So finally you’ve reached this article! Most likely you have been trying to learn more about sales development. In web 2.0, post the dot-com bubble, businesses got access to unlimited sources of knowledge and intelligence. Sales development started becoming a trend for B2B brands sometime in the 1980s. In today’s world where the nature of the market is extremely competitive, businesses need a more efficient approach to close sales. Hence sales development becomes one of the important parts of the sales journey.
So, What exactly is Sales Development?
Sales Development is a process or team that focuses on the initial activities of the sales cycle. Sales Development Reps help sales teams to get sales qualified leads to achieve a greater sales success rate. Sales development representatives in an actual sense have more responsibilities than just bringing in the leads. They are also closely attached to buyer behavior, market trends, user experience, product quality, and more.
What Exactly Is the Role of Sales Development Reps?
Generally, every B2B business has two teams that work hand in hand, they are marketing and sales. While sales is a part of marketing, the reason why there is a dedicated sales team is a need for a more focused approach towards closing the sales. While the marketing team builds a pathway for continuous leads, there occurs a need for evaluating leads. Evaluation of generated leads is one of the most important aspects of sales prospecting as it saves lots of time and effort for the sales team. If the sales team also has to do sales prospecting, their focus from closing more deals shifts to some extent and that affects overall productivity and business revenue.
Sales Development Reps play a crucial role here. They not only help segregate the leads but also assist the marketing efforts by generating leads from different techniques. SDRs (Sales Development Reps) use cold email outreach, cold calling, social selling, etc. as some of the approaches to connect with prospects.
Why Do You Need a Team of Sales Development Representatives?
Typically, businesses form processes and build teams to make the workflows easier and achieve targets in desired periods. While we already know that Sales Development Reps (SDRs) are different from the team who closes the sales, let’s understand the need of having a dedicated team for pre-sales or inside sales.
1. The most important factor why businesses felt the need to have sales development representatives is because of the competitive nature of the market. Achieving high sales numbers started becoming very challenging as business competitors started using different tactics to increase their market share. With the help of online reach, businesses started reaching potential customers quite easily. The geographical advantage of having a physical office in a city doesn’t exist anymore for digital service providers. Since businesses can’t control this type of threat in the competitive market, SDRs play a crucial role in maintaining and increasing sales.
2. Prospects in B2B businesses generally have multiple decision-makers, and the sales process gets too time-consuming. SDRs coordinate with the prospect until the prospect has not reached a final decision. This reduces the time investment of the sales team and also SDRs play a great role in convincing multiple decision-makers from the prospect’s company. This helps the sales team to focus on closing the business and save time in convincing multiple persons.
3. Speed is the name of the game when it comes to sales. When you have only one team doing everything possible to increase sales, you are probably running slow. If you’re a growing company or a startup you need to close sales faster before you fall short of funds. To expedite the sales, businesses started building teams for inside sales or SDRs. SDR teams work as the bridge between marketing and sales, which speeds up the process of generating hot leads or turning warm leads into hot ones.
What are the key roles of the Sales Development Representatives?
To formulate and implement the sales development process, you need the right people and define the correct roles for each team member. There can’t be just one person to handle all tasks. Each major role should be given to a qualified person. The important roles or tasks in a sales process you need to assign are
- Research for finding new leads
- Prospecting, Cold Email Outreach
- Lead Qualification, Lead Validation
- Effectively communicate with/to Account Executives (the team that closes deals)
- Coordinate with Account Management (Sales) Team
It’ll be the SDR team’s job to qualify each lead and perform lead scoring – deciding which ones are worth pursuing – and maintaining all of your lead data. They’ll also perform regular activities such as follow-up emails, saving your sales team the trouble of having to chase down hard-to-reach prospects. A member of your SDR team will also be responsible for building the connection with the prospect, to turn the lead into a warm lead. This will also include educating the prospect about the product and listing all the benefits and value propositions for his business. They will also be in touch with the prospect once the successful sale has taken place. Once you have hired sales development representatives to take care of all these things, you need to ensure that you have a Sales Manager to overlook this entire process. The Sales Manager’s role will be to make sure that the SDRs are well aware of their tasks, and motivated to achieve the mission and vision of the company.
Key processes to ensure consistency in SDR performance
- Training – Sales Development Representatives
Training SDRs is one of the most important parts of the process of building a productive SDR team or Process. There are several methods or standard training processes that can be followed to conduct training sessions for sales development representatives. While training SDRs, the management has to ensure some key points like sales training, setting realistic targets, Collaboration, regular meetings with account executives and the sales team, time management, market research, effective communication, and more.
- Retaining – Sales Development Representatives
Now that you have got the best sales development representative on board with proper training and a sense of responsibility, you don’t want them to part ways with your organization in a few weeks’ time. By retaining current SDRs you save a huge cost, time, and effort for your business as hiring a new team or a team member will require training sessions and time investment.
However, in order to retain current SDRs, you will have to come up with some strategies or processes. These processes are nothing but ensuring the motivation and happiness of the team members. Bringing fresh ideas or giving them newer tasks will ensure they have fresh prospects to look at in their day-to-day work. Giving them small incentives or recognitions will also help them love their jobs. Lastly, the management has to ensure continuous communication with sales development representatives to keep them updated with the latest trends or objectivity of the organization
How to Maximize the Productivity of your Sales Development Representatives team?
This is what every business is necessarily looking for. How to get the most out of the SDR process or the team? What sort of strategy should the business use to make sure the SDR team is performing the best?
The productivity or efficacy of the sales development representatives is one of the key indicators of your business’s success or failure. It is important to keep sales development representatives connected with AE [Account Executives] or Core Sales Team. This ensures that the faster movement of new leads is maintained. Account Executives are responsible for closing deals while SDRs are more focused on nurturing leads and turning them into hot leads for the Account Executives (sales team). SDRs not only nurture the leads but also provide important insights to the core sales team which can be helpful while closing the deals. SDRs also provide insights to Account Execs in order to help them focus on lead quality or channelize their efforts. Guiding SDRs to have proper time management helps them to increase their productivity. If SDRs invest more time and effort in focused activities that align with objectivity, businesses get more productivity from the SDR team. Timely training programs and scheduled meetings with the top management, and Sales team help SDRs channel their efforts. Having regular communication with SDR teams is something the management needs to ensure all the time. The top-level management should keep sales development representatives updated with short and long-term objectivity. Informing the SDRs about prospect-to-meeting ratio and accuracy in targeting the right accounts will make sure the SDR team is executing the right activities. Making the latest technologies available and investing in the right multichannel outreach tools like SmartReach.io will help automate lots of processes thereby reducing manual efforts by SDR. This also ensures accurate execution and reduced time which can help SDRs increase their productivity by more than 50%. Lead nurturing is the most important task SDRs perform and using the right technique to deal with the leads also helps sales development representatives increase their productivity.
Companies over the period of time have used different techniques to qualify leads. Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe [BANT] is a technique companies would use to qualify generated leads but eventually, it has been replaced by [PACT] a better technique which is Pain, Authority, Consequence, and Target Profile. The reason why PACT has become more popular and has replaced BANT is that knowing the pain point of the prospect is more important than knowing his budget. PACT also focuses on consequences which are after-effects of the product use. With Target Profile understanding the PACT method helps understand the relevance of the prospect with regards to the product or service.
Sales Development Strategy
In order to have a successful sales development strategy, you have to study your current as well as prospective clients. Any sales strategy or business strategy starts with “why?”. You need to find answers to a very basic question that is “why should the customer use/buy your product?” When you have a clear knowledge of what you’re selling and what are the benefits of your product, you should try and find the answer to questions like “why will the prospect give you his time?” “Why will he care to hear you out ? as he might already have a lot of things in his schedule. “Why should the prospect change his existing product and use yours?” “Why is this the right time to bring that change?” When you find answers to all these questions, you can outline the approach for sales development. You will have a clear understanding of your product as well the customer behavior and prospect’s expectations. With the correct sales script, timing and offers you can convert warm leads into high-paying clients.
Having Sales Development Representatives in the process is a definite boost to your overall sales. Planning for the SDR process and defining their roles will be an important factor in your sales strategy. A sales strategy that emphasizes pre-sales activities such as the right marketing mix, brand building activities, lead generation processes, and lead nurturing process will most likely achieve good results in a quick time. Lead generation, however, plays a very important role in the entire process. Automation tools can help the teams generate an accurate and continuous flow of leads. This will keep SDRs busy in performing their tasks and work on intelligence in the process. Providing proper training to the SDRs with the right set of automation tools can work wonders in your sales strategy. Sales strategy and sales process change from industry to industry and business to business. It is vital to conduct continuous research on new and upcoming trends in sales and marketing.
Sales Development Representatives are the bridge between the marketing and sales teams. Marketing teams put a lot of effort into getting leads, and sales teams invest a lot of time and effort to close the deals. To make sure that leads generated by the marketing team are properly managed and the sales teams get to close most of the generated leads, SDR plays a huge role. If you haven’t started the SDR process, we suggest you should start one and optimize it with time and experience.
SmartReach.io is sales enablement software that assists businesses to engage with prospects and increase productivity. Specializing in multichannel outreach (email, Linkedin, Whatsapp, SMS & Calls); it focuses on teams that are looking to increase their ROI. It integrates natively with top CRMs like Pipedrive, Hubspot, Salesforce, Zoho and with over 1500 apps through Zapier.