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SDR goals: why you shouldn't force a lead through the funnel

Are you one of those people who want to achieve goals at any cost?
Motivation is important, but as Dr. House says: when you're on my team, you must be willing to make mistakes and lose. In sales, reaching the goal is very important, as the company's future depends on it (and on accumulated sales). But it's no use closing a customer at any cost.

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The churn is one of the ill-closed business consequences and usually happens for the following reasons:

  • The customer's expectation was not met (a specific need was not met, for example);
  • The customer thought they were buying something else (it wasn't clear what the purpose of the product or solution was);
  • There were technical failures in the product or service;
  • The customer did not have conditions (company internship, dedicated labor, etc.) to use their product or service well.

These are all problems that could be prevented in the business process. In other words: in order to keep customers, it is necessary to know which customers to close.

What does this have to do with SDR goals ?

In a commercial process that includes pre-sales, the Sales Development Representative , also called pre-seller here in Brazil, is responsible for starting a conversation with the prospect and seeking business opportunities.
This prospecting stage is also an initial assessment of the company's situation, whether there is interest and pain that your company can solve , etc. It is not really a diagnosis, but it is necessary to evaluate some points to determine if it makes sense to schedule a conversation with the seller.

The Importance of Pass Triggers for SDRs

In a consultative sales process, pass triggers are a way to better guide an SDR (or the prospecting salesperson) on when to advance a deal.
They make clear what criteria are needed to qualify a lead, looking for a better close rate and more stable customers.
Some examples of pass triggers :

  • Have the necessary budget;
  • It has a pain/need that we can resolve;
  • I said that solving problem X is a priority;
  • Interested in scheduling an upcoming conversation.

Here, you can use some of the techniques we listed in the “Sales Value Generation” post in order to create rapport and show what your company has to offer, and what benefits the prospect's company can have.
Remember if! The prospect is not interested in technology but in solving a problem.

What happens when a lead is forced through the funnel?

When passing triggers are not respected, or the SDR is more concerned with achieving the goals to be consultative, the consequences are:

  • The seller receives a lead that is not ready to buy, or does not have the structure to use the solution/product, decreasing the closing rate;
  • The sales team fails to meet the expected NMRR and/or new customer targets;
  • The consultative sellingjust prejudiced because the SDR are thinking about their own performance, and not on what is best for the lead.
  • The lead experience suffers too, and that's bad for the brand.
  • Finally, churn in the first few months of hiring, which impacts recurring revenue and the company's revenue forecast.


What are the main goals of SDR?

In general, SDRs have non-specific goals related to the specific goals of the entire sales team. They are usually:

  • periodic activity goals (daily and weekly);
  • Number of scheduled meetings (weekly, monthly and yearly);
  • Number of leads approached;
  • Average conversion rate per SDR (prospect to diagnostic and diagnostic to closed), etc.

In this content we talk more in depth about how to set sales targets for SDRs.
Keeping a good pace and achieving these metrics is one of the key points to ensure the efficiency of the rest of the sales funnel and the closing of deals by Reps. But not at any cost, forcing leads through the funnel as mentioned above.

Activity Goal x Result Goal

Result, for SDR, means scheduled meeting.
Activity is everything that needs to be done to reach the result target (research, emails, calls and, depending on the customer profile, social points).
Activity goals are generally easy to achieve, mostly requiring discipline and agility. prospecting tool helps in this, organizing the seller's schedule to meet the cadences at the right time, making them more productive.
When we talk about result goals, we need to be a little more careful. Scheduling a meeting is something that only depends on the SDR, your intuition and compliance with the rules established by the company.
For companies that work with Inside Sales, there are two situations:

  1. Inbound:the lead arrives with a filter, according to the lead scoring and its profile. However, these leads aren't always at the time of purchase, and it's important to establish the pain, need, and priority rather than pushing to schedule the meeting later.
  2. Outbound:the company works with a list of leads and needs to determine if this lead is interested in starting a conversation.

Whatever the method of acquiring leads, using pass triggers is essential!

Market measures to prevent leads from being forced through the funnel

This is already a known issue for sales teams around the world and some measures have been taken to minimize the impact on the sales funnel.

Solution 1: Seller Acceptance

Whether as a prerequisite or as an extra compensation in the SDR salary, in this case the responsibility of verifying the lead is a good opportunity and accepting it in their pipeline is placed in the hands of the salesperson . This makes the SDR need to think about the quality of the leads they are sending to the sales team.
This topic was addressed by Trish Bertuzzi both in her book The Sales Development Playbook and in the podcast we recorded with her, which is below!

Solution 2: sales churn

More recently, companies are understanding churn in the first 2 or 3 months of the contract as a closing issue and creating a penalty system for the sales team on top of the commission from SDRs and sellers.
Thus, if a lead is SDR-qualified, accepted by the seller, closes and churns after a month and a half of use, both the SDR and the seller will have a negative commission balance, which will be offset next month.
Closing good deals must be the sales team's priority and the first step towards this is to maintain a good qualification. 😉

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