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Rethinking sales development at Buyer Centric Revenue

Some say the sales development function is outdated.

Because there’s a belief that it’s out of touch with the way people buy things. 

Ryan Reisert sat down with Nelson Gilliat, Founder of Buyer Centric Revenue, who believes just that. 

They had a chat about rethinking the lead versus demand gen model, the true definition of spam messages, and much more. 

Keep scrolling 👇 or use the menu. 

Demand generation vs lead generation: rethinking the debate 

This debate is famous in the world of B2B. 

And for Nelson, it’s actually related to a battle behind the marketing (demand generation) and sales development (lead generation) functions:

“The difference is most clearly seen in the differing definitions of a lead. For marketing or demand gen, a lead is someone who comes to the website, requests a demo, and is actually qualified. And marketing has to qualify so the demo can be personalised for a better buyer experience.” 

On the other hand:

“For lead gen or sales development, an MQL is a fancy way of saying the contact information of an uninterested buyer, which then means you do B2B telemarketing.” 

And for Nelson, there’s a deep issue with the latter:

“The marketing done from the sales development function - I consider that to be spam.”

Wondering why? 

Let’s take…

A deep-dive into the meaning of spam emails 

It’s super off-putting when our inboxes get spammed. 

We think we’ve been sent automated emails by robots. 

So, how can a B2B sales or marketing function make sure the emails they send out don’t get flagged as spam? 

Well, here’s how Nelson defines spam:

“It’s an intrusive, unsolicited look into someone’s private inbox.” 

He added by saying it’s important to consider the appropriate and inappropriate ways to email a buyer. 

Nelson said the following was appropriate:

“You might invite someone to do some co-marketing with you. Whether that be through a good sales podcast or an event. Or asking them to weigh in on a key topic in the industry.” 

He added:

“Let’s say you have a prior relationship with this buyer. Or maybe they spoke to salespeople but never bought anything. You can recycle the campaign, but say there’s a new product feature of a price drop. But even then you send them 1, maybe 2 emails maximum. You’re not putting them in an automated sequence.” 

What’s considered to be spam? 

“Spam is when you send a generic email saying 'hey here’s what we do - do you want to speak to sales?'” 

And ultimately, Nelson believes:

“It’s marketing’s job to distribute the content with a message that’s not intrusive. Because that’s how you can get buyers to opt into the content, follow on LinkedIn, etc. It’s the idea that the content is helping to educate, entertain or influence the buyer’s decision.” 

And if you’re stumped on what type of content isn’t going to be spam, here are some suggestions:

  • Podcasts.
  • Social posts.
  • Webinars. 
  • Blogs or case studies. 

The list is endless! 

It’s important to bear this in mind:

“Buyers are relying heavily on marketers before they even get to sales. A lot of the decision-making is taking place through exposure to the marketing material. And having thoughtful content means it’s something for buyers to try and get interested in. It’s not in the function of ‘let's buy some stuff right now’.” 

Sales development: rethinking the role 

Nelson is a big believer that the sales development function is broken. 

It’s too traditional, and means that the real purpose gets lost:

“There should be a shift from an SDR to an MDR function. Because then the pressure of hitting quotas and targets can go away, so targeted messaging can take place.” 

Nelson also said:

“We should steer away from the current attitude of sales development, which is to book as many meetings as possible regardless of the opportunity cost right now. Because all it means is that the sales team isn’t chasing the leads that are hot right now, so there ends up being fewer buyers overall.” 

“Companies need to rethink the role sales development has to play. Especially as more companies are becoming marketing-led.” 

He added by reinforcing the effectiveness of a role of a demand gen or marketing specialist:

“They don’t have quotas or a commission. And part of their role includes inviting buyers into non-sales situations. Or asking someone for feedback on previous products.” 

The buyer-centric model 

It should always be about the buyer. 

And having a structure or model in place means you’ll never lose sight of this priority. Because, as Nelson explains: 

“You want to make sure your marketing team is educating your buyers as much as possible, up until to the point they say ‘okay, I’m ready to speak to sales’. Because by the time they reach sales, these are the hot or sales-ready leads that the salespeople like. The cycle is shorter, and the win rates are much higher. And it means you’re not chasing after bad leads.” 

Who doesn’t love efficiency in the sales process? 

After all, time is quite literally money in the world of sales! 

Nelson used a pretty useful basketball comparison 🏀

“You’ve got the point guard who does the fancy dribbles and creative plays, to try and get it to the centre. And then the centre can just shoot the ball through the hoop. Marketing works in the same way - they’ve got to do the fancy moves to take the buyers to the sales cycle.” 

We totally agree - put your prospects’ and buyers’ best interests at heart 💖

Listen to the podcast 

There are plenty more insights from Ryan and Nelson. 

Press ▶️ to hear their full conversation.


For more episodes of Cognism’s Revenue Champions, click here.

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