- Michael Kerman
7 Steps for Lead Development Rep Success - Part II
In Part I of this blog, we covered the groundwork that needs to be put in place to ensure the success of these functions. Now, we focus on enablement and empowerment.
Step 4 – Integrate into Sales and Marketing
One quick way to end up in an ugly abyss is to pull customer lists from your CRM system, give them to the team and have them start emailing and calling. PLEASE, do NOT do this! This team is a critical bridge between marketing and sales and needs to be tightly integrated into both organizations.
The LDR-Sales Interface. First, make sure you are clear on how LDRs and Sales will interface. Is there a 1:1 relationship? Will LDRs be included in some or all Sales pipeline and deal calls? What about territory and account review meetings? Is Sales 100% clear on which accounts the LDRs will and will NOT be contacting? What are the small set of reports that will link both LDR reps and Sales? All of this needs to be documented and then put into operation via the Sales Operations function.
The LDR-Marketing Interface. Obviously, LDRs need to be trained on how to qualify leads and understand the ICP as well as how your CRM and/or Marketing Automation system scores leads. The biggest area of focus needs to be around lead nurturing. You can’t have LDRs contacting prospects or sending them emails independently from the nurturing campaigns being run by Marketing. Instead, LDRs need to be included in the overall lead nurturing strategy. With multiple segments and different product lines, this can get complicated and is another reason why LDRs are increasingly being managed as part of the Marketing function.
Step 5 – Choosing the Right Tools
A strong case can be made that LDRs should use the same tools as Marketing and Sales. After all, this would ensure the integrity of all systems of record (CRM, marketing automation, etc.). However, there are a few reasons to re-consider this approach and explore some other more tailored solutions:
Cost. In some cases, it is just too expensive to give every LDR rep a license to your CRM and Marketing Automation platforms.
Complexity. Many CRM and Marketing Automation applications are quite complicated and take considerable use and training to develop proficiency. Most companies want their LDR reps becoming proficient working with prospects, not learning enterprise software applications.
I recently spoke with a company that used Salesforce.com and Marketo as their core marketing applications. After significant exploration and evaluation, they decided to equip the LDR reps with SalesLoft. This was an easier-to-use solution than Marketo and enabled LDR reps to run their own call campaigns or “cadences”. The built-in integrated with Salesforce.com meant that all inbound and outbound activities were captured and logged in the CRM platform, eliminated the need for double data entry and minimizing data integrity risks.
You may be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of lighter-weight tools for lead management, workflow and lead qualification. Look before you leap.
Step 6 – Train, Mentor and Measure
Getting an LDR program off-the-ground takes a lot of commitment and effort. For the first few weeks or months, an experienced leader should be auditing calls and reviewing outbound emails for quality and consistency.
Daily “stand-up” meetings or huddles should be utilized to help share successes, highlight areas for improvement and reinforce daily, weekly and/or quarterly targets. Role playing is another useful activity… having product or sales experts calling in as prospects is a great way to measure their performance in real-time. Note: This doesn’t have to be via phone. The role playing can take place via email or even an online LiveChat tool.
The leader should be measuring LDR reps in terms of the pre-defined KPIs but also in terms of more qualitative elements such as their attitude, willingness to share and their ability to learn and change.
Also, don’t be afraid to bring in outside expertise to help drive the team to a higher level of excellence. Consultants like The Bridge Group can bring outside perspectives from other companies as well as help you refine your Sales Playbook.
Step 7 – Inspire
Being an LDR rep isn’t always the most visible or exciting role in the company. As such, it is easy to overlook this function as a team that needs inspiration… but they do! They need to hear how they make marketing campaigns more impactful; how they’ve helped improve the quantity and quality of the contacts in your CRM system; how they’ve contributed to X% of the pipeline or generated $Y of revenue.
If your company does some form of employee recognition, you should be sure to include LDRs in that mix. You may also consider adding a slot or two to the annual Sales Achievement or President’s Club trip for LDRs.
When properly implemented LDRs can have a significant impact on your marketing effectiveness, your sales productivity and ultimately, deliver a superior customer experience.