Staying the course – the importance of a sales development process
In science, if you follow the same process every time, you should get the same result – the same is true in sales.
To reap the benefits of sales development, you need to define a sales process that works and bring in SDRs with the discipline to stick to it. Let’s find out more.
B2B sales used to be about having the gift of the gab, but now it’s a science rather than an art. This is because:
- Buyer behaviour has changed – Buyers engage with salespeople much later in the customer journey, preferring to do their own research online rather than speak to a human. This means salespeople have to meet buyers where they are rather than wait for prospects to come to them.
- What we sell has changed – The SaaS model of yearly subscriptions to a service has become the prevalent product. This means salespeople have to focus on creating a lasting relationship, rather than a one-and-done sale.
- Knowledge is power – Thanks to advances in the capability of sales tech and data science, we know more about our customers and ourselves. Analytics enable sales teams to improve results at every step of the customer journey.
In science, if you follow the same process every time, you should get the same result. The same is true in sales. This is why companies design sales processes to maximise their chances of closing more deals for more value.
In this article, we’ll look at sales processes – and why they are essential to your sales success. We’ll also focus on sales development and how an effective strategy at the top of the funnel can make a significant difference.
Processes in sales development
If you don’t separate sales development out from the rest of your sales process, you’re leaving money on the table. As we covered in a previous article, organisations that run a distinct sales development team close more deals than those who just let their quota-carrying reps run the whole customer journey.
Sales Development Reps (SDRs) provide value to the customer and the broader organisation at the top of the funnel:
- SDRs start the relationship with the prospect, presenting a professional, human face to your organisation.
- They qualify prospects in and out of the funnel, establishing that they are the decision-maker, have the budget and the need, making later stages of the funnel more efficient.
- SDRs can tap into a prospect’s pain points and begin to present your product as the solution, warming the prospect up before your AEs can get deeper further down the line.
However, to get the most out of your sales development operation, your SDRs need a defined process to follow. You can set out everything from the methods you use to contact certain prospects at specific times, to how your SDRs will present your product to potential customers. You also need to define at what point SDRs will hand the prospect over to an AE to take the customer journey further.
Benefits of a sales development process
When you define and run a standardised sales development process with your SDRs, it delivers clear rewards.
- A sales development process provides a roadmap for your salespeople. It gives them a structure, with defined stages and milestones, so an SDR always knows how to move a prospect through the journey.
- It helps you create a better customer experience, where you sell to a prospect in the way they want to be sold to, meeting them where they are. In today’s B2B world, where buyers engage with salespeople later and later in the journey, this is essential.
- You create a repeatable and predictable sales machine – when you know your conversion rates at each stage of the process, you know how many leads you need at the start to reach your target number at the end. A sales process will make your forecasting more accurate.
- Analytics at each step of the process also enable you to pinpoint where you need to make improvements and pull the right levers accordingly.
- SDRs come and go (the average tenure for an SDR is around 15 months), having a structured sales process means you can ramp up new team members quickly and effectively.
The numbers don’t lie. Research by the Sales Management Association found that:
- 69% of organisations use a defined, structured sales process.
- But, 90% of companies that run a sales process are ranked as ‘high-performing’.
When you create a process for your SDRs to follow – and they have the discipline to stick to it – you experience improvements across the board, from the number and quality of leads through to revenue closed.
The SaaSLeads difference
The best SDRs are creative and resourceful. They have magnetic personalities which they are not afraid to use as they build relationships with prospects. They are not robots. However, they also have the discipline to not deviate from the sales process they have to follow. They understand how the process works and how you find success when you stay the course.
At SaaSLeads, the SDRs that we deliver to our clients are fully aware of the importance of the process. We work with our clients to understand how they want to sell, we help them outline a process and we work with our SDRs to ensure they get it too.
We instil our SDRs with the work ethic and discipline to be a vital component of a successful SDR team, while showing them the points where they need to use their own specific sales talents. They’re comfortable with making different approaches (phone, email, LinkedIn, video…), but always staying inside the lines of the process.
It’s why our clients see game-changing results when they work with us.
Ready to talk? Get in touch today