Do you need an inbound sales development team? If you’re generating more leads than your sales team can handle, getting pushback about lead quality, or executing numerous inbound marketing campaigns, then you should look into an inbound SDR team. The ultimate power couple is having an inbound marketing and SDR team.

Marketing leaders, are you wondering why — even after all of your sales and marketing alignment efforts — your leads still aren’t getting any “follow up” love? You’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money on your inbound marketing efforts to drum up quality leads. Yet, the sales team isn’t calling or emailing them.

Ugh, right? Salespeople can be such a pain.

I hate to break it to you, but those sales representatives are thinking the same thing about marketers.

Salespeople are busy, and if they are handed a bunch of marketing qualified leads that aren’t really all that qualified, they get frustrated. They also lose faith in marketing’s ability to generate the right leads.

What’s the solution? Take ownership of inbound marketing leads qualification with your own inbound sales development team.

Do You Really Need Inbound Sales Development Reps (SDRs)?

Maybe. Maybe not. Here are a few questions that might help you determine whether or not you need two separate SDR (inbound vs. outbound) teams.

  • Are you generating more leads than your sales team can handle each month?
  • Do you get pushback about lead quality — criticisms about the likelihood of them eventually turning into sales qualified leads?
  • Do you execute numerous inbound marketing campaigns each month?

If you answered yes to any of these questions above, it can’t hurt to at least seriously entertain the idea of adding some inbound SDRs who report directly to marketing.

Specializing and Separating Inbound and Outbound Duties

If you find you have the bandwidth and budget for two teams (or at the very least, one dedicated inbound SDR), here is some food for thought on how to structure the two areas of responsibility.

Inbound SDROutbound SDR
Focus: inbound qualificationFocus: outbound prospecting
Structure: More structured; less freedomStructure: More autonomy; entrepreneurial
Reports to: marketing (directly or laterally)Reports to: sales
Requirements: speed to lead, persistent follow-up, qualifying inbound leadsRequirements: the ability to identify a good prospect, cold calling skills, persistent follow-up
Benefits: sales reps can trust leads that marketing gives them thanks to the further qualification by inbound SDRs



BONUS: marketers can more quickly identify how well campaigns and content attract the right leads and make tweaks more quickly based on feedback from inbound SDRs

Benefits: sales reps don’t have to wait for leads to come in thanks to outbound SDRs who hunt for hot prospects

Why Marketers Should Press for Inbound SDRs

To improve marketing ROI. If your leads aren’t currently getting all the TLC they deserve when it comes to follow-up, then that’s wasted money. With an inbound SDR or inbound team, you have people working on the resulting contacts from your inbound lead generation efforts.

To more easily demonstrate marketing’s contribution to the pipeline. If your content marketing, SEO, and SEM efforts are producing leads, great. But how far down the sales funnel do they get? Do you know?

With an inbound SDR team, you can qualify your inbound leads more quickly and more easily assess how well your marketing strategy resonates with the right decision makers. If things aren’t working, you don’t have to wait until the end of the campaign to find out. Your inbound sales development reps will help you uncover issues more quickly.

To foster real harmony with the sales team. No matter how many warm-fuzzy alignment meetings you have with the sales team, you still won’t truly be aligned if they don’t trust the quality of the leads you give them.

Why Sales Should Embrace Specialized SDR Teams

To better manage lead flow. Inbound SDR teams ensure that all inbound leads are getting worked while outbound SDRs cold call and act on leads based on external trigger events (lead’s business expansion, industry change, and other factors).

To create more advancement opportunities. When you have two SDR teams, you can place new, inexperienced team members in an inbound SDR role. The structure and workflow will help them learn the ropes to move into a more senior position as an outbound SDR.

Outbound SDRs will have more autonomy to manage their sales calls and efforts. Not only does this give them the potential for more job satisfaction, but it may also keep them more engaged and onboard even when there aren’t a lot of immediate openings for account executive (AE) positions.

To potentially make better use of your sales hiring budget. When you have two teams, especially if one is for more junior or inexperienced team members, you can make better use of your budget.

You can allocate a higher percentage of the hiring budget for your outbound team so that you can bring more experienced SDRs on board. This approach gives you access to a group of qualified candidates to choose from when you need to replace or add AE headcount. It also allows you to put coaching and mentoring plans in place for your inbound reps to help them move into the outbound team when the time is right.

You could also consider moving inbound SDRs to the marketing department to leave your hiring budget solely focused on outbound SDRs and AEs. If you do take that step, make time to mentor and educate those inbound SDRs, so they become terrific partners to sales.

Ready to Build an Inbound Marketing & Inbound SDR Alliance?

If you’re feeling as though your inbound leads aren’t getting the “follow up” love they need, it may be time to consider setting up an inbound SDR team. Sales and marketing alignment will only happen when you find ways to meet the needs of each side. By developing the ultimate power couple of inbound marketing and inbound sales development, you will open up the door for more opportunities to improve marketing performance and increase your sales productivity.

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