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9 min read

How marketing SDRs can 6x marketing’s time-to-revenue

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This article originates from a panel at the Revenue Marketing Summit Las Vegas 2023. Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

In the realm of marketing and sales, perspectives on Sales Development Representative (SDR) placement have always been a topic of vibrant discussion.

In a market where the alignment between marketing and sales is often the linchpin of sustainable growth, understanding and strategically deploying SDRs can be the pivotal factor that propels a company forward.

I’m Anton Belo, and recently, I embraced a new chapter in my career as the VP of Growth Marketing at Kochava. With 15 years of marketing experience under my belt, spanning various company types from startups to upstarts, I’ve spearheaded company growth in the zero to 80 million range across different organizations. 

In this article, I’m going to delve into the multifaceted world of SDRs within the marketing sphere, exploring strategies, sharing experiences, and providing insights into how effectively aligning SDRs with marketing initiatives can not only enhance lead generation and pipeline creation, but also significantly impact time-to-revenue. 

SDR: A critical role with varied placement

The perpetual debate in numerous companies revolves around the optimal placement of SDRs. Should they be nestled in the “fluffy world of awesomeness” that is marketing, or should they be positioned firmly within the sales realm? 

Sales Development Representatives, Business Development Representatives, and Market Development Representatives, often individuals early in their career, are tasked with “dialing for dollars” and securing meetings, typically following up on marketing inbound leads within an organization.

We’ve all encountered the arguments: SDRs should be situated in marketing to bolster the sales pipeline and enable more precise marketing since their roles align more closely with marketing functions. 

Conversely, some argue that SDRs should reside under the sales umbrella as their contributions are more pivotal to the sales pipeline, and their goals, such as transitioning to Account Executives (AEs), are more sales-oriented.

In my journey, having managed hundreds of SDRs, I’ve observed that not every SDR follows the conventional path to becoming an AE.

For instance, my last SDR was promoted to an HR representative role, transitioning from dialing for dollars and calling prospects to recruiting - showcasing a unique synergy in their skill set. This exemplifies one of the myriad reasons why I am passionate about and love to own the role of managing SDRs.

What works: Growth Phase (Series A to C): SDRs report to Marketing. Scaling: SDRs shift from Marketing to Sales.

Experiences and insights into SDR management

Throughout my career, I've witnessed SDRs reporting into various departments: demand generation, sales, revenue operations, and even outsource teams. My experiences have shaped a firm belief: for growth-phase companies, SDRs absolutely need to report into marketing. 

This isn’t merely a preference but a strategic standpoint, especially when the company is scaling, growing, and where marketing isn’t necessarily the forefront of the organization anymore. The pivotal point here is to optimize for opportunity, ensuring that every step taken is one that propels the opportunity to pipeline conversion.

In my view, there’s only one funnel in a company, not segregated into a marketing funnel or a sales funnel, but a unified funnel leading to revenue. SDRs, whose measure of pipeline aligns more with marketing, play a crucial role in this. 

Marketing’s primary role within an organization is to identify and engage prospects, while sales quantify, qualify the deal, and seal it. The SDR’s role, therefore, is to locate prospects, identify their pain points, and then present these to sales.

SDR and marketing: A synergistic relationship

The ever-changing lead funnel is owned by marketing. Consider how often marketers alter the persona, change the charge, and modify the go-to-market strategy.

Written by:

Anton Belo

Anton Belo

Anton Belo is the VP of Growth Marketing at Kochava

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How marketing SDRs can 6x marketing’s time-to-revenue