Fourteen years ago my business partner and I identified a big problem with many sales/marketing teams. A gap existed between the two that was dramatically affecting the productivity of both teams and as a result, the growth of the organizations whose teams had this dysfunction.

Over the years the problem has been identified by the sales and marketing community as a whole so many organizations have attempted to address this issue with limited or little success.

The gap to which I refer is the Sales Development function. The function which qualifies MQL’s generated from marketing as well as making proactive outbound calls into the company’s “sweet spot” of target prospects.

Amazingly, this function either does not exist within many organizations or if it does, it is not nearly as effective as it should be. SiriusDecisions added this function to their waterfall much to our delight a few years back. This has helped bring light to the function, but there is still much work to do.

Over the years we have seen the advent of CRM, the marketing automation, and most recently a wide variety of “sales acceleration” tools. While all of these tools can be helpful, in my experience most fall short in that the user is unable to maximize them, given they just do not have the appropriate level of specific expertise. To make matters worse very few of the companies that provide these tools have the will or ability to provide the necessary support to ensure customer success. Most, if not all are technology companies and have very little focus or understanding of Services. As a result, an entire business category of consultants has been created to address this need. A quick Google search will yield dozens of, CRM, marketing automation and general marketing and sales consultants. I know and work with many great people in this category, all of which provide tremendous value to their customers. Trish, Cindy, Janet, Matt and the entire team at The Bridge Group, Kevin at Daggerfoil, Matt at Heinz Marketing, and John Barrows are some of the best and brightest in the industry, helping their customers gain a significant market advantage over their competitors largely by helping them implement Sales Development Strategies.

No tool is a silver bullet. Smart, motivated sales professionals are, and will always be necessary to complete the equation for success. Buyers still want to interact with salespeople. The idea that an organization can rely solely on inbound leads generated through SEO, email marketing, Google Adwords and such is simply a pipedream. In a Webinar I recently attended, Craig Elias, presented data from a Demand Gen report revealing that a whopping 80% of purchases are unbudgeted and unplanned. Put another way, if you stick to inbound alone, you might be losing out on up to 80% of your potential revenue.

I have been in sales my entire career if there was a silver bullet I would have found it. The only tool that has helped me or my team, has been the one that we developed internally to help sales development reps which pulls together the right combination of data, process, technology, combined with coaching, management and reporting. In my experience there is no substitute for hard work. Working hard with the right tools, process and support however can and will yield amazing results. Our mission at QuotaFactory is to ensure every sales rep exceeds quota.

Oh yeah, the three signs your sales team needs sales development:

  1. You don’t have one!

    If you are sending your MQL’s directly to your sales team, you are wasting your marketing dollars. A SiriusDecisions study shows that up to 97% of MQL’s will not be adequately followed up upon.

  2. You do not have an targeted outbound strategy.

    Remember the 80%? The fact is the 20% of people that are coming to you have already identified their pain or need, and have reached out to several of your competitors. These folks who are reaching out to you may likely view you as a vendor versus a value add partner which never starts a relationship off on a good note.

  3. Conversions.

    If you are not seeing at least 20% of your MQL’s convert to SQL’s you have a problem. If you do not know what % of your MQL’s are converting you have a bigger problem.

The good news – you can do this! If you do, your sales development process will drive incremental revenue to your top line.