Sales development is a component of the sales process that discovers buyers. This involves planning, research and networking to develop qualified leads. The following are common examples of sales development activities.
Defining your target market. A set of plans, targets and measurements for the sales process. Sales development objectives are primarily defined in terms of qualified leads that may be broken down by factors such as region, product, customer type and qualification score.
ResearchDiscovering information about your potential customers. Who are they? What are their needs? What is their financial position? Are they currently engaged by the competition? Who is buying right now?
Research PartnersServices that provide market and competitive intelligence. For example, an industry research organization that can provide a list of customers that are currently in the market for construction materials.
DataDeveloping data and knowledge about customers, markets and competitors.
TechnologyDevelopment systems and tools to improve the efficiency and quality of the sales development process. For example, systems that automatically pull in financial information for leads.Marketing communication such as advertising designed to discover leads.
Promotion PartnersDeveloping and managing partners that can engage customers and generate leads.The process of contacting potential buyers to generate leads.
CultivationIn order to qualify leads, a sales development representative may require a fair amount of information. This may require carefully cultivating a relationship in a way that is helpful to closing the sale.
The sales development representative often begins the process of needs analysis.Researching the needs, finances, reputation, budget and authority of leads to filter out those leads that are unlikely to close.
HandoffPresenting everything you know about the customer and the competitive situation to the account executive who will handle closing.
OpportunitiesThe sales development representative may be involved in the first few meetings with the opportunity to transition the relationship. This is particularly common in complex B2B sales.
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