This post is the second in a series of about Sales Development Reps (SDRs).

One of the common characteristics of successful sales development teams is their use of technology and automation to be more effective. This is especially true as by 2020, 50% of sellers are meant to be millennials. There’s no shortage of sales automation technology, according to the Sales 2.0 conference, over 2000 new applications to the market since 2006. I saw the graphic at right on marketing automation (a close bedfellow to sales development) a couple years ago and it shocked me just how names there were.  I hope this post help to navigate this web a tiny bit and give you some ideas. Its important when engaging on a full scale project to understand everything out there and use recommendations and reviews to guide your purchase.

When it comes to technology to support Sales Development Reps, first its important to be clear if your reps are mostly supporting new sales or upsells.  In 2016, McKinsey surveyed 1,200 buyers across the U.S. and Europe, and almost 85 percent of buyers prefer “digital-only” channels for actions like repurchasing the same or similar offers. But, it’s almost the reverse when considering a new product or service. At that point, 75 percent of buyers prefer to engage directly with sales reps.

I want to focus on technology for new sales or significant upsells in this blog. However, my quick suggestions for supporting repurchasing customers would be as follows:

  • Professional quoting/proposal application (critical to have co-terming if you sell SaaS) with e-signature capabilities
  • Even better, an e-commerce portal where customers can place their own orders and adjust their subscriptions

CRM

This is a no brainer, there are too many touch points and contacts to manage without a CRM system with full adoption. There are a variety of vendors out there. Without reviewing the vendor specifics out there I will offer a quick few considerations:

  • KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid. Allow yourself to grow without overcomplicating. A powerful platform such as Salesforce only is valuable when you use it as such, a platform to ensure all your other systems and processes are aligned.
  • Consider that some CRM systems have some freebie ‘extras’ you might be able to leverage

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must tool for sales development reps. To me, this is really the only sales audience that strongly justifies a premium membership. That being said, there’s so much you can do with a free membership. There’s also some great tips to find full names that aren’t always visible in LinkedIn. If you want more help on hacking LinkedIn, including how to mass mail through LinkedIn, be in touch!

Sales intelligence

Sales intelligence systems provide your SDRs with information about both the companies and people they are calling. Some examples of applications include:

Resources like InsideView can email you daily news alerts for targeted prospect or lead lists which really make your outbound efforts seem targeted and clever.

Data sources

Data sources are less focused on sales intelligence and more focused on providing contact names and information. There are a lot of data sources on the market. Some common ones include:

Dialing technology

There’s a few vendors out there that allow sales development reps to autodial their list of contacts. If I’m very honest, I’m not sure I really see the huge value here especially in the B2B and targeted marketing space. This being said there is some cool technology out there to allow remote managers to coach either live calls or recorded calls and this I think is of huge interest.

Sales email applications

Email is an essential channel for sales development teams. Sales email applications will alert SDRs when someone opens their emails. Clearslide will alert sales development reps when a prospect has viewed any content they have sent. Here are some applications to consider:

Managing digital assets

Buyers love to do their own research. Hopefully they are finding your information on your website (resulting in leads) and on social media. To help guide your prospects education its important to have information for your sales reps to leverage. Ideally your digital assets are managed in a way that you can track buyer behaviour so your sales development reps always have an idea of what your prospects are looking at.

  • Standardised presentation material
  • White papers and case studies

Related to this topic is ensuring that your website is enabled to allow your SDR to show what pages prospects are visiting. This creates a great hook when discussing. You can do this with the most popular marketing automation tools Marketo or Eloqua. There are also other vendors Pardot (Salesforce) or Act On.

Social Media

Hopefully your company’s marketing department has an active social media presence. However, that’s not enough to get ahead these days. You should ensure your sales personnel are trained in social media and know how best to use. This is a really powerful way to engage your potential clients. 73% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperform their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.   [Source: Aberdeen]

Additionally, a new survey from PeopleLinx revealed the following:

  • 31% of reps incorporate social media into their sales process.
  • However, the lack of social selling adoption isn’t due to a lack of interest or perceived value. It’s just that reps don’t know how to do it. Only 11% of respondents indicated that their companies provided social selling training.
  • Only 26% of respondents felt as if they knew how to use social media to sell.
  • Adoption increased to 74% among reps that had been trained on social selling.

There is some amazing free technology you should absolutely incorporate into your training:

  • Buffer, Start a Fire
  • LinkedIn – there is an ability to publish individual blog-like entries here

Tech for Sales Development Reps – in Conclusion

If you are considering a project to improve the productivity of your Sales Development Reps or a technology purchase, Sales Ops Help can work at any stage of your initiative. Please contact me for a short chat.

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