Does Your Organization Need a Team of SDRs?


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Before we even get started let’s align on the definition of Sales Development Reps (SDRs) are?

The definition of a sales development rep (SDR) is a type of inside sales rep that solely focuses on outbound prospecting. Many companies have experienced massive revenue growth by separating sales organizations into specific roles. Unlike quota-carrying salespeople, sales development reps don’t focus on closing business. Instead, SDRs focus on moving leads through the pipeline. They are often given MQLs, marking qualified leads or cold data files to then warm up via email and calling cadences. The goal is to warm up the prospecting data field and qualify lead. This enables closers to spend more time selling to qualified leads and unburdens sales executives from having to engage in prospecting.

In this article, we’ll cover topics that will assist you determining whether an SDR team is a worthwhile portion on your sales strategy and overall offering.

A Longer Sales Cycle

There are a gazillion different types of sales cycles out there. Some long others short. One of the first things to look at in evaluating the idea of adding an SDR team is how long your cycle is. Leveraging SDRs to qualify leads for sales is a tactic best-suited for longer sales cycles.

Another key component here is the B2B to B2C approach. B2B selling organizations typically get the most out of an SDR because their potential customers demand more time to make a purchase decision compared to B2C customers.

So, longer B2B customer journeys and longer sales cycles bode well for building the case in needing an SDR team.

Studies show that B2B customers traditionally buy for multiple users, or an entire organization, with a focus on measurable business value in deciding. This results in a more involved decision-making process with numerous stakeholders, the need for a more in-depth exchange of information, and a higher number of touches before the opportunity is closed.

An SDR team can shorten the cycle by only sending qualified leads to the closer. This allows salespeople maximize time navigating the organizational obstacles of prospects and eliminate wasting time on prospects who are not likely to buy.

The Higher Selling Prices

The average selling price/revenue (ASP/ASR) of your product/service offering also affects the length of your sales cycles and whether or not an SDR team would be beneficial.

For companies who sell higher ticket item solutions or focus on larger scope deals, a longer discovery and nurturing process is necessary to help potential customers make a big-ticket decision. For example, many SaaS companies benefit from using SDRs to qualify enterprise leads.

Another key metric in this category is customer tenure and churn. When selling higher priced services or products you discover a far stickier customer and a higher customer lifetime value. This overall financial value from the customer lifetime forecasting will also assist in unfolding the answer around if an SDR team is a viable investment option. You can then confirm if an SDR team is worth it if the ROI you see from employing the team outweighs the costs of maintaining it.

***Annualized Financial Snapshot:

Product Complexity or Uniqueness

A buyer’s decision process is not only influenced by the number of decision-makers that must come to a consensus but also how complicated it is to implement and adopt your solution or how unique your solution may be. If your solution requires an organization to rethink entire approaches or business traditions it will drive more time and energy into the overall cycle.

If your solution has complicated features, is first to market, or offers an assortment of customization options, it’s likely your lead generation efforts will require more careful segmentation and your buyers cycle increase.

The more complex your offering, the more precisely you should tailor the messaging used by marketing, sales development, and sales. Your qualification process becomes of the utmost of importance and far more in-depth.

If product is new and revolutionary, SDRs can be used for Research and Development (R&D) tasks to assist Marketing in gaining stronger MQLs and SQLs.

Are you NICHE?

Let’s hope you’ve done a bang up job in developing your building your IBP (ideal buyer persona) or ICP (ideal customer persona), it will be strongly focused at a more relevant group of prospects. Knowing the exact type of person who has an interest and need for your solution gives you an idea of how they prefer to buy.

Does your ICP expect to chat online, speak one-on-one with your reps before making their decision, or do they expect a more self-served experience? Self-service styled approaches have no need for SDRs so don’t force them through a meaningless qualification and nurturing process. Assist them in making decisions and creating processes that are easy and painless customer experiences.

However, if your customers require a higher degree of familiarity with your product and brand before purchasing, as most B2B customers do, then a multi-touch and multi-channel strategy will work in your favor. Here’s a look at an example SDR call cadence from Leading Edge’s very own playbook:

The truth with B2B sales is that business decision makers more often purchase from companies they feel like the know. Therefore, the relationship factor is still as crucial as it was in years past. But, developing a strong business relationship doesn’t happen on the first call; it happens over time and across numerous, valuable interactions. B2B clients want to know the ins and outs of the product/service, review the company’s track record, receive added value, and feel like valued business partner all before investing in a solution.

The SDR function doesn’t address the relationship aspects post the qualification, but it does allow the sales team to focus on building relationships with prospects who are worth their time.

The other key to niche is a focus on account-based selling!

B2B companies with niche target markets are finding great success using an account-based sales approaches. This means they are targeting specific accounts discovered through manual prospecting and research. The account-based approach involves targeting high-value accounts, , instead of individual prospects/contacts. This definitely requires a collaborative effort from all teams in the company, but the payoffs are endless.

An SDR team really helps with this approach because the reps absorb the lengthy prospecting process for sales performing the necessary discovery and call cadences needed to qualify the high-value accounts.

It’s a no-brainer that leveraging SDRs in this type of approach will maximize results and get your organization the ROI they need.

What are the growth goals?

SDRs should help you achieve the following goals:

  • Cultivating your pipeline: SDRs help fill the top of the funnel by prospecting, and qualifying them for sales. Whether starting from scratch or trying to keep up with an already growing pipeline, SDRs facilitate growth without your closers wasting time on unqualified leads.
  • Scaling for success: When your pipeline is full and closers spend the majority of their time closing deals, the opportunity to scale your sales organization presents itself. When your teams are dedicated to their individual functions, their day-to-day processes are easily repeated by new reps.
  • Market Validation: A portion of an SDR team’s appeal is how they can spend more time on top-of-funnel leads and the feedback they deliver on nonqualified prospect data. The initial outreach to cold and marketing leads reveals trends and insights that provide feedback about your persona and messaging as you test your offering in the market.

If you consider any of these goals a top priority for your sales team, SDRs can help you achieve the results you’re looking for. Delegating your prospecting and qualification efforts to these reps lets you direct more attention to these early-stage objectives.

Final thoughts…

You might be on the fence about whether a dedicated team of sales development reps benefit your brand and that’s understandable. Remember, high selling prices, complex features, and a niche target market generally require a longer process to reach a decision. SDRs help accelerate the decision process by qualifying prospects early on and allowing sales personnel to enter sales conversations sooner.

Do you experience long sales cycles involving many decision-makers? Then an SDR team could become one of your biggest assets.

Eric Sims
Eric is a Contact Center Outsourcing expert who specializes in helping businesses help their customers. He is the Cofounder & CEO of Leading Edge Connections, LLC, America's #1 fully remote outsourced contact center. He is also the host of Preventing Brand$laughter. A weekly podcast that helps business gain the insights and information to protect their brand from self-inflicted sabotage.


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