What’s going wrong in your Sales Development operation?
You have a great product and have started to develop the sort of reviews and reputation that should appeal to at least a sizeable chunk of an IT market that IDC says will pass $5 trillion in value this year. You have recruited partners for a channel programme, put together solid sales and marketing teams that know your narrative backwards and are well trained in handling objections and spying opportunities. You have enough money to accelerate and, understandably, your CEO is telling you that the opportunity lies in top-growth. You’re going for it with everything you have, touting new products and shooting for new territories and markets … but something is stalling you?
If that sounds familiar, you’re far from alone. Even some of the world’s largest tech companies needed some help when they were scaling up, especially when they wanted to globalise and didn’t have sizeable teams on the ground in new geographies and markets. And even quite mature companies can struggle to attract delegates to events or develop leads in markets that they aren’t deeply vested in.
Sales development has always been a challenge. It lies just outside the core competence of the main sales teams that are focused on the largest accounts or keeping the installed base serviced and don’t have time to forage for the leads and do the other necessary legwork that paves the way to sales success. What are you going to do?
To dig into the sales development challenge, IDG SDS surveyed over 300 respondents across North America, Europe and APAC. All the audience worked for tech firms with over 500 staff in senior positions in sales, marketing or general management.
This what they told us about the challenges they face…
They have a lot on their plates
When we asked about the current scope of their sales development efforts, at least four in 10 respondents cited one of 11 (yes, eleven!) areas, from appointment setting to creating cross-sell opportunities from their existing customer bases.
And even when we broke that down by asking the panel to name their single biggest area, we still found that all those responses shad at least seven percent of votes and four responses garnered over 10% of votes each.
If they have a lot of tasks on their agendas, then they also see a lot of challenges involved.
A laundry list of challenges
Again, there was that laundry list of issues cited, although, at least this time, we saw a couple of items stand out: cost management and the pace of change pressurising teams to keep up.
And again, when we drilled down to ask for just the biggest challenge, those two led but, cost management aside, the obstacles just kept on coming in close to even relevance: hiring/retention, flexibility, technology support, management expertise and more. Is this starting to sound familiar at all?
Selfishly, we wondered whether this was a scenario where outsourcing could help, so we asked about reasons why our audience has done, or may in future, use a third party for assistance.
And for the third time in a row, it was the volume of answers that was notable, with nine answers delivering at least 42% in mentions, from reporting transparency to sales scalability, local culture/language skills and superior contact-centre technology.
If you’ve been paying attention you won’t be surprised that for the third time in a row, we asked the panel to name their biggest single reason… and again the answers were all over the place.