5 Years ago, CSOs could get away with low-skilled employees in this position.  However, buyer behavior has changed. Informed buyers are entering the sales process with companies later than ever before.  We are now living in the era of the self-directed buyer.

 

7 Lead Development Skills resized 600

 

So when your prospect finally speaks with your company, who is the first point of contact? If you are a B2B that utilizes webforms to register inquiries, it is typically a Lead Development Representative (LDR).  Unfortunately when we ask many CSOs “Would you be comfortable with one of your top ten target accounts engaging in a conversation with the LDR?”  The answer we get is not confident.  “They should immediately pass it to the Sales Rep”.  Guess what? Prospects don’t want to engage with a Sales Rep before they are ready.  If you want to converse with your buyer early in their buying process, the key is a confident, skilled LDR who serves as a resource. Click here to get access to the LDR Skills and Exercise Checklist to give them the training they need.

 

Unfortunately, most Sales Organizations fail to grasp the growing importance of Lead Development. Instead of the being utilized as a potential resource that offers content and answers preliminary questions, they are appointment setters. They read from robotic sounding scripts and get flustered by basic product questions. This is a legacy practice from the pre-internet era.  Times have changed.

 

Lead Development Bridge

Why are LDRs inadequately prepared?  Look at your Sales Training dollars.  Lead Management is typically an afterthought.  Sales Departments are willing to fly all the field reps into a centralized location and train them for two days.  Try to pull Lead Development Reps from the phones for two hours and there’s an uproar. Lead Management training expenses account for less than 12% of the Annual Sales & Marketing Training Budget.  This is an astounding figure given the shift in buyer behavior. 

 

Changing your approach is vital to staying aligned with your customers.  Lose the typical lead team training similar to Canine Obedience School.  Read from this script.  Qualify using these questions.  Leave this message when you go to Voicemail.  One big training event and hit the phones

 

Instead, give the LDR the skills they need to engage. This involves assisting, and then qualifying the buyer when they are ready. A minimum of 2 hours per week should be devoted to LDR training.  In this training, they should utilize mock exercises to hone to customer communication and engagement.  Get the LDR Skills Training and Exercise Sheet today.  It will show you exercises we use to engage and train the Lead Management force of the new era.

 

Here are the Seven Key Skills a Lead Development Rep should master:

 

Phone Skills

 

  • Capable of leaving a compelling voicemail 
  • Can speak to and mitigate objections
  • Speaks confidently and securely when engaged with the client

 

Lead Management Process Knowledge

 

  • Able to identify the stage alead is in and ask the appropriate questions
  • Doesn’t try to qualify leads who aren’t ready to speak with a Sales Rep
  • Nurtures a lead effectively until they are Sales Ready

 

Question Asking Skills

 

  • Gets the lead engaged by asking the right questions
  • Is able to acquire additional insight using follow up questions
  • Capable of qualifying at right time without being pushy/overt

 

Customer Email Constructions

 

  • Crafts a compelling subject line on every email
  • Knows how to write a relevant message to the buyer
  • Has a timely Call-to-Action

 

Product Knowledge

 

  • Knows high-level product features
  • Can articulate differences between their product and the competition’s
  • Can articulate how the product will impact the customer’s business needs

 

Customer Knowledge

 

  • Conducts effective background research on prospect
  • Able to identify and message to Lead’s role and industry
  • Knows how to message to personal wins

 

Content and Marketing Material Knowledge

 

  • Aware of all relevant product content
  • Able to identify stage and role appropriate content
  • Able to summarize and articulate key points of each piece

 

Scripts and first call BANT qualification are dying.  Give the LDRs the skills they need to become an early stage resource.  Set up a customized training program and make it a weekly event. 

 

The end result will be increased:

 

  1. influence  in your prospect’s buying criteria
  2. trust early in the Sales Cycle
  3. odds of closing when they decide to speak with sales reps.

 

In the era of the new buyer, you can’t afford to let your competition get into the opportunity before you. Have you adopted components of this training?  Please leave your comments below and share how your Lead Development Rep training has changed over the past 2 years.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Drew Zarges

Helps small business owners overcome their biggest sales and marketing challenges to accelerate revenue growth.

Prior to joining SBI in 2011, Drew worked in the intermediary investment sales world. During that time, he worked his way up the ladder from client service representative to leading and coaching his former company’s sales team on the west coast. At SBI, Drew has served some of the company’s most prestigious accounts as a consultant. For these clients, he successfully executed everything from sales process and lead generation projects to highly technical account segmentation work. He now serves as the General Manager of SBI OnDemand, a unit dedicated to applying the firm’s battle tested concepts and projects to the small business community.

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