Does Your Leadoff Batter Provide Competitive Intelligence?

October 28, 2020

In baseball, leadoff hitters — the players that bat first for their respective teams — are often described as grinders: versatile, hardworking, and relentless players that are the embodiment of old-fashioned hustle. Their job is to get on base and “set the table” for their run producers.

In sales, there is a clear parallel between leadoff hitters and SDRs that isn’t hard to spot: SDRs are relentless grinders who generate leads and “set the table” for their closing reps.

Yet there is another parallel that is a bit harder to identify on the surface. One of the most valuable qualities that a leadoff hitter can possess is completely unrelated to batting average or run total. A great leadoff hitter will also use their at-bats to provide a look at the opposing pitcher. They are patient at the plate and try to force the pitcher to throw as many pitches as possible. The goal of this approach is to let their teammates gain competitive intelligence & insight into the pitcher before taking their own at-bats.

Pitchers generally get worse over the course of the game due in large part to what their competition is able to learn about their tendencies during the game; that’s why relief pitchers exist. The same type of quality is highly valuable for an SDR as well.

The best sales development reps will provide value outside of their passed leads by consistently gaining market & competitive intelligence while on the phone.

Just like any quality ball club will provide scouting reports, a good marketing team will provide their SDRs with market & competitive intelligence. These reports, however, aren’t gospel and are always subject to change. It is up to the leadoff hitter/SDR to confirm, supplement, and/or update their team’s intelligence to help put their peers in the best position to succeed. This will not only help closing reps close more deals, but this intelligence should also be filtered BACK to the marketing team in order to optimize content & collateral. You could even leverage an interactive sales collateral creator to improve the effectiveness of this intelligence feedback loop. For a sales development team, there are a few ways to enhance this production:

On-Phone Training

Inside Sales Managers should focus a good amount of a rep’s initial — and subsequently intermittent — training on tactics the SDR can use while on the phone to extract impactful intelligence during the qualification process. While other channels have their benefits when it comes to prospecting, nothing can replace the conversational back-and-forth chat over the phone in terms of efficiency once you have a prospect on the line.

Account Mapping

This strategy should be used by any and every SDR to maximize lead gen results & conversions, but it will also amplify the market & competitive intelligence component to sales development. The more conversations with stakeholders you have, the more info you collect on that account.

Intelligence Goals

At demandDrive, our Inside Sales Managers set goals for each of their reps surrounding the acquisition and confirmation of certain data points and intelligence metrics. By quantifying the value of gathering intelligence, the SDRs goals align better with the overall goal to pass qualified leads.

Are your SDRs providing the necessary competitive intelligence for your sales and marketing team?

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The demandDrive Archive has blogs from 2011 - 2018, written by various former contributors.

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