We’ve been managing sales development for a few companies lately. In this process, we discovered some stuff that seemed like phenomenon or patterns. Felt like sharing them here.
Founders who are usually product managers, are struggling to manage sales and sales development. It’s not so much a matter of ability as it is of priority. Founders who’ve already got paid customers are usually good at sales. But setting up a sales development process and managing it requires focus. If the core DNA of the founder is “product manager”, its practically impossible for them to find time.
The science of sales development is still not in the mainstream. Sales development has evolved from the age of “call centers” doing “lead generation”. Buyers have become smarter at avoiding call center reps by the very tone of their voice in the first few seconds of a call (“Hello, myself Ranbir calling from Sanju Enterprises”). B2C companies can still get away with it mostly because there are at least a million prospects out there. B2B companies face a real challenge bypassing gatekeepers and getting their buyers to listen. After all, who wants to speak to a “talking brochure”? This calls for smarter Sales Development that is scientific. And there’s enough science on the subject out there.
Finding the right sales reps is a pain. “India is full of great sales talent” said no Founder ever. Every day in my network or on my LinkedIn timeline, I come across Founders and Executives complaining about lack of quality sales talent out there. It is a grim situation, I agree. The reality is that one has to run a business under these circumstances. This often requires hiring people who may not seem the perfect fit and then investing in their skills till they get it right.
Which brings us to the next observation…
Its rare to find a company that invests in sales skill development. Again, this is not so much a function of ability as it is of priority. For “Product CEOs”, investing in sales skill is rarely a priority. Even the ones I’ve met talking about it have rarely followed it up with action. I don’t blame them. Every hour of the sales rep’s time spent in training is time lost in prospecting or closing. The onus usually falls on managers who are given a mandate to train people ‘on the job’. Unfortunately, the manager faces the same conundrum – train or phone call / meeting? It requires a large amount of conviction to pull off this fine balance of upskilling and contribution.
Most companies are unhappy with freshers for sales development. The entitled Millennial or GenX-er is the favorite topic of most leaders nowadays. Books have been written on it. Some complain about their attitude. Others about their habits. Most find it difficult to retain them beyond a few months, especially in sales.
It’s for this very reason that we started taking up Sales Development for modern companies. We use the science behind sales development to generate high-quality leads who are genuinely curious about the problem our clients are trying to solve and interested in them. Since the function is now outsourced, Founders do not have to deal with hiring, onboarding, training and retaining sales development reps. Our team understands your market, product / service, target leads, sales pitch and FAQs in detail, prepares the Sales Development Rep (SDRs) in a week and off they go. They are trained on CRM and provide full visibility into your sales funnel. We invest in their training on a regular basis and they are skilled in engaging buyers and bypassing gatekeepers (in businesses).