Why SDR Managers Need to Use Social Selling to Recruit Diverse Talent
By: Ashley Artrip
SDR managers have a unique competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting for diversity: they already have a comprehensive recruitment toolbox. Using tactics such as social selling, SDR managers can leverage the skills that they’ve honed through years of targeted selling to identify, reach out to, and convert candidates. This is particularly useful for SDR managers who are hiring with diversity and inclusion in mind. Sales is a male-dominated field, and particularly in the tech sector, can also be a white-dominated field. Because of this, it can be difficult to hire for gender and racial diversity without proactively targeting and inviting top diverse talent to apply.
That’s why social selling — selling through non-traditional channels such as social media, organizations, educational institutes, etc. — is one of the most effective strategies that SDR managers can use to engage and convert diverse talent. If you use traditional channels, you will get traditional candidates. The key to finding and attracting diverse talent is being intentional about where you go to source candidates.
Here’s how to leverage social selling, a tried and true sales strategy, when hiring for diversity:
1. Create Target SDR Candidate Personas With Empathy Maps
As with any sales campaign, the first step is to identify your target persona. Is your ideal new SDR a recent graduate, a first-generation college student, a veteran, a former athlete, or someone with two years of experience at a mid-sized company? What skills should they already have, and what skills do they need an aptitude for? Identify factors including years/months of experience, skills, former company factors, education, salary, and hobbies/interests.
Remember, when you’re hiring for an entry level position there may be adjacent experiences that are relevant to SDR skills. For instance, recruiting, which is more female dominated than sales is, requires many of the same skills that sales does. Likewise, student-athletes tend to share many of the qualities that make for a successful SDR, and traditionally are a more racially diverse group. By targeting an adjacent market you widen the pool of talented applicants that you have access to, making it easier to hire with diversity and inclusion as a factor.
After you’ve nailed down the specifics of your target candidate, then use empathy maps to understand how your SDR candidate may think, feel, and behave. For instance, if you were targeting student-athletes, you would want to identify the best communication channel for them, you’d want to determine their goals and motivators, and then sell to them on the right channels with empathetic messaging. Empathy maps enable you to develop a targeted campaign to address pain points and speak to the things your future SDR cares about.
2. Don’t Just Define Your Company’s Value Proposition; Define Your SDR Team’s Value Proposition
As any SDR Manager knows, every sales team has its own unique culture. Some teams enjoy blasting music and celebrating closes with banging a gong; while others prospect primarily through online mediums, and may be open to team members working from home. Think about the unique factors that not only make your company appealing but also your sales team appealing.
One element of this is ensuring that your culture is inclusive and welcoming and that candidates can see this through your communication efforts and your social presence. This is particularly important when using social selling to recruit for diversity. For instance, if you’re targeting student athletes you may want to emphasize the ‘team’ nature of your sales team, and show how the support system, goals, and structure of your company mirror that of a sports team. If you’re targeting first-generation college graduates, you may want to emphasize the robust onboarding and continued educational support that your team offers for entry-level hires. Make sure that you’re selling your team’s value proposition in a way that resonates with the candidates you’re targeting.
3. Meet Your Prospects — Er, Candidates — Where They Are
This is the most crucial element of social selling. Use social platforms — be that Facebook, a college newsletter, a presentation at an Entrepreneur program, etc. — to interact with your target audience where they already live.
If you wait for diverse prospects to come to you, you may be waiting a long time. There are structural and social reasons that certain fields have more of a diversity and inclusion problem than others, and to combat this you need to be intentional about recruiting. Identify spaces and groups that have diverse candidates with the mindset that’s likely to make for a good SDR, and then meet them in these spaces. It’s important to show candidates why a sales career could play to their strengths and why you targeted them specifically.
4. Close Prospects and Ask For Referrals
82 percent of employers said that employee referrals give better ROI than any other recruitment source. Give new hires incentive to refer their friends to your SDR team to capitalize on the network effect, and have them perform the same social selling that you performed before. Effective referral programs can decrease time to hire and lower attrition.
Many companies also choose to use a simpler form of the referral method: partnering with a training program known for graduating top SDR talent and meeting diversity needs. Which brings us to our next point.
5. Sounds Like Too Much Work? Partner With An Academy to Expedite The Hiring Pipeline and Attract Top Talent
Training programs such as SV Academy do all of the above, plus train aspiring SDRs so that they can provide immediate value-add to any sales team. It can take up to six months to effectively train a recent graduate — and can even take that long for entry-level SDRs who have had a few months of experience at a different company. This takes a serious toll on your company’s bottom line.
Training programs like SV Academy eliminate this gamble. Every graduate is fully trained and prepared as an SDR, and has exhibited promise and sales acumen during the academy’s rigorous recruiting and interviewing process. SV Academy emphasizes diversity and inclusion by specifically targeting women and racial minorities. 60% of SV Academy graduates are women, and over 30% are people of color. This group of highly diverse talent graduates from the academy fully ready to enter the workforce: each graduate has received 300 hours of training, completed an internship doing prospecting and cold outbound leads for a large SaaS company, and receives 12 months of SDR coaching and mentoring after joining your company. Our partner companies get access to diverse talent that can provide immediate ROI.
We use the same strategies to recruit that we use to train our recruits. The result is a group of ambitious, talented, diverse SDRs ready to join their next company. To learn how you can gain access to the top talent that SV Academy produces, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.