Use These Real-world Assessments to Hire Your Next BDR Manager

Hiring successful BDR managers is no easy feat, but it’s crucial to the long-term success of your sales team – BDR managers own the top of your lead funnel, and often the talent pipeline for your company as well. You task them with hiring junior team members and ramping those new hires quickly on your product, market and sales process. They must handle all of that while facing an extremely high turnover rate, competitive market/comp while likely building training, processes and operations on their own.

In my experience, few individuals stay in the front line BDR Manager role for more than a few years. The BDR Manager job is a stepping stone to the next thing – maybe a BDR Director, an AE role, or even managing a full cycles sales team. So you have a choice to make in recruiting: Do you take a risk on a first-time manager (we all have to do it for the first time once!), hire from another industry, or pay a little more than you are comfortable with to lure someone away from a competitor?

How do you know you’re hiring the right person?

During my years working with BDRs, Talent Managers, and sales/marketing leadership, I’ve heard many of the same worries and hiccups that come out of the hiring process. So to make sure you can avoid some of the pains I’ve had to go through building teams, we’ve compiled three scenario-based assessments that you can utilize in your interview process in order to determine the potential success of a BDR Manager candidate. Our hope is that you’re able to identify concerns early on and assess the candidate’s skills in real-world scenarios.

Inheriting and Adding Value to an Existing Team

When you have a BDR team in place, you have to consider how this new manager hire will have impact from day one. Where can they add value during his/her own ramp? This first assessment makes the candidate think about how to gain the respect of the team and executive leadership, think critically about the business to address performance gaps and move to the execution phase.

Assessment 1: 30-60-90 Plan

You are inheriting an existing team and need to quickly gain credibility and have impact. We would like you to propose a 30-60-90 day plan highlighting how you would approach this challenge. We have provided a quick overview of the team’s metrics to aid in this effort. [NOTE: Replace the bold numbers with your own stats]

Inbound:

  • 1 BDR handles~600 inbound leads per quarter
  • 12% of inbound leads convert to demos and are passed to AEs
  • 15-20% of demos passed to AEs convert to customers

Outbound:

  • 8 BDRs are tasked with scheduling 15 new demos each per month
  • We are averaging 12 completed demos per outbound BDR per month
  • 2% of all new cold contacts convert to demos and are passed to AEs
  • 5% of demos passed to AEs convert to customers

Let us know if there is any additional information you need/questions you have to propose your plan:

  • What are your goals for each period?
  • What tactical steps will you take to accomplish these goals?
  • What will you need from the team to support you in these efforts?
  • What challenges do you anticipate?

Critical Thinking and Cross-functional Alignment

The second assessment addresses a common concern; your candidate doesn’t have experience working cross-functionally to solve a problem. This is a great assignment for a first-time manager or someone just stepping into a leadership role.

Assessment 2: Retargeting Strategy

Company A has a database of [insert number] contacts. Of these contacts approximately 25% have been disqualified. The remaining 75% are a mix of leads that have interacted with the website (and potentially a rep) and have since gone silent, or are using a free version of the product. Contacts vary in age, quality and amount of information collected.

The exec team has asked you to come up with a win-back plan to target your existing database and re-engage these cold prospects. Please put together a plan to systematically prospect into this database:

  • How would you prioritize the contacts?
  • What goals would you set for the team?
  • How would you align marketing, BDR and sales resources around this effort?

If, halfway through your plan, you find you are generating fewer than 50% of the meetings expected, how would you adjust your plan?

Coaching vs. Management vs. Leadership

Finally, if you’re hiring on the other end of the spectrum and considering a senior candidate, you may be concerned he or she is too far removed from the day to day role of a frontline manager. Maybe they’ve worked in a bigger company, managed managers or just seems a little too “hands off”. This assessment will enable you to evaluate if the candidate has what it takes to coach and develop a team.

Assessment 3: Coaching an underperformer

Matt is a BDR at [insert company]. He’s worked for the company for a few months and is highly motivated to take on more responsibility and grow into a full cycle sales rep. While he’s picked up the content quickly during onboarding, we’ve noticed that his appointments are converting to opportunities below the team average and want to dig into his qualification skills.

Matt has come to you asking for suggestions on ways he can set clearer expectations and push for the right information in his calls. You’ve set up a 1:1 with him to go over this and to review his most recent call recording [insert link].

Please put together a plan for the 1:1:

  • How would you set up the 1:1?
  • What would you discuss and what questions would you ask?
  • What is your feedback on the call and how would you deliver it?

We’d love to know how you put these assessment into practice. Let us know in the comments!

Liz Cain
Liz Cain
Partner
OpenView

Liz Cain leads the firm’s Investment team and sits on the Investment Committee. Liz joined OpenView in 2016 to lead the Expansion Platform delivering recruiting, market insights and marketing/sales strategy services to our portfolio. Today, she manages the Investment team and focuses on developing the systems, processes and team to identify and win the best expansion stage software deals.
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