Appointment setting or new prospect experience? How CMOs are managing SDR focus and strategy

August 12, 2020 Matt Heinz

Is it really all about setting up appointments?  Or is the sales development representative (SDR) scope much broader and important than that?

Managing and optimizing the SDR opportunity, particularly in this year’s challenging market conditions, was a hot topic in last week’s CMO Coffee Talk.  Key among the angle discussed:

  • Outbound vs Inbound Mix: Incoming leads may feel more efficient, but often are a mixed bag of quality targets and qualified prospects.  Outbound targets may take more time to engage but yield a better, more consistent set of qualified leads at the right company.
  • Appointments and First Impressions: Many SDR functions focus entirely on creating appointments for more senior sales reps.  But the “scorched earth” approach many companies take, though they may yield a trickle of meetings, create a terrible first impression with prospects that will depress interest and response for a long time to come.  A balanced, buyer-centric approach to message, offer, channel mix and frequency has worked for many CMOs to keep demand steady while ensuring long-term perception and interest.
  • In-House vs Third-Party: Many CMOs expressed confidence and optimism in utilizing an outside firm to develop new leads – with two caveats.  One, not every outside firm will work for every company.  Take the time to research and find the right firm for your approach.  Two, make sure their process, messaging and approach reflect the brand experience and care necessary to not only drive demand but create great first impressions.
  • Form Fills vs Intent Data:  Many companies still wait for target accounts to complete a form or “request something” before starting an SDR’s outreach program.  But what about intent data?  More and more CMOs are sharing their success in engaging leads based on their inherent and/or observed interest.  With the right follow-up approach and message, these organizations are generating more qualified and engaged prospects on a consistent basis
  • Managed by Marketing or Sales?:  It’s a debate that never gets old, and rarely gets settled!  Based on feedback and results shared by CMOs last week, it sounds like many companies have found sustained success with the SDRs reporting up through marketing, especially if there’s a tight focus on coordination with the sales team as well as a clear sales career path and training opportunity.

If you’re a marketing leader in your organization I’d like to invite you to our CMO Coffee Talk series, presented by 6sense and Heinz Marketing.  It’s an informal but highly engaging drop-in interactive Zoom meeting Fridays at 8:00 am Eastern and another at 8:00 am Pacific.  

Think of it as coffee with CMOs - you can participate actively or simply watch and read what others are thinking.  Get registered with a hands-free calendar invite here

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