5 Exercises to Give an Enterprise BDR Candidate

Enterprise BDR can be difficult to hire because setting qualified appointments at the enterprise level requires a high degree of strategic thinking, sales acumen and industry experience.

We’ve interviewed many candidates who were top-performing SMB SDRs but found their skillsets and experience to be insufficient for enterprise-level sales cycles. On the other hand, we have also met some highly skilled but unproven candidates who we think could excel in the Enterprise BDR role. To level the playing field, one of the best things you can do is include a case study exercise in the interview process that resembles how you currently sell into enterprise-level clients.

Here is a 5-step framework you can use to give Enterprise BDR candidates during mid or final stages of the interview:

1. Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Based on your landing page and sales collateral, a great BDR should be able to create an ideal customer profile. If a BDR candidate can deduce what your products does, what problems it solves and who is most likely to want it, they will be much better equipped to prospect for the right leads. As your product evolves, they will more likely to be able to keep evolving their process without you needing to dictate every minor change.

Have them provide you ICP details such as size of company, indicators of needs, role in organization, industry sector, etc. Make sure they also provide justification for their ICP and have them connect it back to their assumptions about your business based on their research.

2. Find 3 companies that fit the ICP

Once they have decided on their ICP, it shouldn’t take long for them to find a few companies that fit the bill. Experienced BDR candidates should be able to navigate online tools to easily identify  companies that are a good fit. The ease at which they can connect the ICP to an actual lead will give you an idea of their prospecting skills and creativity.

Have them give you three real leads that fit their ICP target. Evaluate how close their leads match their ICP because even if their ICP is incorrect, you can still evaluate their ability to prospect and research companies.

3. Choose a stakeholder at each company

Choosing the wrong stakeholder can be a waste of time and make it harder to reach the ultimate decision maker. Experienced BDRs should be able to identify the right person to approach within a target organization. This exercise will test their understanding of how organizations are structured, how enterprises make purchasing decisions and the nuances of company/role politics.

Have them choose one specific person at each of the three companies. Make sure to dig into why they chose who they did as there is rarely a single correct answer. It’s important to have them walk you through their thought process and what intel they were able to gather on organizations and people based on public data sets.

4. Craft the initial email

Now it’s time to test their ability to write thoughtful emails. Crafting well-written cold emails can be a distinctive advantage in your sales process in an era where most sales teams are creating spammy, non-personalized drip campaigns. Look for tone, spelling, grammar, and paragraph formatting. A great email reads the way a smooth conversation would sound!

Have them write up an email for one of the three stakeholders. This exercise will help you see if they can thoughtfully communicate and connect their research on the stakeholder to how your product can help solve a major business problem.

5. 5 Questions for the stakeholder

In this final exercise, you want to see if the candidate can identify the information needed to qualify a prospect and establish need for your product or service. Asking great questions are instrumental to a great discovery call. Even though not all BDR candidates are ready to jump on the phone immediately, it’ll at least give you some indication of their potential.

Have them come up with 5 specific questions they would want to ask a prospect before setting a meeting for your closers. If running discovery calls is an immediate requirement for your hire, you may even want to do this final exercise as a role play.

While it is unlikely that a candidate will score perfectly on all 5 steps above, you should still run a structured interview process to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Even if they lack the strategic mind to formulate the right ICP, they may still be a great prospector. Similarly, they may be able to identify the right qualifying questions but needs a lot of coaching on writing great emails. These exercises will help you avoid bad hires and make explicit tradeoffs when comparing candidates with different strengths and weaknesses.

Jordan Wan

Founder & CEO of CloserIQ. Previously Sales Strategy & Management @ZocDoc, Head of Analytics @PayPerks and Trading Strategist @Bridgewater Associates. MIT Bachelor’s & Master’s in Computer Science. CFA Charterholder.