Why U.S. B2B companies hired 74,000 BDRs when corporate buyers have little to no interest in engaging with them?

By Michael Phelan

If you search LinkedIn alone for BDRs (Business Development Representatives) you get 74,000 profile results. In fact, there are more of them with other titles such as Inside Sales & SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) By some estimates, there are well over 100,000 in the U.S. alone. Companies cannot hire BDRs fast enough and are investing heavily in hiring, training, management, technology platforms, sales enablement, social selling, inbound marketing and more. They is also high churn with these younger BDRs who tend to move along quickly. Let's face it, it is a hard job and for most of them. Practically it is just a stepping stone to their next job such as outside sales, account management or inbound marketing.

The question is whether this investment are paying off? When I ask this question to executives as I tour their inside sales facilities, I often get vague responses such as "We just hired a new Director or VP of Inside Sales, ask us in 6 months" or "We are still working on our dashboard and metrics" or "Better invest in inside sales than marketing, where there is no ROI" On a recent tour, I heard music playing, watched a BDR practice his putting, hearing another plan for their weekend and heard a pod managers chat socially with her team. The one thing I did not hear much of were prospect conversations. At a later point, one BDR, who had an afternoon prospect call asked his manager about conference room availability, he did not want to distract his team mates. There were largely working LinkedIn and email and the floor was pretty quite. One BDR had a very short call with a "MQL" about a white paper download as he tried to get a demo and failed.

On the other hand, I just completed a research project with enterprise buyers around new tech platform sourcing and buying. There are many ways they find out about new tech platforms (please reach out to me at michael@gotomarketpros.com for more information) However, without exception, none of them had any interest in speaking with BDRs (unless they had an approved project, an active buying team, were well down the buying path and your company was a top-four choice) They said that these junior level sales people do not understand their businesses, cannot define and solve relevant business problems, cannot show how they solved such problem with competitors and tend to pitch demos prior to demonstrated buyer understanding. Many of these buyers have completely shut out all such BRD efforts.

So what do we do, we have buyers who have shut down one of our biggest revenue generation investments. There are many ways to solve this, one way is to ensure that BDRs are properly trained, conduct advanced prospect research and learn to add real value

The other is realign such investments with a better balance of seasoned and experienced consultative sellers and outside consultants. In addition, investing in outside sales resources creates more meaningful face-to-face conversations and improves long term relationships.

Finally, I have a highly effective program that combines "Best Practices Research" with "Direct Prospect Engagement" at "Hard-to-Reach Enterprise Prospects" Reach out of me at michael@gotomarketpros.com for more info

What have you done to evaluate and deliver enhanced BDR ROI, how are you rebalancing your BDR investment with outside outside sales and external consultative resources, other ideas to create meaningful BDR conversations with your prospects?