The Biggest Trend In Sales: This Thing Called Sales Development
As Product2Market continues to grow towards becoming one of the leading Sales Development / Lead Generation Agencies in Europe and EMEA. Its great for us to see such rich coverage on our industry in major business titles like Forbes.
Product2Market has had the remarkable opportunity to work with great companies like Twitter, Zendesk, Microsoft, Trend Micro and Nitro helping them scale across EMEA through our Outsourced Lead Generation Service and it has been really interesting to see a strategic shift back towards Outbound tactics by phone, email and pushed content within the Tech industry which had become very Inbound / Online Marketing focused.
Below is an extract from the recent Forbes article, this piece written by contributor Trish Bertuzzi, CEO of The Bridge Group, a sales development consulting firm for tech companies, agrees sales development is a new and powerful phenomenon.
Inbound vs. Outbound leads
The simple answer is to have your sales development team only call “inbound” leads – people who have sought you out or in some way raised their hands and said, “I’m interested.” Problem is, few companies can generate enough of these leads. The best, what you might call “Tier One” inbound leads, come from the Web. Somebody filled out a form on your Website after a search or by clicking through an ad. Studies show that most companies get 20% to 30% of their leads from the Web.
Another source of “inbound” leads is email nurturing, which differs from the reviled batch-blasting of old only because it’s more targeted. These “Tier Two” inbound leads received an email and perhaps downloaded an e-book or white paper. A state-of-the-art sales development system calls all inbound leads immediately after they fill out a form. And for good reason. A study out of MIT showed that your contact rate will be 100 times higher if you call someone in less than five minutes vs. 30 minutes. And the qualifying rate will be 21 times higher.
What’s not to like about inbound leads? Nothing. But for most companies there aren’t enough of them. So enter “Tier Three,” which is outbound calling to people who did not raise their hands and probably have no idea who you are. Nobody wants to associate outbound lead-generation with legacy “cold calling” – which is a fishing expedition in the arctic waters. The preferred model is “smart calling” in warmer waters. Appointment-setters are given lists that have been sorted, scrubbed and scrutinized by list analysts. In an ideal world, reps only call high-probability prospects that are in what you’ve defined as your “sweet spot.”
In the real world, things are messier. Let’s look at how things can unravel at three key seams in a sales development process. 1. List acquisition and analysis (usually conducted by Marketing); 2. Recruiting and retention of reps; and 3. Managing and training of reps.
1. List acquisition and analysis.
Companies like InsideSales.com hire teams of “data scientists” who pore over lists to identify high-probability names. Data mining tools like predictive analytics help them isolate markers such as company size, title, industry, and geographic location that influence response rates. They’ve even discovered that it pays to call certain records based on weather patterns or the recent performance of a data segment’s local professional sports team.
But it’s hard to find lists that aren’t being hammered by your rivals. We bought an industry list from a compiler who called every name on the list every four months to verify the data. It was as high-quality a list as you could find. But our email campaigns were wildly unresponsive because everybody was mailing the same list. I asked Allen Nance, CEO of the email service provider Whatcounts, which area of sales development is the most important and he was emphatic that, “Data analysis is number one. I’ve had world-class sales development reps using bad data and it was unsuccessful. I’ve had mediocre reps calling great data and they’re successful. If you don’t have the right person to call, nothing else matters.”
2. Recruiting and retention of reps.
Ideally, sales development reps would conduct deep enough discovery to qualify outbound leads effectively. The model sales development team consists of ambitious, educated reps who see sales development as paying their dues – learning the organization, learning the product – before getting promoted to a high-paying enterprise sales job. If you’ve got the chops to make unscripted, conversational calls that probe for authority, need and urgency, you don’t want to dial 160 times a day to make 13 contacts and set one or two appointments. This breed of sales development rep hangs around only for 14 months. The churn is brutal. But outsourcing sales development to a partner with scale, can make allot of sense.
3. Management and training of reps.
Leading a sales development team is management intensive and stressful. In many organizations, the process of generating high-quality leads is the company’s biggest cost center, and inefficiency can kill profitability. When the process falters – due to bad hires, poor training or lax oversight – enterprise reps start grousing about “bad leads,” panic sets in and – assuming the data Marketing provided was okay – all eyes turn to the sales development leader. That’s why Burmeister says the biggest mistake you could make in sales development is, “Hiring a weak leader. Don’t just promote a good rep to manager. You need someone who knows how to build a team. Don’t go on the cheap.”
Perhaps looking into Outsourcing Sales Development is worth weight up as part of your New Customer Acquisition Strategy. For more info on how Product2Market can help build your Sales Team’s pipeline through our Outsourced Sales Development / Lead Generation Services – get in touch HERE