Flip the strategic switch, turn on Sales Development…high quality consistent pipeline will overflow your funnel. That’s the dream!
I first heard of the sales development role when it took the SaaS world by storm over a decade ago, catapulted by Aaron Ross & Mary Lou Tyler’s publishing of Predictable Revenue. What Founder or Head of Sales wouldn’t prominently place a book with this tagline on their bookshelf?
Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com
It was an elegantly simple concept, salespeople shouldn’t waste their time prospecting. Sales Development Reps (SDRs) were the answer. SDRs would focus on booking meetings through a combination of outreach techniques - email & phone calls, social today. Highly skilled salespeople would soon have calendars full of meetings and pipeline to close!
Hiring talented SDRs, armed with proper Enablement (playbook, training, tech stack, a smart comp plan, etc), empowered with dialed in Product Marketing (well constructed ICPs, positioning, website and case studies) and Marketing Aircover (thought leadership content, multi-touch full funnel campaign support, lead gen/nurture programs). Surround these elements with a well constructed process, that isn’t creatively stifling SDRs, and this is possible:
Oh, and don’t forget to surround your SDR program with an authentic content engine to make your target personas smarter.
An SDR program lacking some elements above can provide immediate results and meetings booked. Afterall, super charged outreach (lots of emails) into ICP tested accounts will yield a quick pipeline hit. If it doesn’t, something is probably wrong with your ICP.
As the team blows through territory, beware of headwinds. Reps start to see lower conversion rates, the natural response is to increase activity. This may keep demos booked high for a short period of time, but beware.
In increasing activity levels, SDRs utilize their tech to spray poor messaging all over the place. TAM is burned, your brand is garbage in the very place you can least afford it, your high value ICPs! At this point, you’re dialing (and spamming) for dollars 🙁.
Back to the Good - Account Based
A solid SDR program can and does deliver sustainable revenue for many tech companies today, you don’t have to look far for examples.
SDRs must be viewed and operated as part of a larger Account Based GTM Motion - a focused effort on a specific grouping of accounts within your TAM. Account Based Marketing plays a key role in the strategy as the force multiplier to an SDR program when they are closely aligned. Stay tuned for an upcoming post that dives into more detail, outlining specifically how marketing plays a role in sustainable pipe generation as part of an Account Based motion.
An SDR program requires a thoughtful strategy and program oversight so you don’t wake up tomorrow wondering what happened to that dream of predictable revenue.