Sales development is a department that basically acts as a link between an organization’s sales and marketing departments. Its jurisdiction is on the sales cycle’s front end. The sales development department is tasked with identifying leads, connecting with them and then qualifying those leads. Its work is to organize qualified meetings between a highly prospective buyer and a salesperson.

A lead of this type is referred to as a sales qualified lead. Once a sales development representative determines a lead to be qualified, he/she passes it to a salesperson who is now tasked with overseeing the completion of the deal.

Types of leads in sales development

There are predominantly two types of leads handled in sales development.

  1. Inbound lead – an inbound lead is usually generated or spotted by the marketing department after which it is forwarded to a sales development representative. The sales development representative is then supposed to engage the lead and qualify its authenticity and willingness to purchase a commodity; after which he/she determines if it is worth spending any more of the company’s resources on pursuing and selling to the lead. If the sales development representative determines that the lead is solid, it is handed over to a salesperson who then takes ownership of the lead and oversees it to completion.
  2. Outbound prospect – an outbound prospect is a lead that a sales representative discovers by spotting prospective customers that would benefit from the products that the sales development representative is selling. The complete scope of the potential customers of a company’s products is known as a total addressable market. Companies usually have criteria to determine the ideal fit customers within the total addressable market, and it is called the Ideal customer profile. A sales development representative uses the ideal customer profile criteria to identify outbound prospects.

Sales development representative outreach

A sales development representative has to find a way to communicate with a lead he/she has spotted. Phone-based outreach has been the primary conduct channel to leads and it is still in heavy use today. Email outreach has also been integrated into the outreach program but it is social media that has become most prevalent in recent years.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the social media outlets that sales development representatives have been using to communicate to prospective clients. As opposed to using each channel solely, most sales development representative teams use all three channels in a bid to improve odds of connecting with the prospective client.