Should your best sales reps play the sales development role?


Maybe a crazy idea, but hear me out for a second.  I have to give Brent Adamson at CEB credit for the question, which the more you think about it isn’t really all that crazy.

If we believe that the beginning of the sales process is the most important, and most difficult, part of the sale – why do we entrust that job to our least experienced sales reps?

If you’re purely setting appointments without context, with no implied value for the buyer, then go ahead and put recent college grads to work there.

But if you’re working to build a business case for your solution, if you’re challenging the status quo and getting the buyer to commit to change, if you’re using those initial conversations to reframe the conversation and create organic need/urgency – isn’t that a job for your best, most seasoned reps?

Today’s crazy-busy buyers aren’t going to engage with you unless they see value in the conversation. They need to understand and prioritize the outcome, objectives and future success that your product or service represents.  Do you really want to trust that conversation to reps with the least amount of experience?

This isn’t just about “getting the meeting” or “setting up the demo”.  Those may sound like tactical steps that set up your seasoned direct/field sales rep to do the real selling.  But why is the buyer accepting that meeting in the first place?  I believe the reason why so many sales development efforts fail so regularly is because there is no value, no reason to take the meeting.

This isn’t to say that the rest of the sales process is easy.  I wouldn’t want to put inexperienced reps there either.

But establishing need and commitment happens at the start of the sale, not the end.  It’s why prospects go through the pain of buying, even when internal and external roadblocks emerge.  The more tenuous that commitment is, the more tenuous your deal becomes.

Worth thinking about…