In recent times, as a training and coaching organisation, we have been asked by a prospect whether we could assist their BDMs to learn how to find leads. Upon digging further in my normal inquisitive questioning style, I identify that this prospect has a team of BDMs that are being paid six-figure base salaries and have no idea what to do if the phone stops ringing!
Call me direct, but isn’t it a Business Development Manager’s job to be outbound and seek out new leads and potential clients and opportunities? Isn’t that why companies hire them – to fill that activity void? So, imagine my surprise when I’m asked whether we can spend some time with the BDMs to teach them how it’s done. (We did by the way)
I find that the old way of doing things has changed and has been replaced with digital marketing that someone once rightly described to me as ‘addictive’ for a sales team! A few years ago, salespeople would develop their territory plans with their list of ideal clients and a time frame to approach them, and off they went and by any means, made contact and built relationships/made sales with those prospects, whilst reporting back to the sales manager on progress towards budget.
Nowadays, sales will work closely with their digital marketers to tune the message going out or write the story that will go on LinkedIn, all designed to generate the leads for the BDMs. It is a risky business in my eyes to have digital marketing doing a better job than the BDMs in bringing clients through the door. I don’t think it is a big leap to imagine removing these highly paid in-bound salespeople and replacing them with an ‘online’ salesperson or with less expensive order takers.
Whilst I think that digital marketing is here to stay, I also think that CEOs have to look at their sales and marketing spend to determine the most optimal way to get leads in and converted to deals, without continually adding overhead to the process and make the BDM’s role easier. Yes, digital marketing is great and necessary in supporting the sales team outcomes, but maybe then look at the types of salespeople you are hiring, or even target your BDMs on additional new business, not incoming calls.
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