Sales Development Process

What is Sales Development and is it right for your business?

Philipp S.
Last updated on July 26, 2023

Sales development can help companies achieve maximum customer success at a low cost.  In sales development, salespeople conduct sales activities such as lead generation, customer segmentation, outreach and follow-up, sales presentation, lead nurturing, sales tracking, and analytics to maximize revenue opportunities.

Sales development is a process that is often overlooked, but it is essential to sales success. In order to make the most of your sales efforts, it is important to have a sales development process in place. This checklist will help you get started!

What is the sales development process?

Sales development processes are the preparation of prospects to buy products or services from an organization. It involves the use of customer research and prospecting to obtain the highest quality clientele and, ideally, close a deal. Successful sales developments correlate with increased sales and overall revenue. 

Sales Development reps review all prospects and if they meet the required requirements, prospects can become a sales-qualified lead, known as SQL. The goal is to find qualified customers who will see you through the entire sales process until the sale is closed.

Sales development definition

Sales development refers to any activity or team that focuses on the initial stages of the sales cycle. This includes customer research, prospecting, initial contact, and prospect qualification. 

Sales Development teams identify and evaluate prospects that may offer the greatest potential for a successful deal. Sales Qualified Leads (SQ). For these deals, sales increased depending on the specialty of the sales force. Different teams on different aspects of a sales process, including prospecting, nurturing, closing the sale, and customer success.

Sales development and sales development process are closely related. The sales development process is the process an organization uses to identify and target customers. This process involves acquiring, qualifying, and maintaining customer contacts. An effective sales development strategy enables an organization to market its products or services to potential customers.

Evolution of sales development

Sales development has been a critical element for most sales organizations in recent decades. Without sales development, salesperson efficiency suffers, and close rates and profits drop. 

As technology has evolved, sales development has become even more powerful with analytics software and telematics software. Today, some organizations have created separate roles for business development and sales. Although the two roles have similarities, they are different.

Why is sales development important?

Sales growth can help a company with its marketing strategies. Marketing team members are constantly seeking new leads for the companies they target. 

Sales development processes evaluate these prospects, focusing on the early stages of a sales cycle to attract customers and prepare for business, with a company coordinating marketing and sales tactics so that their sales development is successful. The sales team only contacts leads that match the ideal candidate profile for the company.

Benefits of a sales development process

Having a sales development process in place can help sales reps close more deals and get better results. By having a clear set of steps to follow, sales reps can stay organized and identify where they need to focus their efforts.

Here are the benefits of a sales development process:

Increase in revenue

A sales development program has a major impact on revenue. Increasing the focus of sales development representatives in the prospecting process has been shown to be important to the success rate of closing sales.

Similarly, research on the lead search process could increase revenue. It verifies and prepares potential partners for mutual benefit.

Increased client relationships

Successful sales development requires perseverance as well as communication skills. They represent the brand and therefore play a key role in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.

By consistently reaching customers specifically through sales development processes, gain positive relationships between the company and customers. 

Efficient correspondence

This enables fast and effective communication between sales representatives and customers. Generally, a sales development team responds to and contacts customers with a simple turnaround time. Representatives communicate through multiple channels, including phone calls and online chats.

Lead Sourcing

The sales development team should periodically search for potential customers that align with the company’s sales goals. By targeting specific customer segments, sales representatives can effectively increase sales opportunities for the business.

Sales Calls and Meetings

Sales representatives are in charge of setting up sales meetings or calls with current and potential customers to build relationships and discuss sales opportunities. During sales calls, representatives should provide exceptional customer service and adhere to sales best practices.

Data Administration

Sales development teams are responsible for managing customer data and the sales pipeline. Businesses must ensure that customer information is up-to-date and properly documented in order to accurately track sales progress. Representatives should also be familiar with sales metrics and KPIs so they can analyze sales trends and customer behaviors to inform sales decisions.

Marketing Strategies

Sales development teams should be knowledgeable about marketing strategies in order to develop an effective sales process. Representatives should research customer demographics, preferences, and needs in order to effectively target potential customers with tailored sales messages.

5 Essential Components of Every Sales Development Process.

Sales development is best executed when the process has several strategic components that are carefully designed to improve prospects through the sales journey. The sales team should focus on the following five essential components of sales development:

CRM that supports your workflow

CRM software is only as useful as its ability to support the sales team’s work methods and generate additional administrative resources. When you provide your customers with a robust CRM software product, you help increase leads – leads and sales. Sales development is an official path to the customer through the team’s product and service. 

Choosing the right CRM is critical to the sales development process. 

To get the most out of your sales journey process, it is important to find the right CRM solution. You must have an understanding of the customer experience, and CRM software selection must focus on customer experience and expectations. With a good understanding of the customer experience, you can gain key insights at every stage of the process.

Robust lead qualification system for your sales

The sales process requires a precise definition of a qualification process for maximum efficiency. This definition of the lead qualification process is based on the steps a lead takes through the buying process and the steps taken to qualify the lead in that process. Your marketing sales team needs specialized skills to understand these concepts.

A lead qualification system is important for the sales development process. It requires a precise definition of the process for maximum efficiency. This definition of the lead qualification process is based on the steps a lead goes through in the sales cycle and the steps to qualify that lead in that cycle. Marketing sales teams need specific skills to understand these concepts.

Sales analytics

Sales analytics are also available to help the sales development support team throughout the buying process. By equipping sales with the right stuff to get the right prospects at the right time, sales representatives will be able to focus on what they do best.

Your sales development team should have the data, sales analytics, and sales process strategies to help them identify sales opportunities.

Centralized content management portal

A centralized content management portal for sales development can also help streamline sales processes and close more deals. This centralized repository allows salespeople to easily access sales materials for their prospects, view customer profiles and preferences, monitor sales activities, and track sales performance metrics.

Your sales development team should also have access to sales-enablement tools that can help them identify sales opportunities and close more deals. Sales enablement tools such as sales automation software, sales intelligence systems, sales process mapping, and sales call scripting can all help salespeople become more effective in their roles.

Means for collaboration and feedback

The sales development process should also provide opportunities for sales representatives to collaborate and receive feedback from other sales people. This can include tools such as Salesforce automation, customer relationship management systems, or chat apps that allow sales teams to collaborate in real-time.

Steps in developing a successful sales development process

Step 1: Identify what a sales-qualified lead

Identifying sales qualified lead (SQL) is the first step in your sales development process. SQLs are individuals who have indicated an interest in your product or services and possess a qualifying level of engagement. This can include researching your company online, engaging with sales representatives via email or phone, or downloading content like whitepapers and guides.

Sales representatives can’t start qualifying leads until they first understand what a sales-qualified lead looks like. Salespeople should be aware of the target customer profile, budget considerations, and key indicators that suggest the lead is ready to buy.

Step 2: Align sales and marketing team efforts based on SQL definition 

The sales team must understand the product and its value proposition in order to effectively communicate with potential customers. This involves crafting sales messaging that outlines the benefits of using your product or service, as well as outlining how to use it most effectively. Additionally, salespeopleshould review customer success stories and develop other sales scripts to help qualify leads.

Sales representatives need to know who their ideal customers are and what qualifies them as sales leads.

Step 4: Engage your lead through email, phone call, and other channels.

Your sales development process begins with reaching out to leads and engaging them. This involves identifying the best way to contact them: email, web conferencing, social media, or phone call. Salespeople must craft an effective sales message that encourages prospects to take action.

Marketing and sales teams should collaborate to create sales materials that can be used during sales outreach such as email templates and sales scripts. Both sales representatives and marketers should track their sales outreach efforts and analyze performance for improvement opportunities.

Step 5: Qualify the lead’s likelihood of purchasing a product or service for this sales process

Once sales representatives engage a lead, they must determine the likelihood of them becoming a customer. This involves assessing the prospect’s needs and budget, as well as their interest in the product or service being offered.

The sales process involved in this step includes researching the sales prospects, qualifying them according to sales criteria, and gathering quantitative or qualitative data. Determining if the lead is worth pursuing is crucial in the sales development process and sales representatives must be able to identify leads who are most likely to convert into sales.

Step 6: Present solutions that address customer needs.

When sales reps have a clear understanding of their prospects’ needs, they can present solutions that address those needs. This step involves researching potential solutions and outlining how they meet customer requirements.

Set up sales demos and sales presentations with sales reps to ensure prospects understand the product or service and how it solves their specific issue. The marketing team should provide sales representatives with materials and sales scripts that can help them demonstrate the product or service in an organized manner.

Step 7: Hand over ownership of SQL to account executives

Introduce SQL to the account executive and set a meeting between the two in order to move the customer journey forward. Marketing and sales representatives should work together to ensure sales representatives are well prepared for the meeting and that customers have a clear understanding of the sales process.

Marketing and sales reps should also clearly communicate sales expectations for the meeting.

Sales Development Metrics & KPIs

Each company’s business model can vary between sales development metrics and KPIs. Sales development metrics are usually categorized into two: operational and strategic. Once you’ve developed a process for your marketing and sales team, you need to track the sales development process using sales metrics.

Pick-up rate

The pick-up rate is the number of leads an individual rep works out of the number assigned to them in a given time period, expressed as a percentage. This helps managers understand if reps are working on all their lead assignments. It also helps sales leaders understand how well their salespeople are converting leads.

At all times, your organization should have a pick-up rate goal of 95%-100%. By picking up and working on every lead, you’re able to make more precise decisions about which leads will be beneficial or unproductive for your company. The choice to prioritize leads is key for sales development.

Lead response time

Lead response time is the amount of time it takes sales representatives to respond to incoming leads. It is important that sales reps reply quickly and efficiently to leads, as research has found that salespeople who respond within 5 minutes are much more likely to convert the lead than those who take longer.

Lead response time is an SDR metric that, similar to pick-up rate, you need to track in order to make decisions based on data rather than assumptions. This will help you distinguish between good and bad leads for your business.

Cadence compliance

Cadence compliance is the sales representatives’ ability to follow the sales cadence you have established. A sales cadence is a set of activities, emails, and calls that salespeople should do in order to move a lead through the sales process. The goal of having a sales cadence is to ensure that leads are followed up on in an organized and consistent manner.

Your sales touchpoints can be divided into categories depending on the delivery method, such as email, phone calls, or social media. And based on how complicated your inbound lead process is, you may need to further divide your cadences by campaign, persona types, industry verticals, etc.

Pipeline generated 

Sales leads should be followed up on in both sales and marketing. Both departments should have a sales cadence plan for their respective roles.

Sales reps are responsible for contacting and qualifying leads, following up with prospects, scheduling sales meetings, and closing sales deals. Each phase of the sales process usually requires multiple touchpoints, so having an organized sales

Revenue generated

Once sales reps make contact with leads, they can start to generate revenue. This process involves salespeople nurturing relationships and developing trust with prospects by providing valuable information and responding quickly to inquiries. The sales rep should also use sales tools such as sales automation software or CRM systems to keep track of customer interactions and sales opportunities.

3 Major Factors that Impact Sales

While these types of systems worked well for some time, the system became virtually useless. Because of these three main factors, vendors now face tougher challenges than ever before. 

Training Your SDRs

It should be easy for people to leverage their own resources. Too many companies invest heavily in hiring the best talent. Don’t invest too much in training the new employee. If you make every effort to get the best people, you must do whatever it takes. How can SDRs be taught and improved? Establish an organizational culture that is constantly looking for ways to improve. It’s a good idea to teach SDRs, and ask prospects questions about them.

Roles within the sales team

Sales development rep, or SDRs, are responsible for acquiring and maintaining sales and leadership skills. They serve as links for marketing and sales departments. Your market wants to make a sale, but they don’t want it to go to waste. But your highly paid salespeople can’t just focus their efforts on the best leads. That’s why SDR bridges are important. Your SDR needs to make contact with the lead first and then pass the warm to close.

Retain Your SDRs

You need to bring in the best SDRs and train them, but you don’t want to take them weeks or months out of their jobs. In general, you can save money by keeping the old SR when you don’t have the cash flow or when SRs are changed as needed. How can we keep SDRs in circulation? Everyone loves to get promoted and take on new tasks. That’s where micro-promotion comes in. You don’t give them new jobs, you give them responsibilities.

Putting Together a Sales Development Team

Sales development starts with a team of people working on sales. No one person will handle every task – instead, every significant job should belong to a qualified person.

Frequently asked questions about the sales development process:

What is a sales development process?

A sales development process is an organized and methodical approach to sales that involves building a sales strategy, hiring salespeople, developing sales leads, qualifying prospects, closing sales deals, and managing client relationships.

Sales Development Process: Summary

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is sales development?” it’s time to start putting a process in place so you can reap the benefits.

Luckily, we have all the information your need to get started. Just remember these five essential components of every successful sales development process: building relationships, providing value, being consultative, having industry expertise, and continuously prospecting. Keep track of your progress with some key metrics and KPIs, and before long you’ll be closing more business than ever before.

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