Strategies for a World-Class SDR Program

Stop Talking About SDR Email Response Rates

This week, I’m working with the Sales Development team in our Spokane, Washington office. While driving to work this morning I saw a 620 horsepower vehicle (I know because it said “620hp” right on the side). Obviously, this is an incredibly fast automobile. NASCAR stock cars usually have 850 to 900 horsepower. So any vehicle with ⅔ as much power as a professional racecar has got to be fast, right?

This is what I saw on the highway:

Horsepower is to speed as cold email response rate is to sales development success

I use this to make the point that there is more to speed than power. Things like weight distribution, torque, and suspension affect a vehicle’s top speed. No single factor can be an accurate indicator of top speed.

Judging the success of an outbound sequence by its open or response rate is just like guessing a vehicle’s top speed based on horsepower alone. That’s why it’s so frustrating to hear sales development leaders compare the response rates of their “best” sequences. If you’ve spent any time in sales development, you know that this conversation happens hundreds of times at every conference.

Some of you—the ones who talk endlessly about response rates with other sales leaders—are probably feeling a bit of resistance to this message. You still want to tell everyone about your amazing response rates. This happens for a simple reason—response rate is easy to measure.

But response rate can be a false indicator of success. To make my point, I’ve written an email that you simply can’t beat. This is yours, free of charge. I guarantee you that this email will destroy your best open AND response rates:

Screenshot of a cold outbound sales development email

You’re welcome…

Without understanding the rest of your sales development funnel, open rates and response rates are meaningless. Stop talking about them.

Instead, you should be talking about your entire Sales Development funnel.

Stay tuned! Over the next few weeks, I’ll share how we standardize and measure funnels.

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Taft Love

Taft Love

Taft Love is an experienced sales development and sales operations professional who has worked with dozens of startups in and around San Francisco in recent years. He now leads teams of SDRs and Sales Operations analysts for SmartRecruiters in San Francisco.

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