Insights From The 2021 Sales Development Report

Author:

Matt Bertuzzi
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

102

Insights From The 2021 Sales Development Report

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Matt Bertuzzi

Director of Ops at The Bridge Group

The 2021 Sales Development Report from The Bridge Group is out and we invited Matt Bertuzzi, Director of Ops at The Bridge Group to unpack the state of sales development as well as share the trends expected for this year. 

It seems that so many of us are under the impression that the pandemic has turned everything about life upside down. Shockingly, the data from the report shows that sales development hasn’t changed all that much. 

Most surprisingly, despite all the new platforms and technology emerging all around us, phone calls are still the best medium for having quality conversations.

So, what has changed?

This blog  is dedicated to finding out, and helping you make sense of both reality and illusions around sales development, revealed by the report.

Report methodology and contributing audience

Before getting into the report data, Matt talked about the growing audience of contributors it’s held since the first edition in 2007. In the 2021 edition more than 400 B2B companies have been surveyed.

Matt specifically mentions that median averages are used, because these provide a more valid way to interpret data. Mean averages can be greatly skewed by outlying large or small numbers. With a median, it’s safe to say that half of the sample fit above and below that figure, respectively, within the range of data that’s been collected.

left quote
right quote

If you’re struggling, make more dials.

Matt Bertuzzi – Director of Ops at The Bridge Group

Is experience essential for meeting quotas?

One of the key statistics uncovered by the report is that 68% (roughly two thirds) of SDRs meet their quotas. Does this mean that the other 32% of SDRs just aren’t experienced or competent enough to hit their targets? 

Matt thinks that 68% of SDRs meeting quota is a positive stat, and this might cause quite a stir in the sales community, but his explanation makes sense.

The gap between the quota and the SDR’s performance needs to be considered. One person meeting 95% of quota and another meeting 104% of quota realistically means that both reps are great. 

Context matters.

The other key point to consider is that when people get great at what they do, they move on to new jobs within the same or different organizations. Even with this aside, if more reps hit their quotas, those figures would become higher over time. 

Quotas, like people, also evolve and change.

Expectations on SDRs

Typically, SDRs are now hired fresh out of school. They graduate and without any organizational context, are expected to cold call people to talk about sensitive issues, and generate sales. Matt mentions a few key questions to ask when considering the onboarding and performance of your SDRs.

In the context of your business, do your SDRs understand:

  • The organizational structure?
  • The company’s core competency and product or service suite?
  • Business risk, quantifying and contextualizing it?
  • Which signals indicate growth or shrinkage in the business, even if it’s not directly related to their core products/services/solutions?

Complexities around quotas

Quotas can be deceiving. 

At first, they’re simple numbers, but once SDRs get on the phone with prospects or customers, the diverse buying journeys begin to reveal themselves and suddenly each client’s moving at a different pace, with nuanced requirements. 

Technology adds another layer of complexity to the state of sales development, too, because it introduces room for discussion over which are the best tools, channels and platforms for SDRs to use, which leads on to the discussion about quality conversations.

Recommended monthly meeting quota:


Roughly 14-16 meetings each month.

There’s also the fact that new SDRs need time to settle in and adopt the process, so it should start off at 8-10, then grow over time.

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The thing that drives the most quality conversations is the phone.

Matt Bertuzzi – Director of Ops at The Bridge Group

Defining quality conversations, and how and where they happen

The leading indicator of booking a meeting has traditionally been a quality conversation. 

There are 2 ways to define them:

  1. A phone call conversation where at least one piece of qualifying or disqualifying information about the prospect is learned.
  2. An email that does a ‘round trip’ twice: you send out a mail and get a reply, you reply to that and get another reply.

Technology and the way that it’s advancing means that now the quota can be met without necessarily having quality conversations (QCs) in this specific way. 

Where QCs were compensated previously, it’s happening less and less because the need is being removed, so it seems the job is becoming harder when in reality there’s not always going to be a need for a QC anymore, to move closer to the quota.

The pandemic’s effect on sales development (assumptions vs. reality)

Matt assumed that companies would do these things in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Soften customer qualification criteria
  • Lower quotas
  • Hire more experienced SDRs from the larger talent pool that became available after unemployment rates rose

He was right about the criteria but surprisingly, quotas remained almost the same and the ‘freshly graduated’ SDR hiring profile also remained the same.

Expanding your SDR talent pool

There’s a big demand for sales-related talent right now, and SDRs are driven to move on to Account Executive (AE) positions and more. Developing talent is no longer up for negotiation if you want to grow your business steadily. In a remote work environment, that comes with an entirely new set of challenges and barriers:

  • Can your SDRs access and learn from each other, through asking questions and observation? 
  • Is there a mentorship structure that’s available after the onboarding process concludes?
  • How do you know which specific skills and qualities need support, intervention, or nurturing and growth when you’re working remotely?

Where to next?

Whether your guesses have been right or wrong, what some of us thought about the effect of the pandemic and what’s actually happening are uncovered in the report for you to digest at your own pace.

While we’re all living through this strange point in history, we do know that training and development for your SDRs is a good idea.

Investing in people is always a good idea.

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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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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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