How sales development is changing sales forever

sales_developmentWhile the term “sales development” has been around since the 1980s, advances in technology have invoked a new era of sales development, which is revolutionizing how companies do business. Gone are the days of pure cold calling or expensive direct mail campaigns; today companies are looking for ways to get in front of the right people at the lowest cost possible. Alas, many companies, especially tech companies, are turning their attention to sales development.

What is Sales Development?

Trish Bertuzzi, CEO of The Bridge Group, a sales development consulting firm says sales development is the perfect combination of “technology, process and people,” combining “data analysis tools, email nurturing and phone prospecting.”

As this article from Forbes, “The Biggest Trend in Sales Today: This Thing Called Sales Development,” notes, the key to sales development is specialization. In an interview with Ken Krogue, founder of InsideSales.com, Krogue states: “Companies realized that they could be more leveraged if they broke the sales role into closers and appointment setters.” Krogue goes on to reference a study which showed that close rates increased seven points when appointment setters and closers were separated.

In essence, sales development is about leveraging the right tools and techniques to make sure you are well-positioned to close a deal when the time comes.

Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

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How to successfully do Sales Development

The key to sales development is to separate leads by their source – inbound versus outbound. For the best results, as we discussed above, it’s important that you have pre-assigned team members to follow up with each segment individually. Below we’ll discuss each of these lead sources in more detail.

1.)   Inbound Leads: Inbound leads are those that have been pre-qualified and the prospect has raised their hand to say that they are interested in your product or service. These are the leads that are best-suited for closers.

Inbound Lead Sources:

  • Websites – One of the best sources for inbound leads is a company’s website. As this Forbes article notes, 20% to 30% of a company’s leads originate with their website. With this in mind, make sure your website is optimized to collect lead information. You may consider creating lead information forms that a user must complete before downloading reports, brochures or viewing a demo. The idea behind these forms is to pre-qualify users so that you know who is already interested in your product or service.
  • Email Nurturing – Email nurturing is another great source for inbound leads. As a user works their way through the sales funnel, email nurturing allows you to send targeted communications based on where someone is at in the sales funnel. This is important for sales development as it gives you the ability to track what users have clicked on certain links, downloaded reports, viewed videos and more. Working with your sales development team then, you can decide at what point it makes sense for someone to reach out for further discussion.
  • Email Nurturing – Email nurturing is another great source for inbound leads. As a user works their way through the sales funnel, email nurturing allows you to send targeted communications based on where someone is at in the sales funnel. This is important for sales development as it gives you the ability to track what users have clicked on certain links, downloaded reports, viewed videos and more. Working with your sales development team then, you can decide at what point it makes sense for someone to reach out for further discussion.

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2.) Outbound Leads: In a perfect world, all of a company’s leads would come from inbound sources. The unfortunate reality, however, is that most companies don’t acquire enough inbound leads to keep the pipeline full. This is where outbound leads come into play.

Outbound leads tend to require more effort and finessing than inbound leads but are just as valuable.

Generating Quality Outbound Leads:

  • Identify Your Sweet Spot: In order to have success with outbound leads, it is essential that you identify your target sweet spot, or consumer segments that have historically purchased your product or service based on a certain set of criteria. If you know that companies with less than 100 employees and at least $1 million in revenue are your biggest customer segment, focus on this audience when going after new leads. In doing this, your team will spend more time calling on leads that are more likely to generate sales.
  • List Acquisition: Another important factor is the list itself. Make sure the list you give your outbound sales reps has been verified and validated so that contact information is as accurate as possible. If your reps are calling people that no longer work at the company on your target list, they are simply wasting time.

What we see is that sales development is a comprehensive method for generating leads and ultimately sales. Sales development takes a variety of factors into play – data, technology and strategy – in order to close a deal. With advances in technology coming every day, the role of sales development will continue to evolve. One thing remains certain, however: sales development is revolutionizing how companies think about sales.

Article from: http://www.rainsalestraining.com

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