Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to interview sales development expert Trish Bertuzzi. Trish is the President and Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group, where she’s been helping B2B technology companies improve their inside sales strategy for the last two decades. Along with numerous other accolades, she’s been listed in the Top 25 Most Influential in Inside Sales by American Assoc. of Inside Sales Professionals for the last 7 years running, and literally wrote the book on Sales Development – The Sales Development Playbook, available for purchase on Amazon (we highly recommend!).
I caught up with Trish to get her thoughts on modern lead generation and sales methods and what the future might hold for salespeople.
Chris: Inside Sales is a fairly well known term and function in the UK, sales development; not so much. Are there any differences between the two, and if so, what are they?
Trish Bertuzzi: Inside sales has become very much an umbrella term, people are using it to describe anyone that’s using the phone, web and social media to either build pipeline or generate revenue.
Sales Development has become the standard nomenclature now for a particular function that falls under the Inside Sales umbrella, and that function is focused on the top of the pipeline, so people that either set introductory meetings or qualified opportunities for salespeople. That’s the overview of sales development.
Chris: What would be the first steps you would recommend to a business looking to transition away from the legacy cold approach?
Trish Bertuzzi: I would recommend that they build out buyer personas, so really understand the attributes of the people they’re selling to.
What does a day in their life look like, what challenges do they face, how are they currently addressing those challenges, what do they care about, what are they reading, what events are they going to?
Really become immersed in the buyer themselves as well as the industry they’re in, and then use that information to develop compelling messaging to show the buyer that you understand their business, and that you have a solution that will allow them to increase their productivity and performance.
Chris: What tips would you give to companies who feel their sales and marketing functions aren’t aligned as well as they should be?
Trish Bertuzzi: If your sales and marketing functions aren’t aligned the place you have to start is at the beginning. And at the beginning, it’s really about understanding what your ideal customer profile looks like.
Often we’ll go to a client and talk to the Chief Revenue Officer and we’ll say “what’s your sweet spot?” and they’ll give us an answer. Then we’ll talk to marketing and ask “who are you targeting?” and they’re targeting someone entirely different.
So step one would be – starting at the beginning, making sure that the centre of the bullseye is consistent, and that both sales and marketing are going to focus their efforts towards the same target.
Chris: What would you say to people who argue that these days you only need inbound marketing?
Trish Bertuzzi: Actually, I’d say you’d better go out and do some reading! Inbound marketing is on the wane, and the problem is that we’ve inundated our buyers with white noise; too much content, too much messaging, too much vanilla.
So the return on investment for inbound is dropping fairly dramatically, and that has created a requirement for companies to do business differently, and that’s why account based marketing, or as we refer to – ‘account based revenue strategies’, are such an emerging field.
Chris: How do you see social selling integrating with the sales development process?
Trish Bertuzzi: Well it’s an integral part, not only from a listening and learning perspective, but it should also be part of an outreach strategy. And I’m not talking about just sending InMails!
I’m talking about actually following your buyers if they’re socially active, engaging with them, sharing their information, letting them know that you’re paying attention to them and also delivering value back, by sharing things that are of interest to them.
So social isn’t a one-way street, it should be a two-way street, where we listen, learn and then share.
Chris: What do you see for the future of sales development and inside sales?
Trish Bertuzzi: Well, it’s been around forever, it’s just finally come into its own.
I think we’re going to continue to learn that we need to be conversant in our buyer’s world, that we have to be knowledgeable enough to have an intelligent conversation about business and not just be ‘smile-and-dial’ jockeys, and for those of us at companies where account based revenue makes sense, the role of Sales Development is going to completely change.
Because we become part of a bigger equation, strategy and series of plays, that engage bigger companies to drive bigger deals.