It is common for the marketing and sales teams to grow out of sync as your company expands. The misalignment of the marketing and sales team can cost you brand visibility, margins, and growth.
It can worsen if you don’t have any system to differentiate high quality from low-quality leads or warm from cold leads. Adopting a sales development strategy can solve the misalignment.
But, a well-optimized and effective sales development strategy goes beyond just reducing low-quality leads. It can enhance the efficiency of your inbound marketing and improve the productivity of your sales development representatives (SDRs). And that directly improves your revenue.
Read along to understand some sales development strategies that can grow your organization.
1. Choose the Right Definition for Your SQL
Having robust sales qualified leads (SQL) needs the proper definition to reduce bad fits and low-quality leads. There are always two types of leads:
- Marketing qualified lead ( MQL) marked by the marketing team as ready for sale. The marketing team might be right or wrong. It passes it over to the sales team.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL) marked by sales as a quality prospect. The sales team must engage until they become a tangible sales opportunity.
A proper SQL definition like prospect’s company size, role, etc., can vary across companies and sectors. But, it helps optimize your lead scoring system for quality leads.
For example, if the prospect’s company has the right size and can afford the solution, it can be marked as a warm lead. Also, if the prospect’s role is part of its decision-making, it can be marked as a high-quality lead.
Hence, your SDRs can allocate more time to the correct prospects to ensure meaningful engagements. The sales team must clearly define what they are scouting for to help the marketing team generate high MQLs that can convert to SQLs.
2. Leverage on Technology to Streamline Sales Process
Most high-growth companies leverage the technology stack to drive sales development. It performs several functions, from automation to lead qualification. Here are some benefits of using technology in your sales development:
- Drive better customer relationship management through intelligent CRMs.
- Drive omnichannel management to improve quality customer touches.
- Automate some sales development processes like auto-dialers. It will allow you to scale your sales development depending on your business needs with ease.
- It ensures sales prospecting and forecasting using sales predictive analytics.
- Creates lead qualification and nurturing system for better SQLs.
- Help build a central content management platform to drive specific content for each buyer’s journey.
Some of the common tech stack tools include:
- Accent Accelerate
- LeadGenius, among others.
3. Leverage Digital Marketing
Inbound marketing depends on quality relationships. And digital marketing can refine your targeting alongside customized brand messaging for better relationships. Additionally, it has a high impact global reach at a relatively minor investment. It is easy to monitor conversions and contacts.
But, it entails a lot of several individual strategies:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Pay per click, PPC management
- Content marketing
For example, about half of sales development organizations have LinkedIn in their touch strategy.
But, all these strategies need nuanced practices for better outcomes. SEO agencies in Milwaukee state that the best digital marketing company should handle technical nuances. Digital marketing agencies can drive a high-impact SEO and other strategies to position your brand on search engines and social media channels.
More customers are doing online research before making purchasing decisions. Leveraging internet marketing agencies can quickly make your brand discoverable and visible. Eventually, it generates new business opportunities for your growth.
4. Aim for Faster Lead Response Time to Improve Conversion Rates
Most inbound lead conversions happen shortly after a new prospect register. It is because the client is deliberating on your offer and is more likely to engage. The lead response time should be 5 minutes, but sometimes it is not fast enough.
Thus, prompt response plays a critical role in converting such prospects. Organizations that offer zero-minute emails and other quick reactions are more likely to convert more leads. But, you must use intelligent lead routing as part of your tech stack to enjoy such efficiency.
5. Plan Your SDR Talent in Advance
SDRs have an average tenure of 12 months or below for fast-growing companies. Therefore, you must plan before your best-performing SDR moves elsewhere. Get employee referrals and continue collecting CVs for easy matching when vacancy pops up.
Alternatively, you can create career growth paths within the organization to help retain them longer.
6. Strive for SDR Specialization
Inbound and outbound sales have different requirements for optimum conversion rates. Hence, SDR specialization is essential.
Inbound specialized SDRs are more likely to achieve faster lead response time than their hybrid counterparts. In essence, they can easily crush the average 5-minute lead response time with ease.
On the contrary, hybrid teams are more likely to struggle to achieve a quick lead response time. Hence, it is better to assign SDRs to specialized roles.
An SDR proficient in researching and prospecting should do that and not be burdened by closing deals. Hand over closing deals to SDRs that are pros in that area.
7. Create an Effective SDR to Sales Ratio
Both medium and large entities invest in sales development units to drive their growth. The number of sales reps per single SDR can be more than 5 if you are a small business.
But, above $25 million revenue needs an SDR to sales rep ratio of 1:3 or, if possible, 1:1. Anything more than three sales reps may reduce the sales traction. Also, it may lead to conflict, especially from a sales rep that feels an SDR has neglected them or favored others.
8. Scale Moderately
It might be tempting to go full throttle after putting everything in place and checking all the boxes. After all, you’re ready with the right tools, and the quarter is inviting.
Although onboarding more SDRs to achieve the optimum ratio is critical. It may not apply to all companies. Recruiting and training an SDR to become an asset is time-consuming. There are tons of tech stacks to grasp for efficient delivery. Not to mention the sales processes.
As mentioned earlier, the SDR churn rates are too high for an average year. So, scaling fast may lead to faster losses of SDRs even before they become an asset.
We recommend moderate scaling despite the urgency for prior planning for SDR talent. Grow your SDR talent slowly and improve your processes. Any rush may get you to lay off if they don’t quit themselves.
Don’t forget that it might get you scathing employee reviews on Glassdoor, complicating your next hires.
Bonus Strategy: Develop an Effective, Transparent Rewarding System
Having an open and just rewarding system can help reduce sales reps’ conflicts and churn rates. It will foster a healthy and good working relationship that helps drive optimum performance.
A weight point approach is gaining traction. It’s a lead scoring platform that makes your SDR score point for booking a meeting, and even more, as prospects continue in their buyer journey. Hence, for every valuable lead, the SDR gets a reward.
But, not all companies or sectors can run with such a system. Tweak and adapt what’s best for you, but ensure your system is transparent and drives optimum performance without alienation.
The sales development unit is at the core of high-performing organizations to drive more growth. You can leverage it to achieve quality leads that convert and enhance your efficiency.
Additionally, it can help you align your sales and marketing team further to drive brand visibility, margins, and overall growth. But, achieving such high-impact sales development is possible if you adopt some strategies, e.g.;
- Embrace relevant tech stack for efficiency gain.
- Leverage a top digital marketing agency for maximum results.
- Improve your lead response time.
- Plan your SDR talent right.
- Drive SDR specialization.
- Foster a healthy working environment through a transparent reward system.
Leverage efficiency and revenue gains in your sales development unit through these approaches.