The Evolution of Sales Development

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Imagine being left behind.

Your ride leaves you behind.  You miss the train. The bus runs early and you’re left standing at the stop bewildered.

It never feels good.  

And in business, the more important the opportunity, the more profound being left behind is.

David Dulany, Founder and CEO of Tenbound, doesn’t want you to be left behind.  In fact, he has an entire Sales Development Conference in San Francisco to address the future of sales development in order to help you avoid just that.

It would be cliché to say that change is coming, but the reality is this change has already come.

Whether we’ve noticed or not, things are different now than they were five, ten, or fifteen years ago. Businesses that are immune to change and fail to adapt to current realities – no matter how large or previously successful – are falling behind and, in some cases, closing their doors.

They’ve been left behind.  Will you be?

Evolving Purchasers

“The way customers buy things is different than it was ten years ago.  Our approach to getting their attention should have evolved as well,” David says.  

David challenges others to think about how they purchase things in their daily life.

It’s frictionless.  We don’t even have to deal with a salesperson most of the time.  One or two clicks and what we want is on its way.

There are some that even avoid salespeople while trying to make purchasing decisions.

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Is it the best, smartest way to purchase?  Perhaps not always. But increasingly, consumers are becoming resilient to traditional methods of outreach.  Anything that adds extra complication to their day is often dismissed.

“So if we’re working under the traditional model, we have to become more careful and researched,” David reminds us, “Spam and sending out massive number of emails and phone calls has a diminishing return.”

There must be more research involved on the prospects and some kind of relevant messaging that makes them want to stop and take your call.

“It’s setting up your product in a way that makes it easy for people to get into the top of the funnel and then bringing in the sales development folks to help them – almost like a concierge.”

Evolving Sales Management

Seeing the change coming (or once it’s arrived) is one thing.

But what do we do?

David looked around and realized that there was the absence of an industry-wide conference 100% focused on sales development.

So he created one.

It started out as semi-regular meetings between others in the industry to fill a need for thought leadership, but the Sales Development Conference is expanding.

How do we set appointments?

How do we build pipeline?

How do we generate revenue?

There are a ton of helpful tools to do this, but what was lacking was true thought leadership around how to run a sales development program and how to train managers and reps, and bring up the skill level.

First and foremost, the goal of the conference is to add value and help people to up-level their sales development professionals.

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David’s been around the sales industry for a long time.  He even hesitates to say for how long.

What he imagines is a Chief Sales Development Officer (CSDO) position that is able to affect how the product is developed, the marketing to support it, and how they go about moving people through the pipeline.

“If we want to really take it to the next level,” David says, “it’s blowing up the departments we have right now and blowing up our strategy about moving people seamlessly through the pipeline.”

The days where disjointed departments could hide amidst sales metrics is gradually passing. What’s left is a dire need for everyone to be on the same page in order to address a new buying situation.

This post is based on an interview with David Dulany of Tenbound,

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

Posted December 5, 2018

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