A well-known figure in the sales thought leadership industry, you probably know Morgan Ingram from his SDR Chronicles YouTube channel, his work with sales trainer John Barrows, or his previous feature on this very blog. After getting started as an SDR, Morgan realized the opportunity to share his insight and knowledge with others, which got his YouTube channel up and running. Now, as Director of Sales Execution and Evolution at JBarrows Sales Training, Morgan spends his time helping sales professionals in all roles be more productive, effective, and successful.
In this follow-up conversation, Morgan takes us through best practices for SDRs looking to spend their time wisely and grow their careers successfully in the world of sales.
What does good time management look like for SDRs?
Time management, in its most basic sense, is about coming into your day knowing exactly what you’re going to do. When I personally was an SDR, I literally made sure every single hour of my workday was scheduled out in 15 or 30-minute increments. It’s a framework designed to focus on the things you have to do to get results. Every SDR has a list of the things they’re supposed to do, such as phone calls, emails, etc. Time management is about scheduling these to do’s out based on what personally works for you.
This realization that every single minute counts in a day came from industry high-achievers like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. If you look at his Instagram, you’ll quickly find an overwhelming commonality – he’s wearing a variation of the same outfit in every picture! I guess he realized that he makes so many important decisions a day he doesn’t need to waste time on a small decision like his clothing. This is an extreme example, of course, but it’s how SDRs need to start thinking about their time management. If there are only so many hours in a day, why waste them planning out what you’re going to do instead of actually accomplishing those things?
What are your best practices for SDRs looking to manage their time better?
Everyone works differently, so it’s about knowing the best schedule for you. For example, when I was an SDR, I would wake up every day around 5:30, go to the gym, and then be in the office way before the rest of my team. This meant I had at least an hour of researching accounts, scheduling out my day, and finishing up admin tasks before the rest of the team came in and the day officially started. It’s all about knowing your personal work mentality and how your brain operates. If you’re in a better mood in the morning, schedule call time then and save your research for the afternoon.
When I first got into the SDR world, I used to try to squeeze in as many hours a day as I could. I quickly learned, however, that it’s not about the hours you work, it’s about the work that you’re getting done during those hours. It’s all about balance and scheduling.
I try never to schedule out more than 30 minutes at a time. For example, maybe you can spend 30 minutes researching, and then 30 minutes calling CFOs, and then 30 minutes calling CIOs, and then 30 minutes sending follow-up emails.
How can SDRs accurately balance personalization with activity?
This is a tough one, because as we all know personalization can take some serious effort which can cut into an SDR’s productivity and overall activity numbers. In my experience, it all comes down to how you schedule your daily and weekly calendar. Put actual time blocks on your calendar for writing personal emails and researching accounts. SDRs need to adopt the mentality that if it’s not written down, it’s not happening.
When it comes to keeping tabs on volume and quotas, it really depends on the team. Make sure you’re valuing quality over quantity. It’s not just about making calls to make calls and hit quota, it’s about making calls with a purpose.
Additionally, every single one of these calls requires preparation. Your prospects need a compelling reason to talk to you, and even more so if they’re an outbound lead. When researching an account, I recommend SDRs put a timer on for 15 minutes and see what they can pull together in that time. Then, use that information to inform your goals for the call.
What advice do you have for SDRs looking to expand their sales career or who just want to rise above the ‘daily grind’?
It’s no surprise that the life of an SDR is full of rough patches, but the best way to endure the lifestyle is to know exactly what you’re working to achieve as an SDR in the first place. Is it just for the paycheck? Do you want a job you can clock in and clock out of every day? Or is it a starting point towards an advanced sales position? Understanding this central focus and building a framework around your goals can help create clarity.
This is always a difficult piece of advice to swallow, but the weekend is really where SDRs can get ahead. Even if it means spending an hour and a half prospecting and writing up personalized emails on a Sunday afternoon that can be sent throughout the week, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running on Monday. Look at your long-term goals, then break those out for your week so you know exactly what you need to do to succeed.
If your goal is to move up in a sales role towards an Account Executive or sales leader position, then it comes down to diligence. I always tell people that it’s what you do after your 9-5 where you thrive. Just think – most people commute for around one and a half hours a day to and from their office. This is an hour and a half that could be spent listening to a book or podcast and educating yourself.
Challenge yourself to grow just 1% better every day. Starting small is key so that you aren’t overwhelmed, but this means that you’ll be 365% better at one thing at the end of the year, so the education really adds up quickly.
Speaking of educational resources, here are some resources that Morgan recommends (in addition to his SDR Chronicles YouTube channel, of course):
- The Impact Theory Podcast with Tom Bilyeu
- The School of Greatness Podcast with Lewis Howes
- The Make it Happen Podcast with John Barrows
- The Sales Hacker Podcast
- #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self Awareness, by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Timothy Ferriss
- The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, by Anthony Iannarino
- The Challenger Customer, by Matthew Dixon
Ready to Learn More?
For more information on best practices of great sales leaders, check out the Costello resources below. If you’d like to see Costello in action, request a personalized demo of our real-time sales playbook software.