Sales development is a department that stands between a company’s marketing and sales operations and is in charge of the sales cycle’s front end: identifying, interacting with, and qualifying leads. Simply defined, this company’s job is to set up qualified meetings between a salesperson and a potential buyer who has a high chance of buying a product. A Sales Qualified Lead is one that fits this condition (SQL). When a lead is qualified, it is assigned to a salesperson, usually an Account Executive, who accepts the responsibility for the lead and manages the rest of the sales process.
The principle of sales development can be traced all the way back to Oracle in the early 1980s. One of the first sales development teams ever documented was Anneke Seley’s Oracle Direct team (DMD), which she formed in the early 1980s. It was one of the most important organizational methods for most well-known B2B technology businesses in the 1980s and 1990s, notably Sun Microsystems and Cisco. The sales development function was created by Computer Associates in the late 1990s as a link between sales and marketing.
Types of leads:
There are two categories of leads that sales development deals with. The first is an inbound lead, which is created by marketing and forwarded to a Sales Development Representative (SDR). After that, the SDR will approach that lead, evaluate their interest in purchasing a product, and determine whether it is profitable to spend more time selling to them. If an SDR thinks that a lead is worth investing sales resources in, the lead is sent on to a salesperson who will complete the remaining steps in the sales process.
The second form of lead, also known as an outbound prospect, is one that an SDR finds by finding potential purchasers who might benefit from the product that the SDR is marketing. The complete market potential is the range of possible buyers to whom a company can sell (TAM). An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), which an SDR will utilize to discover outbound prospects, describes the criteria as well as buyers within those companies, that a business has identified as an ideal fit.
- SDR outreach
Once an SDR has identified the leads with whom they want to have a sales conversation, whether inbound or outbound, they must find a way to connect with them. Traditionally, this has been accomplished through phone-based outreach, which is still the primary method used by most teams to contact prospects. An SDR’s attempt to contact a lead via email has become another important channel. As an increasing number of teams use LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms to engage with buyers in recent years, social media has become increasingly common. To increase the likelihood of connecting with their buyers, most SDRs teams mix phone, email, and social media outreach in a multi-channel touch pattern. A contact pattern, which is a cycle of interactions at precise intervals over a predetermined length of time before an SDR quits outreach and moves on to another lead, is typically used to guide outreach to a given lead.
A qualifying meeting or appointment is frequently booked for an inside sales team member, usually an account executive, as a result of SDR’s efforts. The held meeting is the most prevalent quota element for SDRs, to which incentive payments are tied as part of SDRs’ On-Target Earnings (OTE) compensation programs.
- Connecting with the buyer
Connecting with a lead is the result of successful SDR outreach. Connections can happen through any of the SDR’s outreach channels: phone, email, or social media. A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) definition, which describes the minimum information an SDR must obtain before progressing a lead to the next step in the sales process with a salesperson, is the most common description of qualification requirements.
The most basic criteria are information on the lead’s available cash for a product (budget), the leader’s ability to make a purchase decision (authority), how they lead and the company will benefit from purchasing the product (need), and when the lead will be able to make a purchase decision (timeline).
- A sales development program means a higher conversion rate.
It takes time and hard work to convert a lead. It is the responsibility of the sales development team to reach leads, eliminate obstacles, and connect them to sales teams.
These leads were converted by 40% for the company with optimized sales development programs.
The other company routes lead directly to quota-carrying sales agents, with a conversion rate of less than 5%.
Below mentioned is the importance of the qualified lead:-
After a qualified lead, you may put together a team, processes, and methods to meet a qualified lead quota. The following are crucial variables to consider when defining a qualified lead:
- Demographic qualifiers – It must be very precise and can include:
- Company variables —such as the size of the company, its industry, and its location.
- The contact’s role — Instead of focusing on the person’s title, emphasize what they do.
- Behavioral qualifiers – It all depends on who you’re trying to reach. SDRs operate as gatekeepers in some firms with a high volume of leads, sending only the best to sales. Sales may accept anyone who meets the demographic qualifications and is willing to meet with sales for firms with a smaller lead flow. Here are some examples of behavioral qualifiers that are commonly used:
- Willing to meet with sales: This is a must-have criterion, and the definition should say that the prospect and salesperson must meet.
- Pain and need: Is there an issue that your product or service can solve for the prospect?
- Timing: Is the buyer willing to work on this right now because of the urgency?
- Budget: Instead of asking about the budget on the first call, most sales development processes now qualify leads based on demographic qualifiers, need, timing, and desire to meet.
You may wish to construct two lead definitions, depending on your company’s target market. For example, sales development programs that generate demand from a limited list of organizations, such as the Fortune 1000 or specialized industries, may want to route leads to sales based on criteria like the suitable firm, right role, and desire to meet with sales.
Mindtickle’s sales readiness platform helps SDRs by providing them with ongoing learning so they can keep delivering superior leads that convert to long-standing customers.