Sales development is becoming more and more critical when it comes to developing pipeline.
Many know this intuitively, but TOPO’s 2019 Sales Development Benchmark Report gives us hard data. The report is designed to help organizations better understand the best practices of the world’s leading sales development organizations.
We invited Dan Gottlieb, TOPO’s Industry Analyst for Sales Development & Account-Based Growth Organizations on our B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast to discuss the report — he gave us the highlights, along with 4 best practices every sales team should implement.
The ‘Sales Development Report’ Design
TOPO collected data from hundreds of companies, with 72 points of analysis. They grouped the results around four key categories: strategy, process, tactics and organizational design.
- Strategy – Ask yourself, how are we anchoring the sales development process to our overall benchmarking strategy? How do we think about the way we organize people?
- Process – What are the different definitions we use to think about the filter of what enters sales development and what exits? These filters are really important to understand, especially to benchmark around different strategies.
- Tactics – What you do everyday – make calls, send emails, etc.
- Organizational Design – This falls into how much should I pay my people? What kind of support services do I need, and when do I need to implement them?
Read our blog on The Evolution of Sales Development
Sales is absolutely a math game but requires the art of designing a world-class sales development team.
According to Gottlieb, pipeline is one of the most exciting things happening in sales development because of its impact.
According to the report, SDR’s are involved with 57% of pipeline-generating activities. They are moving into customer enhancement and channel programs at the highest level. The predictable outcomes and the repeatability of pipeline creation is attributed to a set of processes and leaders that can better manage those filters — what goes in and what goes out — effectively.
In an organization where they have a high amount of rigor and a culture that adheres to methodical processes, they are able to apply some slight adjustments to customer expansion and channels, so those skills can help additional revenue-generating areas in ways they haven’t necessarily been supported in the past.
Giving SDRs Tools to Perform:
Dan gave a few tips on providing the best atmosphere for your SDRs to do their best work:
1: Help SDRs understand the why
Why are we going after these accounts? What is the role of sales/marketing within those interactions? (The goal isn’t always simply sell, maybe in a particular phase, you want your SDRs to land meetings.)
2: Present info to SDRs in a way that makes sense to them
SDRs think in a certain way. So, communicate on their wavelength.
3 : Explain orchestration plans
Orchestration plans for high-dollar, high-value accounts, often require different tactics. The SDRs need to know that the tactics will be different.
4: Equip SDRs
Set clear expectations and providing SDRs with all the tools they need for success.
For example: determine and explain how you’re going to approach a prospect (email, ads, mailers, box of donuts, etc.), and then equip your SDR with the script and the knowledge of where they fit into that orchestration.
Problems With Technology
It’s evident that sales development is a trusted partner in the pipeline generating ecosystem.
“I believe that organizations are not being methodical on why they’re buying as well as not being clear on why they’re buying – or don’t have a plan to implement and enable,” Gottlieb said. “Sales engagement technology is one of the best examples of this.”
What happens is that really fast growing organizations buy these technological tools because they know they’ll need them at some point. They want reps to have the best tools. However, the training is often lacking, and SDRs are left trying to figure out a somewhat complex tech.
This education falls on leadership.
When the training is lacking, you either have technology that isn’t methodically implemented, or it’s not configured to optimize best practices so you see poor behavior (such as spam-like behavior or leveraging too much automation.)
In order to improve processes and leverage their technology, organizations should invest in upfront rules and methods, configure and decide what kind of automation, and find the best syncing practices. In addition, organizations should give SDRs the ability to create their own touch-patterns – those are the details that are often overlooked, but can lead to technological success.
This post is based on a B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast with Dan Gottlieb. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to our podcasts here.
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen on our website!