Is Your Science Killing Your Art?

“Should I Subscribe you to our Unsubscribe list”

I recently received an email with that subject line.  I absolutely loved it.  The body of the email wasn’t all that compelling, but the subject worked and I read it.  Witty and somewhat confusing in a good way. Most importantly, it indicated a sense of humor.  An actual human trait.  Right off the bat this SDR had made me thinking of them as an actual person.  I was happy at first, but then it got me thinking about all the other lifeless communications I get from SDR’s daily.

Whatever happened to having some personality in your prospecting?  When did so many of us start approaching sales development like lifeless, scripted, and utterly boring robots?  How did this happen?

Full disclosure:  I sell a prospecting platform in addition to our outsourced services.  Our product automates much of the electronic communication that SDR’s apply to their prospects.  So, if we don’t coach our clients up properly, I’m contributing to this issue.

There is a significant difference between Rules and Guidelines.  A successful Sales Development function is equal parts Art and Science.  The Science is your process, the call cadence, the database management function etc.  The Science needs rules in order to work.  There can be little deviation from the way things need to be done or the whole thing becomes unpredictable.

The Art lives in what your SDR’s say, how they think about their prospects, and how they respond to incredibly hostile unsubscribe requests…etc.   The Art needs guidelines - some parameters to live within in terms of how you speak to a prospect.  Guideposts if you will on how to message, communicate, and build rapport.  These guidelines keep you safe while ensuring that the personality the SDR was hired for shines through in all their communications.  When science creeps too far into The Art, SDR Drones are born.

That’s exactly what I believe has happened in the Sales Development community.  The human aspect has been automated out of it in so many companies.  They’ve let their rules gradually disrupt the equilibrium between the Art and Science of prospecting.  The guidelines around messaging have been replace by conversation trees.  The guidelines around an email response to a prospect that sends an “I’m interested” email is templated and not customizable.  The content that an SDR shares after a great call is determined for them without factoring in the unique intelligence learned during that call.  These are just some examples, but I’m sure you can think of many more.

Take a hard look at how the SDR function is being managed in your company.  Dive into the actual conversations and follow ups that are being conducted by your reps.  Ask yourself the hard question.  “Is our Science killing our Art”?

I did and we are a better company for it.

Peter Gracey

Peter Gracey

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