How Strategic SDRs Enable and Support Account-Based Marketing

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is all the rage nowadays. You wonder, is ABM worth the hype?

After some research, you see lots of companies are finding massive success by executing ABM strategies. The numbers are awe-inspiring, like SiriusDecisions’ reporting that 91% of marketers using ABM recorded an increased deal size, with 25% stating their deal size increased by over 50%.

So, you decide to join the party. You’ve defined your list of target accounts, have your data down pat and maybe even invested in a few tools. Now it’s time to plan outreach, which is where many marketers enter uncharted waters.

The key to executing an effective ABM program lies within the sales development representative (SDR) role (also commonly referred to as business development representatives (BDRs). No matter which acronym you use, they are the glue holding your sales and marketing departments together, ensuring harmony and alignment across the board.

Moreover, as we all know, sales and marketing alignment is crucial and can help businesses become 67% better at closing deals; which is why leading companies spend a lot of time and money making sure they don’t step on each other’s toes as they move gracefully across the dance floor.

The SDR role is essential when it comes to solving your mid-funnel challenges. Other than optimizing your ABM strategy, three things immediately come to mind when thinking about strategic SDRs: Mid-funnel engagement, data quality, and nurturing stronger relationships.

Strategic vs. traditional SDRs

If you were paying close attention, you noticed in that last part that I said ‘strategic’ SDR. And how does a strategic SDR’s role differ from that of a traditional SDR? Well, I’m glad you asked!

The SDR role has existed in some capacity in most organizations since the beginning of time. Or, more accurately, since the founding of the first LLC. However, traditional SDR responsibilities don’t focus on the needs and challenges of today’s buyer.

The modern prospect is well-researched and knowledgeable – as they have a breadth of information available at their fingertips. HubSpot’s research confirms that 60% of buyers want to connect with sales during the consideration stage, after they’ve researched the options and compiled a short list.

Prospects now utilize the sales rep as more of a collaborator or business consultant when making a purchase decision. To be an effective collaborator, the modern SDR must practice a more strategic approach.

We can no longer party like it’s 1999

Today, SDRs have transformed a traditionally tactical role to a far more competent, capable, and strategic resource. They are experts at building rapport and trusting business relationships; enabling them to smoothly guide prospects through the buying journey.

A modern SDR supports meaningful and personable conversations with prospects and buyers. This can be attributed to their ability to engage prospects in dialogue through a variety of techniques, including listening to prospects, reacting to their concerns, and interacting with them on a level that is impossible to achieve using scripts, battle cards, or the other “canned content” tactics of yesteryear.

ABM support and enablement

Undoubtedly, your company spends a sizable chunk of their budget on sales and marketing. With most demand generation strategies, a considerable portion of your efforts will be wasted because everyone whom your marketing efforts reach will not fit within your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and generally, at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell.

If you only want qualified prospects at your party, you wouldn’t post a billboard inviting the entire world. If that billboard is like traditional demand generation, then ABM is like a custom invitation for your closest friends and family. ABM efforts identify, then saturate target accounts most likely to convert.

Mid-funnel engagement

So there’s the marketing funnel, and then there’s the sales pipeline. However, it can be difficult to distinguish  where one ends and the other begins; and this gray area is the sweet-spot for the strategic SDR, who ensure leads don’t stall or grow stale mid-funnel.

In fact, the modern SDR plays a critical role in closing the gap between sales and marketing by supporting mid-funnel outreach and relationship-building activities, or even owning these tasks entirely by:

  • Moving leads from MQL to SQL
  • Ensuring leads don’t stall out and grow stale during the handoff process
  • Gathering useful insights and information for the sales team
  • Ensuring that a prospect is genuinely ready for a conversation

Data quality & governance

Your account executives and sales reps are often too busy to focus on data quality. Ideally, they are spending most of their time doing what they do best – closing deals. Ensuring data quality can be tedious and time-consuming and, frankly, kind of a buzzkill.

A strategic SDR not only keeps your prospects moving through the buyer’s journey, but they also ensure data quality and governance. Your SDRs should be familiar with working inside your CRM and other data-driven sales engagement tools.

As a result of delegating these tasks to your SDRs, you will see significant improvements in data quality compared with an organization where the sales team is tasked with this work.

In short, by clearing up the chaos found in most CRMs, your sales reps can allocate more time to driving revenue for your organization and not be among the other 94% of businesses who suspect their customer and prospect data is inaccurate.

Stronger prospect/buyer relationships

A vital component of the SDR role is that it’s the source of human connection to your prospect. While the lure of fancy new technologically-advanced marketing tools is enticing, the human touch is undoubtedly indispensable. Your ABM efforts will prove futile if not for the added human touch component. SDRs support and enable your ABM strategy by building personal relationships, earning trust, and inspiring confidence in your product or service.

People buy from people they like and trust. Also, sometimes a shy prospect might need a little nudge – or push – to get out on the dance floor.

Today, your SDRs need to be more strategic than ever before. They are here to keep your deals in motion and keep your prospects and sales team in sync – dancing the night away.

Contact us for more information about demand gen, martech, and sales strategies. 

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