Today's B2B marketplace is both highly competitive and exceedingly nuanced. As such, the traditional roles and responsibilities within sales and marketing teams are evolving. Notably, there’s been an ongoing discussion regarding the role of Business Development Representatives (BDRs) in warming up accounts versus the responsibility of marketing teams in this regard. The conventional model has been that BDRs take the frontline in prospecting cold leads, but there's a growing consensus that marketing should play a more prominent part in the initial warming phase. Here's why.
The B2B buying process has transformed significantly. A noticeable shift is that prospects now tend to conduct their own research long before engaging with sales teams. This independent reconnaissance stage means that by the time a potential buyer interacts with a BDR, they are already well-informed about their options.
This paradigm shift begs the question – if browsing prospects are the norm, what role should BDRs play? And more critically, where does the responsibility of marketing begin and end?
Prospects no longer respond favorably to unprompted sales pitches; instead, they seek informative, engaging, and problem-solving content that speaks to their needs. Here lies the psychological advantageousness of marketing-led account warming: rather than intruding on the buyer's journey, marketing strategies like content marketing, account-based marketing (ABM), and targeted advertisements draw prospects in.
The mindset is one of attraction rather than persuasion, aligning marketing efforts with the autonomous nature of modern B2B decision-makers. This initial nurturing process contributes significantly to brand awareness and brand trust, creating a fertile ground from which sales conversations can grow organically.
One fundamental truth in B2B sales is that trust needs to be built over time through multiple touchpoints. Marketing is perfectly positioned to create these touchpoints through various channels such as social media, email campaigns, webinars, and content like ebooks and whitepapers.
This omnipresence allows for a seamless Lattice of Engagement, where prospects encounter your brand and messaging across different platforms and formats. The strategy is to continuously provide value at every stage of the buyer's journey – an area where marketing excels – rather than relying on BDRs to break the ice from a standing start.
BDRs are a cornerstone within sales teams, honing in on qualified leads and pushing for conversions. However, when BDRs are utilized as the first touchpoint for cold leads, they assume the role of intruders rather than assistants in the buying process. This can be detrimental to the perceived value of the brand and its solutions.
Moreover, cold outreach is not as effective as it once was; it often leads to low conversion rates, which can be demoralizing for BDRs and represents an inefficient allocation of resources. Redirecting BDR efforts towards nurtured, warmed-up leads can not only improve morale and efficiency but also conversion rates, as they engage with leads that have demonstrated an interest.
The marketing team is well-equipped for the warming process. Here are some strategies they can employ:
When these strategies are executed well, they result in highly qualified leads that can then be handed over to BDRs.
A more sustainable use of BDR's skills is to transition them from cold-calling generalists to specialists in advancing sales conversations with prospects already warmed by marketing. By stepping in after marketing has laid the groundwork, BDRs can focus on:
The collaboration between marketing and sales – often referred to as 'smarketing' – is vital. Transparent and open communication, supported by shared tools and CRM systems, can streamline the hand-off from marketing to sales. Regular meetings to discuss lead quality and feedback loop incorporation for continuous process improvement are also essential practices.
While BDRs play a crucial role in converting prospects into customers, the initial account warming should predominantly be marketing's responsibility. Harnessing the power of strategic marketing efforts not only primes prospects for meaningful sales interactions but it also maximizes the efficiency and efficacy of the sales process. As organizations reconsider their B2B sales strategies, aligning BDRs with marketing's warmed leads can render a more synchronized and successful funnel progression. And for platforms like Aomni, this alignment is even further enhanced, as the comprehensive tools available allow for a seamless transition from informed, marketing-nurtured leads to sales-ready conversations.