BDRs are (still) Sales’ best option for prospecting

Prospecting is notoriously branded as the hardest part of selling. It’s labor-intensive for actively qualifying leads rather than closing them, and often elicits some variation of the response, “No, thank you.” This is why this initial outreach of scripted questions — whether they’re through email or over the phone — is often delegated to business development reps to manage. But is your sales team doing itself a disservice by keeping entry-level BDRs in this role?

Are the “least qualified” people doing the hardest work?

A post on Business2Community asks: If BDRs are entry-level positions, and therefore ones with the least knowledge and experience at your company, why are they being tasked with the hardest work? Instead, why not put a seasoned professional in charge of introducing your company to cold leads, and vetting them? And are you ultimately hurting your ROI by funneling leads through a quantity-over-quality style of email blasts and calling campaigns?

BDRs are perfectly fine (as long as you teach them)

That B2C article does make an important point: because BDRs are the first people who your cold leads will interact with, those interactions will color their opinion of your company. So it sounds good in theory to have sales reps with more experience act as those initial points of contact. That said, you don’t usually need to ask too many initial questions (and in many cases, shouldn’t) to gauge the value and interest from your leads. If they’re ready to learn more about your products and services, they’ll let you know, and a sales rep will follow up with them. If they aren’t, they’ll simply stay on your email list.

Some may see this arrangement as sacrificing quality for the sake of a daily email/call quota, except when you take into consideration that most leads aren’t ready to buy immediately. They need to warm up to the idea of doing business with you, and that means going through several interactions with your brand to learn about your services, and have their questions answered — all of which are responsibilities better suited to BDRs.

Make sure that yours have a good training program that teaches them the techniques they’ll need through email or on the phone, as well as the key information they should reference about your company, and they should be able to use those to gain experience and understanding on how to prospect effectively.

As for swapping them out for more knowledgeable sales reps: these seasoned professionals have already “served their time” in new business development, and prefer making more money closing deals than vetting leads.

But wait, there’s more

There’s still a right way and a wrong way to manage your prospecting, particularly when it comes to email. You need to educate your leads them through content marketing rather than push for the immediate sale. You should send follow-up messages to them at a respectful cadence. And you should be mindful about connecting this outreach with your inbound marketing strategies.

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