Overcoming the challenges of people retention in Sales Development

To overcome the challenges of people retention, in late 2020, IDG Sales Development Services surveyed over 300 respondents working in marketing within technology companies.

This blog takes a deeper look at understand the challenges organisations face when hiring and retaining talented staff and provides useful recommendations to improve sales conversion.

Keeping up with changes in the IT market

In sales development roles at technology companies, the challenge may be even larger. Firms tell us that it’s hard to find people who understand their specific area of IT, and because technology changes so fast there is a need to train and re-train people after the onboarding process. This is an apparent theme in IT companies, as highlighted in the report – 42% of companies do not have the flexibility in terms of resource and expertise, creating further bottlenecks.

Business development requires a team that can fulfil a host of roles from fielding calls, setting appointments and nurturing leads; to supporting events, deepening customer relationships, cross-selling and beyond. It’s a vital cog in the overall sales and marketing process but hiring people and successfully managing teams is not easy.

Culture differences – the language and timezone gap

Sales development often involves branching out to new territories so finding people with language skills and local insights is essential. Couple that with ensuring your teams cover the appropriate timezones and it becomes a mammoth task to manage.

In our recent survey, 59.5% of respondents suggested that language is a barrier for them. One company we spoke to recently had just lost a French speaker and expected replacing this person to take three months.

Quick turnover of BDRs and its Impact on People Retention

If finding good people is tough, then keeping them can be just as hard, if not harder. Capable business development representatives are often fairly junior in the overall hierarchy and tend to get headhunted or promoted internally. Also, the tech sector is intensely competitive so the company that fails to inspire loyalty will inevitably pay the price in the form of rapid churn and demotivated employees.

To put this into perspective, hiring / retention turned out to be a major concern with 47% lamenting that “we cannot hire and keep talented people”. Other answers also underlined the breadth of the issue with 41% saying they don’t have enough people and 43% saying they don’t have the management time to run the team effectively.

With every problem, comes a solution

Recent survey findings have found that challenges can often be a spark for outsourcing: 51% said they are attracted to partnering as a way to scale sales development teams, 47% said it afforded access to language skills or local cultural understanding, and 45% said it provided access to required skills and experience.

Sales development has always been a thorny area for technology firms, especially when it comes to people retention. By outsourcing, they get to put this task partly or entirely in the hands of a specialist that can access a large pool of international staff with the languages, skills, technology understanding and infrastructure ready to step into the breach. Technology isn’t going to stand still and hiring and retention aren’t going to get any easier so perhaps it’s high time to consider how partnering can help you.

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