Why Marketing Should Own the Sales Development Team

In the unique world of sales and marketing, one of the newer industry roles is a Sales Development Team or Sales Development Representatives (SDRs). Many organizations that are adding a Sales Development Team are debating internally where these individuals should sit within their organization: the Sales or Marketing department?

There are different schools of thought about this newer function in the sales process. At ProSales Connection, we have our way of thinking that might surprise you.

Consider the following argument for why SDRs should be part of the marketing team -- not the sales team -- and why marketing should own B2B telemarketing to set up more opportunities to close sales within your organization.

SDRs Do Not Work Opportunities

The primary function of the sales development team or SDRs is to place calls, qualify for need, and generate interest in your company’s solution. They are unencumbered by the urgency of the deal and not held accountable for closing deals.

Therefore, SDRs do not own the customer relationship or need to reach a quota of deals closed. Their function in B2B telemarketing is to hand-off qualified leads to the sales team.

This role allows SDRs to approach their work in an organized and disciplined manner striving for micro goals:

  • Number of calls made per day.
  • Number of quality conservations per day.
  • Number of meetings scheduled per day/week.

This enables SDRs to have a predictable work flow and be easily managed because their key performance indicators (KPI) are easily trackable. There is little gray area in measuring results -- either they placed calls, had conversations, and set meetings, or they did not. And, because they do not engage in the sales process, we believe it is best for SDRs to sit in the marketing department.

Naturally, though, there will be pushback from the sales team or even upper management if you recommend SDRs sit with the marketing team. Consider the following response if you face disagreement.

The Marketing Leaders’ Answer to Why SDRs Should be in Marketing

In some organizations, the sales team will argue that they should retain SDRs or own the sales development function because these individuals will eventually become sales reps. So, why not integrate them in the sales function at the starting point in anticipation of future roles?

Another argument from the sales team is they need to train SDRs on their culture and approach to the sales function that is unique to the solution they are selling.

Those arguments make sense. And, I am not suggesting that the sales team is completely disengaged from working with SDRs in the marketing department. Rather, when it comes down to ownership of the team, it makes sense to separate the demand generation function from the sales process.

Your organization needs to understand that an SDR’s role is purely demand generation.

These individuals are tasked with engaging the target market in conversations to not only understand whether your company is a true fit for the prospect’s need, but also to qualify prospects as a potential client. That has nothing to do with the sales process. Rather, it’s about understanding your target market and delivering a consistent message about how your company helps businesses like theirs solve the problems they are facing.

Said another way, SDRs are responsible for planting seeds inside your target market. Then, the sales team is responsible for harvesting. The roles need to be managed differently.

Additionally, the metrics for tracking success or failure are different and should not be mixed.

Sales Development Teams Track Success With Unique Metrics

The Sales Development Team measure results with unique tools and metrics different from the sales team. Therefore, they need a different level of management than what sales managers are trained for.

The function of SDRs is highly activity oriented. And, because of how structured their days and weeks are to reach their goals, these sales reps require managers who better understand their function and can coach them to the highest level of possible success.

Keeping SDRs in a separate environment from the sales team also creates fewer opportunities for the sales process to encroach on the disciplined and structured environment that SDRs need in order to thrive.

In organizations where the two functions are in the same department, there is typically a decline in leads generated because SDRs lose focus on their singular task. When the reps are housed in the marketing department, though, they can achieve higher activity levels. That creates more opportunities for the sales team to work, making this a win-win relationship within your organization.

Schedule Free 1-Hour B2B Strategy Session

If your company needs help generating more leads, ProSales Connection is available as a virtual extension of your sales and marketing function. Consider emailing us today to get started with our experienced team of experts that can help your company create more business opportunities with a professional sales development team.

Mike Faherty

Mike Faherty is the Founder & CEO of ProSales Connection, a sales and marketing firm based in Houston, Texas. ProSales Connection specializes in helping B2B and technology companies grow through sales appointment setting and outsourced inside sales programs.

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