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Why You Should Convert Marketing Reps To Sales Development Reps

4 min read
Updated Aug. 9, 2021
Published Aug. 20, 2015

There is a gap between marketing and sales. And sales development is elbowing it’s way into the middle. Sales development is the perfect bridge between the two, yet many companies are dragging their feet when it comes to investing in an SDR team.

But there’s a way to use what you already have to create your own SDR team. The solution is simple: convert marketing reps into sales development reps.

Mind you, we’re not saying to nix marketing completely. Marketing specialists have their role (think: content, branding, social media) — but many of your marketing reps are currently doing what sales development would and can do better.

Here are a few reasons why you should convert those reps into SDRs:

Your Mix is Off

Groove Digital Marketing estimates that an in-house inbound marketing dream team (Team Lead, Managing Editor, Writer, Social Media Manager, and Graphic Designer) can cost up to nearly $380,000 per year on salaries alone. Research across the board argues that an average sales development rep may only cost a company between 55-70k.

Even after multiplying the number of reps (and ignoring the potential revenue that they’ll be bringing in), companies are STILL spending less on sales development. And spending too much on marketing. The mix is off, and to balance, companies should convert growth hacking marketers into personal outreach sales development reps.

Inbound Needs Outbound

When Salesloft first started, writing content was a top priority. But how were we to grow our subscriber base? Well we tried everything from campaigns to stakeholders, to posting on social media ourselves, to driving SEO.

But what was most effective was an SDR outreach campaign where we represented the “inbound content” through outbound sales.

When we started outbound, we cold called and emailed to talk about problems our customers had. But we didn’t hypothesize the solutions…until we started including content in our outreach. This helped make the outreach more successful. We grew outbound through inbound content creation.

It’s More Calculable, Scalable, Repeatable

We’ve run some super creative marketing campaigns. Many were very successful. None were predictable. The thing about a blog post is that you never know when one is going to be successful. Even Rand Fishkin, content marketing connoisseur, admits “not just any old content is going to help us rank in competitive SERPs.

With outbound sales development, it’s more of a numbers game. Get X-amount of prospects, contact them Y-amount of times, qualify and set Z-amount of qualified appointments. When you shift from a shot-in-the-dark approach, to a qualifiable, targeted sales development process, your results become calculable and predictable. And with predictable results comes scalability and repeatability.

This is why investing in improvements at the top of the sales funnel, particularly in early prospect and lead qualification are so valuable: they save the time and energy of a startup’s go to market teams and can meaningfully improve unit economics.” –Tomasz Tunguz

It Works Better for Targeted Customer Acquisition Campaigns

Want to connect with Fortune 2000 VPs of Manufacturing? Inbound marketing would state you write a blog post dedicated to them, or run a targeted ad campaign to them… but it’s common that nothing would come from this. That’s because nothing is better than calling and emailing them with a personal message that resonates to their needs. When you know your target accounts, it’s easier (and more effective) to acquire them from an SDR perspective than a marketing angle.

Go All the Way vs. Stopping Short

Your marketing team is likely stopping short with potential clients, especially at events.

Marketing is fun. When we impersonated Benioff, we had a blast. We feel that we created goodwill and generated awareness. BUT — we don’t really know. With outbound sales development, I can tell you the exact number of reps, building the exact number of prospects, making the exact number of calls and emails and social drips — and how many are qualified, connected with, opportunity created, revenue booked. Go all the way and ensure that SDRs actually set demos on the floor at events.

Specialization is the key to a balanced team. With specific responsibilities outlined for each department, and a strong SLA between them, productivity is boundless. Building a sales development team is the perfect introduction to that specialization, without having to be a huge investment. Start small. Convert marketing reps to sales development reps, and watch your team flow like a well-oiled machine.