By Rebecca Smith, Senior Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

Sales Development teams used to consist solely of two employees in your organization: the sales development rep (SDR) and the account executive (AE). However, to get the results you want, it’s going to take a lot more than two hard-working employees to succeed.

Narrow-mindedly, we think of sales development strictly relating to members in your sales teams, and a lot of organizations still think that way. But when you think about where your leads actually come from and how sales nurtures those leads, you realize marketing plays a huge role in the process. For sales development to be a success, marketing and sales have to work together across all fronts.

Sales development primarily focuses on setting qualified appointments and demonstrations – these are top of funnel leads. These leads usually (in a perfect world) come from marketing’s inbound and outbound efforts. And if done correctly, sales should know where they came from and exactly how to nurture them. But when sales lacks the information about where a lead came from, how they came in and what offer they raised their hand to, scheduling these appointments and pushing them through the funnel becomes increasingly more difficult.

When marketing and sales work together, your chances of success get exponentially more promising.

Here are 4 problems sales development reps face and how marketing and sales’ unification can prevent them from happening:

  1. You’re not reaching out to the right people

According to Lattice Engines, 42% of sales reps feel they do not have the right information before making a sales call.  That basically means sales reps are flying in blind and the chances of that rep being successful are not high with those odds…

Solution:  When marketing hands off leads to sales, there should be some kind of handoff document or details included in the process – whether that’s automated in a tool or manually in teams. This should include details around where the lead came from, what the offer was about and how this offer relates back to the product/service/business.

  1. You don’t know who the decision maker is

Figuring out who actually has purchasing power these days can be a tricky feat. It’s not black and white like it used to be. Usually, it requires talking to a multitude of people before getting to the one that can make the decision. A study from Gartner stated: 4-5 people are involved in the B2B decision-making process, so that’s 4-5 different opinions on the same matter, and that makes the sale even more difficult.

Solution:  Marketing owns both inbound and outbound leads to prime them for sales reach out. Before the reach out occurs, marketing and sales have to come together to establish who they’re targeting and what the potential buying titles are. If marketing and sales are left to outline these on their own, there will likely be inconsistencies between the two, leading to a messy and unsuccessful hand-off.

  1. The prospect is not ready to buy

As we all know, it usually requires a number of different touches before a prospect is ready to buy. But did you know that about 80% of prospects who eventually buy are originally marked as bad leads?  That’s a huge missed opportunity if those leads are forgotten about.

Solution:  In order to hand off leads that are closer to purchasing so SDRs can move the needle, the leads need to be pre-screened in the marketing nurture. There needs to be some kind of lead scoring system to help facilitate these efforts.

  1. Your competitor gets to them first

According to InsideSales, if you call a lead in the first five minutes after they’ve submitted a web form, they’re 100x more likely to get on the phone.  And the sooner you can get your prospect learning about your business’ needs before your competitors can get in, the better you’ll be. With this data, SDRs can schedule more appointments if all goes well.

Solution:  Design a reliable, scalable process to get lead information to the SDRs.  Whether it be an email, phone call, or message, someone needs to be in charge of these requests. The handoff to SDRs should be seamless, easy and quick if you want to reach people at the right time. With a lead scoring model and the technology to back it up, this is manageable.

Even after all of the problems and solutions above, you will still lose some prospects along the funnel. That’s normal and expected. With the right tools and agreed upon understandings of how marketing and sales work together, you’ll create a well-oiled machine geared for success.

What other problems and/or solutions have you experienced with your sales development teams?
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To learn more, join Robert Pease and Matt Heinz for the latest Modern Marketers Workshop Sales Development:  The Essential Building Blocks for Revenue Growth where you will learn how to develop the foundation and building blocks for successful Sales Development.