In the traditional world of sales, the spotlight has shined brightly on deal closers, while sales development reps (SDRs) have mostly been left in the dark. Closers have a plethora of books, webinars, videos, software, and other resources dedicated to their role. It’s a stark contrast to the specialization of sales development, where resources have been few and far between.

Yet the concept of sales development and the use of sales development teams is becoming increasingly popular, even vital, to today’s successful sales organizations.

Over the years, sales development has been called by many different names: the business development team, sales associates, lead development reps, etc. While each of these roles has a slightly different functional definition, they all worked hand in hand with the individuals in the company responsible for closing deals.

In today’s practice, sales development teams are defined as a specialized group that focuses entirely on the front end of the sales cycle: setting qualified appointments and demonstrations.

Although the idea of sales development is over 30 years old, it is now becoming mainstream due to new technology, process advancements and resources like Predictable Revenue. In fact, The Bridge Group reports that sales development is “crossing the chasm,” as 40% of the software companies they surveyed have adopted the model.

The underlying principle behind sales development is specialization.

Specialization in sales means teams need to be focused in order to optimize each role. The sales development team should not close deals. They should not act as part-time telemarketers, gaining leads for the marketing team that's hosting an event. Your sales development reps should prospect and prospect only. All the time.

When this occurs, it’s the equivalent of 1+1=3. You get more qualified appointments, and more closed business.

Fortunately, there are excellent resources available now that will help you to add this successful element to your sales organization:

  1. Craig Rosenberg’s expose and takeaways
  2. Specialization on the Salesforce blog
  3. The SDR vs. The AE (an infographic)
  4. The Bridge Group’s Second Outbound Index
  5. Building a pipeline on the Salesforce blog

These resources offer a wealth of information to the sales development professional and provide a thorough understanding of the subtleties of this concept.

Don’t let yourself make sales decisions because that’s the way they’ve always been done. And don’t let misguided fears stop you from implementing a sales development team.

Make a commitment to build this concept into your organization and you can thank the pioneers who led the path before you when you’re exceeding expectations for the number of new qualified appointments set...and ultimately revenue booked.

About the Author

FKyle Porter is the CEO of SalesLoft, a B2B sales information company in Atlanta, GA. Their business creates content and applications that help sales professionals close more deals. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kyleporter