The following is a guest post by Adam Hutchinson, Senior Marketing Manager at Socedo. The article originally appeared here.
Why Socedo Built an SDR Team
Until August of this year, Socedo did not have an SDR (Sales Development Reps) team. We just had a team of Account Executives (AEs) who focused on closing Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) within 30 days.
We knew that our AEs were great at closing leads who have requested a trial of Socedo or more information about pricing. These leads had already shown intent to buy when they were passed to a sales rep.
Between March and July this year, we made a lot of changes across marketing and sales. In order to scale as a company, we had to revisit our target audience and MQL definition, turn up new lead sources to deliver to more leads to AEs, and hire more AEs.
While these changes were happening, we kept a close eye on whether our sales team was still able to maintain a certain level of efficiency. We tracked a set of metrics that covers the marketing and sales pipeline – conversion rates and volume at each stage, from new lead to MQL to Opportunity to Close.
By July, we noticed that one part of our funnel, our Opportunity creation rate, saw a large decline. Since we had launched new content assets (whitepapers and webinars) and had them syndicated across third party marketing sites, we were passing more leads to AEs from a wider range of lead sources.
Although it was great for our marketing team to generate more leads, these content leads needed more time and nurturing before they were ready to buy. Our Sales Team/AEs simply did not have the time to work with these leads, as they were focused on leads who were ready to close.
We decided to build an SDR team to “bridge” the gap between the high volume of leads Marketing was generating and the sales-ready leads AEs needed to fill their pipelines. We started the SDR team with just two reps, who are completely focused on qualifying leads to identify sales-ready leads for the AEs.
Specialization was important, as we wanted our SDRs to quickly develop the skillset in qualifying leads to identify those who show purchase intent. This way, the AEs could continue to do what they’re good at– closing leads who have already demonstrated an intent to purchase our product.
After introducing the SDR team, we have seen the average win rate for AEs increase by about 25%.
|[ Read More: B2B Lead Conversion – Qualification Matters ]
How Socedo’s Marketing Team works with SDRs
Our marketing team has monthly lead goals by source that we guarantee to the SDR team, based on our revenue goal and historical conversion rates. (Download a Lead Calculator to determine your target conversion rates.)
As we consider what kind of leads to send SDRs, we always come back to efficiency and ask ourselves: what’s the best way for SDRs to use their time?
We want our SDRs to reach out to leads quickly and turn a good portion of the leads they engage into sales-ready leads (or Opportunities). We tackle this problem on three fronts:
- How do we identify responsive, interested leads?
- How do we make sure that each rep has as much context as possible about each lead, so that they can craft relevant messages and reach out quickly?
- What resources and content do SDRs need in order to successfully assist each lead during her research process?
In short, our Marketing team’s goal is to provide SDRs with the leads, context and content to help them score the most appointments.
|[ Read More: Are You Recycling Leads That Aren’t Sales Ready? ]
1. Providing the right leads to SDRs
Our SDRs should work with leads who have already shown an interest in us. They are leads who’ve engaged content a few times – via our website, emails and social media channels.
We use a behavioral lead scoring model that tracks engagement with our content.
An email click is worth 5 points; following our brand on Twitter is worth 10 points. We also track website visits, whitepaper downloads, webinar registrations, among other actions. Any lead that reaches 15 points or more is passed to the SDR team – this typically takes 3 actions.
One caveat is that any lead who shows intent – has signed up for trial/demo or requested pricing – are routed directly to an AE because we know that our AEs can close these leads in 30 days. Our hypothesis is that with the right content and personal touches from our SDR team, we can convert a significant portion of content leads into sales-ready leads.
We chose 15 points as the thresholds for SDRs based on two factors: the volume we need to send over to the SDRs and the conversion rates of leads above this threshold (i.e. these leads are engaged enough to want to talk to a human being).
Through trial and error, we’ve learned that we should provide our SDR team with real-time leads.
This simply means that we want to send a lead to a rep as soon as the lead takes a relevant action that changes her lead score to something above our lead score threshold.
To send over “real-time” leads, we’ve set up our marketing automation platform – Marketo – to lead score by listening to the real-time actions that leads are taking. We have a few different ways to track these actions:
- Marketo tracks form fills and email clicks natively.
- We’ve installed tracking pixels on our website to track page visits.
- We use Socedo to track engagements with social media keywords and Twitter handles.
- Our social media management platform Oktopost syncs with Marketo and tracks clicks on tweets and posts we publish through our social media profiles.
All of these activities go on leads’ activity logs, as time-stamped actions.
From there, once a lead hits the 15-point threshold, we have a campaign set up just to listen to the score change and the lead source. If the lead is coming in from one of our content programs or has taken a social action, the campaign sends the lead to one of our SDRs. If the lead is coming through a trial signup or a pricing request, a separate campaign sends the lead to an AE.
When SDRs reach out to a lead just minutes after the lead has taken some action to show interest (compared to several days), they are able to convert those leads into opportunities at about 30% higher than the “bulk leads” we batched over to their lead queues from different sources or segments.
2. Provide SDRs with Context Around Each Lead
Giving SDRs sufficient context around each lead is critical to their success.
Our SDRs live mostly in Salesforce, but by utilizing Marketo Sales Insight, an SDR can open a window to view the lead record in Marketo, along with all of their actions in the lead’s activity log.
However, it takes a bit of time for SDRs to open up Marketo. To save time, we’ve set up some standard fields we sync between Marketo and Salesforce, including Twitter handle, the marketing platform the lead’s company uses, and the number of employees at that company.
We also use Interesting Moments to record and sync high-value actions from Marketo into Salesforce, to help our SDRs understand key actions from a lead, such as the webinar she attended or missed, the product page she visited, the last relevant keyword she Tweeted, and when she followed our brand handle on Twitter. Having this context around the lead serves as the basis for relevant and personal outreach from a rep.
Here’s an example of how one of our SDRs — Terah — used this type of context to engage and convert one prospect who did not engage with our website or emails into an opportunity.
Back in June, we purchased a list of cold leads from industry event partners and imported them into our database. One of these leads is Anna, who is a Marketing Operations Specialist at a tech company.
Since we’re able to track our leads’ relevant social actions through our own Lead Acceleration solution, we knew that Anna had tweeted about going to Marketing Nation Summit this past year.
Anna had not followed Socedo on social media. For months, Anna received our emails. She only opened one email on August 16th but never clicked on any of the links.
However, she continued to tweet about Marketo and social media marketing.
On the morning of December 16th, Anna Tweeted about next year’s Marketing Nation Summit, and her lead score reached the SDR threshold.
She was assigned to our rep Terah. That same day, just moments later, we sent her a real-time marketing email in Marketo triggered by her recent tweet about Marketing Nation Summit.
This email was the first one she ever clicked.
Meanwhile, just a couple of hours later in the day, Terah reached out to Anna with an email that also re-enforced the idea that we were contacting Anna because she had mentioned the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit on Twitter.
Terah’s original email:
On Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 2:36 PM, Terah Ram <[email protected]> wrote: Hi Anna, I saw that your tweet this morning about the Marketo Marketing Summit coming up. I found your tweet by using Socedo’s social demand generation platform to find marketers engaging with the @Marketo handle.
Why the Marketo handle? Socedo is a B2B marketing software solution that uses behavioral data triggers from social media to create, identify and target the best prospects at the right time.
Our integration directly into Marketo has allowed us to make the transfer of data to customers seamless and gives us the capability to monitor social behaviors of new and existing leads in your database to accelerate the selling process. We have been able to prove that Socially Engaged Leads Move 25% Faster & Convert 22% Higher than leads from other sources. Here’s some other content about how to use Marketo + Social Media to boost revenue in FY17:
- 7 Example Marketo Campaigns Using Social Data
- blog post Introducing Social Lead Acceleration from Socedo
- blog post How We Use Social to Drive Conference Leads
Do you want to put 15 minutes on the calendar next week to see a demo of Socedo’s platform and if it’s worth a free trial for Dyn? Best, Terah Ram
Anna responded right away and asked to join a demo call for the following week. The opportunity was officially passed over to one of our AEs the following Monday, December 19th.
To recap, Anna is a lead we’d purchased from a third-party data provider. Anna did not engage with our website or emails. But because we had reached out to her right after she took relevant social actions, we were able to turn this prospect into an opportunity.
3. Provide your SDR team with content
Our SDRs see themselves as consultants to their leads. Their goal is to provide leads with relevant resources and information at each step of the research process. As a marketing team, we want to arm our reps with all the content they need to be an effective concierge. We provide our SDRs with relevant content for different leads – blog posts, case studies, whitepapers and webinars for each segment, as well as talk tracks and bullet points on all the new content we launch.
To help our SDRs be efficient, we’ve created some template emails for them to use. They’ve programmed these emails into Yesware, the email software that tracks what happens after an email gets sent. This way, our reps know as soon as someone clicks on an email and take appropriate action.
By arming your team with real-time leads, contextual data around these leads and content, you can help your SDR team use their time effectively and become a significant revenue contributor to your company.
|[ Read More: Content and Thought Leadership to Support the Buying Cycle ]