August 07, 2019
August 07, 2019
Learn how the best sales development reps (SDRs) succeed by avoiding these common pitfalls.
Sales development teams — also called lead qualification, lead development, account development, telemarketing or inside sales — are responsible for handing qualified leads over to a salesperson who follows up and, hopefully, closes the deal. The best companies have highly optimized sales development processes in place.
We have identified eight reasons that sales development teams fail, along with some tips on how to avoid these problems.
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Many organizations view the sales development team as the bottom of the food chain but in reality, they are absolutely critical to making or breaking your pipeline.
As such, sales leadership needs to care deeply about how the group is perceived and how they feel about themselves. Organizations should find ways to recognize sales development’s efforts. Some examples:
It is absolutely critical that sales development teams have leadership at all times.
Sales development is challenging and will fail if someone isn’t there full time to help optimize, coach, motivate, hire and care about the team. This problem is a guaranteed recipe for failure.
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Once there are more than eight sales development representatives (SDRs) to one direct manager, an organization should hire or promote someone else to be a direct manager. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to manage and coach effectively.
If the headcount/costs are a factor and there is a strong director and mature sales development process, you may consider hybrid, player-coaches as a fallback option.
While SDRs should understand the product, the key to success is to dedicate time and resources to specific training and coaching.
Training and onboarding should consist of:
Managers should provide four to five hours of coaching per month. Some ideas for coaching:
There are some key points to this part of the process:
The argument over lead definitions needs to be resolved before the first qualified lead is delivered so expectations are set for both sides. The definition should be refined and optimized over time.
Many organizations allow sales development to become the dumping ground for other tasks, such as sales support, inviting people to events and doing surveys.
Decide on what the qualified lead definition will be, decide on a quota, and then focus and optimize toward exceeding that goal. This is one reason the team needs a dedicated manager to keep the SDRs focused.
The sales development compensation plan should be simple:
If you want to compensate for closed deals, then give them a bonus when a deal closes. But SDRs should be compensated based on what they can control, and they cannot control whether or not a deal closes. If SDRs are tied only to revenue, they will become sales support by making quotes, setting follow-ups and so forth.
It’s hard to identify if someone can really do the SDR job until they are actually sitting in the seat. Problems arise when the SDR team becomes an underperforming, demoralized mess. Here are a couple things to consider:
Communication is often the root cause of a failing team. The sales development team sits in between sales and marketing so there has to be lots of bidirectional feedback. Here are some important “must-have” meetings:
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