An increase in marketing efforts often yields more leads. But an increase in traffic can sometimes bring in low-quality leads.
This is where your sales development reps come in to try to weed out low-quality leads by asking qualifying questions and applying other sales development tactics.
In order for your team to send quality leads who are thoroughly vetted to your account executives to close the deal, they need great tactics they can use every time they address a prospect.
What Is Sales Development?
Sales development is the process that takes advantage of the early stages of the sales cycle to identify potential leads and qualify prospects for further sales outreach.
This allows sales and marketing to bridge the gap between them to help save time and resources expended on low-quality leads.
Marketing teams use campaigns to attract new prospects by increasing awareness, and these campaigns typically result in more contacts added to your database.
However, more doesn’t always mean better. The campaigns may attract leads that are not committed to traveling the whole way through the sales funnel up until purchase. This can cause sales teams to waste a large portion of their time trying to sell leads who simply aren’t interested.
Sales development representatives take care of this problem by vetting prospects and sending qualified leads to account executives so they can close the deal.
The goal of sales development is to fill your pipeline with leads that will buy either now or in the future.
Many businesses handle the lead qualification process by implementing a lead scoring system. Each company and industry may have their own way of lead scoring, but basically it involves giving points to prospects based on varying behaviors and attributes the prospect exhibits.
What Do Sales Development Representatives Do?
Sales development representatives are specialized sales professionals who focus on reaching out to prospects, lead qualifying, and prospecting. They connect with as many prospects as possible to determine if they fit the ideal customer profile.
Here are some of the job duties and responsibilities of a sales development rep:
- Identify key prospects and create outreach lists.
- Research and review accounts to identify key individuals with specific pain points that your products or services help solve.
- Present solutions to help prospective customers.
- Make appointments for other sales team members when a prospect becomes a sales qualified lead.
- Educate and nurture prospects until they are ready to move on in the sales process.
- Collaborate with the marketing and sales teams to develop strategies.
- Use a CRM application to ensure that leads move seamlessly through the sales cycle.
- Follow up with leads and provide appropriate information for prospects at the right times.
Sales development reps also build rapport with prospects to establish a good working relationship between their company and the individual. They use several sales development tactics to help close more leads for businesses.
10 Sales Development Tactics You Need in Your Strategy
To have an effective strategy, you need to apply key sales development tactics to meet your goals and objectives. Here are 10 great sales development tactics you and your team can use in your strategy.
Be Persistent With Leads.
In a perfect world, leads would purchase an item during your first interaction with them. Unfortunately, according to recent sales research, it takes an average of eight interactions with a prospect before they decide to purchase and become a valued customer.
This means that SDRs must be persistent and follow up with prospects on a regular basis. However, that does not mean that you should stalk your prospect. No one wants that.
Essentially SDRs should nurture leads by emailing, calling, or sending direct mail periodically to provide helpful information. When they take this action, they can ensure that a prospect will think of them first when the time comes for them to make their first purchase.
Help Solve Your Prospects’ Problems.
Your prospects probably have a host of problems, and if you can help with one or two of them in some way, it’ll be a huge win for them. For your SDRs to provide solutions for your new prospects and leads, they need to understand the ins and outs of your offerings and their role in the sales cycle.
Most prospects who search for your business want you to help them. Make sure your SDRs know the exact ways your products and services address their specific pain points.
Develop Active Listening.
With all the access to great resources and information available on the web, your prospects may be just as knowledgeable as your sales reps. Some of your other prospects may know very little about what you do or how you can help them.
Your SDRs need to listen to gain an understanding of how they can nurture each lead as an individual.
More knowledgeable prospects don’t need to be told the details about why they need what you have. Instead, sales reps should listen and ask questions to get an idea of their thought process to determine if what you offer is a good fit for them.
Ask Lead Qualifying Questions.
Asking a series of targeted lead qualifying questions helps your SDRs to gauge whether or not a prospect is truly interested or actively willing to go through with the entire sales process.
If they are truly interested, the answers they give can provide sales team members with valuable information so they know how to help them in the best way possible.
Ask for Referrals.
Most often, customers will provide referral contacts to sales professionals who they like. Focus on providing prospects and customers with a great customer service experience and then ask them for referrals.
If you truly provided them with a solution to their problems, then they will want to help their friends and family accomplish the same things. This allows you to fill up your pipeline without needing to exert much effort.
You’ll never know how many referrals you can get unless your SDRs ask for them each and every time.
Adhere to Deadlines.
Let your prospects know that your products and/or services are in demand. Create a sense of urgency so your deals don’t take much longer than necessary.
This doesn’t mean you have to create different deadlines for each prospect and lose credibility. Create a standard deadline for a particular offer, and hold your customers to that deadline.
If they want and need what you are offering, then they will meet the deadline and continue on through the sales funnel.
Develop Relationships With Your Customers.
Sales reps have the unique opportunity to create relationships with new customers. And that relationship doesn’t have to end after the deal closes either.
Sales reps can continuously provide their customers with value by checking in with them periodically to offer them tips, help, advice, and resources.
Past customers can also be a great source of new business for years to come. Take advantage of opportunities to upsell more products or services that provide value to them.
Over the years, your business may develop new services or products that can enhance what they’ve already purchased. Make sure they are aware of this by staying in regular contact with them.
Identify Your Prospects’ Needs and Meet Them.
You can’t know how to help your prospects unless you know what they need. Some prospects don’t know how to put what they need into words, so you must interpret what they are saying and what they are not saying to get an accurate idea of their needs.
If you don’t understand what they need, ask them clarifying questions or ask them to show you what their specific pain points are. When you understand their problems, you can show them solutions.
Once you understand the problem, then you may only focus on the solution so you can meet or exceed their expectations.
Master the Art of Storytelling.
Facts and data are important for educating prospects, but you need one other key element – storytelling.
Stories stick better in people’s minds, and when sales professionals help make the prospects the center of the story, they're equipped to provide them with a happy ending.
The best way for sales professionals to do this is by keeping a stock of great success stories to relay to prospects. Once they hear that other people like them have had success with your products or services, they will begin to believe that they can have the same success.
This will entice them and allow sales reps to move them further along in the sales process.
Show Proof That Your Product or Service Works.
Stories are a great way to let your prospect know that your services or products work. Show them that they work by delivering infographics, providing them with demonstrations, or giving them access to real customer testimonials from your best success stories.
When customers are able to view proof, they are more likely to invest in your solution.
Sales development is critical to the modern day sales organization. Your sales strategy can be greatly enhanced by the connection your sales development reps make with your customers.
The best way to do this, of course, is by applying key tactics to your strategy to continuously serve great leads to your team.