We have often come across large companies focused on B2B who are unaware of the SDR figure, and they tend to confuse it with operators from a B2C call centre.
Let me give you an example: not long ago, I had an interesting conversation with a Sales Director of a multinational company, to whom I spoke about incorporating this profile (SDR) into his team, as he was very concerned that sales weren’t going at the pace they should. He suspected that the salespeople in his team weren’t prospecting nor utilizing the CRM, and he was right!
That organization had 4 commercials for the whole country, its deals were very large and there was not enough market knowledge, as they had started to implement a CRM just a year ago.
Three of the commercials relied from what came through private bidding and would do little cold calling. The 4th commercial was in a region with smaller companies and was the one who did the most cold calling. To be able to meet the quota, this salesperson had to abandon her prospecting activities every time several leads would become an opportunity, as she was too busy with the follow-up, proposal, and negotiation. This meant that when these deals were closed, she had to go back to prospecting and start from the very beginning.
I then spoke to the Commercial Director about the outbound methodology used in B2B SaaS companies to help with the Sales Funnel that allows for a clearer process (which includes decision-making metrics), defining what would help to improve the sales. I told him about the SDR role and how they can help Accounts close meetings and do the follow-up, meaning the sales cycle never stops. He saw it as an increase in costs in his team and compared it to a telemarketing campaign they had done a few years ago (B2C style which, of course, hadn’t worked).
There are 3 compelling reasons why any large B2B company should have SDRs:
1. Prospecting takes time. Time to find out whether the company is really target, time to find out who your buyer persona is, time to awaken interest, time to talk to this buyer persona and eventually closing a meeting and doing some follow up until it becomes an opportunity to the Account Executive.
If your Account Executive is doing this job, you’ll find two scenarios, and none is good:
• The AE prospects but doesn’t have volume or continuity.
• The AE doesn’t prospect, has not volume and doesn’t know about the rest of the market opportunities neither.
The reality is that it isn’t operational for an Account to do the entire cycle -and even less when it has a margin to make the process efficient- for the following reasons:
• What the expert Account really likes is to be with a client: presenting, generating engagement and negotiating. What he/she likes least is cold calling, from which tries to flee.
• In addition, Account Executives tend to have a high salary, so we don’t want to make him or her invest most of the time in doing prospection. It’s more interesting to focus their expertise on closing Sales.
Sometimes, it’s not about hiring someone else, but about making changes to the team and choosing, for example, as in the case I was explaining, to start with 1 SDR and 3 commercials. It would surely have been a good structure for that company, which was in a very mature market with a lot of competition.
2. The Focus. If you have a person whose job it is to prospect and convert leads into opportunities for Accounts, you’ll bring more control and precision into this phase.
This SDR, focused solely on prospecting, will know first-hand what the leads want and expect from your company, no data will be lost, and the speech will be fluid and effective. With their knowledge and experience, the Sales Playblook will be adapted by a professional of it, who is the same SDR, an ambitious profile who will want to demonstrate how good he or she is, in order to become the next Account.
When this work is carried out by the same Account Executive that sells, some information will get lost and the follow-up won’t be adequate. This makes sense, since the AEs objectives are based on sales and not on meetings, so they will approach what seems more convertible, without taking care of colder or more difficult opportunities.
3. The 3rd point is Marketing and Sales Alignment in B2B companies. The Marketing department should help the sales department sell more.
Often times, in large companies, the Director of Marketing and the Director of Sales are not only not the same person, but they compete with each other as if they had different objectives. Sales and Marketing must go hand in hand to reach the target customer, because sales needs Marketing to precede them by telling how expert their company is, generating trust through cases and content. This way, when the Sales department is already familiar to the potential customer when they finally get in touch. Similarly, the leads that Marketing brings must be qualified and make sense within the sales strategy.
In conclusion, the role of the SDR is key for a B2B company, because it makes existing resources efficient, maximizing them and allowing to reach more customers and with higher quality through a segmented process. It also provides more information on the target, essential to adapt to a changing and flexible market such as the Post Covid one, and ultimately, increase the sales of your company.
Want to read more fresh content about the role of an SDR? Check out more articles.