5 Tips to Consider when Setting up your Sales Development Team

Author:

Catarina Hoch

5 Tips to Consider when Setting up your Sales Development Team

Author:

Reading Time: 5 minutes

5 Tips to Consider when Setting up your Sales Development Team

Catarina Hoch

VP Global Marketing - Operatix

If you are looking to implement a new sales development function or improve the current SDR team and processes you have in place, watch out for these 5 important elements to keep in mind:

1 – Get your foundations in place before hiring SDRs

2 – You need a competent SDR Leader

3 – Data is key

4 – Use your SDR team for the right purpose

5 – Don’t neglect your team and expect it to work out

Being mindful of the challenges above and addressing them from the beginning, will help you have a successful Sales development team & process in place to generate more pipeline, sales, and ultimately an improved ROI.

A huge thank you to David Dulany and his team at Tenbound for sharing their insights on the Ebook ‘The 5 Mistakes Leaders Make With Their Sales Development Programs’.

1 – Get your foundations in place before hiring SDRs

As with any new implementation, the initial set up is key to the success longevity.

Many companies, after successfully securing a budget to implement a sales development team, go straight to the hiring process, not giving enough attention to the initial set up of the team – that includes: data, training, sales automation tools, lead hand over process, coaching, sales playbook, alignment on expectations regarding activity levels and results, and the list goes on.

Not having those processes in place before you hire your SDRs means that your reps will unavoidably waste a huge amount of time trying to set up processes themselves and are very likely to fail by setting up inefficient or nonrepeatable processes.

To not waste time, you need to highlight the processes and procedures that underpin the entire program. Do this before you have even started looking for a new sales development team.

Plan out an actionable process they will use.

Do it in a step-by-step instruction manual, documenting daily tasks, the commitment and activity levels you expect from them etc. Decide on how you will be managing them and monitoring their activities. With all this combined, you are already putting your sales development team way ahead of the curve.

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As with any new implementation, the initial set up is key to the success longevity.

2 – You need a competent SDR Leader

Success starts from the top. Although you can plan out processes to ready your sales development team, they will still learn from those in a senior role, who can also keep them accountable on the procedures mentioned in the previous point.

A VP of Sales, CMO or even CEO will not be able to provide the mentoring and ongoing support that the SDR’s will benefit from and need to be successful.

Companies often wait until they have six to eight SDRs before hiring an Sales development manager, but it is well-advised to hire an experienced SDR manager, before employing the team players.

As well as setting up those core processes and getting everything in place, they can act as your first SDR, lay out your process, write your playbook and then start to hire additional reps to build your team.

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A VP of Sales, CMO or even CEO will not be able to provide the mentoring and ongoing support that the SDR’s will benefit from and need to be successful.

3 – Data is key

Without the right data it is virtually impossible for an SDR to succeed.

In any way, shape or form your want to aid your sales development team in the best possible way – you do not want them to spend the entire day researching data, emailing the wrong addresses, or reaching out to dead numbers.

The importance of right data is often overlooked, a company may hire an SDR and think the results will start from there. Incorrect.

Without an accurate database you may pull a huge list of contacts, with all the wrong details. Or, if SDR’s are left to their own devices to get their data, this distracts them from the main focus, connecting with potential costumers/clients.

Do not leave data with ‘potentially’ the right information – instead address any issues with a structured data program. By having a documented approach to the cleaning and prioritization of your data, your SDRs will have reliable data and be more efficient.

4 – Use your SDR team for the right purpose

Before investing considerable resources into a Sales Development program, ask yourself if it’s the right go-to-market strategy for you. Not all SDR teams are in place to generate sales and pipeline straight away.

Some companies may use their SDR team to assess product-market fit when expanding into a new region, for instance. A disruptive technology vendor may utilise their Sales Development team to evangelise and educate the market that a solution like they are bringing to market actually exists.

If prospects don’t realise that their problems can be solved by your product, then your priority has to be to educate the market, and an SDR team can be a great source for that. In this scenario, asking reps to set up highly qualified leads will be a waste of everyone’s time and an extremely difficult job.

Rather than targeting your team in meetings booked, they should aim to get prospects into an education funnel. This could be done by encouraging prospective customers to sign up for webinars, engage them in a nurture sequence, or some other top-of-funnel content activities – this switches the focus from booking meetings to educating prospects, which in turn may lead to a sales engagement in the future.

However, it may be more straight forward for you if perhaps your business is offering displacement. If this is the case, SDR’s will enter conversations with prospects with the knowledge that they can solve a problem. This is a nice way to gain access into an account by introducing them to other solutions, finding out when contracts end and scheduling a time into the calendar to speak.

No one size fits all, it is all situational – do not have a blanket covering all types of engagements, sometimes you need to prepare for a different kind of approach.

Listen here to a Recorded Testimonial with Jeremy Gilman – Co-founder at RX Vantage – he utilized Operatix to test if the SDR model was the right strategy for his business, before implementing a team.

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No one size fits all, it is all situational – do not have a blanket covering all types of engagements, sometimes you need to prepare for a different kind of approach.

5 – Don’t neglect your team and expect it to work out

All the above points featured play a part in the overall success of any sales development team.

You can invest money, time and technology into a sales development team, but if you then just leave them on their own, you cannot expect desired results as an outcome. You may come back to see the performance of the SDR’s in three months’ time to find a couple employee’s have left, some do not know what they are doing – and they are not working efficiently.

Staying accountable and intwine with the team is an essential part of the process.

When you find that the sales development team is slacking, you may begin to criticize. As mentioned previously, you must begin with the correct foundation and support for your sales development program from the start. However, what is even more important is continuing this support and readdressing the foundations in the long run.

Get your hands dirty and get into the details, working out every aspect of how your team will work and making sure there’s a solid playbook in place for the program so that you can start to be successful. If you find that even with giving this support you are still not reaping the rewards, then it is time to reflect and analyse any core issues.

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Conclusion

Having a sales development team in place is becoming a core element for many organisations nowadays – especially in the B2B Software world.  

However, as stated throughout this blog, there is numerous components to consider to get the most out of your SDR’s.

It requires taking your time for processes, data, having a role model manager, and a strategic approach – all of this will guide your sales development team to triumph. So, put the effort in, take your time, always keep on top of happenings and reap the rewards.

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Recorded Testimonial: Qualys

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Recorded Testimonial: Incorta

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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