Women in Tech

How to Set Expectations for Consistent Feedback between the Business Development Rep and the Sales Rep throughout their Working Relationship 

Posted by Aug 12, 2015 9:59:52 AM Ali Powell


I went to a course today here at HubSpot on how to deliver effective feedback. At HubSpot we offer trainings to our employees. I have started taking the management training courses because I want to make sure I have the skills to help my new BDR when she gets on the floor next month.  I want to make sure that I can use these trainings as a starting point for my relationship with her when she gets on the sales floor with me. 

With most relationships (in and outside of work) there is one common thing that most people think defines a good working relationship. Trust. 

Trust is the foundation you need to be able to even work on giving feedback in a working relationship. Working on your relationship with your direct report or someone who you work with (regardless of you being their direct manager or not) is one of the first things you should do. Setting expectations from the beginning of how you want to work with each other is something that will help you in the future as your relationship grows. Over time if you had set expectations on feedback from the beginning of your working relationship it will be easier in helping you to deliver consistent feedback to your business development rep. 

At companies that are high growth, fast moving, etc. (like HubSpot) people tend to give feedback on the negative things. We tend to be really good at looking for problems and trying to fix them. That means that when you are managing someone or working closely with a colleague who you are going to be giving feedback to you need to remember to look for the good things to give feedback on as well. It is very easy to pick up on the things that need work or help. It is easy to find the negatives and the things that need fixing. It is harder to give feedback on the good things. Make sure you have a good balance between both kinds of feedback. 

It is way easier to give constructive feedback because as a person working at a technology company you are probably the kind of person that enjoys solving problems and fixing things. That means that your natural inclination in working with someone is to give  constructive feedback on things that the person could do better or do differently to be better at their job.  If you make a conscious effort to know that your natural inclination is to give feedback on the bad things you might realize that you need to give more good feedback on good behaviors and not just the behaviors that need improvement. Make a mental note to do this. 

Set a framework for feedback between yourself (the sales rep) and the business development rep that you are going to be working with from the beginning of your working relationship. 

  • Talk about your frame work for giving and receiving feedback from day one working with that person. 
  • If the BDR understands how the Sales rep will give feedback the BDR won't be surprised when this feedback happens. The sales development rep will expect the feedback and will know how the feedback is typically going to be given. Making your company's feedback structure known to your direct report or colleague you will be working with is smart to do from day one. 
  • Make sure that your business development rep knows what constitutes doing a good job in their role. Make sure that from day one they know what is expected of them to be "doing a good job." That way when you have one on ones you can give feedback around those things that you spoke about being part of doing a good job. 
  • Makes sure that when you give feedback you are working on the problem and presenting the problem in a clear way. That is what you should be working on. Make sure that the employee knows that you are not attacking them but rather trying to address the problem at hand that deserves the feedback. 
  • If you have mutual accountability to the relationship you will have an easier time giving feedback to each other as time goes on and you work together more and more. 
  • Your feedback should be consistent and regular. It should happen all the time and be consistent with actionable items the person you are giving feedback to can take away to apply to their behaviors on the job. 

At the beginning of your relationship with your business development rep explain the difference between behaviors and attributes in relation to giving and receiving feedback. 

Behaviors: these are things that you can work on and change. These are the things that you would be getting or giving feedback on. 

Attributes: these are parts of who you are. These are not things that can be given actionable, real feedback on. These are things about someone's personality. For example things like saying someone is aggressive, that they are motivated, etc. These are attributes of a person and these are not things that you should be giving feedback on. 

The SBI Framework is a good way to structure your feedback. Share this structure with your BDR so they know how to give feedback to you as well as how they will receive feedback from you moving forward. 

1. Situation

Present the situation clearly and define what you are going to be giving the feedback on. Make sure you are succinct in explaining the situation that you are going to giving feedback on. 

2. Behavior 

This is where you will explain what behaviors you noticed in relation to the situation that you are giving feedback on. 

3. Impact 

This would be what impact the situation and behavior you are giving feedback on had on you. By YOU I mean the person who is giving the feedback. Make sure you say how this made your feel and the impact that it had on you. 

The SBI framework should help you to address the situation in a constructive manner which should in turn lead to a conversation between the sales rep and the business development rep. A good rule of thumb in giving feedback is that there should always be more positive feedback than negative feedback. You don't want your direct report or your business development rep thinking that every time he or she is going to receive feedback from you it is going to be negative. That will create a sense of disengagement from the business development rep and will make them step back from the feedback. Always, always make sure there are action items that can be taken from the feedback session so you both know what to do from here on out in relation to this feedback you gave. 

How do you think you build a mutual relationship and understanding that feedback will be a part of your job? How do you make sure you give and receive feedback in a constructive way that will help you to make the changes necessary? 

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Topics: bdr, sdr, bdr program, how to manage a bdr, how to mentor a bdr, sales rep and BDR relationship

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