I believe Sales Development is about to be forced to make a massive shift in A/NZ. Despite Real Estate agents recently being voted as the least trustworthy profession in the country, I think we can take some learnings from their salespeople and apply them to the 2024 version of B2B Sales & Business Development to fix part of the coming problem.
A quick sit-rep.
➡️ Email response and open rates are continuing to fall.
➡️ The phone still works if people pick up, but not all people do, and it feels like that number is only decreasing.
➡️ Google & Microsoft are working hard to stop mass blasts of emails.
➡️ LinkedIn is awash with salesy/ automated messages.
➡️ Facebook is ruined.
Most people prefer to do some research before they engage with a sales professional. That’s reasonable.
No one likes to feel like they’re being sold to or manipulated into a meeting or a demo. So our natural response to any request is a ‘no’.
This is all true.
But, ask yourself, do you think any of these scenarios will be reversed in 2024, or will they continue on their current course? I believe they will continue to decrease in effectiveness through 2024 and beyond.
So what can we do?
We cannot increase the amount of outreach we do – we already have parallel dialers allowing us to call dozens of numbers simultaneously and sales engagement platforms that allow us to send 1,000’s of emails every day.
So increasing volume won’t work.
We will need to change several things in relation to our approach to outbound in 2024 and beyond, and I can’t possibly cover them all here.
One of the things I think we will see is a shift away from some SDR roles to MDR-type roles.
That is, a more marketing-focused role (Market Development Rep) and less about getting the meeting at all costs, which is the current SDR (Sales Development Rep) type role.
My local Real Estate companies are experts at this MDR approach.
Two companies in particular in my local area make an effort to call me every couple of months, and we have a 2 – 5 minute conversation.
Typically, they start by sharing some information about the local market. Some of the houses that sold recently, maybe one or two of the more interesting transactions and then typically, they share what they think is going on more broadly in the market.
They talk about the predicted interest rate directions, buyer demand, sales volumes, housing valuations, and any changing dynamics of the area that I would be unlikely to know about.
E.G. During Covid, we had a lot of ex-pats coming back to our area, and they were buying good houses, sight unseen, and were prepared to spend 2-300k more than the local buyers as they had good savings from making good money in the UK or the USA (Usually finance types). I would be doubtful to get access to this information on my own.
At the end of the call, these real estate sellers would typically ask about my short and long-term plans for buying, selling, and investing.
One always offers a ‘free’ market appraisal, and the other offers an invitation to any of their local open houses, even if I’m just interested in a look.
I’m sure they then schedule another call to me, for 4 months later, in their CRM. Of course, I can see that.
If you believe that only a tiny percentage of your market is ready to buy right now, then this is a really effective way to stay in contact with those who will talk to you so that when those buyers move into the buying window, they will be very likely to use one of the two companies that call.
Of course, they then use additional sales tactics to those who don’t answer their phones.
They send text messages with sales results and the details of open houses close by.
Of course, they do the letter box drop that most real estate companies are known to do.
The things B2B companies with complex sales cycles could take away from Real Estate salespeople is that they not only prospect to people via different channels, but they do so with the knowledge that people aren’t going to decide to sell their house off the back of a random call. So they don’t push for that, and they don’t expect that.
They know that they would need to make several calls and, most importantly, they need to bring real value to the conversation each time. Otherwise, I’d not be prepared to entertain a conversation.
I think this is where most B2B sellers who operate at the front of the funnel (SDRs/ BDRs/ MDRs) miss the point. They only want to book a meeting and fail to bring any insights to the conversation based on their experience.
Why? In many companies, SDRs & BDRs are at the very start of their corporate life and don’t have the experience or expertise to share. So, instead of having a conversation of value, they focus on trying to book a meeting. – Mistake.
Because most SDRs aim to be promoted out of their current role within the next 12 months. They have little incentive to lay the groundwork for a sale that will likely occur outside that time window. That’ll be someone else’s job. (They hope).
This is part of the damage done by the wide adoption of Aaron Ross’s “Predictable Revenue model” across the sales industry.
It’s broken. It needs to change.
However, there are obvious challenges for many companies in trying to adopt this Real Estate/ MDR sales approach.
Most real estate sellers have a more entrepreneurial approach to sales than most SDRs/ BDRs, and they are much better paid (Gotta pay for the Mercedes AMG63 somehow).
How can you afford to pay an MDR, $150k plus? That will drastically increase the cost of meeting acquisition and the cost of sale.
Well, I’d argue that by the end of 2024, you won’t have a choice because most of the other channels will be ineffective.
Your options will be.
1: Senior MDR approach (Real Estate)
2: Product Led Growth (Self-serve)
3: Current SDR approach (Good for only 20% of the market)
4: Outsource to an agency so you’re limiting your hard and soft costs.
Maybe there are some others
There will still be a place for the one-call meeting booked or one-call demo booked. I don’t think it will disappear altogether, but this will be less applicable, particularly in the B2B space.
🥕 What do you do if you can’t afford the MDR/ Real Estate approach?
🥕 What do you do if your business needs to drive revenue more urgently?
🥕 What do you do if you’ve got a lower-priced offer? (LTV of $15,000 or less)
Well, I plan on covering all those options and a lot more in our next LinkedIn event on the 14th of Nov.
Register now to get access to the live event or the recording.
In this event, I’ll be sharing what we at Sales Development Australia are doing right now to book meetings for complex B2B sales that we weren’t doing six months ago and what we plan to do in 2024.
I’d love to hear if you’ve got a comment about potentially adopting real estate sales approaches in B2B.
In the meantime, thanks for reading.
If you’ve read this far – thank you.
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