The primary goal of an account-based marketing (ABM) program is to activate in-market accounts through unified sales and marketing efforts. This means eliminating the ineffective cold calling of days past and moving toward a more informed and sophisticated outbound approach. The shift in strategy affects everyone on a go-to-market (GTM) team. It especially changes the role of a traditional business development representative (BDR) or, in some cases, a sales development representative (SDR).
Regardless of the acronym you use, BDRs/SDRs play a critical role in an ABM program regarding team alignment and accelerating valuable pipeline generation. The following post digs into what modern BDRs need to know about account-based marketing and how to best align with this GTM strategy to create results.
Why BDRs Should Care About ABM
ABM programs are not new; their popularity among B2B GTM teams continues to rise. As the B2B buyer journey continues to evolve and rely more and more on independent research, ABM programs are expected to become the norm.
ABM Statistics for BDRs to Know:
- Sales and marketing alignment can help businesses become 67% better at closing teams (Source)
- 85% of B2B teams say sales and marketing alignment is the largest opportunity for growth today, but 96% of sales & marketing professionals admit that they experience challenges with strategy alignment (Source)
- Only 8% of companies have strong alignment between sales & marketing teams (Source)
B2B Buyer Journey Statistics for BDRs to Know:
- 90% of B2B buyers don’t follow a linear sales funnel path (Source)
- 67% of a B2B buyer’s journey is done digitally (Source)
- 60% of B2B buyers want to connect with sales during the consideration phase (Source)
- Roughly 5% of a B2B buyer’s time is spent with a sales rep (Source)
With ABM efforts increasing, it is crucial that BDRs and SDRs are prepared to execute an account-based sales approach if they want to see results. Failing to evolve their role and understand the resources an ABM strategy provides will significantly hurt their potential.
According to Ben Pearson, former CMO of Nuvolo, “…before ABM, what did we do? We had a team of SDRs, and they would define the target market, and the ideal customers we wanted to call into, and then they would start their outreach. They’d go into Salesloft and begin their outreach and targeting. […] For us, that is as cold as outreach gets. They don’t even know our company exists in many cases.”
The Role of BDRs in ABM
A strong alignment between marketing and sales is the key to a successful ABM program, and BDRs/SDRs are the bridge. This is especially true for GTM teams running a programmatic ABM program targeting more than 50 accounts where BDRs can pull the weight in ensuring strategic outbound efforts against the target account list.
ABM Buying Stages & Team Roles
Strategic BDRs positively impact mid-funnel engagement, improve data quality, and focus on nurturing stronger relationships.
An account-based program should be designed to help BDRs work smarter, not harder, by ensuring that the target accounts they are reaching out to are warmed up, prioritizing outbound sales efforts on accounts with the highest likelihood of generating pipeline.
Impacting Mid-Funnel Engagement
Modern BDRs play an important role in bridging the gap between sales and marketing teams by supporting middle-of-the-funnel efforts when the B2B buyer is most engaged in the buying process.
This hand-off time is critical to ensuring the teams are aligned for success.
BDRs can create a stronger pipeline by:
- Aligning with marketing on qualified leads and managing the pipeline movement from MQL to SQL
- Ensuring qualified leads don’t go stagnant with the sales process
- Documenting useful account insights to prepare their AEs
- Ensuring that a prospect is in-market and ready to speak with sales
Improving Data Quality
Data quality is one of the leading issues of B2B organizations and is something we, as an ABM agency, encounter regularly. This is where BDRs can make a big impact, ensuring your ABM program is built on quality data.
BDRs/SDRs should strategically navigate the buyer through their sales journey, ensuring data quality goes hand-in-hand with their daily activities. In addition to creating cleaner data, delegating these responsibilities to a BDR team instead of AEs frees up your reps’ time while preparing them with all the resources they need to get to a closed-won.
Nurturing Stronger Relationships
Account-based marketing is all about personalization. A strategic BDRs role is to absorb the account information provided by channel activities and create a connection with a prospect.
B2B buyers are purchasing more and more like B2C buyers. Buyers want to be approached at the right moment and with information that is personalized to their needs – not the generic sales pitch. BDRs should be focusing their efforts on creating relationships, not hitting numbers, so that they are building trust and creating meaningful conversations with accounts that matter.
At the end of the day, an ABM strategy enables the insights a BDR needs to be successful, but it’s still up to the rep to open the door.
How BDRs Can Add Value to an ABM Program
BDRs are often the first human interaction a prospect has with a business. This means that the biggest value a BDR can add to an account-based program lies in how they approach new accounts. BDRs are responsible for making a good first impression at a time when B2B buyers are more skeptical of sales teams than ever.
ABM is designed to provide value at the account level, which means that when BDRs are ready to reach out to a prospective account, they should already have insight into what the account needs and where they are within the buying journey. BDRs cannot, and should not, approach ABM target accounts like they’ve approached cold prospects in the past. If they do, they risk creating a snag in the buyer’s journey and pushing them to a competitor. Given the amount of information known about the account, these sales touches need to be personalized and timely.
According to Gartner, B2B buyers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful were “2.8x more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret”. Gartner has coined this type of approach as “buyer enablement,” which will be increasingly part of the standard role of a strategic BDR.
As part of enabling the buyer, BDRs play a crucial role in helping engage additional contacts at key accounts. The modern B2B buying committee contains 6-10 decision-makers, and with an account-based approach, you can ensure that BDRs are focusing their efforts on bringing in the right contacts at in-market accounts. By preemptively engaging these decision-makers at appropriate times within the buying journey, BDRs become a trusted resource as the account moves toward a decision.
Account-based marketing relies on alignment across sales and marketing teams. Modern-day BDRs are critical for ensuring team alignment and creating a meaningful conversion path for qualified accounts.
Ready to make an impact on your pipeline? RenderTribe is a full-service ABM agency that creates account-based programs and support for sales and marketing teams. Reach out to our team of experts today to realign your go-to-market team and get your goals back on track.