic way to get started in a company and learn the job. SDRs have to understand the market, the prospects, and the customers, and it’s one of the best ways to get trained on the company’s fundamentals. 

But when companies are reluctant to let go of their inbound SDRs, they begin to stagnate. They get stuck in an outdated sales process and lose deals to companies who have allowed their inbound process to evolve. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can redeploy your SDRs and set them on a better path for growth. 

Instead of getting twelve, maybe fifteen, months out of your reps, you’ll be able to retain your talented employees for much longer.

“There are so many cool things that your inbound SDRs can be doing,” Nicolas said. “There are valuable, interesting things that would get them on a growth path.”

A growth path doesn’t have to look like: Inbound SDR ➡ senior inbound SDR ➡ AE or SDR manager.

One key thing we’ve learned at Chili Piper? 

SDRs can be valuable in different departments.

“At Chili Piper, our SDRs have the choice to go and work in any department afterward,” Nicolas said. “We strongly encourage our SDRs to change. We have SDRs who’ve become product managers. SDRs who’ve become customer success reps. SDRs who’ve become event managers. We have no restriction on the possible path.”

The critical thing is that as an SDR, they’ve really learned the basics. They’ve really understood what the product does, the company’s personas, the value proposition, and the go-to-market strategy. 

So whatever job they do next, they have the foundation to help them succeed.

“There are a million use cases you could roll out,” Mark said. “And it all depends on, again, the business. It could be community, it could be anything. But get creative, lean into your people’s strengths, and make sure that you’re finding a way to create the best buying experience.” 

Ready to join the straight-to-meeting imperative and automate your inbound process?

Schedule a call with our team to learn how.

Kelli Diffenderfer

Kelli Diffenderfer is a Content Marketing Manager at Chili Piper. She is passionate about the power of words to tell stories and bring ideas to life. A Michigander at heart, she spends much of her time traveling to the mitten state, spending time outdoors and enjoying sunsets over the water.

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