17 Key Hurdles for B2B Sales Development (Part Two)

Concluding our analysis on why B2B Sales Development can feel like an Olympic-level race for companies just starting off with things in-house.

Executive Summary

  1. Limited or no multi-channel outreach
  2. Treating sales copy like marketing
  3. Didn't reach out to as many companies as thought
  4. Blame the wrong thing for the problem
  5. Process for hiring Identify and Recruiting top SDRs
  6. Not enough training after onboarding
  7. Reducing SDR Turnover
  8. Time gets taken up quickly
  9. Having the correct Technology Stack

As discussed in Part One of 17 Key Hurdles for B2B Sales Development, Sales Development is the field, process, or team that focuses on the early stages of the sales cycle. Sales Development focuses on generating meetings or opportunities, then passing them to sales reps. Sales reps close the deals, not the Sales Development reps (SDRs).

For companies that end up deciding to keep things in-house, Sales Development can feel like an Olympic level race.

A race against industry competitors, with large hurdles blocking the sprinting lanes.

But, like all complex industry practices, improvements can be made, techniques can be learned, and with practice, B2B Sales Development can shift from a lagging detriment to the fuel that propels new Sales wins.

At SalesHive we believe the first step in mastering Sales Development is recognizing what frequent obstacles and difficulties arise in the field. The hurdles in your race.

Here are the 9 remaining hurdles of the 17 key hurdles we've identified for B2B Sales Development.

Limited or No Multi-Channel Outreach

B2B Sales Development is nothing without outreach. That’s the entire mission in fact; communicate with and get your message out to prospects and potential clients. The trouble is that the best outreach channels are often limited in scope when you put them into practice or missing entirely by in-house Sales Development teams.

The four main channels of Sales Development Outreach are Email, Phone, LinkedIn, and DirectMail.

Each of these channels has its own tricks to master, benefits to be received, and challenges to be overcome. Email has spam filters to beat, the Phone often causes caller anxiety, the LinkedIn capitalization window is brief and moves quickly, just like all social media platforms, and Direct Mail can miss recipients if they are out of the office or a wrong mailing address is used.

The great strategy is that each time you add a channel to your outreach, your success rate increases. More variance in channels means that they can support the failures of one another. But not only does the success rate of contacting prospects go up with variance, but it's often the case that prospects have preferences over which channel they prefer to respond to.

Email can be responded to at convenience, and it’s preferred by most for that reason. The majority of C-suite level executives actually prefer jumping on the phone and talking to reps. LinkedIn will be more popular with the younger and more revolutionary demographics of business, and Direct Mail has a softer, more emotional disposition to it.

Execute across all outreach channels at a high level, and the results will become evident.

Treat Sales Copy Like Marketing

In the previous post, 17 Key Hurdles for B2B Sales Development (Part One), I stated that data is King. Well, Copy is King too.

In advertising, web marketing, and Sales Development outreach, copy refers to the output of copyrighters who are employed to write material that encourages consumers to buy goods or services.

The copy of your campaign outreach, whether it’s an email or a direct message over LinkedIn, is the first exposure your client will have toward you and your business. It’s your first impression.

The problem arises when SDR’s treat Sales copy just like Marketing copy.

Any salesperson worth their commission would tell you that you can’t speak to a prospect the way marketing would write a message. Marketing messages are often too formal, use lots of jargon and excess buzz words, and are devoid of anything interpersonal.

In B2B, developing a relationship with a prospect has a much higher likelihood of resulting in a positive close. Sending marketing copy in email messaging or over LinkedIn will just get marked as Spam or deleted right away.

Treat outreach copy with care, personalize and authenticate as much as possible for wide distribution, and watch reply rates go up.

Think You Reached Out To More Companies Than You Actually Did

Without volume, every aspect of Sales Development is going to suffer.

Not every contact you reach out to is going to be interested in what you have to offer. Perhaps they fulfill their needs in-house, they have another vendor they are happy with, or it doesn’t make sense from a budgetary level.

Whatever it may be, the more people contacted, the more likely the pipeline is going to fill. The problem arises when not as many contacts or companies are reached out to as you thought.

SDRs should be building outreach lists across every contact database they can find, including always having someone doing manual research online and on Linkedin.

Zoominfo is great for Direct Phone Lines, Apollo is good for Linkedin profiles, and DiscoverOrg is good for local addresses.

No contact list is ever 100% complete, and it’s best practice to use more than one database to get the most info. Using several databases fill in the gaps that the other ones leave behind.

Making sure you have a proper understanding of how many contacts you’ve contacted by diversifying contact databases will keep your Sales Development from suffering.

Blame The Wrong Thing For The Problem

No one wants to be the person accountable for any element of Sales Development failure, but honestly, there are so many moving pieces in outreach processes that something is almost certainly going to go bad.

This hurdle can be applied to many situations. Errors in copy, new Domain set up, Variables are wrong, Throttling miscues, wrong Target Market, the list goes on. Understanding and coming to terms with the inevitable fact that hangups and errors will occur circumvents all the meaningless obstacles that prevent the issues from being rectified.

SDR’s can’t be afraid to be critical of themselves. Allow them to mess up, allow growing pains to occur, and be patient with Sales Development.

Nailing Down Process For Hiring And Recruiting Top SDRs

One of the more pivotal aspects of Sales Development that are often overlooked is the quality of the SDRs that are building outreach from the ground up.

Every new client requires a new approach, from the TAM, the specialized copy on email campaigns, to what titles to contact. The Sales Development rep makes a huge difference in executing these processes quickly and effectively.

After the Sales Development processes and value prop become established for a company, everything becomes more about recruiting. Lots of companies don’t always get to that stage, but once it's figured out, then you can switch to recruiting and having people execute processes.

The problem arises because most companies running their in-house development don’t know how to identify what makes a good SDR or which candidates will perform best.

Sales Development is a low level, almost entry-level position. Normal interviews don’t really work to weed them out. All top SDR programs have unique questions or steps in their hiring process to help identify the best SDR candidates, depending on their needs. For example -running a mock sales cold call as part of the interview process can quickly weed out the stronger performers from the less experienced.

Nailing down a concrete process for finding and keeping the best SDR is a race changer when it comes to Sales Development hurdles.

Not Enough Training After Onboarding

Education never stops. At least it shouldn't.

An SDRs role is one that requires continuous learning, knowledge of ever-shifting complex business developments, and training exercises that should be done on a weekly basis to keep reps sharp.

Most companies stop training completely after onboarding, but the best Sales Development leaders have weekly programs or semi-consistent training sessions on a routine basis.

Best practice in getting reps more experience is to have an ever-growing, dynamic environment that encourages the new development and skills of reps. Incentives can go a long way too. Commissionable rewards, or company-wide public acknowledgments through apps like Bonusly can encourage SDRs to elevate their understanding of the industry.

Training can’t just stop after onboarding. It should never stop.

Reducing SDR Turnover

Continuity in any business keeps productivity and profit momentum at high levels, but if new training needs to happen frequently, then valuable time is wasted.

14 months is the average turnover rate for SDRs, and constantly hiring new reps is riskier than ever. Why?

83% of SDR’s never hit quota.

Most SDR’s never achieve sales quota, regardless of tenure, and new hires often take much longer to ramp up than needed. A company's sales ramp up time refers to the amount of time it takes a new SDR to become fully productive from the time they are first hired.

Sometimes this takes as much as four months before new SDRs can familiarize themselves with a company's current process and can begin to be fully productive. 

In many cases, companies found it could take even longer for a new SDR to hit quota. Or, they just never do and eventually get replaced by a different rep, thus starting the cycle all over.

Better training, a solid incentive plan for performances, and concrete processes keep turnover rates down and pipelines full.

Time Gets Taken Up Quickly

Time is the only irreplaceable commodity. All the processes of Sales Development take up a lot of time, even if your SDRs are some of the best.

It’s important to understand what percent of your SDRs day is spent on what tasks, so you can delegate more time-consuming tasks, like list building, to less experienced SDRs so other reps can focus on outreach.

Many SDRs are splitting their time between too many things, and you can find that they may be wasting most of their day doing contact research, or other menial projects that aren’t as efficient for their time.

Time will always be needed with Sales Development, but getting the most out of that time is key.

Having The Right Technology Stack

Technology drives everything, and the business world looks remarkably different today than it did even fifty years ago.

For example, cold calling used to be the only method of B2B outreach, as the internet didn't even exist, but these days, it’s argued whether cold calling even still has a place in Sales Development at all.

Whether it does or not is beside the point. Executing Sales Development in today's climate takes technology, and every Sales technology stack should have the following at least: a CRM, Sales Engagement Tool, a Contact Database Provider, Sales Automation Tool, a Linkedin Sales Navigator, and a power Dialer.

Sales Development is nearly impossible to do without these stacks, and anyone who's in this space knows you need these keys set.

Making sure you have the right stacks for your in-house Sales Development teams is a key hurdle that needs to be leaped over.

Jump Hurdles with SalesHive as your B2B Sales Development

Sales Development is a complex industry practice, but knowing the hurdles above can shift Sales Development from a lagging detriment to the fuel that propels new Sales wins. Knowing what hurdles lie ahead of you is pivotal in knowing how to get over them.

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