They are not quite your traditional sales, not quite marketing. Countless arguments have transpired about which department they should be reporting to. But one thing's for sure - sales development reps are key to a healthy sales pipeline.
In a previous article, we discussed that a dedicated SDR team can make your sales process more efficient: by letting your sales rock stars do what they do best - close deals. We also explored how an offshore team can be effective and cost-efficient at the same time.
Now let’s talk specifics. Say you’re already keen on offshoring a sales development team in the Philippines. Say you’re starting with 3 or 4 reps specifically for your SaaS business. You need to justify this new team to your stakeholders. How indeed can SDRs contribute to your sales process?
Your marketing team may have generated a list of names and contact details from a Facebook campaign or the website. Or a directory of conference attendees for the industry you are in. Great! Now it’s time for your SDRs to hunt some quality leads.
SDRs, like business detectives, will investigate and profile each of the names in your suspect list. How many times did they open an emailer or a page? Did they share it directly to a colleague or social media? What blog posts was he reading that lead him to send you his contact details?
These information are readily available in many marketing automation platforms, and the SDR’s role is to make sense of it. Some platforms like Outreach.io work with data, and it’s up to the SDR to feed well researched information so that your entire sales team can use the platform to make informed decisions.
It’s important to note that your business development reps should NOT be doing this step of the sales process. Lead gen takes time and effort for planning, research, data entry, and putting together next steps. While great sales people are fully capable of doing these tasks, their precious times are better spent with a fully qualified list of opportunities ready to sign a deal. SDRs will deliver them that list.
First contacts are tricky. The executives you want to reach are running to and from meetings or just don’t want to talk to a stranger. Someone needs to figure out which contacts are receptive to calls first thing in the morning, which before they leave in the afternoon, and even the ones during the lull after dinner and before bed. On top of this, you still have to get around or through the gatekeeper.
The SDR does all these and records his touch points in the customer relationship management (CRM) platform, his lifeblood. With the CRM, he can manage his lists and make decisions on which names to pursue, which to disqualify, and which to save for later. These records will later on inform a business development rep as he makes an offering, negotiates, and finally, close the deal.
Many SaaS companies offer a free trial of their application via their website. This gets the product to their customers faster. B2B apps usually require the guidance of a company rep to make the trial successful. SDRs can also take on this task.
When customers sign up for a trial, it is an opportunity for you to reach out to the interested user and offer your help. SDRs are the best reps to do this - while the interest is there, the user may just be idly shopping around. So the SDR can either develop the lead into an opportunity for closing or nurture it until it is ripe for the picking.
An SDR has the capacity to manage multiple leads, so he can facilitate webinars or meetups to further assess each of his client’s capacity to buy and to further prove to the client why you are the best company to buy from.
The formal solution proposal is the best time to have a handover from the SDR to the business development representative (BDR), your onsite sales rep. By this time, your SDR will have been able to qualify the account based on your company’s lead scoring system, so you can be sure that your BDRs will be spending their precious time only on accounts that have the highest chances of closing. Your SDR may now introduce your BDR to the account to kick off the offer and negotiation process.
Now we get to the part where the BDRs truly shine - closing the deal. And because they are focused a few quality accounts, not anymore on accounts that SDRs have yet to qualify, they can focus their energy on being creative about win-win offers and handling objections.
Still, BDRs will be able to appreciate at this point the diligent account work that the SDR has done - information on every step of the sales process. An SDR who has done his job well will have information on the KPIs of a company as well as the individual KPIs of the buyers, and how your product can help them get that promotion. Budget concerns? An effective SDR will have already sniffed out an estimate, and researched on previous company spendings on IT. Decisionmakers concerns? With groundwork by the SDR, your BDR will be ready for it.
At Atticus, we work hard for a healthy sales pipeline
When you have a lean sales team, it’s easy to think that a BDR should be able to do everything from lead to close, but now we see that we can actually maximize the SDR role to make our BDRs more effective, closing more deals faster and with a healthy pipeline to boot.
In Atticus, we groom our sales development reps to be thorough in account prospecting, to be diligent in recording touch points, and to bring value to conversations with your customers - making sure that they produce quality leads that your BDRs can close. All these we do from our headquarters in the Philippines - a favorite site for companies to offshore their knowledge processes.
Get to know us. We’d love to hear from you. Visit the Atticus website and chat with us.