Build a Killer Sales Development Machine with Data

October 11, 2017 Mark Emmons

Trish Bertuzzi is a Sales Development expert who specializes in helping B2B tech companies identify costly problems in their revenue-generation process — and then she fixes them. Bertuzzi likes to say that the No. 1 lever you can pull to boost Sales Development Rep productivity is data.

But there’s a problem.

“Data isn’t this bright, shiny, sexy toy that people become enamored with and want to run out and buy,” said Bertuzzi, President & Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group consulting firm. “Data is just ugly, old data. But it’s more important than ever before.”

It’s why Bertuzzi, Kael Kelly of Avalara, and Christine Maxey of LeanData recently took part in a webinar called “Build a Killer Sales Development Machine with Data.” They discussed how the modern buying experience has been disrupted and why it’s crucial that SDRs are armed with the information they need to have meaningful conversations with prospects.

“Buyers have high expectations and we can’t let them down,” said Maxey, the Director of Solutions Consulting at LeanData. “They’re a little overwhelmed with the way we’ve interacted with them in the past, and they’re changing their expectations for us. That means we have to adapt.”

The heart of the webinar was the Avalara story and how The Bridge Group and LeanData worked together to help the SaaS company revamp its Sales Development process.

Avalara, which sells tax-automation software for businesses, was struggling with an enviable problem. Revenue has grown eight-fold over the past five years through acquiring other businesses, expanding the product line and building a loyal customer base. But rapid growth also created complexity in the sales process. Just adding more marketing dollars and SDRs didn’t address the underlying issues.

Kelly, the Vice President of Marketing and Demand Generation, cited a key example of the problem. SDRs were spending between 10 and 20 percent of their time simply trying to answer one basic, question: Can I call this lead?

“Not only is that plain inefficient and a waste of money, it can be really demoralizing for SDRs,” Kelly said. “They have a quota to hit. But they’re clicking around in a CRM trying to make heads or tails of leads. We needed to take a step back and re-evaluate.”

Avalara turned to The Bridge Group to create a “Sales Development 2.0 model.” Bertuzzi’s team revamped Avalara’s process – focusing on best practices and creating a playbook. An important recommendation: leverage LeanData to make sure leads are treated like gold.

“One piece we wanted to make sure we took care of was data,” Kelly said. “We knew it was taking way too long to even call a lead. That really cemented the need for LeanData as part of our overhaul.”

LeanData’s demand management tools ensure that leads automatically reach the correct Avalara reps with the contextual information that allows them to create the best possible messaging. The results are eye-opening. Avalara has seen a time-savings of 10 percent in processing leads — which translates to about five SDRs or a half-million dollars. It also removed a point of frustration for the SDRs, which boosted morale.

And a happy team is productive, motivated and more likely to stay with the company. Keeping good employees is crucial, Bertuzzi added, because “attrition eats pipeline for breakfast.”

Mission accomplished at Avalara.

“But the problems that Avalara faced are the same ones that I hear from so many of our clients,” Bertuzzi added. “The sales process has gotten so complex throughout the industry.”

Market dynamics have changed. Bertuzzi described a landscape where buyers have built a wall to protect themselves from “banal emails, vanilla voicemails, and marketing automation — now known as spam cannons.” The hardest part of the sales process now is simply starting the conversation.

Data can be a differentiator because it’s the engine of a strong Sales Development process, she added. SDRs are set up for success when they have accurate email addresses, direct phone numbers, titles as well as all interactions the sales team has had with those accounts.

“Good data can dramatically increase the number of conversations your sales team is having on a daily basis,” Bertuzzi said. “Give them the information they need to create compelling and personalized messaging at scale. Do that and you rise above the noise of vanilla messaging.”

After all, Bertuzzi concluded, you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression. SDRs are usually the ones who are making it. Meanwhile, The Bridge Group and LeanData continue to work together to help Avalara meet the modern buying challenge by setting the stage for great conversations with potential customers.

“We now that we’ve seen terrific results,” Kelly added.

Listen to a recording of the webinar “Build a Killer Sales Development Machine with Data” here.

 

 

About the Author

Mark Emmons

Mark Emmons is the staff writer at LeanData. He previously was a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register and Detroit Free Press. He can be reached at mark@leandatainc.com.

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