I’m lucky. Here at Marketo, I’ve had the pleasure of working with not one, but two (!) of the best sales development leaders out there. What makes them so great? Both are beloved captains who are awesome at finding talented people and developing them into great sellers. And, they’re just as skilled at cross-functional collaboration.
Bottom line: my sales development leaders totally get that somewhere between MQL and SQL, their teams become the face of the brand in a major way.
That means coaching and learning are a big part of their teams’ day-to-day so they can assume that role with confidence and agility. Because let’s be honest—every sales call is a different beast. I share this because leaders who care deeply about learning are the prerequisite to everything else I’m about to say. They WANT marketing involved as a partner to ensure the experience from nurture to hot lead to first sales call is a consistent, personalized experience.
So with a lot of guidance from strong sales leaders along the way, here are 4 specific things I’ve learned marketing can do to contribute to a learning culture in your SDR/BDR organization.
Flip the Script
Think contextually, not linear (script) when you create live conversation materials for inside sales teams. After all, that’s how conversations work. I’ve learned from the leadership here to deploy “open-ended questions” that get a thoughtful conversation flowing. Our battlecards are context on one side (topical details, when to use the battlecard, etc.) and on-call content on the other (those open-ended questions, with some proof points and talking points for smart responses.) This approach can work whether you’re making materials for competitors, industries, personas, or important industry topics.
Enable Enthusiastically and Often
We have a cadence—every time we release a new battlecard, we do a ‘lunch and learn’ that includes deeper enablement for the team. Why did we make this card? Who should you use it with? How will it help? What is the purpose of each open-ended question? Why do we recommend certain proof points? These answers should help the team look for cues so they can tailor and add value in conversation with a prospect.
Play the Part
If you have a pent-up theater kid inside of you, you’ll love what I’m about to say: roleplay is an incredible tool for honing the above (tailored, value-adding conversations) without risking anyone’s experience with your brand. And I take this seriously (ask Stacey Thornberry or Mike Madden.) Make a few fictional personas that correspond to your battlecards. Enlist SDR leadership, sales enablement, or other marketers to play the parts with you. And don’t forget to throw some curveballs. That’s real life, right?
Be a Partner
Don’t be hands off with your SDR/BDR team. Sit with them and listen. Invite their feedback and their questions. Take a closer look at the performance of the email cadences they use—just like you would any other campaign. Help with the content, to be sure the connection between their messages and yours are tight. Sales development teams can be great partners for testing new messaging and providing feedback on what works, especially when they’re outbounding. Don’t let that opportunity pass you!
So, marketers: it’s time to share the brand spotlight and ensure continuity with the stories we tell our prospects and customers. Our campaigns don’t just stop at MQL. If we do our job right, they get better at that point, because there’s a real, intelligent person ready to make a human connection. I’m excited to help them do that, aren’t you? (Ok, fine, if that’s a little lofty to you, how about this? You’ll also get more SQLs and the pipeline to go with them.)