Pipeline creation is the driving force of any sales organization and Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are specialized to help drive some of that prospecting work. Unfortunately, many SDR programs fail to achieve their intended efficiency and revenue goals and therefore default to becoming Account Executive (AE) training initiatives rather than profitability levers.
Verkada’s Growth team looked at multiple SDR programs (including our own) to find out what processes may be weighing down the true potential of each sales representative and hypothesized on ways to dramatically improve them.
SDRs teams are forced to prioritize their time in the wrong places
The Growth team closely monitored SDR activity to see how they spend their days. They found two major observations:
The average SDR spends 70% of their time trying to get a hold of a prospect (e.g., building lists, crafting messaging, cold calling, sending emails and LinkedIn messages), and only about 10% is spent interfacing with potential customers. The rest is spent on training or task switching.
SDRs are asked to optimize for what their corresponding AEs want, meaning they are confined to prospect on a specific set of leads within a territory in a particular time zone.
With these in mind, our marketing team set out to build a new program that can operate at four times the ROI of the SDR program at scale. They call it the “MDR Program”.
Eliminating constraints to help Verkada MDRs scale efficiency
The ten-month-long Verkada MDR program is designed for efficiency and profitability. Regardless of the method, the growth team automates the initial outreach and MDRs only begin their work when they receive a response from the prospect. Using this process, the MDRs save hours each day and use that time to have meaningful conversations with prospects. This also allows the MDRs to follow up on the lowest-hanging fruit of outbound leads without the constraints of having a specific territory or timezone.
As a result, MDRs can qualify an average of 6 Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) or meetings booked per day compared to 1.5 SQLs by SDRs (as measured using Verkada internal data).
Each MDR can book close to 120 meetings per month versus the average 20 meetings secured by a typical SDR. All else being equal, this makes the MDR at least 4x more efficient than the SDR.
Evolving the MDR Program to be even more successful
To further optimize the outreach portion of the program, we plan to incorporate natural language processing to read referral-type responses and then route the follow-up to the appropriate decision-makers within accounts. With each experiment, our team is driving more ROI and uncovering learnings for our organization.
The MDR program is a win-win for both the growth and sales employees of the MDR Program. Here are a few reasons why:
Provides an entirely new level of efficiency that most GTM teams never reach
Due to the nature of our process, MDRs are 4-6x more productive than traditional SDRs.
Allows our Growth team to experiment
Because our team of MDRs sits within our Growth Marketing organization, we can run experiments quickly without inherent variables, such as other sales tasks getting in the way. It’s also easier to quality control the experiments, identify weaknesses and fix inefficiencies quickly.
Acts as a launchpad to a sales career in tech for many MDRs
Diving into the tech world with no previous experience can be challenging. Gaining experience in Sales for a fast-growing security company will give you an edge and is an excellent way to begin and grow your career in tech.
Helps young professionals gain confidence
Given sales representatives on our MDR program spend a lot more time immediately interfacing with prospects than their SDR counterparts, our graduates become very confident at overcoming objections and strong at building connections. Many MDRs have become top-performing Account Executives; some have even applied to and excelled at other roles within Verkada. With a solid sales and marketing foundation, MDRs have a high success rate in any position.