Sales development is one of the most important processes an organization can build to deliver a seamless, efficient revenue machine. Sales development is a phone-based team that identifies, connects with, and qualifies leads. When a lead is qualified, they then pass the qualified lead to a sales person who takes over for the rest of the sales process. From Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Sales Lead Qualification and Sales Development: “Put simply, SDRs (Sales Development Reps) pass the baton between marketing and sales.”
In this post, we want to explore best practices for designing, building, and optimizing a sales development team.
Better late than never! Here are five of the best posts we read last week:
If you work in marketing (or sales) and think about demographics at all, Tyler Cowen’s new book Average is Over is a must-read. Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation
Usually when my kids tell me I have to see something online, it’s pretty good. This prankvertisement for the remake of the movie Carrie was no different. Horror-Movie Stunt With Freaky Telekinetic Girl Is Frighteningly Good
Nowhere is the buying experience changing more than in the software industry. As little as five years ago, large sales organizations and low quality products dominated the market for business software. In fact, many of the world’s largest software companies were notorious for their aggressive, in-person sales tactics and hard-to-use products.
Given the importance of the buying experience (our research suggests that companies that provide great buying experiences grow 2X as fast as their peers) and how fast the software buying experience is changing, it’s critical that marketing and sales professionals understand how buyers are purchasing software today.
Here are some of the best posts we read this week…
Technology is for people. Marketers, sales professionals, designers, and product development types forget this simple fact all the time. Computers are for People
Hootsuite has 7M users and 350 employees. Fast Company asks whether the company will endure and Ryan Holmes has a great response that’s all about being smart, longevity, and culture. How Hootsuite is CEO Ryan Holmes is Building a Yoga-Loving Maple-Syrup Mafia
Here are 5 of the best posts we read this week…
Have you seen the GoPro ad about the firefighter saving the kitten? It’s getting rave reviews, but left us feeling a little uncomfortable especially since the kitten died later that night. What do you think? GoPro’s Firefighter Spot
Companies have been astroturfing or buying fake online reviews for years. Now, the FTC and prosecutors are starting to take notice and are fining offenders. Operation “Clean Turf” and the War on Fake Yelp Reviews
The sales profession is undergoing some pretty radical changes. The buyer is in charge, field sales is moving inside, technology is transforming the profession. It’s so bad that some people are predicting that 15M sales jobs will disappear in the coming years. To survive in this environment, salespeople need a new set of skills. We’ve identified a core set of 18 sales skills by analyzing these trends and watching what makes some of the world’s best salespeople successful in the new sales environment. The best salespeople:
- Understand what the buyer wants
- Sell in a buyer-responsive manner
- Use psychology to engage the buyer
- Establish trust with the buyer
- Communicate succinctly
- Act on what the customer is saying
- Demonstrate subject matter expertise
- Help (as opposed to close) their prospects
- Tell really compelling stories
- Are great copywriters
- Sell effectively over the phone
- Are socially active with target buyers
- Personalize their interactions
- Use a variety of marketing skills
- Help prospects achieve next steps
- Are more productive because of sales technology
- Tie daily activities to quota achievement
- Manage their pipeline like a portfolio
Here’s some detail on each of the aforementioned sales skills.
Every organization needs to map their target buyer’s buying experience before they make any decisions about the design of their sales and marketing function. TOPO came to this realization as we worked with clients over the last year to solve vexing challenges in their sales and marketing organizations. A client would come to us and ask a critical sales or marketing question. While we offered best practices and strategies to the client, most of these questions were best answered by their buyers. For example, marketers would often ask “What content types do buyers prefer?” or “What content will really convert?” The more questions we heard, the more we realized: The buyer is the best person to answer this question.
The buying experience will tell you how your buyers want to buy. This insight will allow you to properly design your sales and marketing organization to deliver the buying experience your buyers want. As a matter of fact, our research has found that the buying experience is more important than product and price. Homayoun Hatami, co-leader of the Sales Growth practice at McKinsey, provides his take on the importance of providing a buyer-centric sales experience: “Sophisticated customers are not interested in traditional sales models. They demand faster, more seamless, and even enjoyable sales experiences.”
A handful of the best posts we read this week…
Ever wonder why an unhappy customer is so much more outspoken than a happy one, particularly online? It turns out that anger is simply more viral than happiness. Anger is More Viral than Joy
Marketers are trying to take a more customer-centric approach, but are missing a key point – what Martin Heidegger called “being-in-the-world”. What are Users Up to When they Have an Experience
The buying experience is the most important thing in sales and marketing. To understand how something you’ve likely never heard of can be so important, let’s look at something Steve Jobs once said:
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology – not the other way around.”
While Steve wasn’t talking about sales and marketing specifically, we can apply his fundamental point to everything a company does. In fact, Steve’s experience-first point is especially applicable to sales and marketing. At TOPO, our research shows that delivering a great experience to prospective buyers has the biggest impact on whether or not they will buy something from you. The overall buying experience actually outranks product and price. It’s a surprising, counter-intuitive data point that got me thinking that the Steve Jobs quote could be remixed into something like:
“You’ve got to start with the buying experience and work back to the revenue – not the other way around.”
The experience-first approach works. Our benchmarking shows that companies that deliver great buying experiences grow twice as fast as companies that deliver average experiences. This faster growth is just a byproduct of the buying experience’s ability to deliver more traffic, higher conversion rates, larger average deal sizes, shorter sales cycles, lower churn, and more customer referrals. It’s nothing more than providing buyers with what they want – a great experience – and then watching critical revenue metrics improve as a result. What could be more important than that?
A handful of the best posts we read this week…
We’ve long believed that CRM will become a “living, breathing” app where data self-populates, self-recommends, and self-updates. Darian Shirazi outlines a compelling vision for the future of CRM. The CRM Of The Future Will Recommend New Customers To You Automatically
A lot of people have asked why we spend so much time blogging. It’s because some of the world’s fastest growing companies create content before building and launching their product. How To Build Your Audience Well Before Launching Your Product