If you’re riding the sales development wave, you’ve no doubt seen some successes. It’s a proven model that works to bring in fresh new leads, and many organizations have embraced it.
But the way you structure your organization will have a huge impact on the success of your SDRs, and your sales and marketing efforts in general. So the question is: should sales development reps report to sales or marketing?
Know your goals
In order to answer this question, you must start by answering a more basic question: What are the goals of your sales development reps?
Typically, the goal of SDRs is either: bring in and qualifying more MQLs or increase specific activity within the pipeline. And although the distinction might seem miniscule, it will help you understand who your SDRs should report to.
In the first instance, SDRs work more like a layer between marketing and sales. They take the MQLs generated by marketing and qualify them before passing the most promising on to sales. They are essentially tied to the demand generation function, and as such are more likely to find success reporting in to the marketing department.
In the second instance, SDRs are tasked with helping MQLs become something actionable that the sales team can dig their teeth into. This usually requires more outbound than inbound activity, and rather than being measured by the number of leads they bring in, they are usually measured by the number of activities they initiate. This makes them more aligned with sales functions, and they will find more success reporting to sales in this case.
If you’re having difficulty deciding how to position your SDRs, think about it this way: how are you measuring your pipeline? Is it by the number of new leads generated by marketing? If so, it probably makes sense to have your SDRs report into marketing. Is it by the number of leads passed on to sales? If so, have your SDRs report into sales.
The state of SDRs today
According to recent statistics from TOPO, 64 percent of sales development teams report to sales. However, they also found that in larger enterprises, over half of the sales development teams reported to marketing. Plus, the top-performing SDR teams performed more or less the same, regardless of where they reported in to.
So what does this mean for your organization?
Ultimately, your SDR team will be successful if you equip them for success. Whichever department you choose to have them report in to, make sure you are clear about the reporting structure, and give them the resources they need to get their job done.