Navigating Complex Sales: Build a Sales Development Team to Support Pipeline Growth

complex sales cover

Companies that have complex solutions have additional challenges in meeting their revenue targets due to obstacles or delays. This is a major problem that many of our clients struggle with. SOMAmetrics specializes in helping clients address a number of issues related to complex sales. This article discusses some important points executives should think through when it comes to generating sales pipeline for complex solutions.

For discussion purposes, we will define complex sales as those that typically target large organizations (Fortune 2000 companies and government entities); poses significant perceived risk and cost for the customer; involves, at the very least, a handful of key stakeholders besides the final economic decision maker (i.e. CEO, CFO, CIO, a CXO); entails a complex sales process and decision making process; and usually comes about as a result of a company or division-wide initiative.

Assessing the Prospecting Process

To complicate things further, different titles may be in charge of the same initiative or drive in a given sales environment. This makes it difficult to determine where to begin the prospecting process. Hence, a complex sale involves research over time to uncover the moving parts and weave together a coherent sales strategy or assessment. The following are a few examples of information that this assessment may address:

  1. What is the driving issue/initiative behind the need?
  2. Who are the key stakeholders involved?
  3. What are the key pain points and concerns of each?
  4. Who has the most urgent pain, and therefore wants to see this taken care of sooner rather than later?
  5. From where is the funding going to come for this? Is it all in one place (department or division), or will it be shared, and how?
  6. Are there multiple decision makers? Who is the final decision maker?

These are only some of the early questions to begin assessing whether there is a viable sales opportunity for your complex solution.

Using Sales Reps to Prospect is NOT a Good Idea

Often, we find that companies rely on their field sales reps to find viable opportunities within large, complex organizations.

We don’t think this is a good idea. This task differs greatly from what sales reps are expert at: calling on prospects who have agreed to see the sales rep. Prospecting, however, requires making 10-15 dials just to reach John Doe, who might not even be the right person to start with. Then, John may only have time for a quick conversation and suggest the rep call Jane Smith. Twenty dials later, the rep finally reaches Jane, who adds more to the story and suggests calling Mike.

And this is only the first round of calls; there will be follow-up calls to multiple stakeholders to find out more about one or more issues.

It is not unreasonable to expect that 500+ dials might be made into a single account to determine whether there is value in moving forward.

The question here is: who is better at quickly and cost-effectively uncovering viable sales opportunities? A field rep that will make 10-20 dials a day, or a seasoned SDR who makes 70-80 dials daily?

The SDR Solution to Complex Sales

Our experience repeatedly shows that field salespeople engage in early prospecting ONLY when their pipeline dries up. This, in turn, makes it very difficult for companies to reliably forecast what their revenues will look like over 3-4 months out. Since the sales cycle for most complex sales products tends to be six months or more, this means that a company cannot reliably predict revenues outside of the current quarter.

Our recommendation is to use SDRs to build the sales pipeline for the sales team (Read “5 Reasons Why Your Sales Development Team Is Failing“). This avoids the yo-yo effect and makes revenue targets more reliable. In this scenario, a senior SDR will do all of the initial research to gather the coherent sales opportunity story and pass it on as a Sales Qualified Lead. This opportunity story is a synopsis of the key initiatives; which departments or divisions are directly involved; who the key stakeholders are; which CXO is driving the initiative; what the individual pains, concerns, and desires of the various stakeholders are; and what a reasonable timeframe looks like for making a final decision on the acquisition of the solution.

Choosing the Right Person for a Complex Sales Role

The right type of Sales Development Rep (use our free Top SDR Interview Questions Resource) to successfully perform this would have the following qualities:

  • Has experience as a quota-bearing field or inside sales professional who understands sales, particularly complex sales into enterprise account
  • Is very comfortable and successful at accessing and selling to CXOs
  • Has the right temperament to work alone as well as to enjoy interacting with others
  • Is an avid learner, always trying to learn more about his/her industry and what the pain-points and new concerns for the targeted CXO’s are
  • Understands that this is painstaking work that will require hundreds of dials and many dozens of conversations that may or may not lead anywhere, and still enjoys the hunt
  • Is results-driven and has a strong sense of urgency

This is a specialty area, and the right person must align to the job. Start with Sr. SDRs while you grow your SD Organization. Once you have nailed the messaging, processes, and metrics, you can scale with SDR’s who are less experienced in this role.


Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

Find out more about SOMAmetrics’ Intelligent Prospecting Platform and get free resources on our website at www.somametrics.com.

How Difficult Is It to Generate a Meeting? Common Misuses of SDR Teams in Appointment Setting

In my book, The Radical Pipeline Strategy, I discuss the strategies and best practices I have used to build effective Sales Development organizations with regards to appointment setting. These teams, commonly known as Business Development (BDRs); Account Development (ADRs); and Sales Development (SDRs), consistently help your sales teams to achieve pipeline and revenue targets.

How difficult is it to set a meeting?

Over the years, Sales Development has come a long way. It is no longer disparagingly thought of as “Telemarketing”—a group of junior people whose primary role is appointment setting, or register people for seminars and events.

The SDR role is, however, still considered an entry-level position: their job is to generate a sales qualified meeting otherwise known as an SQL. The reason why companies hire junior-level people is because they think, “how difficult is it to set a meeting”? This is a pivotal question that I explore fully in my book.

In this blog, I will outline common misuses of SDR teams as appointment setters that I have encountered while retooling client SDR teams at over 65 companies.

Role of SDRs

To start, consider this: companies hire junior SDRs as their first line of defense. Their job is to call valued prospects who have 10 or more years of experience in their field. However, most junior-level SDR’s haven’t acquired the skills to speak to these seasoned professionals in a meaningful way, nor have they been given the tools to support their qualification efforts. In other words, “junior” SDR’s are the first point of contact with the most valued prospects of your company. This is an ineffective strategy for appointment setting that simply doesn’t work.

Junior SDRs don’t know how to speak to executives, and executives—who receive hundreds of calls from the same type of people—will tune them out. As a result, few qualified meetings are set and pipeline goals simply aren’t achieved.

To make up for the lack of quality meetings, companies hire more SDRs to help them squeeze out more appointments needed to meet their qualified meetings quota. In doing so, companies just build larger, more unsuccessful teams. This, in turn, costs companies a lot of money and frustration as they continue to miss pipeline targets month after month.

Next, consider this: billions of robocalls (over 50 billion in 2021) are made to the same seasoned professionals which lowers your SDRs chances of getting the target to answer their calls. And when they do actually answer, SDRs aren’t prepared to talk to the potential prospect. SDR’s need extensive training—in B2B appointment setting—to have conversations that provide prospects with the “valued” information for making informed decisions. Without this training, no one (prospects or sales) gets what they want or need.

Below are some examples of how SDRs are misused.

SDRs are NOT:

  • A panacea! If your company doesn’t have a viable solution, or your executives haven’t identified your best targets, or if your messaging is off the mark, SDRs won’t be able to generate a quality sales process and pipeline. Don’t force your SDRs to make up your messaging—they will fail.
  • A cold-call engine. Our research shows that it takes around 2,000 cold call dials to generate one closed deal. I don’t know any company that can afford a resource just to make dials. Instead, give your SDRs enough MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to meet your stated objectives. Then, set up a Target Accounts program, which are key accounts that your Sales Executives want to close, during the year. Market to these specific accounts using ABM, for example. Next, assign a handful of these accounts to your SDRs each quarter and arm them with content to give to prospects as they work to make contact. Finally, provide your sales reps with SDR marketing solutions, like FrontSpin and Outreach.io, to enable them with the skills to send personalized and targeted messages.

They are also NOT:

  • Your Chief Marketing Officer or VP Marketing/Sales. Every team I retooled allowed their SDRs to create emails and sales tools, which were not effective. SDRs are not product marketing executives or writers. Effective SDRs are good on the phone, but most are not good at writing. Marketing and Sales should consistently provide the right tools and fresh content with the desired messaging to their SDR team members. I tune out emails that are regurgitated and sent to me week after week… your prospects will too.
  • Your Sales team. Don’t expect your SDRs to close deals. Instead, educate them to uncover basic needs and pain. In addition, let them focus on generating quality SQLs and appointment setting with viable prospects. Have your sales and inside sales teams close the deals.
  • Admin support for your sales team. Many of the companies I have worked with loaded their SDRs with admin work. When this happens, SDRs who don’t enjoy making phone calls focus on admin work, and the SDRs who like making phone calls won’t do the admin work. So, SQLs are not being generated, nor is admin work being done. Remember, SDRs are there to develop a quality pipeline for your sales organization. Give them one job: generating highly qualified SQLs and sales appointments.
  • An after-thought. The SDR operation works best when it is considered an integral component of a company’s overall marketing and sales strategy. Companies that just “plop” in a SDR team without providing the right infrastructure, or with effective marketing or sales strategies in place, waste a lot of time and money. It takes careful thought and planning to build a SDR team that will generate a quality sales pipeline.

SDRs are:

  • Often the first live personal contact your prospects will have with your company. This first conversation needs to be spot-on and meaningful in order for your prospects to stay engaged with your company.
  • An effective method for delving into your prospects’ needs and building pain for your solution. Teach your SDR’s how to ask the right qualifying questions that build pain and need.
  • A sales pipeline development engine.
  • Most effective when supported by MQLs, or have an effective Target Accounts program in place.
  • Opportunity builders. Every communication with a prospect increases your company’s chances to create a viable opportunity. Make sure every call counts. Train your SDR team to take full advantage of every prospect interaction through efficient lead generation. Provide them with the right tools and proper training. Help them learn how to keep your prospects engaged throughout the qualifying process.
  • A great way to stay in touch with key or Target accounts. While field reps are closing deals or chasing warmer opportunities, someone needs to stay in touch with the key accounts or else you may lose them to the competition. (Some years back, one of SOMAmetrics’ clients had Comcast™ listed in their database as a Target Account. Comcast™ had been in their database for a while. Our SDR discovered that Comcast™ was going to acquire NBC. She called them and generated an enormous opportunity for our client. The field rep was unaware of this new information. This might have been a missed opportunity if our SDR had not contacted Comcast™ when she did).
  • In touch with the same prospects every month. These prospects often provide useful market intelligence which your company can mine to perfect its messaging and targeting.

Building a quality sales pipeline

To answer the previous question, “How difficult is it to set an appointment?”: it is very difficult to set an appointment. This is why so many SDR organizations fail. Every connection with a prospect needs to be treated like gold. Today, most people don’t pick up the phone to speak to anyone who is not on their contact list. When they do, the SDR needs to be armed with the right messaging and understanding of both your targets and your ideal customer profile (ICP). They must know how to qualify for pain and how to identify compelling prospect events, which align with your solutions.

In short, the role of your SDR team is to build a quality sales pipeline. They do this by setting highly qualified meetings with the right targets in the right market. Pipeline is always king. If you view this team as a strategic part of your pipeline build and set it up properly, you will hit your pipeline and revenue targets consistently.


Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

Find out more about SOMAmetrics’ Intelligent Prospecting Platform and get free resources on our website at www.somametrics.com.

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Development Team Is Failing

Sales Development

Ten years ago, I wrote a book titled, “Teleprospecting for Executives Who Sell Complex Solutions”, a workbook to help executives understand how to properly run a Sales Development operation in a B2B setting.

I recently reviewed my book to see what had changed, expecting to make massive changes before publishing on Amazon.

While some of the details may have changed, I was astounded to find that fundamentally not much has changed in the Sales Development world since I last wrote my book.

Today, most companies have invested in Sales Development Teams—typically referred to as Sales Development Reps (SDRs). This team is hired to generate meetings for their sales team organization. The majority of these SDRs are not successful. The Sales organization doesn’t accept meetings that they generate, and the trust between the departments fades very quickly.

At the same time, SDRs feel like they have worked hard to generate these meetings. They fail to see why a sales process and strategy do not accept these hard-won meetings. Sales Reps find that marketing meetings with SDRs are shallow, don’t map to the relative customer buying journeys, and rarely include decision makers.

What Has Changed?

Ten years ago, each of my sales development representatives received around 200 solid MQL calls each month. While about half weren’t that great, the rest were good enough for the team to call in to qualify for need and pain.

Now, decision makers don’t read their emails or answer the phone unless they know the caller. This has put a huge burden on demand generation development teams to drive traffic to their websites. But these inbound leads dribble in and the numbers aren’t large enough to support an SDR team.

Therefore, to fill the gap, demand gen teams depend on content syndication to make up the difference and send these to their SDR teams to ensure that they have someone to call. News alert! Qualified leads from content syndication will only burn out your SDRs because very few out of thousands actually have a need. Most of these prospects are just doing research for personal reasons or just to keep apprised of what data tools are available, maybe for future use.

The business world has changed! It has become more difficult to engage prospects and to generate leads. This is one of the reasons why SDR teams aren’t effective. Now let’s look at other reasons.

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Development Team Is Failing

1. Inbound lead traffic is low

Demand generation teams struggle to get quality, meeting-ready leads in front of the SDR teams.

2. Companies hire junior level people to generate meetings for sales

As stated in my book over 10 years ago, it is counterintuitive to expect your least experienced people to be the first point of contact with your very special prospects (decision makers, influencers, etc.). Junior people don’t understand your prospect personas, what keeps them up at night, and how to engage them on the phone to get to their needs/pains even if the prospect doesn’t have an initiative. When a junior SDR has a call guide, they don’t have the skills to make the points on their own and to tell a story about the value prop of the solution they are calling about. They also don’t know how to pivot when the call goes off-script.

In my book, I tell a story about a senior SDR who reported to me. He had a call with a CTO at a Fortune 100 Manufacturing company. David (the Sr. SDR) had a quick meeting with me to review his sales strategy and process for the upcoming call. He had just read an article in CIO Magazine which reviewed why CIO’s/CTO’s typically last in their positions for less than 18 months. During the call, he mentioned the article when the CTO told him that he wasn’t interested. David replied, “Sure I get it. Your job isn’t to figure out how to lower your energy spend. I just read an article that discussed how CIOs like you only keep their jobs for 18 months, because CEOs don’t believe that they are effective. I’ll send you the article.”

It took David about 3 years of hard work and a personal drive to become a sales qualified Executive. Juniors will cost you a lot more, in the end, because they are not effective and require a lot of training.

3. Companies believe that the SDR’s job is to generate appointments

This is wrong! The job of the SDR is to build a sales pipeline and execute through sales operations. The method used to build the pipeline is by setting meetings with decision makers and/or influencers to understand the prospect’s pain and to show the prospect how their problem is bigger than the cost of the solution. Companies don’t establish that their job is pipeline development, even though that is what everyone wants…. More and better pipeline.

The best way to establish pipeline growth is with a compensation plan that includes a small part of the variable for the appointment, a bigger part for an approved SQL, and a larger part based on the amount of pipeline generated each month/quarter from these appointments. I have coached my clients to add a bonus that maps to the closed deals from these appointments. Regardless of structure, the compensation plan focuses on pipeline growth.

4. Companies don’t establish the right KPIs to track and measure SDR activities

Dials made and emails sent are good to track, however, these elements do not ensure quality meetings. There are a few key SDR statuses that I look for (the details are in my book). Meaningful Conversations or Key Conversations are calls with a decision maker or someone in the know to identify some issues/paints. Often it requires more than 1 call to get all of the details to generate a strong meeting for Sales.

However, if there is interest, the timeline is decent, and the person is the right person, then there is enough information to set the meeting and send to sales. Either way, this status needs to be tracked, among others. From my perspective, Meaningful Conversations Or Key Conversations are the SDR pipeline and they should have 2-3x their meeting quota each month.

5. The SDR process is different from a sales processes

Most companies don’t understand this and set up their CRM as a one-size-fits-all. SDRs should make a lot of calls and send many emails/day. SDR Managers need to keep track of these activities, which won’t necessarily lead to a great meeting, they are required to get meetings. As stated, there are other KPIs to track as well, to ensure that SDRs are driving to their goals.

In addition to mapping the KPIs into the CRM, key qualifiers that your team needs to gather should be in the CRM. This will ensure consistency in B2B sales, and enable the SDR Manager to track the quality of the lead/meeting before they are given to sales. As such, there should be two approved workflow processes set up to track the meeting:

  • Make sure that there is a process for the senior sales manager to approve the meeting.
  • Once the meeting is approved by the SDR manager, the workflow should move the meeting to receive the account executives’ approval after the call has happened.
  • If the Exec doesn’t approve the meeting, the lead should be pushed back to the SDR with notes of what is needed to make this a better meeting. This gives the SDR a chance to re-engage with the prospect and get more information about their inside sales.

These 5 points of failure, if fixed, will enable your SDR team to generate meetings that build an effective sales pipeline. Pipeline is King!


Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

Grow Sales Pipeline and Drive Revenue Growth

grow sales pipeline

Grow Your Sales Pipeline to Fix Missed Revenue Targets

How can you grow your sales pipeline and consequently fix missed revenue targets? If you think of your total revenue operations, it is likely fed by four major revenue streams:

  1. New orders from totally new logos
  2. Reorders or renewals from current customers
  3. Upgrades, up-sales, and add-ons from existing customers
  4. New orders from entry into brand new markets.

In all but one (reorders/renewals), the key challenge is how to grow a sales pipeline of sufficient size and quality. It is also finding one that consists of informed decision makers who are actively searching for a solution within budget.

The fundamental thesis of this blog is that missed revenue targets happen primarily as a result of missed pipeline targets.

grow sales pipeline

If you are skeptical about this, consider the following research findings:

  1. New customer acquisition cost is increasing by an average of 10% or more each year.
  2. Over 100 million new businesses are started each year, worldwide.
  3. Partly as a consequence of that, nearly 80% of B2B companies change vendors within 24 months.
  4. Nearly half of sales reps (49%) fail to meet their quota—a trend that has been consistent for some 10 years now.


If we put the stats together, the story looks like this: competition is intensifying and competitors are stealing customers. So, we have to find opportunities for new customers just to grow at the same rate. This is forcing us to spend more marketing and sales dollars to acquire new customers, creating a spiraling cost loop.

Furthermore, we continue to design, invest, and build our sales pipeline management the same way we did in the 20th Century—and our sales reps struggle to meet their sales quotas.

Things were definitely different then. Buyers more or less welcomed sales calls because salespeople were a source of valuable information about what competitors were doing and so on. Then internet boom allowed for buyers to research this data for themselves, so sales teams became more a nuisance than an asset and were mostly shut out.

Fast forward to the 2010s, content and social media became king as B2B companies began to invest in their marketing efforts. And then the global pandemic hit and sealed the deal of a new sales process. Now, marketing is everything: ABM, demand gen, growth marketing, etc.

B2B Bottleneck

So, B2B companies created a bottleneck, an operational bow-tie with large Marketing spend and large Sales spend. They gave practically no spend or thought to what connects the two big operations, namely Sales Development.

Here is one way to think about this. Your marketing department is tight on time and resources on sales performance (as much as you spend there). So, marketing campaigns end up going after the Total Addressable Market (TAM) instead of a more focused Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM). You end up getting leads that are too small, too big, or in geographies you can’t really sell for whatever reason.

None of these will ever go on your sales pipelines, and yet these “leads” pass on to your sales reps. They become overwhelmed by all these leads just to find the ones that they can actually work with.

The Problem with your Sales Pipeline

So, you hire Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to help with that. Only, you hire junior people, provide them with basic training and lots of technology, and let them loose on these new prospects.

The problem now is different. You have someone who was just a few months ago working at Starbucks calling on a senior decision maker who has been doing this for 10, 15 years. It’s like a high schooler saying to an NBA player, “Let me show you some slick moves…”. It’s not going to work out well.

So, all the money you spent on your marketing gets throttled down in the middle. Good lead generation slips away because those tasked with following up and setting appointments simply don’t know how to execute social selling or talk to these people.

As a result, your sales organization has to do its own prospecting. They spend less time moving those in the sales pipeline towards a close. The end result is missed quotas and missed sales opportunities.

The Solution

The solution is to design your company’s revenue operations in such a way that you avoid the bottleneck. This allows revenues to smoothly flow from Marketing all the way to Sales, facilitated by SDRs who grow the sales pipeline for the sales organization.

Sales Development is a strategic revenue operations partner—equal to Marketing and Sales. It needs to be headed by a senior strategic thinking leader, and its members must be capable of talking at the level of senior decision makers in global companies.

Most importantly, your Sales Development organization has to grow the sales pipeline (not meetings) and should be compensated the same way your sales organization is—by how much it contributes to revenues. It’s time to really rethink our revenue chain, and redesign it from the ground up to meet 21st Century sales needs.

The Hidden Cost of Sales—Low SDR/BDR Performance

cost of sales

The Story Behind Rising Cost of Sales

According to HubSpot, the cost of new customer acquisition (cost of sales and marketing) has increased by 60% over the past six years or so.

What makes this even more alarming is that when we combine it with another finding. A 2019 Accenture study reported that 80% B2B buyers are switching vendors at least once in a 24-month period.

Let’s add a third stat: a 2019 Salesforce study found that 57% of sales reps weren’t making their numbers.

I don’t know about you, but I am having a hard time reconciling these numbers. If 80% of B2B buyers are changing vendors within 24 months, how are 57% of sales reps having trouble meeting their numbers? Shouldn’t it be easy to win new customers?

Looks like there is more to the story here.

And to tell that story, I have to tell another one first. In the 1990s (feels like a century ago, doesn’t it?), Dell Computers was growing faster than any other company—at least 100% every year for many years. Needless to say, they didn’t miss their numbers much.

One strategy Dell used to grow that fast was to cut sales territories by half each year. Sales reps screamed in anguish how this would kill their income…and each year they made more money than ever before.

Why? Because they got to know their customers more intimately when their territories were smaller. They focused more, learned more, and became far better resources to their customers—who became raving fans of Dell and wouldn’t buy anything else.

It seems that’s the story with every company that is growing fast—Zoom, Amazon, Netflix, HubSpot, Salesforce…They all know their customers—deeply. They, therefore, don’t lose customers, and their customers only buy more and rave about them to others—which means their cost of customer acquisition is going down, not up.

The “Cost” in Cost of Sales

With that setup, let’s focus our discussion on what we mean by knowing your customers deeply. And for our discussion, I’m going to focus on just the front end—sales and marketing.

In most B2B companies, and especially those that sell to enterprise accounts, their “front end” consists of Marketing, Sales/Business Development (“SDRs”), and Sales. Each is focused on a specific operation. Marketing builds the top of the Funnel, SDRs focus on the middle funnel, and Sales focuses on converting the bottom funnel into revenues.

Unfortunately, In many of the companies we work with, only their best sales people truly understand their customers, and thereby close the largest deals and have the highest win rates. Alas, they make up maybe 10% of the entire “front end”. The rest barely know anything about their customers, let alone deeply understanding them.

The inevitable consequence of that lack of customer understanding? 

Marketing content that is too generic and doesn’t draw the right customers; SDRs not getting leads and sending their own generic emails that mostly lead to more unsubscribes; meetings that are canceled because prospects don’t see the value in keeping them; underwhelming pipelines forcing sales reps to spend their time generating their own leads rather than moving the sales pipeline to close.

In short…more sales reps missing their targets, leading management to hire more SDRs and sales reps in the hopes of making their numbers, leading the cost of sales to rise each year.

Before you spend more…

As yourself, in your company, who really deeply understands the customers? Who can talk for hours regarding the customers? Who is that person, “you can turn on your recorder, sit back and let them talk?”

How many will describe your customers in terms of: what they struggle with each day, what their priorities, concerns and goals are; how their company makes money and how they get compensated; what they have worked on for so long to get right, and what they are afraid could change to disrupt that? How many know where the customer’s industry is headed, where new competition, regulations, and other threats are?

Does your marketing team understand this clearly? Is that what they are building their marketing content on? Are they driving the right prospects into the top funnel for your SDRs?

Do your SDRs know this? When they pick up the phone and call a senior decision maker, do they clearly understand how they can eliminate the key pain/cost/risk of that person and improve their numbers by “X” amount? Can they articulate that? Can they book and keep meetings with highly qualified senior decision makers?

At the very least, hold off spending more until you know the answer to these questions.

The Hidden Cost of Sales

That is the hidden cost of sales for most companies—their SDRs/BDRs don’t really know how to engage their prospects to get quality meetings booked for their sales reps.

As a result, pipelines are not sufficient to hit revenue targets and too many of your sales reps are spending too much of their time prospecting rather than moving leads in the pipeline towards a successful close.

Unsupported SDRs/BDRs are the hidden cost of sales and there is a simple solution to fix that—support them with these SDR services.

Let’s discuss your specific environment, challenges, and potential solutions:

Quadrant 3: Customer Retention and Upselling to Drive Sales

customer retention

Quadrant 3 is all about encouraging existing customers to buy new products; generally upgrades, add-ons, and bundles. In general, the goal is to increase the number of products your customers use by about 15-20% per year. It may seem like a big ask, but keep in mind that, apart from Quadrant 2, these buyers have the lowest perceived risk — they’ve bought from you before and are going to be a lot more willing to buy from you again, studies show. Meanwhile, the chances of selling to a new prospect are between 5 and 20%; selling to an existing customer skyrockets to as much as 60-70%. 

It’s crucial to invest in 3rd Quadrant prospects as it’s been proven to yield massive ROI. Bain & Company found that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI. That’s a five-fold return. In the following sections, we’ll be looking at the strategies industry leaders are using to drive Quadrant 3 sales. 

Customer Support Strategy

The reduced risk factor for Quadrant 3 prospects is dependent on their elevated trust in your company. Make sure your customer support strategy continually renews their trust in you and keeps you fresh in their minds. 

This can be facilitated by having a scalable support infrastructure like chat and self-help portals that can offer painless and quick support to customers as they learn and use your products. You should also maintain good communication with customers in order to stay relevant and keep them educated on your products and updates as they come out. 

Keeping close contact with customers also yields valuable insights into their buying behavior, which can help when it comes to pitching new products to them down the line. Knowing your customers well (including their needs and pain points) translates into knowing what to suggest to them to make their processes more efficient. 

Customer Retention Strategies 

Quadrant 3 sales rely on offers like bundles, packages, and deals that incentivize customers to buy more products from you. Make sure you figure out which products are best paired together and create promotions that offer added value to the original products your customers want to buy. 

Automation can play an important role here, too. Use it to promote targeted marketing campaigns to customers based on what they’re already buying. For instance, if a customer is already buying product X, use marketing campaign A, and if they’re already using products X and Y, use campaign B. 

Sales reps should also be invested in these strategies. Train them on which products are to be recommended together and on how to pitch an additional product without coming off as too sales-y; customers want to know that you’re on their side and trying to add value to their purchase rather than simply selling to them. Management can build a compensation plan around account penetration to encourage Sales reps to fine-tune their upselling capabilities. 

Upselling Strategy

Everything discussed previously has essentially been strategies that support upselling, which is the main goal in Quadrant 3. Upselling is when you recommend additional products that will complement those the customer is originally buying. HubSpot has outlined some key strategies that support upselling and will ultimately drive Quadrant 3 sales. 

First, determine which product combos get the best results, both in sales and in customer satisfaction. You want to find combinations that make sense to customers when pitched (and can be backed up by proof, like with case studies or infographics) and that will ultimately add value to the customer’s original purchase. Tracking KPIs and asking for customer feedback can give some direction to these efforts and highlight which pairings you should be pushing. Oftentimes, segmenting customers by personas can help fine-tune which recommendations to provide and to whom.

Make sure your upselling strategy is based on integrity; you’re only hurting yourself if it’s done with anything less. Though upselling is generally very profitable, if customers sense they’re being taken advantage of or don’t find added value with the extra purchases you recommend, they’ll lose faith in your business and might churn. The products you upsell must be chosen with customer experience in mind, with the main goal of making them better, easier, or more efficient. 

To support upselling, make sure to consistently introduce new products that can complement one another. Releasing a new product every 2-3 years is recommended in order to keep complementary items current and relevant. 

Recapping

Quadrant 3 is a great place to invest selling resources and if your customer retention and upselling strategies are well-thought-out, it can bring in considerable ROI. Driving sales in this Quadrant is all about investing in an excellent and helpful customer support strategy that will build trust between your customers and your brand. Some key customer retention strategies can also help boost your upselling capacities to reach your maximum Quadrant 3 selling potential. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Quadrant 2: Customer Retention Strategy for Increased ROI

customer retention

Hubspot has shown that customer acquisition costs have skyrocketed by as much as 60% in recent years, making the customers that you do have that much more profitable to your business. As McKinsey notes, if you’ve already spent a sizable amount of time and money to acquire a new customer and they churn early in the process, you’ve lost out on the full potential revenue of that customer. Their study goes on to show that what’s separating top-performing companies from their competitors today is how efficient their customer retention strategies are. 

Customer retention is hugely important in today’s business world. Falling under the 2nd and 3rd Quadrants of the Four Quadrants of High Growth model, customer retention is all about encouraging existing customers to buy more一 either of what they’re already buying (Quadrant 2), or related products (Quadrant 3). Optimizing your customer retention strategy can lead to considerable perks.

Many companies tend to take their paying customers for granted, placing most of their marketing budget in Quadrant 1 and favoring customer acquisition over retention. Invesp found that 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition whereas only 18% focus on retention. It’s only when unsatisfied customers churn (and their revenue is halted) that these companies realize how crucial it is to invest in Quadrants 3 and 4. More importantly, they see how important it is to see all the Quadrants as important sources of revenue rather than just the first. In a study by Invesp, 70% of informants reported that it is cheaper to retain than acquire a customer, and indeed, existing customers are both 50% more likely to try new products and 30% more likely to spend more on them than new customers. Customer retention can be a game-changer if you invest in it. Bain & Company found that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI. That’s a five-fold return. 

Fortunately, there are a series of proven strategies that today’s industry leaders are using to boost customer retention and drive Quadrant 3, all of which will be discussed in the following sections. 

customer retention

 Customer Support Strategy

Your target audience in Quadrant 2 already uses your products and is familiar with your brand. In order to promote the likelihood of them ordering more from you down the line, make sure you have excellent customer support. You want to develop their trust in the idea that your company is helpful and easy to work with. That way, they’ll be incentivized to become more involved in your offerings and might even become open to buying other products (i.e., joining Quadrant 3) down the line. If customers are unsatisfied with your company after purchasing from you, they’ll be highly unlikely to order any more from you. Conversely, customers that feel well-connected to you through good customer support will be all the more likely to engage with promotional offers or discounts to buy more. 

Remember that, from your customers’ perspective, everyone who works in your company is there to support them一 that includes Marketing, Sales, and everyone else, for that matter.

Also, remember that the best support strategy is to continuously educate your customers on how to use your product better to realize the returns they are looking for.

Customer Journey & the Buying Process

Current customers who have already vetted and approved your company are among the most valuable contacts for marketing campaigns. Make sure to keep your brand at the top of their minds even after they’ve made their initial purchase with you. The best way to do this is through email marketing一 by offering them promotions, discounts, or even premium services as a perk for buying more. Try to send at least one promotional email a month to keep connected with your customers and make sure these campaigns incentivize them to buy more. Update customers on new features that increase ease of use and efficiency and let them know about related products they may be interested in. 

The buying process in this Quadrant should be as simplified and easy for the customer as possible. On your end, too, it should be very low-touch and standardized; automate as much as you can and shoot for the majority of your purchases in Quadrant 2 to be completed without the direct involvement of a Sales rep. The operations should resemble a self-serve portal where customers can easily order more of what they want and have those orders fulfilled immediately. Automate pricing, contracts, and order fulfillment to ensure the buyer’s journey stays as seamless as possible. 

KPIs & Strategy Sharing 

As with any business strategy, the best way to improve your effectiveness is by measuring and analyzing the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). McKinsey found that customer retention success is best measured through customer-oriented metrics, such as website traffic, customer engagement time, response time, and conversion rate. However, other figures matter quite substantially here. The customer experience is important and metrics in customer frustration (perhaps with bugs on the website or with the products), a slow load time, or a poor onboarding experience can all highlight crucial areas that may need improvement. 

As these KPIs are analyzed and improvements are made based on them, make sure these valuable sources of information are not limited to just part of the company. Make sure that customer insights are shared across the entire organization, and specifically mutually updated by the Sales, Product, and Marketing teams. Feedback of this type will ensure an overall and constant improvement in customer retention that is propelled by a concerted effort across multiple departments. 

Recapping 

These days, it’s becoming increasingly more costly and time-consuming to acquire new customers, making it all the more important for companies to tap into the full potential of their existing customers in Quadrants 2 and 3. Quadrant 2 is all about encouraging customers to buy more of what they already use, and the key to maximizing this customer retention can be found through the following steps:

  • Grow trust in your company through excellent customer support 
  • Simplify and incentive the buying process
  • Track KPIs and share customer insights across the company 

Considering that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI, customer retention is a great place to commit resources and boost sales. You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Quadrant 1: High Growth Sales Strategy

sales strategy

According to Hubspot, customer acquisition costs have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing by as much as 60%. What this means for B2B companies is that it will be crucial, now more than ever, to have an effective Sales strategy that will optimize customer acquisition and drive down costs. Customer acquisition falls within the first Quadrant of the Four Quadrants of High Growth model, which is a highly effective sales strategy that helps B2B companies optimize their Marketing and Sales resources through segmentation to achieve the highest ROI.

Quadrant 1 is all about attracting new customers to the customer base, with a general goal of growing it by 15-20% each year. This is normally where companies throw the most money, especially as compared to the other three Quadrants, and because customer acquisition costs have only gotten higher in recent years, it makes sense to invest in a highly effective strategy that will use these funds as efficiently as possible. In the following sections, we’ll look at the strategies industry leaders are using today to drive growth in Quadrant 1. 

sales strategy

Content Strategy 

Since Quadrant 1 is largely about attracting new customers to your company, content will be the most important element of a successful high-growth sales strategy. The Marketing and Sales teams should come together to define what marketing content needs to be created to drive prospects through the various levels of prospect awareness, which range from completely unaware to engaged and actively searching. This content should be created with the goal in mind to produce the desired amount of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and so a level of automation is required here to provide prospects with the right content as they engage with entry-level materials. To read more about the Funnel Framework and how prospects progress through their buyer’s journey via content, click here

Hubspot has outlined the best content strategies we can employ to drive growth in Quadrant 1. Content marketing is quickly emerging as one of the most effective ways to reach new customers. Not only does it alert them to the existence of your company and expertise, but it also offers valuable, free, insights to them that will build their trust in your brand. Within this area, you can provide blogs, content offers such as ebooks or guides, and even videos that will all surface when prospects research their company’s pain points online. To drive results here, search marketing (both paid and organic) can be used to ensure your online presence makes an impact on your Quadrant 1 growth. 

Additionally, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to directly reach and engage a customer base. Nurture emails can help convert new subscribers by delivering helpful information and slowly increasing brand awareness, and in later Quadrants, new product information and discounts can increase customer retention. 

Sales Strategy 

On the Sales end, having a broader, formal strategy is crucial to ensure you meet that goal of increasing the customer base by an annual 15-20%. This is done best by defining the qualification criteria that make a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and then by mapping these criteria into the Sales Operation and Sales Automation system. The automation of this process will ensure that Sales immediately follows up with SQLs, and a thoughtfully-designed compensation program can incentivize agents to drive the Sales Cycle through lulls. 

Onboarding & Customer Support Strategy

Once we’ve reached a sale, the customer experience becomes only more important. The goal here is to turn new customers into happy and satisfied ones within 2-3 weeks一 and having a strong onboarding and customer support strategy can help here. 

Learning how to use a new product can be tricky, especially for working professionals who may not have much time to dedicate to their understanding of your process. According to Salesforce, a great thing to keep in mind when crafting your onboarding strategy is to keep it simple; streamline your instructional content so that only the most essential items are present during the first steps of the onboarding process. That way, new users won’t be deterred or overwhelmed when interacting with your products for the first time. 

Additionally, have an abundance of various materials available to them to reference during and after the process. This can include blog posts, video tutorials, instructionals, or even email sequences delivered over a set period following the purchase. To ensure things are going smoothly, it can be helpful to send out a follow-up email a couple of months down the line, which has the added benefit of delivering customer insights about the onboarding process. 

Overall, the process must be as quick and painless as possible for the new customers. At a broader level, it can be helpful for the onboarding team to be organized around facilitating an efficient process for the customer; at the start of the process, outline each key component and assign agents accordingly. This will allow them to complete the onboarding process efficiently and with the highest level of accuracy. 

After the onboarding process is complete, make sure that the customer support is there to keep customers happy and loyal to your brand, important needs that fall under Quadrants 2 and 3

Recapping

Quadrant 1 is all about attracting new prospects to your customer base, and creating a high-growth sales strategy can drive ROI in the face of increasingly expensive customer acquisition costs. Having an optimized content strategy, an automated sales strategy, and a simple, easy-to-use onboarding process can all drive sales Quadrant 1 and prime customers to remain for Quadrants 2-3. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

How Prospect Education Can Drive the Sales Funnel

The Sales Funnel is a way of defining the process. Prospects will go through when getting educated enough to want to meet with Sales. In the following sections, we’ll be breaking down the three stages of the Sales Funnel that make up the buyer’s journey. Additionally, we’ll highlight which Prospect Education content will be the most helpful to Prospects at each stage. Content is becoming increasingly important in the B2B Marketing world today. Studies have shown that the use of Prospect Education content is now one of the top strategies for 77% of B2B marketers. 

Because these stages relate to different levels of engagement and awareness, the content that should be sent out to buyers will differ depending on what is the most relevant to their interest level. What’s important to note here, too, is that actively searching and fully engaged prospects will enter the funnel from the top like everyone else一 but will then progress through the stages very quickly, hence why it’s so helpful for Marketing to nurture Educated Prospects to meet with Sales.

Prospect Education is the best way to drive the Funnel; attracting more prospects to the Top and helping others advance to the Bottom and eventually on to meet with Sales.

prospect education sales call

Top of Funnel (TOFU)

The Top of Funnel (TOFU) is where your prospects begin their buyer’s journey. Depending on what level of Buyer Readiness each individual prospect is at, the speed at which they progress through the funnel will vary. 

Before prospects can reach the TOFU stage, they must first get acquainted in some way with your company. Demand Generation content is broad, less targeted content that’s meant to attract new prospects to your funnel. This type of content should be created to attract the most people possible and to be broadcasted easily to a large population. The emerging strategies Marketers use today are mainly SEO (optimizing access to blogs, podcasts, or other content) and online ads (perhaps on Google, Facebook, or YouTube), which can all attract attention to, or at least spark awareness of, new products. 

In engaging with this material, the Prospect is sent to a landing page that describes the asset and if they are interested, they’ll fill out their contact information (typically start with just first name, last name, email, and title). Then, they’ll get added to the top of funnel. 

For these unaware Prospects, having online content readily available is the only way for them to find their way into your funnel. Additionally, for Prospects who are already aware of their problem and are close to purchase-ready, letting them find your content is the best way to escalate them quickly through to the Sales level.

Once a prospect is added to the top of funnel, they’ll therefore need quite a bit of education and nurturing before they may graduate to later funnels, and they often repeat the cycle in TOFU a couple of times before progressing. 

What prospects need at this stage is lead generation content, which is generally shared with them through email nurturing. This will still be very broad and educational in nature一no need to give them the hard sell just yet. Instead, it will build up trust over time as they slowly start to recognize their problem and realize the power of your solution. Light, easily digestible content like relevant blogs, short quizzes, or engaging infographics can all educate buyers at this level. 

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) 

As TOFU prospects engage with the content you send them in their targeted nurture emails (clicking, downloading, etc.), they’ll eventually work their way down the funnel to the middle, at which point the marketing content to be sent to them will become a little more specific and targeted. 

MOFU prospects make up about 20-30% of your target market and have generally already begun to have conversations with Sales to assess their options. At this point, Marketing’s job is to give them all the information they need to see why your company is their best option. This content will be more specific to your solution in particular and can take on a more aggressive sales approach. Content like buyer guides, case studies, white papers, third-party analyses of your product, and competitor comparisons are all good options for prospects in this range.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Once the prospect has narrowed down their options to a select shortlist and has started looking at pricing, they can be moved to the more Sales-oriented level at the bottom of the funnel. Clicking on the demo/meeting request button will also instigate this. BOFU prospects represent around 3-5% of your target market and are already fully aware of their problem and of their options in resolving it一they just need to find which product is the best fit. 

Actively searching prospects will advance to this level quickly if Marketing educates them effectively when they initially reach the TOFU. Otherwise, prospects can reach this level through extensive prospect education during their buyer’s journey. 

BOFU engagement will lean more towards the Sales side of Marketing, with the ultimate goal being to book a chat with a Sales rep and sign a deal. Chats about pricing, appointments, and deliverables, and customer testimonials will all be relevant to BOFU prospects at this point.

Recapping

Having the right content in Prospect Education available to Prospects during their buyer’s journeys will help them advance down the Funnel and encourage them to eventually meet with Sales. It’s important to have content available that will meet them where they are in their buyer’s journeys. To read more about this type of Prospect Education, and why it’s so important post-Pandemic, click here.

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Educating Prospects: Why It’s Crucial in 2021

The Pandemic changed how we do business in countless ways, and the business leaders who have thrived post-Pandemic have been those who have adapted their strategies to the new demands of their clients. In any business world, but especially that which we’re seeing today in the wake of the Pandemic, educating prospects is crucial in order to ultimately meet with a Sales rep. In the following sections, we’ll be talking about how buyer behavior has changed due to the Pandemic and how the savviest (and successful) thought leaders in B2B Marketing have adapted their Prospect Education to thrive in today’s new business landscape. 

educating prospects

How the Pandemic Changed Buyer Behavior

When the Pandemic hit, the business world was pushed almost completely into the online realm. This reshaped how B2B buyers and sellers interact with each other and business in general. Since much of the buying process went virtual, many buyers shifted their approach to online buying. Reportedly, 68% of B2B buyers now prefer to do most of their product research online—before ever meeting a Sales rep, and even partly as a prerequisite to meeting one. 

When Prospects start realizing they have a problem in their business, they’ll go online to research what it may be and how they may solve it. Often, they’ll come across a variety of products and will then research each promising one to narrow down the ones they’d like to talk to a Sales rep about. During this buyer’s journey, they’ll engage with different types of content that they may come across online; blogs, white papers, videos, infographics, and more. 

Buyers today are used to finding most of their product information online and independently, meaning that they’ve taken much of the Prospect Education you need them to have about your products into their own hands. This can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you react to this shift. If you have an abundance of relevant, helpful content out there for them to find in their research, this could actually optimize your Sales process. However, the content they use to make a decision could just as easily be that which they find on your competitor’s site… 

What this means for Marketers is that it’s important, now more than ever, to meet Prospects at every stage of their buyer’s journey with relevant, helpful content that will give them the information they need to advance down the Sales Funnel. 

The Three Levels of Buyer Readiness

One way we like to classify Prospects is by the stage of buyer readiness they’re at in their buyer’s journey. As Prospects move along the buyer’s journey, they follow a fairly predictable route that begins with them being oblivious to their problem and eventually ends with them realizing their issue and actively searching for solutions. It’s crucial to understand and break down the various levels that each buyer traverses along this journey to target them with the correct content for the stage they’re currently at. In other words, someone who isn’t currently sure of what problem they’re having isn’t going to want to see a case study just yet. 

Level 1: Prospects with No Clue

These prospects are oblivious and unengaged, just beginning to feel and take note of a pain point in their business, but they may not know that it’s a problem yet or, if they do, they won’t know how to fix it. They’ve begun some light research into the symptoms of their problem and are starting to understand the various potential options they have to solve it down the line. For those that are clueless, the marketing challenge is immense. You need a way to deliver messages to them, which generally comes from Lead Generation content such as blogs, infographics, or online ads.

Level 2: Exploring Prospects 

Exploring Prospects are interested but not yet engaged. They’re fully aware of the problem they’ve been experiencing and are actively seeking to solve it. They’ll be researching all of the products available to them and interacting the most with those whose content is the most informative and relevant to their needs. 

At this stage, they should have ample access to relevant and helpful information to learn more about how they may solve their problem. They likely won’t be ready to talk with Sales until they’ve learned enough about the issue and their options to solve it.  

Level 3: Actively Searching Prospects

Actively searching and fully engaged prospects are deep in their buying journey and have likely narrowed their list down to a few options that have stood out to them along the way. They’re now searching for the final information that will let them decide on which solution to employ to solve their original problem. 

Content at this stage should be targeted for those at this advanced level of buyer readiness, like comparisons between your product and your competitors’ or more in-depth content like case studies and white papers. 

It needs to be pointed out that a “Contact Us” form will not cut it here. You must provide them with a way to schedule either a demo or a call with one of your sales reps, on their own and see that the meeting is set on their calendar as confirmation.

Why it is Critical to Educate Prospects

As mentioned above, prospects these days like to complete the majority of their buyer’s journey before they meet with a Sales rep. In fact, a study found that around 70% of B2B buyers both define their needs and locate various solutions before agreeing to meet with reps, meaning that what buyers today want is not to be sold to, but instead to be assisted along their purchasing process with the right information that will supplement what they already know. 

It is critical to educate prospects along their journey so that they have all the information they need to want to book a meeting with Sales. We already know that this is the case with B2C; it’s been shown that consumers are 131% more likely to buy after being exposed to early-stage educational content. Keeping in mind the human behind a B2B decision-maker, we can apply this knowledge to the B2B realm to understand just how important prospect education is. Indeed, a study found that 96% of companies agree that customer education is important, whereas another study showed that 69% of B2B marketers point to relevant content as the most effective tactic for lead nurturing. In short, the more educated prospects are when they meet with a Sales rep, the higher the likelihood that they’ll make the deal. It’s up to marketing to educate prospects so that the leads that Sales receives are all actively searching for solutions and are fully engaged with the product. 

In a day of a majority-virtual purchasing process, the products with the most relevant content will win the most meetings with Sales reps and ultimately earn the most closed deals. Since actively searching and fully engaged prospects are the readiest to buy, the only question now is from whom.

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

The Innovative Content That Engages Leads to Talk With Sales Reps

Engaging online content is quickly becoming one of the most important resources available to Business Development Representatives (BDRs) today. As email marketing has become the most efficient way to initiate contact with leads, BDRs are turning to prospect engagement content to get attention and pique interest when sending out emails. In the following sections, we’ll look at why content is so important today, as well as what types of content BDRs need and what roles Sales Enablement can adopt in managing and creating content. 

innovative engaging content email marketing business development representative bdr sales enablement

Why Content is So Important for Engagement Today  

Because emailing is the rising medium for lead engagement today, one of the most effective ways to pique interest in any communication with a prospective customer is to share compelling, high-quality content.

Email marketing is used to connect with leads before calling them over the phone. During this stage of the buyer’s journey, relevant and helpful information should be shared with leads over email to educate them on the product and inspire a willingness to meet with a Sales rep. The goal is to engage leads enough over email so that when a BDR calls them, they’ll already have the information they need to want to book an appointment to talk with a Sales rep. 

BDRs, then, will need an array of engaging and compelling content to send to leads over email. This content should be specific, highly targeted for specific persona profiles, and come in multiple mediums to reflect the modern trends of today. Additionally, having set email sequencing available to BDRs can streamline and optimize this process. Click here for more information on email sequencing. 

The Types of Content That Best Engage Leads

In a hugely virtual world today, having modern and interesting content is essential to stand out from the crowd. We once lived in an era where PowerPoint seemed fresh and modern, but nowadays, the content that’s most likely to pique a lead’s interest will look a little different. 

Sales Enablement will want to make a wide variety of content available in various mediums, many of which should be easily shareable online. Types of content in this area can include blog posts, white papers, webinars, videos, ebooks, product demo decks, podcasts, infographics, presentations, mobile apps, articles, social media, websites, games, online demos, and tutorials. The key is to have content that’s targeted to the specific industries and personas it will be shared with and to create it with engagement in mind.

These bits of informational content are designed to move curious but unconvinced middle-of-the-funnel prospects to a level of high interest and a willingness to meet with Sales. To read more about the type of content that will engage leads, click here. 

Sales Enablement’s Role in Content Management

With a robust library of content available to them, BDRs will be well-prepared to engage with more leads and with more success. However, it’s just as important that BDRs be well-versed with what content they can and should send and to whom. For Sales Enablement, a vital part of BDR training should cover content awareness. Additionally, sales coaching should highlight which content to use for which persona profiles. 

The content should also be stored in an easily accessed and organized content library, which can be facilitated through the use of content management tools like Google Docs. 

Finally, Sales Enablement teams should track the dispersal of their content and enforce what content needs to be sent out by BDRs to promote better sales. Using KPIs in CRMs like SalesForce can aid Sales Enablement in the collecting of this information. 

Recapping

As email marketing has become more efficient in lead engagement today, the content that BDRs use to pique the interest of their leads should be of vital importance to the Sales Enablement team. Modern engagement content includes persona-targeted items in varied mediums to stand out. To read more about the type of content that will engage leads, click here. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

How Business Leaders are Optimizing BDR Training in 2021

The pandemic pushed a lot of businesses to change how they operate, including those in the B2B selling space. As Sales Enablement has adopted a wider role in business today, we’ve started to see shifts in how business leaders train their BDRs (Business Development Reps). In the following sections, we’ll look at which new practices in the traditional BDR training model have optimized BDR performance in today’s business environment. 

business development representative bdr training

KPIs for BDR Training

Careful tracking of some key performance indicators can highlight specific areas where training should be focused. CRMs like Salesforce and prospecting tools like Outreach both offer effective solutions to track these figures, which can then apply to BDR training programs to track progress, quotas, and areas for improvement. 

Some essential KPIs include: 

  • Average sales cycle length
  • Average deal size 
  • Time to Revenue
  • Quota attainment 
  • Lead conversion rate 
  • Content usage 
  • Sales funnel transition rates 
  • Number of closed deals 

Finding gaps in knowledge or ability is essential in BDR training because it gives direction to what Sales Enablement needs to focus on.

Optimized Training Sessions

Using analysis from KPIs, Sales Enablement can craft highly effective BDR training programs that borrow from some findings of business leaders today.

It’s been shown that 87% of B2B sales training content is forgotten within 30 days (Gartner), which means that the norm of infrequent or even once yearly training sessions has to go. Many Sales Enablement programs today are shortening their BDR training sessions — but also increasing their frequency. Sharing information more often and in more easily processed chunks allows Sales Enablement to reinforce old information and update training as new developments surface. It’s also been shown that continuous training can raise sales rates by as much as 50%. 

Additionally, BDRs are often on the go or in between meetings, and so while having live training sessions is certainly helpful, it can also be wise to include virtual, more convenient options within a BDR training program. Mixing up the format can also help retain attention and engagement among BDRs. Monthly newsletters, games, or interactive videos can all reliably share information while engaging viewers even while being online and remote. 

BDR Training Packs

One of the best ways Sales Enablement can equip BDRs to succeed is through a thoughtfully crafted BDR training package. Effective BDR packs give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The fundamental elements of an effective BDR training pack are industry briefs, persona profiles, and discovery call guides. 

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. They share information with BDRs about their lead’s industry’s growth rate, challenges, competitors, and more. 

In addition, persona profiles give BDRs a familiarity with the challenges and goals of the specific persona types they’ll contact within their targeted industries. This will enable them to make more personalized connections with the leads they contact. In fact, 93% of B2B decision-makers report being more likely to further consider a company if the outreach is personalized to them, making targeted, specialized approaches of the utmost importance to BDRs strategies.

Finally, discovery call guides equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Effective call guides give ​​BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training packs, click here

Recapping

The pandemic has pushed many business practices to shift recently, and in order to equip BDRs with the skills they’ll need to succeed in this new business environment, Sales Enablement should optimize their BDR training. This includes tracking KPIs for training purposes, updating BDR training practices, and providing highly effective BDR packs. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.