11 sales development strategies for high growth companies (2023)

The original version of this article, written by Craig Rosenberg, was published by TOPO, now Gartner.

Just 15 years ago, there was only a 50 percent chance that a company would invest in sales development. The times have changed. Now, you might have a hard time finding a successful, high-growth tech company that doesn't have a sales development team.

Download eBook: future of sales

#1: Only 27% of sales development teams use BANT as their SQL definition

For years, Budget, Authority, Demand and Timeline (BANT) was the de facto definition of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). 73% of companies now use looser SQL definitions such as authority, need, urgency, money (ANUM) or authority, need (AN) instead of BANT.

  • SQL definition is absolutely critical to the success of any sales development program. Make sure you choose the definition that's right for your business and target market.
  • Most outbound sales development organizations used AN or ANUM for their SQL definitions. Trying to apply BANT to Outbound is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

#2: Approximately 60% of sales development teams have dedicated staff focused on inbound or outbound

The inbound marketing and demand generation movement of the last five years has created a high volume of leads that need to be followed up.

Inbound lead conversion has very specific requirements that can only be executed effectively with a specialized inbound team. For example, incoming leads should be followed up within five to 30 minutes of receipt, which requires a full-time commitment.

  • Organizations with specialized roles typically deliver more than 200 leads per Sales Development Representative (SDR) per month.
  • Many of the hybrid teams are primarily business-focused and typically deliver fewer than 200 leads per month. These teams see inconsistent lead volume month-to-month.
  • The data also shows that some sales development teams are specialized by company size, industry vertical, and product.

#3: Only 31.5% of sales development organizations respond to leads within 5 minutes

The highest inbound lead conversion rates occur within minutes of download. A prospect who has just filled out a signup form will think about your offer and be more likely to respond.

  • Of the companies that respond within five minutes, the vast majority have specialized inbound SDRs.
  • Many of these teams use technologies like intelligent lead routing and zero-minute emails.
  • Unsurprisingly, hybrid teams struggle to achieve best-in-class response rates of under five minutes.

#4: The average number of touches per lead is 8 to 12 times

The key to success is to think of outreach as a campaign with an optimized, fixed number of touches over a fixed period of time.

The best practice is to engage a prospect over a short period of time, e.g. B. two to four weeks, to touch eight to twelve times. Many accounts have multiple people to sell to, and each should have their own Touch campaign.

  • These touches should be shared through a mix of channels such as voice, email and social media.
  • Once the 2-4 week campaign is over, SDRs should revisit the lead at a later date.

The average number of times an SDR touches a single wire

Meaningful touches are defined as touches that convey a message to a shopper, such as: an email. An example of a meaningless touch is a call where an SDR calls and hangs up on a prospect without leaving a message.

11 sales development strategies for high growth companies (1)

5. Half (50%) of sales development teams include a LinkedIn touch in their touch patterns

For most sales development organizations, LinkedIn is the predominant source of sales information. It's also an important channel to reach hard-to-reach prospects.

  • Most organizations incorporate a LinkedIn touch as part of their first touch, known as a triple touch: call, email, LinkedIn.
  • We recommend not inviting cold prospects to connect on LinkedIn until you've had a conversation with them. The best practice is to send an InMail or message by simply forwarding their email.
  • More advanced tactics include liking, sharing, or commenting on content shared by the prospect.

#6: The average number of touches per day is 95

Sales development is still a numbers game, but that shouldn't come at the expense of quality. With technology, templates, training, and processes, SDRs can create high-quality, personalized email and voicemail and still meet the metrics needed for success.

  • Organizations performing 95 touches per day have streamlined sales development processes in their CRM to simplify data management.
  • These organizations drive high SDR productivity by leveraging technologies such as sales email automation and autodialers.
  • Many offer time management training so SDRs can organize their day to achieve the required number of touches.

#7: Around 37% of sales development teams keep live calls under 10 minutes

Shorter live call times give SDRs more opportunity to perform the touches they need to make their next connection. Our data shows that companies that keep calls under 10 minutes produce the highest number of SQLs each month.

  • Live calls should take less than five minutes for looser SQL definitions like ANUM or AN, while live calls should take less than 10 minutes for BANT.
  • There is little correlation between SQL quality and long call times. Calls longer than 10 minutes often occur because SDRs do not have the call structure and training to get their qualifying questions answered and close for a meeting.

#8: Half (50%) of high-growth companies with revenue under $25 million maintain a one-to-one ratio of SDRs to revenue

Some high-growth organizations even have a ratio greater than one to one.

#9: A whopping 54.5% of sales development teams reward SDRs for SQLs

SDRs should be rewarded for the performance they can control, namely the SQL.

  • The quality of the SQLs passed to sales should be governed by the SQL definition that sales management must sign off on.
  • In the situation where the SQL Opportunity Rate is too low but SDRs meet the SQL definition conditions, the problem may be the SQL definition. In this case, sales and sales development should review the SQL definition and find areas for optimization.
  • Many sales development organizations that offset their SDRs on SQLs also offer an additional bonus for closed deals.

#10: The average tenure for SDRs is 14.2 months

In the fastest growing companies, the average tenure is less than 12 months.

Sales development has long been a stepping stone to other areas of the organization. Therefore, sales leaders need to plan ahead for SDRs that will be leaving the group in just over a year.

  • Sales development executives should always recruit. You should meet as many potential candidates as possible, whether they have an open position or not, post the job description on the website, and encourage employee referrals.
  • Most high growth companies have SDRs at or near their number after a month. That's crucial because SDRs haven't been in place long enough for companies to wait three or four months to hit the quota.
  • Many teams have internal promotion plans to allow SDRs to grow within the sales development organization rather than looking elsewhere. For example, SDRs can start on the inbound team for six months before having the option to be promoted to team leader (player coach) or to an enterprise/outbound sales development team.

Average SDR runtime

The average total tenure for SDRs is 14.2 months, with approximately 85% staying in the role for less than 18 months.

11 sales development strategies for high growth companies (2)

#11: Half (50%) of sales development organizations use five or more technology applications

A sales development technology stack has emerged to address the manual processes that have hampered the scalability of sales development teams.

  • The foundation of the sales development stack is CRM, sales intelligence, sales email tools, and data tools. Once the foundation is in place and the sales development process is streamlined, teams should consider third-party autodialers and analytics applications.
  • An emerging category in the sales development stack is touch management solutions. These solve one of the biggest challenges in sales development, the ability to efficiently track and manage multi-touch and multi-channel touch patterns.
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 02/02/2023

Views: 6316

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.