Episode NinetySix

BDR Retention: Making Your Organization a Place BDRs Want to Be

Guest: Sara Colombo, Director of Business Development at Jellyvision

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About This Episode

Let’s face it: BDRs isn’t a role that is known for tenure. It’s not known to be a role that people get and stay in for years at a time. The average tenure for an BDR is a mere 16 months. 

So how do you keep your BDRs engaged, active, and excited about what you’re doing at your organization? Amidst the onslaught of cold calling, ghosting, and unreturned emails, how do you make sure that your BDRs know that what they’re doing matters?

Sara Colombo, Director of Business Development at Jellyvision, was a guest on the Sales Engagement podcast recently and had some fantastic thoughts around this topic of BDR retention, and what it looks like in her world at Jellyvision. 

Avoiding BDR Burnout

We see it all the time. A new BDR starts, is really excited for a couple weeks or months, then quickly becomes burned out. Disengaged. Frustrated. It’s a story that is all to common.

Why? Because the BDR role is a very simple role, but at the same time, is also a very difficult role. The actual work of calling, emailing, and setting meetings isn’t super challenging, but the work itself is draining and exhausting, if your focus isn’t in the right place. 

When a BDR doesn’t feel like they’re being challenged, or loses site of the bigger picture, all of a sudden the little, mundane things that make up a large part of the job seem meaningless, and they quickly find themselves wondering if this is the right place for them. 

It’s a matter of encouraging BDRs in the small things. Those little things that don’t seem all that glamorous, or that they’re not seeing any traffic from. Those are the things that are crucial. Those are the things that are driving the business. 

How to Increase Retention

At Jellyvision, there’s a very purposeful order to the way things are done.

As soon as a new rep joins, their title is BDR. What they’re honing are the really tactical skills needed to make it in this world. Calling, emailing, appointment setting, etc. All those things that you have to get nailed down if you want to make in the sales world. 

As they start to ramp up and get moving, they move into the role of an Enterprise BDR. These are focused on companies with 1,000-5,000 employees. The buying group is more challenging, and they’re learning how to navigate partnerships. 

Next up is the Sr. Enterprise BDR role. This is companies with over 5,000 employees, and this is the point where the BDR is really starting to train others, be a mentor to new hires, and take on new projects outside of the sales team. Their day isn’t just filled with the technical tasks that so often cause burnout. 

By having a specific, purposeful structure in place, there’s a lot more clarity around what a BDR’s role is, how it impacts the organization, and what they need to do to get to the next level. 

What Prompts Movement? 

In the case of Jellyvision, they’re an extremely seasonal company. They’re dealing with companies in the health insurance space, so come August, they’re in full swing trying to get their tools ready to go for open enrollment in the fall. 

This is also when they’re forecasting for next year’s needs. They’ll sit down, decide how many AEs are needed, and who is ready to move, and then try and move them at the beginning of the year. But often times, people are ready to go in June. Chomping at the bit because they’ve spent the last 18 months making phone calls, getting hung up on, and they just can’t wait to move on. 

The problem is, the roles aren’t often there in June. So at Jellyvision, they try really hard to keep BDRs engaged all year round. Whether it’s helping with onboarding, running meetings, or shadowing calls, they’re always looking for ways to get people the experience needed, while doing what’s best for the organization. 

The BDR role is a challenging one for sure. But when you put the right guardrails and structures in place, you can set your BDRs up for success, no matter how long they might stay in your organization. 

This post is based on a podcast interview with Sara Colombo from Jellyvision. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

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About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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