Report and Survey Results of Sales Development Benchmarks 2021

The Sales Development Benchmark Survey Report 2021 – Now Available 

5 trends in Sales Development to look out for in 2021

2020 was a difficult year for many businesses, and it is now time for Sales Development professionals to shift their attention from executing basic activities to providing extreme value to prospects, while forging greater alignment with their Go-To-Market allies in Marketing, Sales and Success. 

Sales Development is always difficult, and it is not getting any easier, especially given the unprecedented disruption of the past year. Sales Development Leaders must focus on continuous improvement to develop their teams to better accommodate a rapidly evolving, information-flooded market. 

The buyer landscape is changing in favor of customers, who are better informed than ever before in the age of online reviews, peer communities and social media. Sales Development professionals must adapt to that change to go from interruptions to real value providers, while integrating all the new tools and services being provided to help them succeed and working closely with Marketing, Sales and Success to ensure they stay relevant. 

Top findings:

#1. Alignment will be more important than ever


Sitting between Sales and Marketing, the Sales Development team can be more productive if it has achieved close alignment with both departments. Sales Development needs the  dedicated support of Marketing, and the agreement of Sales to forge alignment and stay competitive. During the past year, due largely to coronavirus-related restrictions on in-person sales, companies relied enormously on SDR and Inside Sales to increase performance, and many were not adequately prepared or supported for such a rapid transition. Although in-person sales will likely start making a comeback in 2021, SDR and Inside Sales will remain critically important. Alignment is critical. 

#2. Sales Development activity remains inconsistent

Our research found that SDR activity levels were highly inconsistent between organizations of different sizes. The lower the revenue, the more activity, the higher the revenue, the more strategic. The highest activity levels were found in companies with an annual revenue in the region of $20 to $50 million, specifically those with ACV products valued at between $100 thousand and $1 million. SDR activity was, unsurprisingly, much lower in enterprise field sales, although this is likely to change in the years ahead as restrictions ease and in-person sales start making a return. However, the changing sales dynamics have also highlighted the long-term potential of account-based marketing (ABM) strategies.

#3. Outcome-based tracking will start to take off

Fewer than half of companies track the pipeline and revenue outcomes of SDR activity. This needs to change, since Sales Development can no longer happen in a bubble where there is a lack of strategic insight available from across the buyer journey. SDRs will face increasing pressure to adopt outcome-based tracking by achieving closer alignment with Marketing and Sales. More than ever, companies need to acquire a big-picture look at the customer journey by tracking key metrics related to appointments set, pipeline generated and sales produced. 

#4. Emerging companies will conduct more outbound activity

We also found that the maturity of the market and the product or service greatly impacted the activity levels and conversion rates of SDRs. Companies entering emerging markets with new products saw about 50% more outbound activity than those in well-established markets. This might come as a surprise at a time when inbound tends to get the lion’s share of attention, but what it does prove is that outbound is still enormously important. Currently, less than half of companies have dedicated outbound and inbound SDRs, while those offering ACV solutions valued at $25 thousand to $100 thousand were 50% more likely to have a dedicated inbound SDR.

#5. SDR ramp up times will need to get shorter

SDR ramp time generally varies between one and six months with larger companies or those with ACV products taking a month longer than the median of three months. Reducing the ramp time for new SDR hires remains a key priority in many companies, especially those in rapidly evolving markets. Proven ways to reduce ramp time include maintaining close alignment with Sales and Marketing, setting clearly defined and measurable goals, and hiring SDRs with the right behavioral characteristics, rather than experience alone, using online assessments. 

Download our new Sales Development Benchmarks 2021 report to find out more about the trends and metrics shaping the future of Sales Development.

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