One of the strategic decisions an organization must make is determining where sales development will report. It’s an important question with significant repercussions for the success of the SDR team.
TOPO launched its Demand Generation Practice with a mandate to help companies adopt account-based go-to-market strategies. A year later, the account-based movement dominates the B2B sales and marketing landscape. During this time, the TOPO Analyst team has identified two major trends that dictate whether companies will succeed or fail with their account-based efforts.
TOPO recently completed its 2016 Sales Development Benchmark Report. It represents the most in-depth study of over 150 world-class sales development organizations. The focus of our research was to understand what separates exceptional sales development teams from their peers. We discovered a number of unique characteristics that drive the highest growth, including strategy, organizational design, process, plays, and technology.
Over 30 sales development leaders from the Bay area’s fastest growing companies once again convened last Friday for TOPO’s Sales Development Council #13. These Councils offer a unique forum for sales development leaders from high growth companies to learn from each other and share best practices. Each Council features three speakers who share the processes, plays, organizational elements, and technologies they use to drive key revenue metrics. This Council produced a few key themes, including discussions about SDR effectiveness and performance, how companies define qualification criteria and creating effective outbound emails.
The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) defines the firmographic, environmental and behavioral attributes of accounts expected to become a company’s most valuable customers. It is developed through both qualitative and quantitative analyses; and may optionally be informed by predictive analytics software.
Unlike the term “target customer,” which is often used to describe any company that might buy a product or service, the ICP is focused on the most valuable customers and prospects that are also most likely to buy. The Ideal Customer Profile should also not be confused with the Total Addressable Market or Total Available Market, which are calculations or estimates of the universe of potential target customers.
The ICP is a foundational, organization-wide decision impacting downstream sales and marketing efforts. It aligns marketing, sales, service and executive teams to the highest-value accounts. It also creates focus on scalable and repeatable strategies and tactics to engage and convert top accounts. And it drives target account list creation, segmentation, organizational structure, and other key activities.
Over 30 sales development leaders from the bay area’s fastest growing companies once again convened at the Four Seasons in San Francisco last Friday for TOPO’s Sales Development Council #12. These Councils offer a unique forum for sales development leaders from high growth companies to learn from each other and share best practices. Each Council features three speakers who share the processes, plays, organizational elements, and technologies they use to drive key revenue metrics. This Council produced a few key themes, including discussions about improving SDR effectiveness, refining the qualification definition, and creating effective touch patterns.
Over the last 10 years, B2B demand generation teams have used technology such as marketing automation to become highly-scaled demand generation engines, delivering high volumes of leads each month. But these teams fail to adequately support the sales team’s strategic pursuit of named accounts. In fact, on average, only 10-20% of the leads generated by marketing are from accounts on the sales team’s target list.
As marketers seek to better align with and enable sales, the focus is moving from a traditional, lead-centric view to an account-centric view. This shift is driving innovation throughout the value chain, from targeting and offer strategy, to the sales technology stack, to the ways demand generation teams collaborate.
In the not too distant past, you could be fairly confident of succeeding in sales with the right mix of good hiring, training, and motivating your reps to sell. But succeeding is a far cry from excelling. The fact is, you can’t apply a run-of-the-mill approach to sales and expect to drive above-average results. And you certainly can’t achieve significant and rapid growth without embracing a systematic, replicable and data-driven approach to building and cultivating your sales operation.
Our research has surfaced a massive shift in how the most successful sales organizations are being designed and run. Simply put, success relies on a strategic rather than tactical approach. Our research also uncovered the elements that are always present in high-growth sales machines. We compiled these into an 8-point framework that is essential for any organization wanting to drive scalable, consistent revenue growth.
The B2B sales and marketing universe has been writing and talking about buyer personas and the buyer journey for the last ten years. Many organizations have built buyer personas and attempted to map the associated buyer journey. For those organizations that have partaken in the buyer persona exercise, their results far exceed those organizations that have not. However, buyer personas are still very subjective and include a lot of opinion. The next step for many organizations is the opportunity to quantifiably narrow in on the personas that have a higher propensity to buy. Predictive analytics provides the opportunity to use a wide set of data to do this.
Predictive analytics is one of today’s hottest B2B marketing technologies. Fueled by drivers such as big data, SaaS delivery models, and data-driven marketing and sales, predictive analytics garners a tremendous amount of attention, particularly given how few customers are in actual production. While the hype can sometimes be excessive, early adopters are realizing demonstrable ROI as they use statistical modeling, machine learning, and scoring technologies to identify and prioritize accounts, leads, contacts, and customers at specific points in the marketing and sales funnel. It’s this demonstrable ROI that’s causing more and more marketing organizations to look at predictive analytics as a new, non-negotiable element of their marketing technology stacks.