The success of your sales closers is directly related to your sales development team. When your sales development team is efficient, more deals are closed because selling to a qualified prospect is better than wasting time trying to sell to a complete stranger.
If you want your business to have a great pipeline of awesome leads, then you need to focus your attention on sales development.
What Is Sales Development?
Sales development is the process used to identify and qualify potential leads by reaching out to prospects to further gauge their needs, interest, and qualification level. This helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing to reduce the time and resources businesses and sales reps spend on unqualified leads.
For instance, high-performing organizations have good marketing teams that create a wide range of outreach through content and campaigns that help to attract prospects and create brand awareness.
Most often these successful campaigns create more leads, but this doesn’t mean that all of the leads generated are quality. The majority of leads created by these successful campaigns won’t convert.
Sales development helps reps take control of the top of the sales funnel by enabling them to identify and connect with more qualified leads quickly. This means that more qualified leads will be served to your account managers so they can close more deals.
5 Benefits of a Sales Development Strategy
Creating and implementing a sales development strategy can yield several advantages for your business.
When you take the time to strategize, you improve the quality of your leads, making it easier for your sales team to do what they do best – close more deals.
Investing in SDRs and leveraging technology is an affordable way to free up time for your sales closers. SDRs can respond to leads quickly and weed out the unqualified leads, which can dramatically increase your ROI.
Technology is a key part of a good sales development strategy. If you select the proper sales technology to help automate repetitive tasks and improve workflows, your team will be able to operate more efficiently and is less likely to make mistakes.
For example, if you have sales software that helps your SDRs track their contacts and that sets automatic follow ups, your SDRs will be less likely to miss a call or follow up.
They will also remember key details about their contacts because many sales softwares offer reps the ability to write notes along with the contact’s information. This helps them to provide a personalized and enjoyable experience to the lead or prospect they are contacting.
Team leaders can also track team members’ progress and address potential issues with training and feedback based on analytics.
Faster Response Times
Digital platforms allow SDRs to respond to information requests quicker than ever before. When a lead downloads content, fills out a form, or takes any other desired action, digital automation platforms can notify your SDRs right away.
Time is of the essence when it comes to responding to leads, and the right response strategy for sales development will help your leads get the information they need fast, which yields more closed deals in a short period of time.
Better Relationships with Prospects
One of the key aspects a great sales development strategy includes is people. Without these people (your customers or prospects), you wouldn’t be in business.
When you create an effective sales development strategy, you can develop more meaningful connections with your prospects by nurturing them throughout their buyer’s journey.
As the SDRs on your team begin to take the time to understand what a prospect or client needs, your prospects will be more likely to stay loyal to you long after your SDRs pass them along to an account executive to close the deal.
Marketing messages and content help to qualify leads before an SDR even reaches out to them. Collaboration between the sales and marketing teams helps open the lines of communication so both teams can figure out what is working and what is not.
For example, sales development reps may notice that the quality of the leads they have been receiving has dropped. They can pass this information to marketing, and they can adapt their tactics to better align with what the customers need.
5 Key Elements of a Successful Sales Development Process
Sales development processes take time to establish, and they are most effective when they include various key elements that help prospects move seamlessly through the sales funnel.
Here are five key elements of a successful sales development process:
An Efficient CRM
CRM platforms are useful for your sales development teams as long as they don’t create more administrative tasks that take up extra time. You must select a CRM and sales software that allows your SDRs to carry out sales initiatives such as prospecting and gathering lead information.
When you consider choosing a CRM, you may ask yourself these questions:
- What inefficient processes do we have that a CRM can fix?
- Who is going to use the CRM? How many users do we need?
- What other software needs to be integrated with our CRM?
Good CRM software should help streamline processes to make things easier for your sales teams so they have time to focus on building relationships with leads.
Central Content Management Database
Sales development reps need good resources so they can pass along information to help educate prospects and leads. Finding the necessary information should be made easy for sales reps to save them time.
Make sure your content management database is properly labeled and categorized so sales reps can find collateral fast. You may even try classifying content by buyer personas or based on where someone is in their buyer’s journey.
An Established Lead Qualification System
Your SDRs need to know what qualifies as a lead for your business. They need a clear definition of a qualified lead, and they need to know the steps to take during the lead qualification processes.
This helps SDRs decide when a lead becomes a prospect and when they should send them over to an account executive. However, team members in marketing and on the sales team should have an accurate understanding of the lead qualification process.
Clear Sales Analytics
Sales analytics that are clear and easy to read help sales development reps to focus on the most successful sales materials that align well with the buyer’s journey.
You should keep track of historical sales data to help your SDRs recognize trends for each buyer persona. This will help them to spend time on the right things that interest leads, rather than wasting time on irrelevant materials.
Collaboration and Feedback
Sales development is a gateway between marketing and sales. Both teams should collaborate often for continuous improvement. Sales teams can provide feedback to marketing teams about the lead quality they’ve been receiving, and marketing can adapt their messaging to appeal to leads that are more likely to qualify.
Marketing can prepare SDRs for the nuances or pain points that sales leads may have. Maintaining constant communication with a feedback loop will help SDRs perform their jobs more efficiently.
How to Build Your Sales Development Team
If you want to obtain quality leads, you must have a quality sales development team. Your SDRs should specialize in generating and developing these leads using key skills such as organization, active listening, critical thinking, and rapport building.
Here are some aspects you need to consider when you build your sales development team:
1. Determine Who Your Perfect Candidate Is.
What’s great about building a sales development team is the control you have over hiring and shaping new team members according to your organization’s goals and objectives.
Try writing down key skills and personality traits that you’d like your future sales development rep to have along with the sales experience level you prefer. Draft up a sample job description to get a clear idea of what the role actually entails.
This will give you a better idea of who your perfect candidate is when you are conducting interviews. Make sure you hire for more than skill since a candidate’s great attitude and willingness to learn can go a long way in sales.
2. Provide Comprehensive Onboarding and Training.
SDRs and other sales development team members need to be onboarded and trained effectively to help you build a sales pipeline fast. This may seem counterintuitive because you may want them to simply hit the ground running.
But if they aren’t trained according to your lead qualification system or given the right resources, then they may pass along leads that are unqualified.
Make sure you help your SDRs get acquainted with your system so they can be successful. When they are successful, your business also becomes successful because more prospects will be added to your pipeline, which increases the likelihood of deals closing fast.
3. Define Sales Team Roles and Responsibilities.
Sales team roles and responsibilities differ from organization to organization. It’s important to provide your SDRs and other sales team members with accurate and clear job descriptions so they know what they are expected to do.
This way sales development reps know that they are not responsible for closing deals. Some SDRs may want to be promoted to the AE position as soon as possible because they think it is a position that is higher on the ladder.
Make SDRs aware that their role is important and provide them with a set of expectations. They will be more likely to stay with your organization longer.
4. Set Attainable Goals and Track Progress.
Along with setting clear expectations for daily tasks, let your SDRs know what their goals are. Discuss the goals weekly, biweekly, or monthly, and provide feedback based on the previous time period’s progress.
Goals should be attainable, but they should also ensure that your SDRs have something to reach for or work harder for.
Praise your SDRs when applicable, and let them know any time one of their prospects moves all the way through the buyer’s journey and purchases a product or service. This helps them feel like an important part of the sales team and will encourage them to keep up the good work.
5. Provide SDRs With the Right Tools.
SDRs need tools like email templates and sales scripts to help them with prospecting and identifying qualified leads. The tools that you provide can help to streamline their work and save time. It may also allow them to contact more leads each day.
As noted above, you should also provide them with technology such as a CRM that allows them to keep track of their contacts, appointments, and follow-ups all in one place.
6 Things to Consider When Building a Team of SDRs
Building a great team of SDRs requires attracting and retaining the best talent. This involves having a great company culture to attract top performing sales development reps.
Here are six things to consider to help you build your team:
Implement Incentives for Compensation.
Provide your SDRs with incentives to help them reach their goals.
Popular incentive programs include:
- Performance bonuses
- Profit sharing
- Commission or bonus programs
- Project milestone bonuses
Set specific benchmarks that your team members must meet before you provide them with an incentive. This gives them something to reach for and keeps them competitive. You may even consider offering tiered rewards for each goal reached, or have a program during your busiest sales season that allows them to double their bonuses.
Give SDRs Room to Grow.
Most great sales team members are ambitious. They want to excel in their positions by learning and growing. When you draft your SDR job description, make it known that there are learning opportunities and opportunities for advancement.
Also let your new SDRs know how long you expect them to spend in their entry position so they don’t expect to advance within a couple of months.
Attract Talent with Job Perks and Benefits.
Consider the job perks and benefits you have to offer sales development team members. If you want to gather top talent, you will need to have great benefits to attract them and make them want to stay.
For example, you may allow SDRs to work from home one or two days a week, or you can provide them with unlimited vacation or free lunch Fridays.
You can make prospective sales employees eager to work at your company with the right approach.
Never settle for good enough. Your SDR team should be continuously improving to meet the constantly changing demands of the market, your priorities, and investments. Seek feedback from your team members and invite them to share their unique perspective about sales development processes.
Create Sales Scripts and Templates.
Templates save time for all of your team members. Creating them is easy, and you can customize them any way you want. SDRs send out various emails every day to leads, and ready-made email templates can save them time and helps to streamline their work.
You may also use sales scripts for phone calls to help your SDRs take control of the conversation to help lead prospects through the sales funnel in a personable and efficient way.
Try creating a list of lead-qualifying questions for your sales reps to ask.
Some potential questions are:
- Project type – “What are you working on that you need help with?”
- Time – “When do you need it?”
- Budget – “What are you willing to spend?”
- Pain points– “What solutions can I offer you?”
- Competition – “What do you use currently?”
Grow SDR Teams Slowly.
Take time to train the SDRs you have before you hire more team members. Make sure your processes are efficient and working well so you do not have to train team members twice on two different processes.
Don’t act too quickly if you notice growth with the amount of leads coming in. If you scale too quickly, you may end up over your head and that means layoffs will have to follow.
Another option you may consider is outsourcing your sales development to get the most out of your money. Outsourcing sales development to a team of qualified professional can help you have great flexibility and allows you to see instant results.
Sales development helps you fill your pipeline with qualified leads, and building the right sales development team is the key to helping you skyrocket your results. Investing time and money into sales development processes and technology to support an SDR team will boost your ability to close business.
Read more: Sales Development Tactics You Need to Adopt to Fill Your Pipeline
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