The Ultimate Guide to Sales Development

What is Sales Development?

Sales development is a function within an organization that bridges the gap between inbound marketing and lead generation. Inbound marketing is usually run by the marketing team who then relays leads to the sales team in charge of closing deals and landing new customers. 

Sales development is also known as outbound sales. The process involves identifying prospects, connecting with potential customers, qualifying them as a fit, and then introducing them to account executives. The closers on a sales team can then provide the information needed as buyers choose the right solution for their business problems. 

To understand where sales development is heading today we must first understand the history of selling. As with most business processes, they must constantly be evolving to stay relevant and current. The world of sales development is changing, are you ready for it?

An ever changing business environment is one of the reasons why we created the Sales Development Methodology. We’ve laid out the principles or table stakes needed to establish a robust outbound function at an organization and then outline the process to make it successful.

The History of the Term Sales Development

The history of sales development is traced back to the 1980s. You’ll find information online about the Oracle Direct team, which was started by Annekee Seley, and is amongst the earliest teams on record. And then of course, you’ll have heard about our co-founder’s time at Salesforce.com starting in 2002 establishing the sales development function up until 2006  which led to the publishing of the book Predictable Revenue in 2011.

Terms to Know

Inbound Sales Development: is most commonly referred to when an organization has a sales development rep on the team that handles and qualifies all inbound leads. These leads originate through direct website traffic, organic search traffic, social media, content marketing and paid media. In the book, Predictable Revenue these sales roles are often called Market Response Reps (MRRs). 

Outbound Sales Development: is then most commonly referred to when an organization uses sales development reps to do outbound prospecting to find the company’s best target market. These roles are often called Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) or Business Development Representatives (BDRs)

You can read more in depth about the differences between inbound and outbound sales development

Sales Hunter: is someone who will go out and find opportunities. This type of salesperson is best suited to outbound prospecting. 

Sales Farmer: is someone who takes care of current opportunities. This type of salesperson is anyone in a function that assists customers get the most out of their purchased product or service such as customer service or client success roles. 

You can read more about the updated hunter farmer sales model.

The Pros and Cons of Sales Development

To be honest, outbound sales development is getting a lot of heat lately on social media. You’ll find thought leaders who are pro demand generation and you’ll find thought leaders who are pro outbound sales. Here at Predictable Revenue, we believe both inbound and outbound sales development have their time and place in an organization’s growth. 

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Development

Inbound sales development is best suited to organization’s at the beginning of their lifecycle. When you’re establishing your product-market fit, defining who your best ICP is and establishing brand awareness. Once you’ve nailed your niche and are working on moving your customer base from early adopters to the early majority, it’s the perfect time to establish an outbound function at your organization. 

Establishing an inbound or outbound sales development function at your organization doesn’t have to be difficult. We have made countless mistakes so that you don’t have to. Take a look at our Sales Development Services to see if a coaching & consulting engagement may be best suited to your growth stage or hire our SDRs to fill your pipeline for you.

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