Imagine Business Development is a demand generation agency. We take an integrated approach to helping our clients grow their businesses. In case you’re not familiar with our approach, our inbound marketing team helps clients increase lead generation through implementing inbound marketing strategies. Simultaneously, our sales development team prospects and follows up on the leads generated by the inbound marketing team working to close the chasm that has always existed between sales and marketing.
We have a saying here at Imagine; inbound marketing without sales development is charity. Sales development without inbound marketing is cold calling.
I have been a member of the Imagine Business Development team for more than two years and in that time, I have worked as a Sales Development Representative (SDR), an Inbound Marketing Strategist (IMS) and currently as the Sales Operations Manager. In my time working as an SDR and IMS, I gained a strong understanding of what it takes on the back end for marketing and sales to work efficiently in tandem, rather than as two separate entities. I also gained a strong understanding of the processes and procedures that must be in place for our SDR’s to work as effectively and efficiently as possible. Because the back end procedures and processes are so vital to the overall success of our business and our clients’ businesses, the dedicated role of Sales Operations emerged. Since Sales Operations is a relatively new role and not one that all sales and marketing teams are familiar with, I decided to let you into my world by describing what a typical day for me looks like. Each day, my time is focused in these nine key areas.
1. Connecting with marketing
As I mentioned earlier, it is very important that I remain in tune with what is happening on the marketing side for our clients. If I am unaware of campaigns or new content we have created, our SDRs will be unable to utilize that information while on the phone with prospects and could miss out on potential opportunities. For that reason, I make sure to connect with our inbound marketing team every morning, even before I connect with our SDRs.
2. Connecting with our SDRs
After I connect with the inbound marketing team, I make sure to link up with our SDRs. Every day, I make sure they are aware of any new leads who completed offers for gated content so they can follow up in a timely fashion. We also discuss any news from the inbound marketing team about new campaigns or content that is available.
3. Reiterate expectations
While connecting with our SDRs, I always make sure to reiterate expectations so we can stay on the same page. This is important in terms of sales activity (calls, emails) but also in terms of qualifying leads. For example, what must be done to label a lead as an MQL or SQL? When should the handoff occur? These expectations must be clearly defined and there can be no questions surrounding the answers. It may seem like overkill, but I review the expectations with our SDRs on a daily basis.
4. CRM/technology management
Next my focus turns to CRM and technology management. At Imagine, we use HubSpot's CRM. One of my primary jobs is helping SDRs navigate through the CRM and other sales technologies so they can work as efficiently as possible. This means being in tune with changes to the CRM and aiding reps to trouble shoot any technical issues they come across. Additionally, this means making sure our platform is set up so reps can quickly document calls and label prospects and companies with the proper classifications. It is my role to make this part of an SDR’s job as easy and seamless as possible.
Another element of this role is to provide training for the SDRs on the CRM and all of the technologies we are using. If any changes are made to the tools we are using, I make our SDRs aware and identify how it affects their jobs. If necessary, I will provide training.
5. Lead management
Lead management is a primary focus of every day for me. Scoring leads and making sure our SDRs have a proper volume of leads at their disposal is a very important aspect of my job. The last thing we want is an SDR sitting around without any leads to call. It’s up to me to make sure that never happens.
This is a combined effort between sales and marketing. If lead volume is low or if the leads are not hitting on the right buyer personas, then it is a sign that I must connect with marketing to discuss our lead generation approach.
6. Keeping up on trends
The world of sales development is changing rapidly as Doug illustrated in this post following Rainmaker 16. Part of my role is to stay on top of industry trends and best practices so I can pass that information on to our SDRs. It is important to identify areas where we can create efficiencies or improve our overall approach. Any time an SDR is not on the phone is wasted time.
7. Sales analysis
All of the calls made by our SDRs are recorded. Daily, I spend time listening to our reps’ calls. This gives me a first hand look into how conversations are going and whether scripts need to be tweaked or approaches need to be altered. Listening to the calls also gives me another opportunity to teach the SDRs how to handle individual situations.
Data is important. I review data every day. It is also my responsibility to put together reports to share with my superiors as well as our clients. The reports tell us what is working for our SDRs and can reevaluate strategies in order to get optimal results. The information gathered is also very helpful to the SDRs.
9. Client relationship management
One of my duties is managing the relationship with the client and I do that throughout every day while managing other tasks. I participate in all sales development related meetings with clients to relay information we are receiving from the SDRs and to gather new information from the client that could be beneficial to our sales efforts.
I know I said it before but any time SDRs aren’t making calls, documenting activity or training to become more effective is wasted time. To make sure there is no wasted time for the SDRs, I spend my days working on all of the behind the scenes activities that keep the process moving in the right direction. Sales operations is an important role that when done well can have a significant impact on overall results.