It’s Time to Value Sales Development and its Role in B2B Marketing Success


Aurelien Mottier
Reading Time: 4 minutes



It’s Time to Value Sales Development and its Role in B2B Marketing Success

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Garrett Mehrguth

CEO at Directive Consulting

Are you mistaking comparison shopping for purchase intent?

The reality of an Amazon and Yelp world is that people are going to do informational searches before they visit your website.

If all you’re tracking is website visits, you’re missing the things that are going to grow the metrics that really matter. You’re missing timing and relationships.

Recently, I interviewed Garrett Mehrguth, CEO at Directive Consulting, about why sales development is so undervalued in B2B marketing — and what we can do about it.

Garrett started Directive over five years ago to do search marketing for enterprise brands in the B2B space, partnering with in house marketing teams to help them hit their goals.

“It doesn’t matter if your website shows up or your brand shows up. The point is that you’re discoverable,” Garrett said.

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Imagine how much more successful and effective sales development is when you call people and they’ve heard of you before.

Garrett Mehrguth – CEO at Directive Consulting

Why It’s Time to Value Sales Development

Sales development tends to be undervalued in legacy organizations in particular, as well as in some high growth organizations.

One reason is whether you got the timing right.

Another one? Whether you’re a replacement or add-on product or service.

“If you’re a replacement service, that makes intrinsically for someone to hire you, they have to fire someone,” Garrett pointed out.

So, if your industry relies on more long term contracts, then timing comes in to play because the company couldn’t hire you even if they wanted to a lot of the time.

“If you think that you’re just going to send out a hundred emails and get three responses and then set two meetings and get one deal, it doesn’t actually work like that,” Garrett said.

People go in with the wrong expectations. They don’t realize it takes six months to ramp up an SDR. Or it could take two years of investment to build out the team before they even get to positive ROI.

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I really want to build my dataset and know when contracts are up because then I can crack the timing code, and It makes it so much easier to sell.

Garrett Mehrguth – CEO at Directive Consulting

3 Best Practices for Good Sales Development Timing

1) Map Your Accounts First

“When you’re trying to build a relationship, we often ask for too much — we start the conversation with asking for their time, which is the most valuable thing to any professional,” Garrett said. “It’s actually better to learn about their current situation.”

  • Do they have an agency or not? 
  • Are they already using a sales platform? 
  • Okay, when’s that contract up? 
  • Who’s the best person to talk with?

Figuring out that this contract is up in January 2020, then you’ll already know the best timing is to start contacting in mid-October.

Then when you reach out, you get to have a lovely conversation and a meeting that helps them make a purchasing decision.

2) Go Relational

If the timing isn’t right, should you drop the prospect? (Of course not.)

“We ask questions that are not timing dependent to learn more about them and then we can get the timing right,” Garrett said.

“We’ll just try to learn about you. We’ll find out what you like. We’ll probably send you a gift,” Garrett said. “We don’t want to bug you, we just want to let you know that we exist.”

This looks like multiple ways of reaching out every month or so, but not anything salesy.

  • A personal call.
  • Message on LinkedIn.
  • A meaningful gift.
  • Showing up in person.
  • Send a relevant case study every month.

“As long as we reach out 60 to 90 days before you’re going to make a purchasing decision, now we can start to have a sales conversation. Before that, we have relational conversations,” Garrett said.

3) Segment

Say that each SDR has 110 fully mapped accounts. These are the accounts that are really desirable whether you get them now or in 5 years.

“We invest a lot there, and then we use other things to scale up our volume for the rest of that market,” Garrett said.

It’s essentially an account based sales development model, as well as a vertical based sales development model.

Blended together, those two help set volume goals and personal goals.

The Only 4 KPIs to Track

  • Accounts mapped

“I really want to build my dataset and know when contracts are up because then I can crack the timing code, and it makes it so much easier to sell,” Garrett said.

  • Intro calls

Not necessarily conversations but initial meetings.

  • Proposals or demos

Garrett calls these opportunities anytime a proposal is given.

  • Deals and revenue

And that’s it. “If you create too strict of a recipe for a sales development rep, every sales development rep has things that make them unique as a person, as a human,” Garrett said.

Tracking things like duration of calls might be too stifling, especially if there’s someone who can hit her numbers just doing stuff on LinkedIn.

“I worry a lot more about my output management than I do on my input management,” he said. “I give people a lot of freedom to hit their accounts mapped, intro call, and opportunity goals on the sales development side — more than hitting their call goals or their email goals.”

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We ask questions that are not timing-dependent to learn more about them to get it right.

Garrett Mehrguth – CEO at Directive Consulting

Focus on Your Brand, Not Your Search Results

If you search on Google for top ERP software, the top names in that space don’t rank.

It’s not because Oracle and Microsoft have terrible websites, no pages, and no SEO. It’s because Google knows that at the bottom of the funnel, people are doing comparison shopping.

“People want to look at review sites,” Garrett said. “I call it the Yelp and the Amazon effect.”

If we look at Yelp before we buy a $5 breakfast burrito, we’re definitely going to look at software advice before we buy a quarter million dollar software.

If you’re only measuring whether your brand shows up when people are searching for it, you’re completing ignoring whether it’s what your searcher wants in the first place.

The reality of the search engine in the buying journey is that sometimes there’s informational intent and sometimes there’s purchase intent.

It’s about being discoverable and showing up online when it matters.

Companies want people to go to their website first, but that’s not actually how a purchasing journey works.

Someone who becomes so obsessed on data they can report on won’t value the things that are actually going to grow the most important metrics like opportunities, deals, and revenue.

“In 2019, we forgot about all the basics of advertising and marketing that have worked so well, the reason why Superbowl commercials are still a thing, the reason why we all purchase from brands we recognize,” Garrett said. “Imagine how much more successful and effective sales development is when you call people and, when you say who you are, they’ve heard of you before.”

Contact Garrett on LinkedIn or Twitter, or find out more about Directive at their website or by emailing

This post is based on an interview with Garrett Mehrguth from Directive.

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

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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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