I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
Outbound lead generation teams — or Business Development Reps (BDRs) — are of course responsible for building the pipeline with qualified leads, BUT they should also be viewed the research arm of your business.
Your BDR team is so incredibly valuable to sales, marketing, and product. THEY are the ones who are having more conversations with your target marketing than ANYONE else in your company. If they are operating in a silo and there is not knowledge sharing going on: shame on you! You are wasting an invaluable opportunity for prospect research.
Chances are your BDR team is not going to get someone to convert to an MQL in the first conversation — especially if you have a complex sale. Your BDRs need to be thinking long-term strategy when they are prospecting:
- What data can be gathered today about these prospects to get their buy-in/attention in the future?
- What information can be collected about these buyers and what REALLY matters to them?
- In what fashion do they prefer to consume that information?
THIS is the information that is invaluable to your marketing organization.
6 Prospect Research Questions Your Sales Reps Should Be Asking
BDRs need to be asking questions that get them answers to the following questions:
- Who are the best targets? What customers need your solution but also need something to happen (they need time to get off current contract, conviction that your product is best in order for them to purchase)?
- What is the best content to message to them? What can help them overcome their current objections?
- What are the best campaigns to target them? Is it a replacement campaign for their current product, or marketing new product features that you know they want/need?
- When is the best time to target them? When do they go off current contract?
- Who influences them?
- What marketing channels are best for them?
So rather than going in for the kill in initial conversations with prospects, your BDRs need to be doing solid, non-threatening fact-finding.
By gathering this information — and logging it properly in your CRM (so important) — early on, prospects can be better marketed to in the future, with information that is tailored to their specific circumstances and preferences. This is where the BDR team and marketing can truly collaborate to develop successful relationship marketing programs.
It’s not too late to change your approach and utilize this team for this purpose. And I promise you, a cold caller who reaches out to do research and ask questions, rather than be pushy and try to set an appointment in the first conversation will get a MUCH better response from your target buyer profiles. I promise.