James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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A 6-Part Sales Development Playbook

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

It’s frustrating to read these “one size fits all” sales development books, because one size does not fit all. Heck, one size doesn’t even fit most.

This frustration is what brought Trish Bertuzzi, CEO of The Bridge Group, to write The Sales Development Playbook. The Bridge Group is the largest inside sales consulting firm in North America, and this book is a brilliant and guiding force in the world of sales development.

Trish shares the 6 fundamental parts of sales development here:

1) Strategy

Strategy is the foundation of success.

Unfortunately, what has happened is that people are implementing strategy models that are not tailored to their companies, just because they think they should. We have folks saying things like “This worked at my last company” or “Let’s do what that company is doing”.  These “one size fits all” strategies tend to act as wet blankets in business, because they just don’t work.

Trish explains that a solid strategy is built on the “5 Whys”: Why listen? Why care? Why change? Why you? Why now? These questions are how your buyers think, so answering them helps companies decide on the best strategic model to implement.

2) Specialization

Okay, so now comes the question–how do you engage with your buyers?

Should you focus resources just on inbound or just on outbound? What about the mantra that outbound is dead? Trish says, with all due respect, that mantra could not be more wrong, and outbound is alive and well. With inbound, you get what you get, but with outbound, you get what you want.

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However, why would you be inbound or outbound, when you could be allbound? You have to figure out how to focus resources on both of these areas.

The other thing to consider when it comes to specialization, is how do you look at your market and segment them into accounts? You’re going to apply one set of resources to your “A-list” accounts versus a different set of resources to your “bread and butter” accounts.

And let’s be honest, we all have our “D” or “dead end” accounts, and you have to think about how you’re going to manage those as well.  Segmenting your market in order not to exhaust resources will set you up for success.

3) Recruiting

In today’s market, the demand for talent far exceeds supply. When it comes to recruiting, you have got to be the prettiest girl at the dance.

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How do you get people in the door? You’ve got to write compelling job descriptions. Trish says it’s necessary to “write job descriptions, not sleep prescriptions.” These descriptions are the face of your company, so they must be intriguing.

In addition to writing killer job descriptions, you have to think about: How do you do effective recruiting? What does your hiring process look like? What is an effective process? What are the steps in that process? Are you hiring with urgency?

Another important piece of the pie is Glassdoor. Essentially the Yelp of recruiting, Glassdoor allows employees to anonymously rate their organization and leave pros and cons. It also allows interviewees to post their honest experiences.

If you were a restaurant, you would focus on your Yelp reviews to make sure your profile is filled with positive reviews and pictures that will bring people in your doors. As a company, you need to have that same focus on your Glassdoor profile. Have your current employees engage with your profile, talk about your company culture, and share their feedback.

4) Retention

Everybody spends a fortune on hiring, but few give a second thought to retention. What are you doing to keep top talent?

Yes, money matters, but what is the new way to retain talent? The secret is to develop a learning culture.

Trish’s book focuses on the benefits of answering questions like: What does it mean to develop a learning culture? How do you build it? How do you motivate? Particularly among millennials, who either want to move up or they’re out.

One way to address this “up or out” mentality, and keep your talented young people in those SDR roles, is what Trish likes to call “micro-promotions.” Micro-promotions are learning opportunities, combined with small steps up the ladder, allowing your employees to feel validated, appreciated, and compensated.

5) Execution

Now that you have your strategy, chosen specialization, and talented team, it’s time to get down to business. How are you going to execute?

You must have a well-defined outreach process. Developing this process includes factors such as: formalizing a cadence, choosing the appropriate channels, and establishing types of media to use.

The tools that you use for this outreach, whether voicemail, email, or social media, need to be fully flushed out. What are the best practices for each of these types of outreach? In her book, Trish teaches you how to craft the perfect email or leave a compelling voicemail.

If your whole sales development team is working with these same set of guidelines and principles, you’ll be much better at aggregating data and following up with leads.

6) Leadership

This brings us to leadership. Who should lead your team? Do you need a manager? A director? A VP?

As it’s been discussed, this is unique to every business, so you’ve got to decide on how you set quotas, how you build out your processes, what metrics do you measure, how do you perfect the handoff, what role technology plays, and how you engage your leaders.

All of these questions are addressed in Trish’s incredible book. We’ve only scratched the surface, but visit the Bridge Group website where you can download sample chapters of your choice and buy the book. At the B2B Growth Show, we think it’s definitely worth the laughable investment that Trish is asking.

This post is based on an interview with Trish Bertuzzi from The Bridge Group. You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on iTunes.

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