Do you have reps who prospect on the phone and qualify before handing over to a team of more seasoned reps who close the sale? If this is your sales model then you probably work hard to align both teams and to ensure that everyone works together as best they can – not an easy task. Both positions exist to help grow your business but they ultimately achieve this in very different ways.
What is business development?
Sales or business development reps (SDRs or BDRs) are responsible for researching, prospecting, qualifying, and nurturing leads before passing them off to their sales reps to further develop and close. Generally, SDRs do not carry quotas but they do have goals surrounding how many leads are passed over in a month. Some even have goals around close conversion rates and kickbacks on closed deals.
Many companies choose to outsource this function of their business. Instead of having the overhead costs of additional employees and the training expenses, they prefer to bring in experts that focus on just business development. Allowing their outside reps to focus on highly qualified opportunities and closing deals.
What is outside sales?
After an outside rep receives a lead from an SDR, they work to close the deal. There are cases where an outside rep may have to further qualify a deal and they are also responsible for demoing the product, handling serious objections, and for working the deal through closing contracts.
Why the split in roles?
It’s not easy closing business and for most companies, it can take several months to get a prospect across that finish line even after they have been fully qualified. You don’t want your top outside reps spending time finding leads and qualifying them. You want them doing what they do best: closing business and bringing in that cash flow.
You also want your SDRs focusing on their strengths and finding and nurturing potential opportunities. It takes time to find qualified prospects and it also takes stamina to fight through dozens of voicemails and rejections. SDRs need time to learn about your product or services and you want them to strengthen their skills and find good opportunities.
So how do you align both teams and make them work together better?
Start with their relationships: make sure that both your outside reps and your SDR’s work together regularly. Have your SDR’s listen in on initial sales calls for the leads that they have passed over. Having them learn from their reps will only make them stronger at their qualification skills. This will also make sure that the SDR is held accountable for the quality of prospect they are finding.
Give them the right technology: at the very minimum, you should be using a decent CRM system. There are plenty out there: Zoho, Salesforce.com, Oracle – and all within your budget and needs. You want both inside and outside sales logging calls, attaching appropriate documents, tracking conversions from lead to close and keeping contact information up to date. You can also invest in auto dialers or call center software for your SDRs which will help reduce the amount of time dialing numbers.
Provide the right monetary goals: your outside reps are likely killing it, but do your SDRs feel like their work goes unnoticed once the ink is dry? Sometimes having SDRs receive a small kickback on all closed deals (in addition to their standard SDR bonuses) will help to ensure the quality of opportunities passed to sales is above par. This will also ensure that both teams work together through the process.
A lot to consider, right? Which is why we have become the inside function for so many organizations. If you are considering outsourcing your business and sales development or you want some pointers on how you can improve this internal function, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.