As the idea of sales and marketing alignment matures, there is an underlying question that is becoming more pronounced—is sales development a sales or marketing role? Recently, BrightFunnel decided that sales development should report to marketing. I’ll admit that at first, I was extremely apprehensive. How would this allow me to progress in my sales role? What did to reporting to marketing even mean? How would I get the 1:1 time with sales leaders that would help me move into a closing role? Did this mean “sales development” as a role was dead? It’s been a little over one month since I started reporting to marketing. In that time, I’ve realized the following:
1. Sales development requires thinking like a marketer.
As I prospect and develop my outbound strategy, I find myself thinking like a marketer. I am constantly adopting ideas that come straight out of the marketing playbook, such as targeting by persona, obsessing over the perfect email hook to grab attention, or figuring out how can I break through the noise to grasp a prospect’s attention.
2. Marketing has the data and the content I need to engage accounts.
Marketing is in charge of creating content that informs and engages our target audience. As I look for more and more content that I can use to educate prospects, I end up looking to the marketing team. We also use our own technology to understand how an account has engaged with marketing, so when I start prospecting, I can look up a company to see which efforts have resonated well in the past. Working closely with and reporting to marketing allows me easily access the engagement information that I need to be effective in a sales position.
3. Marketing leadership goals align perfectly with sales development.
Marketing leadership is focused on creating pipeline, filling the funnel with high quality leads to be passed off to sales. This is in line with sales development’s strategy, which is to focus on creating sales pipeline and filling the sales funnel with opportunities. I’ve come to notice that marketing’s tactics work to filter out the bad, keep the good, and increase velocity for the great—something sales development also has to do in order to help the larger sales organization.
4. Marketing teams are pros at capturing engagement.
It’s no surprise to hear that marketing and sales development need to work extremely closely if they want to see success. Sales development centers around converting engaged prospects, which means they need highly engaged prospects to be passed from marketing. If sales development is reporting directly to marketing, there’s an opportunity for seamless communication and a more efficient marketing-to-sales hand-off.
5. Direct mail campaigns are a sales necessity performed with a marketing mindset.
ABM is bringing sales and marketing even closer together. Sales development plays an important part in this by becoming a sort of hybrid sales/marketing role. A great example of this is direct mail campaigns. In my current role, I took on BrightFunnel’s first direct mail campaign as a way to engage top accounts as a sales rep. During this effort, learned how the mind of a marketer works, and saw how effective marketing efforts can be in engaging named accounts. Sales and marketing departments are more connected than ever, and sales development is spearheading the charge. Marketing is of course involved in the entire customer lifecycle, but its main focus is on driving engagement, and this is sales development’s priority as well. Because SDRs and marketers share this same goal, it’s incredibly effective to have sales development report to the marketing team. In the long-run, this helps a more robust marketing team develop a dynamite ABM strategy, execute better campaigns, and better align over the bigger business goals.