“It’s tricky, isn’t it?” I mused with a new contact just made in the large sale, complex solution, long cycle B2B sales environment? Where do you draw the line between where the BDMs stop in the new opportunity conversion process, and where the product / service developers step in to take over, thereby releasing the BDM back into the field to hunt down the next new prospect / opportunity”.
“That’s fairytale land in our organisation, Glenn. Our BDMs have NOONE to hand over the project to. They have to double up as the bespoke product / service developer.”
I felt his pain, vicariously. “What then happens to keeping the consistency going on other opportunities in the pipeline, during those heavy product/service development periods?”
“Pure and simple, Glenn. Those visits and activities fall by the wayside during those periods. Which sometimes can run for several months in our game.”
I winced, again. “So progress of new opportunities through the pipeline are held to ransom by technical diversion to convert other opportunities that have reached the product/service development stage?”
“Hadn’t thought of it like that, Glenn, but I guess you are right.”
This is a common fallacy in sales team design in this type of B2B sales organisation segment. The key is to find the right “line in the sand”, and separate the responsibilities into separate roles. Which will often mean “sacrificing” one or more BDMs to specialist project / service development , to the overall nett benefit of the organisation. And the key parameter? Find the line in the sand the splits the responsibilities / roles at the point that the BDMs can plan and execute an on-going proactive and targeted visit cycle with negligible responsive product / service development requirements.
You see , the one thing that should be common for all Sales Execs, whether at the transactional end of the spectrum where we find the stereotypical “coca cola milk run rep” or the complex solution sales BDM (as above) end of the spectrum, is that programmed, planned, proactive and targeted visits, that are not subordinated to urgent responsive or reactive needs, should be the holy grail to aspire to. Good sales team design needs it!