Dispelling 5 sales development myths

It’s time to forget what you think you know about sales development! Let’s look together at five common misconceptions and separate the fact from the fiction.

In the almost two years since I started SalesWorks, I have been inside dozens of businesses to help build high-performing SDR teams. I’m often surprised by some of the things sales leaders say to me and the things they believe about sales development. It seems to be that some viewpoints are held up as convention, when in reality, they are not true. This outdated thinking means companies leave money on the table and miss out on recruiting and retaining the best talent. 

In this article, we’re going to look in detail at some of the myths around sales development. Then, I’m going to show you why they’re wrong, with the help of the SalesWorks 4S framework. Let’s go.

Myth 1 – ‘We can train our SDRs on product only. They already know how to prospect.’

This comes under the Skills part of the 4S framework. Giving SDRs training only on the product and not how to sell it is counterproductive. 46% of reps say that companies don’t provide them with the right training to be successful. 

SDR training needs to be programmatic, relevant and interactive. It should give them the skills to identify prospects, qualify, build rapport, pitch and more. It doesn’t matter what experience they have got – that’s in the past. You need to get them following your playbook now.

If you only train reps on the product, when they get on the phones, they will only have conversations about features and functions. You need to get away from that and enable your reps to ask the right questions, focusing on the prospect’s business and goals, NOT your software or service.

Myth 2 – ‘We don’t need an SDR manager. SDRs can report to the VP of Sales or Marketing.’

This is something that often comes up when I talk about the Structure part of the 4S methodology – companies don’t see the point of having someone dedicated to overseeing the SDR team. 

I think this is short-sighted. There are so many reasons why having an SDR manager is a great idea. Firstly, you have someone living and breathing, accountable for the success of the SDR team. If you don’t have your machine firing at the start of the sales process, you close fewer deals at the end. Secondly, VPs of Sales and Marketing are often too busy to manage a team of SDRs and their unique needs. Thirdly, having an SDR manager role in your team gives SDRs who want to progress something they can aim towards. 

By the way, I don’t believe it matters whether SDRs sit in the Sales or Marketing teams. I’ve seen both structures work very well. 

Myth 3 – ‘If you want to motivate an SDR, pay them more.’

We now go to the Strategy component of the 4S framework. The world has changed. Sales reps, especially younger ones (most SDRs are fresh out of university), are not as motivated by money as they used to be. They’re more likely to place value on opportunities for progression or workplace culture.

Find out what your SDRs value and design incentives around them. Stop being lazy with your incentives. Remember, different reps will be motivated by different things, so get to know them personally.

Myth 4 – ‘If you want better results, make more calls.’

Another Strategy myth. Making more calls will have an impact on your bottom line, but there is no direct correlation. If you want to double your revenue, you don’t double your headcount. 

What will increase your revenue isn’t more calls, it’s better calls. Forty calls into targeted accounts that correspond to your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) will be much more effective than 100 spray and pray calls every time. Plus, with well-trained reps who have spent time researching their prospects, you’re much more likely to see results. 

To me, it’s bizarre how many companies I see still measuring the number of calls their reps make.

Myth 5 – ‘We don’t need a tool for call coaching.’

Finally, it’s the Systems part of the 4S framework. I talk a lot about the value of call coaching software, but it’s breathtaking how many companies don’t see it. They are more happy for their team to listen to calls as a group. It doesn’t matter what you use – Refract, Gong, Chorus or something else, this software is invaluable and you will start to see its effects within a very short period. 

Call coaching software picks up things that you might miss. It allows you to pinpoint areas where reps can improve. Plus, you can drop in clips of successful calls to point them in the right direction.

It’s not just the coaching that’s valuable. It’s also the opportunity for reps to listen to their own calls, see insights on their conversations and play calls back as part of their self-development programme. As I regularly say, the essential attributes of a top-performing rep are that they’re hungry to learn, keen to improve and self-aware.

So, that’s five sales development myths busted! Never be afraid to break away from conventional thinking. You can’t succeed if all you do is follow the crowd.