6 Proven Steps for Sales Development Success

Sales organizations are increasingly structured by sales role specialization, including sales development specialists to contact and qualify leads, setting appointments for account executives. Sales development reps have a pivotal role in generating qualified pipeline, thus there is increasing demand for sales development training.

We asked sales leaders what they feel are some proven steps for sales development success, and we found that technology is one big driver. Automating sales activities, tracking and testing are what make sales development reps efficient and effective.

Take The Time To Work on Messaging

Aaron Ross, the author of “Predictable Revenue,” was among the proponents of the model of a sales structure including sales or business development roles. Invited on XANT Playmakers podcast recently, he advised small business leaders is to put in time in crafting their sales messages.

Picking a target segment, creating the messaging for the audience and teaching your salespeople to think like that audience is an art that requires a lot of exercise, said Aaron.

“By definition, outbound sales is targeting people who don’t know you; they don’t care. (…) And it’s a lot harder than people realize. Sometimes people have a unique product, and it’s just easy, but that’s the exception. Usually it’s a lot more of a struggle,” said Aaron.

Let Go Of Your Leads

Sometimes, to get something, you need to let go of something else. It’s true in life, and it’s true in sales as well. While prospecting, business development reps need to focus only on the leads which have the highest probability to close.

Approaching all prospects might help you make your calls numbers for the month, but it does little for the company bottom line.

“Identifying and qualifying the best leads is key for successful prospecting. Not all the leads that match your customer profile can or should be pursued. You only want to invest time and efforts on leads that have the potential to convert,” said Steven Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps.

Don’t Become Dependent On Your Tools

Sales technology has come a long way, so now sales reps can easily find out which prospects are more likely to convert. However, when it comes to contacting a lead, a conversation is your most powerful weapon. Conversations far exceed the effectiveness of digital communication.

Stats show that sales reps typically follow up on leads with an email, when there is not any evidence that email works better than a phone call.

“There are a lot of tools geared toward automatically finding, scoring, and nurturing leads. Sales reps should leverage these tools without becoming dependent on them. You can’t qualify a lead unless you have a real conversation with them,” added Benson.

Mind The CTA

Having a clear, concise and compelling call to action (CTA) has traditionally been in the arsenal of marketers. However, the popularity of the inside sales model is rising. This means sales development reps are now guiding their customer to the next step in their buyer’s journey.

“Make sure you have a strong subject line and a tailored introduction. Clearly communicate the value to the prospect and pique their interest. Keep it short and end your email with a CTA, added Steven Benson.

Cold Emailing To A Group

Cold emailing prospects can always be a hurdle. The average office worker receives around 120 emails per day, which means response rates have become dismal. Customers are ignoring any brands they are not familiar with – and sometimes even those they know. Ian Coburn, trainer at GPA Training and author of “The Customer is Never Right” advises that sales reps use the all-powerful FOMO to get in touch with people – fear of missing out.

“One of the biggest mistakes when cold emailing is not including two people in the ‘To:’ field. The chance that the email is opened increases tremendously, because people don’t want to be the one who doesn’t know what’s going on,” said Ian Coburn.

“This is particularly effective if one of the recipient’s is the other’s boss. No one wants to have their boss ask them about something and have to reply: ‘I didn’t read it’, or, ‘I’m not sure what you’re talking about, etc.,’” added Coburn.

Tracking Your Results

Another massive mistake is not using a tool to track email open rates and other metrics that show effectiveness of your sales activities, adds Coburn. Using an email tracker can show you which strategies are most effective, and which can be improved.

Modern email tracking tools can alert you in real-time as to prospect actions, such as opening an email of clicking on email links, so sales rep response can be timed perfectly.

Whatever channel you choose for sales communication, tracking results allows you to measure and continually adjust for improved results.


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