What is Your Employees’ Why?: Managing a Remote SDR Team

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The job of an SDR team can be taxing and can often lead to them feeling underappreciated. In many companies, this leads to high SDR turnover. The average turnover rate of an SDR is 34 percent, and nearly two-thirds of them leave voluntarily. DemandZEN saw this trend and decided to break it by improving management styles for a remote team. Here are our top tips when managing a remote SDR team:

Get to Know them on a Personal Level

Be curious about the “why” of each individual on your SDR team. This why is referring to their motivation for success. Managers can’t give the employee their why; however, they can help the employee’s why grow.

At DemandZEN, managers focus on mentoring employees’ personal and professional goals. On initial 1:1 calls, they help employees map out their dreams, then document them using Hugo, a centralized meeting and note-taking tool, and 15Five, a goal and objective tracking tool, allowing them to follow their plans progress. Many opportunities are provided to employees to help aid in achieving their goals. For example, all DemandZEN employees pick a learning track on Linkedin Learning, personal or professional, and take an hour a week to invest in themselves. Progress on all goals is tracked throughout the quarter and discussed during 1:1s. 

Regular 1:1s

Managers host a half an hour 1:1 once a week with all employees on their team. We use the outline below to help lead the conversation and efficiently use the time:

Intro question

Start with an open-ended question. How was last week? What’s been working well for you lately? 

Celebrate Wins & Lessons Learned

What have we accomplished since our last meeting? Note progress on important initiatives.

How can we be better? Highlight lessons learned from the previous week.

Remove Roadblocks

What (if anything) is stopping—or slowing down—your progress? How can we remove that roadblock? What support do you need? 

Plan to remove specific roadblocks and create action items.

Two-Way Evaluation and Feedback

How are we doing? How can we work together more effectively? 

Open Discussion

Provide time for open discussion. Is there anything else you want to talk about? 


Should we schedule another one-on-one? Review any action items arising from the one-on-one.

Action items

Set clear tasks and objectives for the coming week.

Manage to Their Strengths, Not Their Metrics

When managing a remote team, it’s easy to fall into just looking at their metrics. While those things are essential, we believe in allowing our SDRs the space to show their value through their results instead of watching over their shoulder. 

“Not all employees work the same way. Leaders must position their team members based on their strengths. Often, too much time is spent on dashboards, KPI’s, metrics, etc. While important, these should just be used to diagnose an issue. The key to performance improvement is to identify individual motivators and strengths and using those to create goals and desired outcomes.” – Lynn Wik, VP of Service Delivery, DemandZEN

Trust is Everything

To manage employees’ strengths, you as the manager first need to trust that they are doing their work. Not micromanaging an employee can be difficult, especially when the company is remote. Set aside time for yourself once a week to go over the employees’ results, so you don’t find yourself falling into checking the metrics 10x a day. Go over insights found during the 1:1. 

Employees also need to trust you’re there to support them. Not only is this trust built through 1:1s, but Slack is also used by managers to encourage their teams on team slack channels every morning, mid-day, and end of the day. This communication helps an employee trust that their leader is there to support them, even from miles away. To learn more about our use of Slack, check out our blog: Beyond the Sales Bell: Celebrate a Company Win Remotely.

 The job of a manager is to support and help employees see possibilities. DemandZEN managers have decided to help their SDR team succeed by discovering their why. Every single team member has a different one. Tap into their why, promote action fueled by their why, and inspire them to expand their why. Have you asked your team what their why is lately?

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DemandZEN specializes in Account-Based Demand Generation and solving the challenges around finding, engaging and converting target accounts into real opportunities for B2B Technology and Services companies.

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