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Modern Account Based Sales Development is the Death of Inbound and Outbound

6 min read
May. 13, 2016

Modern Account Based Sales Development enthusiast, and Sr. Director at Birst, Chris Pham is joining us on the Salesloft blog as part three of a five part series on trends in sales development.

Sales development traditionally came from a world focused on the process of optimizing a lead. A lead typically means someone who has expressed interest — through a contact form on a website, a trial started or an asset downloaded. SDRs follow-up in the least time possible, diagnose the need, and close for a meeting. If they’re not doing that, then they’re cold calling people to drum up demand. In this traditional world, the one we’ve been living in for decades, there’s inbound and outbound.

That is no longer true in today’s world. Every enterprise B2B company needs to kill the notion of inbound and outbound.

A B2B company shouldn’t care if a prospect came to the SDR, or if the SDR goes to the prospect – what matters is the methodology and value they engage the prospect with, and how effectively they’re setting the stage for the AE. Instead, enterprise sales development organizations should move to the modern Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD) method.

Seeing the world in simply in/outbound terms frames the world in a salesperson’s eyes, with notions like, “this lead is coming to me,” or, “I’m approaching her.” This is a self-centered view of the world, which doesn’t help in doing the core job: creating demand in the company’s ideal target profile.

ABSD is a tactic specific to B2B enterprise sales because of the complexity of selling to large enterprise accounts, and the depth necessary to earn credibility with sophisticated buyers.

Using the ABSD model, SDRs should treat each lead, wherever it comes from, as an idea. A lead is a clue as to which accounts may fall into the ideal target profile and which accounts/contacts are worth their time to further develop. They point to potential transformation or initiatives within an account, guiding SDRs to craft a meaningful and provocative point-of-view (PPOV) which can be used to differentiate from the competition, and engage the prospect in meaningful discussion.

The development and penetration of each account lies with providing insightful value by doing research to understand the prospect’s environment, business challenges, and providing industry context on how your solution has previously been applied and to what end. This is the PPOV and by consistently delivering it SDRs earn time with prospects.

CEB Challenger Sale’s teach, tailor and take control methodology has fundamentally changed prospecting. The old in/outbound paradigm assumes marketing has done most of the lift and simply checks the turkey to see if it’s fully cooked (i.e. if a project has been started yet). This won’t work when the competition is moving to engage earlier than ever by teaching, tailoring and taking control.

modern account based sales development

In the modern Account Based Sales Development model, SDRs now have to understand a prospect’s business and technology so well — as to surprise and delight them with insightful analysis and new ideas — before they are aware of a problem. SDRs need to teach their prospects how they could potentially improve their business.

modern account based sales development

Furthermore, with the in/outbound paradigm there are only so many prospects who are innovative enough to self-realize their own need — these are Moore’s innovators. The problem is that there’s not very many of them in the world.

modern account based sales development

With ABSD, SDRs are on the frontline to teach the early adopters and the early majority — a much larger portion of the market. They are laying the first cables to bridge Moore’s chasm.

Although in/outbound is dead, it’s still critical to differentiate two different roles within sales development, though they are no longer inbound and outbound.

The Account Development and Market Development roles are needed to create a scalable way to manage territories, align with the field and, most of all, to create focus.

  • Account Development (ADRs) – focus on developing and penetrating roughly 100 accounts at a time.
  • Market Development (MDRs) – focus on maximizing account penetration within a geographic territory using each lead as an idea.

Both ADRs and MDRs should receive leads and go outbound to create demand.

In this way, modern Account Based Sales Development is best done in a hybrid model:

modern account based sales development

Typically ADRs will receive a minimal amount of leads (many of which they have driven to the website themselves through their outbound work), while MDRs receive the bulk of marketing’s efforts. Though hopefully this changes as Marketing teams get better at Account-Based Marketing (ABM).

The hybrid model creates straightforward field and sales development alignment, essential to building the teaming necessary to intelligently penetrate accounts.

It’s especially critical for MDRs to reframe this in/outbound discussion. Doing so will fundamentally redefine their role as a hybrid function. This new definition gives MDRs complete territory ownership, which empowers them to develop contacts in accounts that would otherwise be left dormant.

In the world defined by in/outbound – MDRs would process leads and the specific contact which comes with it. If a low level contact from Visa came in as a lead, MDRs would follow-up. In the perfect world, he would put 6 or more touches on the lead, and then would quickly move on to the next lead.

With ABSD, however, MDRs have complete ownership of the geographic market (less accounts owned by ADRs) and are empowered with the autonomy to pursue each lead as they see fit. MDRs are free to engage new accounts and contacts in ways that typical inbound reps would not or could not before. They can now focus on using their leads as clues in order to craft their penetration strategies and attack their accounts holistically.

Now, using the same low level lead from Visa would guide a MDR to craft a PPOV that can be delivered to that specific contact and all of the other contacts in the account that could mobilize a project. The MDR has been freed to thoughtfully attack Visa from all available angles.

Free yourself and your SDRs from shackles of the in/outbound paradigm.

For a more comprehensive look into Salesloft’s internal SDR process, download the third section of our newest playbook trilogy, The Sales Development Playbook: Analyzing. In this section, we discuss how to measure and analyze your data, as well as the integrations at your disposal. Download our free white paper and optimize your sales efforts to start crushing your sales development goals today.