The struggle for customers or clients has drastically changed as buyers are becoming more active. They move at a different speed and do not respond to the “in-your-face” or aggressive tactics any longer. This, among many other factors as you will discover, has doubled the need for a Sales Development Representative in almost every business.
As expected, a Sales Development Representative uses their skills, tools, and insights to help customers evaluate their options and identify the right solution to their problems in ways that are too complex for even Search engine sites. Read on to get the full gist.
What is Sales Development?
Sales development is the process by which potential leads are identified and processed for further sales outreach, bridging the gap between marketing and sales to reduce the time and resources spent on low-quality leads. In simpler terms, sales development scrutinizes the lead that a marketing unit has brought in to make sure it is ready for the next step. The marketing team in high-performing organizations cast a wide net of outreach through campaigns and content creation to increase awareness among potential customers. These successful campaigns will bring more leads. However, more leads do not mean good leads and this is where sales development comes in. It helps to make a marketing lead turn into a sales-qualified lead. Therefore, a sales development team must research and be sure that a lead is ready for the next step in the sales process.
A Sales Development Representative is an insider salesperson that focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. They move leads through the sales pipeline. They connect and learn about their businesses and needs. If a prospect is a good fit, Sales Development Representatives schedule the next steps with sales representatives in the organization. Essentially, Sales Development Representatives are educators that leverage insights to assist in solving real problems customers are having.
There are two basic responsibilities of a Sales Development Representative
As a Sales Development Representative, you will be responsible for:
- Establishing a Connection with as many Leads as possible: The first step is getting a lead’s attention. As a Sales Development Representative, you can do this via Phone calls, Emails, Voicemails, LinkedIn connections, Direct mail, Personalized video, etc. You must try anything and everything until you find what works to establish a connection. As a Sales Development Representative, you must be good at Customer Research. Customer Research is further divided into Market Research and Individual Prospect Research. Market research is the process of defining a target audience. It involves pinpointing the ideal customer and knowing what problems they have that you can solve. This information guides you as a Sales Development Representative in your outreach and conversations. Prospect research is the process of learning about a specific lead. Preparation gives confidence and shows prospects that you have taken the time to understand them. It builds rapport and credibility.
- Education and Assessment of the Leads: This responsibility is divided into two; learning and educating. As a Sales Development Representative, you must learn from your prospects before you send them over to the next step in the sales process. You must learn a lead’s –
- Business process – to find out if the processes support the service you are rendering.
- Pain points – to find out if your product or service can be a solution.
- Needs – to find out if your product can address them.
- Budget – to find out if they can afford what you are offering.
- Timeline – to find out where your product or service is on their priorities list.
Education on products/Services
As a Sales Development Representative, you must also educate by answering questions about:
- Your capabilities – to make them know that your product or service can do what they need.
- Plan structures – to tell them the plans you can offer and if they can be altered.
- Features and benefits of your products or services.
- Past customers’ success in using your products or services.
- The processes involved after they sign up.
Education of the leads helps to overcome any objections they might have when signing up. As a Sales Development Representative, you must answer the question in ways that educate and entice the prospects.
Sales Development Representatives carry out the qualification assessment on leads to determine whether they fit in, as regards to needs, budget, timeline, etc. And if they do, the prospect is considered qualified to move to the next stage.
Skills a Sales Development Representative should have
The skills you must possess as a Sales Development representative are:
- Conversational skills
- Resilience and determination
- Product knowledge
- Organization and time management
- Conversational Skills: Many tend to think that Sales Development Representatives do all the talking. In reality, as a Sales Development Representative, you have to be a great listener. The breakdown of a conversation between a lead and a Sales Development Representative should be 70% listening and 30% talking by the Sales Development Representative. This simply means that Active listening is key. Active listening means that as a Sales Development Representative you have to:
- Concentrate on what the lead says
- Listen until the lead finishes
- resist interrupting
- Make sure to understand
- Respond and remember what is being said.
Ideally, when prospects feel like they are having a conversation, they feel comfortable and provide more information that you need.
As a Sales Development Representative, you need to assess leads and get certain questions answered. But sales calls should be conversations, not interviews. Prospects often need a few moments to collect their thoughts – and great Sales Development Representatives give them those moments by consciously pausing (for at least 3 seconds) before speaking again.
These pauses can feel like an awkward silence to you as the Sales Development Representative, but the prospect will feel like you care about their answer and their business. They have time to say what they are thinking and feel like those thoughts are heard.
Some conversations involve asking hard questions
You might have to ask a question that speeds up their heart rate. Something like; “Is this project a priority to you?” “What are your budget expectations for this?”.
Most times the prospect does not answer the phone, and the Sales Development Representative needs to leave voicemails that are effective in getting a callback.
Now, about Voicemails, they are quite delicate. You have 20 seconds or less to:
- Tell the prospect who you are
- Tell the prospect why you are calling
- Be good enough to be remembered
Leaving a good voicemail takes practice. Good Sales Development Representatives start by rehearsing a script until it sounds like the way they would naturally talk. Then, as they try it out with prospects, they make additions and subtractions to fit their style.
In addition to voicemail and phone skills, you will write a lot of emails. Email writing also requires practice and authenticity. The best emails use conversational language.
The best emails are:
- Personalized – as leads are twice as likely to respond when emails are personalized.
- Relevant – because people receive a lot of emails every day. Your email should tell them why it is important to them.
- Actionable – by including a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your email. Ask a question, set up the next steps, or include a link – leave the ball in their court.
- Determination and Resilience: Even the best Sales Development Representatives hear “no” more than the average human. However, they are good at shaking it off and pushing forward. A lead that is not qualified is not a loss – Sales Development Representatives assess prospects, so turning down people who are not a good customer fit is part of the job. As a Sales Development Representative, you should have a strong desire to improve. To push past “nos,” you can use:
- Voicemail scripts
- Email outreach templates
- Tone of voice
- The wording of certain questions
To be an Efficient Sales Development Representative, you must also self-analyze. You must know your strengths and weaknesses and work on them. You must be willing to try something new, and to be uncomfortable if it means improving.
- Coachability: Sales Development Representatives are coachable. Sales managers want Sales Development Representatives to perform and have suggestions. Coachability is a skill. Instead of taking feedback personally or getting defensive, you could say,
- “I will try that.”
- “I never thought about it like that.”
- “What can I do?”
- “How would you improve this area?”
And then you can follow up. Just like you would with a sales lead. As a Sales Development Manager, you must learn to put suggestions into practice, work on the suggestions, and take advice.
It is hard to answer questions about something you do not understand or have knowledge about. Even more difficult, is trying to sell that thing if you cannot explain the benefits or the features.
To be a successful Sales Development Representatives, you must never stop learning about your product or service. You must be knowledgeable about what you are selling. This does not happen overnight, and the learning process does not end.
5. Time Management and Organization
As a Sales Development Representative, you will have a lot of leads to get through, and a lot of details to keep straight. Strong organization and time management skills are a must. The best Sales Development Representatives have a system to keep everything straight.
The most important aspect of a Sales Development Representative’s organization is the repeatable process. The best Sales Development Representatives create a system that they can repeat for every lead.
When a new lead comes in, you must know what you have to do and what order to do it in.
This might look like:
- A new lead comes in.
- You scan the lead for important details.
- Name, email address
- Job title
- Key goals or reasons for becoming a lead
- Research on LinkedIn and the prospect’s website.
3. Call, leave a voicemail if not answered.
4. Follow up email.
5. Set a reminder to follow up later that day, the next, or both.
The process is refined with time and each repetition. With organization comes time management. When work is organized, you know what you have to do and when you have to do it. Time management follows from there.
To become a successful Sales Development Representative, your secondary school education must be centered around commerce and other related fields. You will also require a Bachelor’s degree in Sales, Marketing, Business, or related fields.
Some good universities that you can get these degrees from include:
- Brunel University in the United Kingdom: Offers a Business and Management (Marketing) BSc. The tuition for international students is £17,355, with an option to study for 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with placement. You get the chance to explore the principles and practices of modern-day marketing, such as market research, database marketing, digital marketing, and the marketing of not-for-profit services.
- The University of New Brunswick offers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a program option in Marketing. students who choose an area of concentration in Marketing acquire the knowledge and skills to obtain entry-level positions in almost any industry in the private and public sectors, as well as in non-profit organizations. The tuition for international students ranges from $9450 to $11,912.
- Dublin Business School awards a Bachelor of Business degree. This degree course offers students considerable flexibility in their choice of the second year and third-year subjects. Therefore, it allows students to orientate their studies towards preferred subjects or to choose disciplines in which they have demonstrated strength in year one. The tuition for one academic year is €5,895 according to the school’s website.
Careers that are similar to Sales Development
Other careers you may want to consider apart from a Sales Development Representative are:
Job Outlook for a Sales Development Representative
The Job Outlook (2016-2026) for sales development representatives as a career path is 6% (wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives) according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a Sales Development Representative, your typical employers will be service companies.
The average Sales Development Representative salary in the USA is $50,000 per year or $25.64 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $21,215 per year while most experienced workers make up to $85,000 per year (nuevoo.com).
In the United Kingdom, the Sales Development Representative makes £27,290 per year on average. (glassdoor.com)
The average Sales Development Representative salary in Canada is $80,000 per year or $41.03 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $32,066 per year while most experienced workers make up to $87,400 per year. (nuevoo.ca)
- MSc Digital Sales and Management from The University of Law Business School in the United Kingdom. The tuition is GBP 17,000 and the study mode it offers is full-time.
- Master in Marketing & Sales from Rome Business School. The degree can be obtained for the tuition of EUR 11,000 and at a full-time and part-time pace. The degree offers the key to corporate excellence to professionals in direct contact with customers, equipping them with the skills required by the market.
Professional certifications in Sales Development
- Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP)is created by the National Association of Sales Professionals- the largest online sales association in the world. It is a six-week online course. It will also help you gain access to a wealth of networking, training, and career opportunities
- Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP)is founded by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. Holding this credential shows prospective employers that you stay on top of emerging trends in the sales industry.
If you need further guidance on your path towards a career in Sales Development, my mailbox is open. Don’t hesitate to reach me.