Sales enablement is a critical business development process that enables you to build a sales pipeline and generate predictable growth. However, sales enablement cannot be achieved without a reliable sales development representative (SDR) team.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the following topics:
An SDR in sales develops a pipeline of qualified leads for account executives (AEs). Sales representatives strive to set B2B appointments between the prospect and AEs to pitch the prospects and convert them from leads into customers.
Here are some of the most common responsibilities of sales development reps:
Inbound leads generate from digital platforms, including your website and social media profiles. When inbound leads come in, sales development representatives connect with them to learn more about what they are looking for in a B2B product or service provider.
Throughout the lead qualification process, sales development representatives have the chance to learn if the prospect meets the company’s ideal customer profile. Each business has its own perception of what an ideal customer looks like. Many companies determine their qualifiers by the size of the building, the number of employees, amount of revenue generated, industry served, and more. Without qualifying inbound leads, you risk setting up B2B appointments with prospective businesses that have little to no value to your business.
For example, when sales development representatives qualify leads for an HVAC company, they ask prospects what the square footage is of air-conditioned space in the building. Many HVAC businesses require buildings to have at least 10,000 square feet of air-conditioned space. This is a more significant business opportunity for them than a facility that only has 2,000 square feet of air-conditioned space. Qualifying these leads ensures that the HVAC company profits from the potential project or partnership.
Generating outbound leads is when sales or business development representatives (BDRs) reach out to prospective businesses to see if they are interested in learning more about the product or service that your company has to offer. While the terms SDR and BDR are commonly used interchangeably, the roles have different responsibilities. However, depending on the structure and development of the internal sales team, tasks may be similar.
Sales development representatives find these outbound leads through research, including referrals, organic search engine results, or lead prospecting software databases. Once sales development representatives discover prospective businesses, they identify a key decision-maker (KDM) and contact them to pitch the company’s product or service. KDMs are approached through various platforms, including cold calling, cold emailing, or LinkedIn connections.
Like inbound leads, sales development reps must also qualify outbound leads to ensure that the business has the opportunity to land a high-quality deal.
Lead scoring allows sales development representatives to determine the priority of the lead in the sales pipeline—the higher the lead score, the closer the prospect is to the end of their sales funnel. Determining a lead score depends on the prospect’s timeline and budget. By deciding lead scores, sales development representatives know how frequently to follow up with each lead.
As we mentioned previously, the primary responsibility of a sales development representative is to set appointments for prospects to meet with AEs to discuss specifics of their situation and close business with them. While SDRs set up the introduction, AEs focus on selling the product or service.
For an effective B2B appointment setting program, sales development representatives should follow these steps:
During the cleansing phase of the appointment setting process, sales development representatives confirm the KDM and their contact information. They also gather critical business data so they know if the lead is worth chasing.
In this stage of the sales process, the goal is to introduce the company to the prospect. From this, sales development representatives aim to achieve brand and top-of-mind awareness. This enables the SDR and prospect to build a relationship over time.
Occasionally, prospects are ready to set up an appointment to speak with an AE during this stage. However, this doesn’t happen very often. If the opportunity exists, great! But if not, we move on to the next step: the lead nurturing phase.
When sales development representatives nurture leads, they send relevant information to the prospect via email marketing campaigns. SDRs also nurture leads by reaching out routinely throughout the year or when the prospect asks them to reach out again. Prospects typically ask sales development representatives to circle back around when contracts are up or when they look to reevaluate their budget. By nurturing leads, sales reps and prospects have the opportunity to build a relationship and gain their trust.
After weeks or months of nurturing a lead and gaining their trust, it’s time for sales development representatives to schedule an appointment with an AE. From here, the AE meets with the prospect to pitch products, services, and pricing, and close business deals.
When sales development representatives and account executives work together to set up and attend appointments, the sales team can operate efficiently.
Sales development representatives are a crucial component for generating and sustaining high-quality leads. Explore how Abstrakt Marketing Group developed the SDR role for B2B lead generation.
A sales enablement team is necessary to boost company revenue—but where do you start? Here are some steps to help you start building your sales enablement team:
Every company has its own budget, especially when it comes to sales enablement. In a perfect world, a company would have professionals in all of the following sales enablement roles:
- Sales Development Representatives: SDRs are the backbone of sales enablement. If there are any sales roles you need to have on your sales enablement team, SDRs should be your first pick. They are responsible for prospecting and generating leads.
- Sales Systems and Data Manager: This team member is responsible for maintaining your customer relationship management (CRM) platform. This sales team member is responsible for inputting closed/won and closed/lost sales opportunities.
- Sales Manager: This role is responsible for making sure sales development representatives are doing their job and tracking metrics. They also provide insight on how to improve an SDR’s pitching and selling strategy.
- Sales Training Manager: This team member is responsible for consistently training the sales team and introducing them to new sales best practices. They support an individual’s professional growth.
- Sales Design and Analytics Manager: This role is responsible for developing a cohesive sales and marketing strategy. They bridge the gap between both departments to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
- Sales Knowledge Manager: This team member is an expert on everything your sales team has available to pitch a prospect effectively. They know what tools, technologies, and collateral pieces are available to help sales development representatives pitch and close a sale.
- Sales Process and Operations Manager: This manager oversees the operations of all the other sales enablement team members. They are responsible for identifying gaps in the strategy and discovering new ways to approach the sales process.
While having each of these positions would be ideal, choose sales roles that work best for your company and what you hope to achieve from your sales enablement team.
Once you decide what sales enablement roles work best for your company’s goals and budget, it’s time to recruit sales professionals who align with these roles.
As you may be aware, sales is not an easy job. It takes a lot of dedication and skill to be a successful sales development representative. Here are some of the skills needed to be a successful sales executive:
- Time management
- Sales industry knowledge
- Sales onboarding knowledge
- Sales content and collateral expertise
- Analytics expertise
- Productivity tools experience
After onboarding your sales team, it’s time to put their expertise to work. Now that you have a fully equipped sales team, you can develop a strategy that provides the best outcome for your business.
As mentioned earlier, there are two ways to approach lead generation: inbound and outbound. Inbound lead generation uses digital practices like website development, SEO, and social media to bring in leads indirectly. On the other hand, outbound lead generation consists of sales development representatives cold calling, emailing, and sending LinkedIn connections to prospects.
Many B2B companies take advantage of both lead generation strategies to get the most out of their efforts. However, it’s important to consider your company’s budget and resources before deciding which lead generation route to take.
Once you’ve developed a sales enablement strategy, it’s time to put your program to the test. After executing the program, continuously track your progress and metrics to determine whether or not your sales enablement program is successful.
It’s important to remember that sales success doesn’t happen overnight. Continue to practice your program and identify areas for improvement when it comes time to reassess your sales enablement program.
Your overall sales enablement strategy should be thoroughly reassessed after 12 to 18 months of putting it into action. Reassessing your strategy is crucial to ensure that you have the best program possible for sales enablement.
When you reassess your strategy, look at your ROI to determine whether or not it is making or breaking profits. Reviewing the process includes looking at what opportunities you have lined up if you’ve closed business in the past 12 to 18 months and talking with your sales team to learn what they are finding successful and unsuccessful when pitching prospects.
After analyzing your results, adjust your strategy accordingly and communicate these changes with your sales enablement team.
Repeating steps 4 and 5 is crucial for developing and maintaining a sustainable sales enablement program. While it may take a lot of trial and error, it allows you to see what’s working and what needs improvement.
A common issue with building an internal sales development representative team is a lack of money and resources. Many small to medium-sized businesses choose to outsource their sales enablement efforts after a couple of go-arounds with these steps because it can be costly and negatively affect the growth of your business.
While many businesses have internal sales development representative teams, some companies have found more success with outsourcing their sales efforts. Well, why do businesses outsource SDR teams? Many B2B businesses outsource SDR teams to:
- Save time: Onboarding an SDR team and developing a strategy takes up a lot of valuable company time. By outsourcing SDR teams, you have more time to focus on your business’s day-to-day operations.
- Save money: An internal SDR team is expensive, especially if you’re operating on a tight budget. An outsourced SDR team enables you to save money because you don’t have to worry about salaries and purchasing the tools and technologies needed for sales enablement.
- Have high-performing sales reps: Finding the right person for the job isn’t a cakewalk. When you outsource your sales efforts, you are guaranteed to have experienced, high-performing sales reps reaching out to prospective customers.
- Have access to resources: Sales tools and technologies are needed to generate a sustainable sales pipeline. By outsourcing your SDR team, you have access to sales software, like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, to evaluate the success of the sales enablement program.
- Generate high-quality leads: Outsourced SDRs are trained to generate high-quality leads for businesses. When you outsource your sales efforts, you are guaranteed to have sales appointments with prospective companies that meet your qualifications.
- Create a sustainable sales pipeline: It may take some time for an internal SDR team to learn how to generate a sustainable sales pipeline. When you outsource an SDR team, they understand the process of moving leads to their appropriate category. This ensures that you reach the potential customer when the timing is right for them.
While sales enablement is needed to build a sales pipeline and generate predictable growth, it cannot be achieved without a team of sales development representatives. These sales professionals obtain the skills to effectively pitch your company’s product or service to prospects and convert them into lifelong customers.
Having both BDR and SDR roles are crucial for an effective sales enablement program. However, we know that many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the financial resources to hire sales professionals for both roles. When starting your sales enablement program, we suggest hiring or outsourcing SDRs for your lead generation efforts. Since SDRs are experienced salespeople, they have the bandwidth to take on both development roles. As your company expands, you can look into splitting your sales team into BDR and SDR roles.
If you’re looking to build an outsourced SDR team to generate and sustain business growth, contact Abstrakt Marketing Group today!