The New Sales Roles Are Taylorism Taken Too Far

We have sliced sales roles so thinly that the role of sales no longer makes any sense.

The very limited role of BDR has been relegated to prospecting, and more specifically, qualifying. Even though being “qualified” creates no value for the prospective client, and even though their prospects avoid the appointments they agree to because the BDR has created so little value that they can’t see wasting any more time.

The SDR role has morphed into something heretofore unimaginable: a sales role with little or no responsibility to prospect. The rationale is that the best value creators should only spend their time with “qualified” opportunities. The inaneness of this decision is staggering. The idea that the person who can—and should—create the most value should not prospect ignores the reality of prospecting, namely the fact that you better have deep chops and be a serious value creator, or you have no value to trade for the meeting you are requesting.

The SDRs, who are supposed to occupy the high perch of trusted advisor, can offer only to bring a SME to a sales call, upon which they have become completely dependent. This, regardless of the fact that they have heard the SME’s shtick eleven times over the past three months. Sure, the salesperson should be the strategic orchestrator of the resources you need to bring to bear on an opportunity. But shouldn’t they know enough about the music being played to have a reasonable picture of what you do, how you create value, and a conversational knowledge of everything everyone on their team knows?

The idea of turning opportunities over to an account executive to capture the opportunity created by another person is a strange discontinuity. The client thinks, “I was working with this person, then they brought in these experts, and now I am being handed off to a new person, one who hasn’t been involved in any of this up to the point.”

Once the client is won, a new account manager enters the picture. This person is designed to handle their day-to-day needs, and the account executive and the rest of the many other “sales” people all disappear, allegedly on to hunt for the next opportunity. The account manager is supposed to be a farmer, but they are also expected to hunt inside their account, even though they don’t posses both of those skill sets.

This is Taylorism taken too far. The division of labor is no longer reasonable or effective, and it it no longer considers what is necessary to serve clients, nor what is necessary to win deals.

Filed under: Sales Knowledge

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