A sales development rep team owns the process of discovering and passing qualified prospects to Account Executives in their company. Having a Sales Development team gives you one set of resources that allows you to focus better on lead discovery, which is primarily the responsibility of a Sales Development Rep, and have a separate team for deal closures, for which Account Executives are responsible.
Here is why it’s critical to separate the two and why it works:
When attention is divided, the results are as well. With sales development reps focusing solely on giving demos and closing deals, their energies get channeled into that. The sales development reps, in turn, focus on creating opportunities hence never letting the pipeline run dry.
#2 Two Different Skill Sets- Account Executives & Sales Development Rep
Most organizations fail to differentiate the skill set required for SDRs and AEs.To explain this better, some of the soft skills that are important for SDRs include collaboration, creativity, empathy, and more. Whereas the soft skills for AEs would be storytelling, affinity with technology, and most of all, knowing when to stop talking.
On the same note, the hard skills you should be looking for in SDRs should be research, business communication, and social selling. But for AEs, it is important to look for skills like product knowledge, conflict management, and contract negotiation.
This difference is explained in a lot more detail in this eBook- Building an SDR Team in 150 Days.
#3 Higher Lead To Opportunity Conversion
Sales reps have quotas. Meeting them takes precedence over all else and, sometimes, the ball gets dropped when it comes to building opportunities to meet the quotas for the upcoming months (as I experienced in my previous role). Also, there is a tendency to pick the low-hanging fruits that will ‘close’ quickly with little thought put to the other ‘leads’ that could eventually become opportunities. Sales development teams help convert even those not-so-flashy leads and generate enough interest over time to turn them into opportunities.
#4 Improved Processes
Greater attention to detail leads to better ‘hacks’ and automation and overall improvement across processes. Check out these skills every sales development rep should aim at mastering to get the best of the processes created.
#5 Data-Driven Decisions
A consequence of needing to improve processes is the need to collect better data. Hence, numbers come into sharp focus when specialized teams take over and decisions are driven by these.
Time and again teams have seen tremendous growth by decoupling Sales from Sales Development. While it will take effort to do so initially and might create some confusion in a startup scenario, the returns pay off handsomely.