By Robert Pease, Pipeline Performance Lead at Heinz Marketing

Whether you know it or not, your company is doing some sort of sales development. Someone (at least) is responsible for identifying, engaging, and hopefully converting prospects into customers.

How you do this can range from ad hoc and unorganized to a fully optimized high performance sales engine.

We work with clients to understand, implement, and manage a sales development process and focus our work by looking at three core areas:

1.  Plan & Understand

The success of a sales development process depends on this stage.  This is were you spend some brain cycles on the target market including confirming an Ideal Customer Profile, crafting personas, and articulating qualification criteria.  That then maps directly into the sales cycle which is aligned with a buying journey (who buys?, how do they buy?).  How you staff and align your team is also a crucial part of this.  A sales development representative needs to have a certain set of skills and needs to be set up for success with enablement efforts.  That enablement is fed by messaging that resonates with the personas and focuses on needs and outcomes.

2.  Execute

Often this is where companies begin without spending the required time on the Plan & Understand phase.  Without that as a guide, random acts of sales and marketing can occur. This phase focuses on how you reach the target personas at your target accounts including use of phone, email, content, and events.  The playbooks created here guide the engagement process in an informed and intentional way.  Accelerating these efforts is enabling technology designed to automate repetitive tasks, provide contextual insights to contacts, and accounts as well as generate tracking and performance reports.

3.  Measure

Ultimately revenue is the measure of success but in companies with longer sales cycles or companies that are just beginning outreach to a target market, activity measures can be informative and leading indicators of success.  How many net new known contacts are created? What is the conversion rate from known contact to engaged contact? How many active conversations were created?  How many new opportunities are there?

To learn more about sales development and how your company can benefit from embracing it as a core process, please join our upcoming workshop Sales Development: Essential Building Blocks for Revenue Growth. We’ll cover these three areas in detail as well as host what we believe is the first ever “sales development hackathon” where we’ll be designing sales development processes in real time with the participants.