10 ways to improve SDR pipeline and productivity

Business growth depends on consistent sales and, even before that, strong SDR pipeline and processes. Companies literally depend on SDRs—often junior members of the sales team—to find, reach out to, qualify and push new leads into the sales funnel so quota-carrying reps can close deals. If SDRs don’t generate high-volume, high-quality leads, companies risk not reaching their goals. So, how much pipeline should your SDR team build and how can they grow a well-balanced pipeline?


How much pipeline does an SDR team need to create?

You might be asking, “How much pipeline should an SDR source?” This is challenging because it depends on several factors:

  • Win rate: What percentage of deals do sales reps win?
  • Time-to-close deals: How long does it take (in days/weeks) to close a deal?
  • Pipeline addition requirements: Companies or sales professionals might have different opinions on when to count a prospect in the pipeline. For example, some reps add a company to the pipeline after the first demo.

Many SDR teams aim to secure pipeline of pipeline 3-4x their quota during the month. Your required pipeline may change depending on how effective your sales strategies are.


10 tips for improving SDR pipeline

It might be challenging to expand the SDR pipeline, but there are strategic tips you can use to improve the overall health of your SDR pipeline. 


1. Provide sales training to simplify SDR pipeline growth

Sales don’t come naturally to everyone. Some of your team may find sales activities like cold calling and follow-up hard to do. Sales training helps SDRs understand every aspect of facilitating purchases.

Sales training is often lost over time. Many of the skills learned from a sales development trainer will fade within a month. We all know the feeling of being motivated by a speaker, and then returning to the real world where implementation is challenging.

Companies must understand that learning is a continuous muscle that sales professionals must stretch to win more deals and fill their pipeline. Instead of investing in large learning opportunities, consider monthly sales training sessions.


2. Create content to make sales easier

Sales enablement is crucial to closing more deals and filling a pipeline. Marketing teams are uniquely positioned to create content that can help improve SDR team productivity. Sales and marketing teams must work together to identify sales gaps that companies can address with content.

There are many ideas sales teams can pitch to marketing:

  1. Case studies
  2. Pitch decks
  3. Product one-pagers
  4. On-demand demos
  5. Lead nurturing campaigns
  6. Blog posts
  7. Product reviews
  8. eBooks
  9. Industry surveys
  10. Interviews/podcasts

Once sales teams acquire these resources, share them with prospects. For example, a prospect might enjoy an interesting blog post or industry survey. As potential customers get further down the funnel, they’ll want decision-making content like case studies. While a face-to-face conversation with a prospect is excellent, sending resources can help reengage leads.


3. Improve time management with SDRs

Did you know that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor who responds to a prospect first? If you need to build a pipeline of buyers, you can’t afford to be the last organization to the table. Many buyers reach out to a handful of organizations during the purchasing process, so being quick matters.

Time management isn’t about waiting in your inbox 24/7. Instead, sales professionals can use various tactics to work efficiently, like using templated responses and calendar applications to book meetings.


4. Get creative with upsells and cross-sells

Would you rather acquire 10 $1,000 customers or 5 $2,000 customers? Acquiring customers can be time-consuming, especially if you don’t upsell or cross-sell.

Upselling and cross-selling isn’t about offering things a customer doesn’t need. Customers can tell when they’ve been deceived. At best, customers down-sell during the next available billing cycle. At worst, they find another vendor they can trust with their business.

Think about the customer’s needs before you offer an upsell or cross-sell. What are they trying to accomplish with your product? How would this upsell help them achieve that goal faster? Do they need the additional products, or can they accomplish their goal with the current package?

If you believe the upsell is valuable, push for it. You might be surprised how much productivity you can generate with upsells. (And if they don’t need it to hit their goals, don’t push it. If you do, you’ll ultimately be contributing to churn.)


5. Offer extra incentives for reaching stretch pipeline goals

Companies often set individual pipeline goals for each SDR, but sometimes SDRs go past that number. If SDRs generate more pipeline, they typically have more room for a deal to stall without missing their quota.

One way to encourage extra pipeline is by creating a stretch pipeline goal. If an SDR’s typical pipeline generation needs to be $25,000, you can give out incentives for producing $30,000 in their pipeline that month.

Follow the stretch goal with something fun like a gift certificate for a night out or a gift basket with their favorite things. You can also recognize employees who go above and beyond in the company newsletter or all-hands meeting.


6. Use AI to make finding leads easier

Finding new opportunities can be challenging for SDRs. SDRs can sometimes struggle with finding the right organizations to cold call. Unfortunately, it’s easy for a pipeline to dry up if salespeople rely only on inbound leads.

The B2B orgs are leaning into AI for lead generation.

For example, at Rev, we help you find new opportunities by looking at the exegraphic data of your best customers. Exegraphics are the deep insights about how a company executes on its mission, things like a company’s sales tactics, strategy and hiring practices. With exegraphics, you can better understand your customers and target others just like them. In fact, with Rev’s Sales Development Platform, you can create a dynamic and prioritized target account list for each of your target segments. The result? A list of companies you can give each SDR  to research and connect with.

AI can be used in several areas of the SDR pipeline. By investing in new AI technologies, you can set your organization and sales development representatives up for success.


7. Bring in sales communication tools to connect with leads effectively

Communication is the cornerstone of the sales process. How you respond to potential customer inquiries can make or break the sales process.

One strategy that companies use is listening to sales calls to improve SDR team productivity. By listening to demos, sales professionals can pick up on the most common objections, what prospects have questions about and how they can respond better.

Another option could be investing in asynchronous communication strategies. You might not always be able to get a prospect on the phone. Being able to send an informative video or leave a helpful voicemail can help move the conversation along.

Lastly, you can also use scheduling tools to make it easier for prospective buyers to set up a call. SDRs shouldn’t be proposing times to see what sticks. Using a scheduling tool can make booking sales demos seamless for buyers.


8. Clean your CRM regularly to improve productivity

Often, SDRs look at internal resources to generate a pipeline. It’s easy for CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot to become bloated and complex. If your organization has a person in charge of the CRM, ask them to regularly clean the data to ensure that you have valid names, addresses and phone numbers.

Sales professionals can help clean data, too. For instance, you can encourage your sales team to update information if they ever run across a title, name or position  that doesn’t work. Everyone has to do their part to keep data clean and usable.


9. Build a team-driven environment between reps

Friendly competition can be great, but it doesn’t always lead to SDR team productivity. There will be moments when community and a team-driven environment work best.

For example, it can be challenging to take time off as an SDR. Often, time off can put SDRs behind on their pipeline quota, making it challenging the team to meet business objectives. Sales can often lead to burnout and turnover, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Your sales team should be working together to support each other. If sales team members can rely on each other to support ongoing deals, everyone can rest easy and take time off when appropriate.

Besides vacation coverage, SDRs can also share the resources and lessons they’ve learned. For instance, SDRs can share cold email templates or strategies that close deals. When one person on the sales team wins, everyone wins.


10. Automate tasks to speed up closed-won deals

Last but not least, consider automating tasks to move customers through the funnel quicker.

For example, automate tasks around the handoff from an SDR to an account director or from an account director to customer success. How do you ensure that new customers are checked on? Do you have systems in place to share sales details with customer service representatives? Is the implementation process smooth?

Investing in the handoff to customer success can ensure that customers don’t get hung up in the last stage of the funnel. 


Conclusion: Enhance your SDR pipeline with effective sales strategies

Building an effective SDR pipeline is more than adding connections to your SDR’s plate. SDRs build pipelines to have opportunities that close throughout the year. To create a balanced pipeline, contacts have to be in the market and ready to close within a reasonable window. They have to both fit your ideal customer profile and be ready to make the purchase.

By following the strategies outlined above, you’ll create a sales environment where fresh prospects will enter and leave an SDR’s pipeline. After all, sales are about closing the deal.