“The playing field is poised to become a lot more competitive, and businesses that don’t deploy AI and data to help them innovate in everything they do will be at a disadvantage.” — Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Accenture
One outbound playbook that high growth companies have deployed over the years to dominate a market is still the leading sales execution strategy for B2B companies. This strategy consists of building an outbound sales machine that has salespeople specializing in two main areas:
Sales Development Representative (SDR)- These salespeople focus on getting top of the funnel leads. They go through a lot of prospects to qualify those interested. Their job is to generate lots of meetings and screen prospects to find the leads for account executives. In a given month, an SDR will send out around 1,000 emails (50 per day), and out of those, they may get between 50-100 screening calls and turn those calls into 5-10 qualified leads.
Account Executive (AE)- Account executives are focused on quality interactions with each lead they receive. Once they receive a lead, the AE will have another meeting to present the product and then will follow-up with the lead to close the deal. A longer sales cycle will take more time and more meetings for the AE. Leads who are qualified by the AE are called opportunities, and when converted, they will be considered wins. Typically after receiving 5-10 qualified leads from an SDR, an AE may close one or two of those deals.
Usually, companies have between two to three SDRs for each account executive, but more are always needed. These SDRs should keep AE's busy closing deals. The average Account executive can work with about 80 leads a week or 320 a month.
At first, growing a sales team can be expensive, and companies are hesitant to invest. Still, when they forecast their pipeline and realize how many prospects they need to reach to attain their goal, companies have no other alternative but to grow their sales team.
For example, a company that wants to reach $250,000 a month through outbound sales and has an average selling price of $10,000 will need to target 12,821 prospects, qualify 1,282 leads, and create 192 opportunities to win 25 deals.
The consequences of not growing your team while the market is prime can be significantly detrimental since the sales window where your product will be in demand and have less competition is closing quickly. So those companies who build their sales machine and gain market share are most likely to capture market share and dominate their market.
Looking at Sales as An Investment
Splitting a salesperson's roles between an SDR and AE also helps with specialization, giving a growth path for a salesperson, and lowering the total investment of hiring a sales team. The fully burdened compensation difference between an AE and SDR is estimated to be between $70k and $100k.
· SDR Costs $107k - $147k- Base SDR salary is between $40k-60k with a variable bonus of $20k to $40k and average overhead costs of $47k per year.
· AE Costs = $177k - $247k- Base AE salary is between $60k-$100k per year with a variable bonus of $70k to $100k and average overhead costs of $47k per year.
For an executive, looking at sales should not be seeing sales as a cost center but an investment. You are making money for each salesperson you hire, and if you are pricing your product correctly and the demand is present, you will always be making money with each salesperson you hire.
An Industry Standard
A brief search between Indeed and LinkedIn shows that between 23,222 - 53,604 job postings seek a Sales Development Rep and between 35,301 - 39,175 job postings for an account executive.
Companies from all industries deploy this outreach playbook with higher average contract values (ACV) highly dependent on this sales playbook.
· 89% of companies with over $100k ACV use SDRs
· 69% of companies with $25k - $100k ACV use SDRs
· 66% of companies with $5k - $25k ACV use SDRs
· 48% of companies with less than $6k use SDRs
Sales Robots Significantly Improving Existing Sales Playbooks
Sales robots are an artificially intelligent machine that resembles a human and replicates particular human interaction and functions automatically. The Sales Innovator robots replicate functions SDR would perform and automates the SDR process. Sales robots look and feel human, and they are used to send out emails just like a human being and interact with prospects to find qualified leads.
A sales or marketing person only needs to upload a list of prospects for each robot and create an email sequence and landing page template that robots can use. The robots will automatically send emails, personalized emails, and landing pages and engage with prospects. Based on a prospect's engagement and interest, the robots will then rank each prospect and pass those interested prospects to sales.
Sales robots will interact with each prospect through content-rich personalized pages. Robots will know what contents prospects view and interact with prospects through a call to action and prompts offering assistance. Once a prospect wants to interact, a robot will qualify the lead and contact a salesperson to do human interaction.
Sales robots can help companies quickly scale at a fraction of the cost while giving account executives an infinite number of SDRs to accelerate their pipeline. Robots free up existing SDR time to focus on closing more deals and allowing them to become more like account executives.