Are reps missing quota because AEs are unwilling/unskilled at outbound prospecting?
I talk to a lot of companies that have seriously cut (or even eliminated) their BDR teams and are now asking their AEs to self-source. Why? The BDRs were hurting CAC payback because they weren't efficiently creating pipeline. Solution: cut the BDR team and tell the AEs it's their job now.
I'm not denying that a lot of teams got super flabby during the boom. Building a BDR team supporting reps 1:2 with tiny meeting quotas on a middling ACV business ain't gonna work when money costs money.
However, the magical thinking that says AEs can do what the BDRs couldn't doesn't cut it either. If you're equipping your AEs with the same bad ICP definition, requiring them to prioritize in the same poorly designed static territories, encouraging the same stale messaging, and holding them to the same spammy outbound tactics that your BDRs used... I can tell you where that leads and it's not to hitting your number.
Oh and on top of that, you’re asking your AEs to do as a part time job what your BDRs couldn’t do as a full time job.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with a full-cycle AE approach; specialization isn't always the answer. But if you’re going to go down that path, you have to equip your AEs for success. Ops and enablement have to take on the job of making extraordinary focus and efficiency possible.
Here’s what that looks like:
Your ICP is absolutely nailed down. You know who you’re going to sell to and, more importantly, who you’re not going to sell to.
Reps have tight, focused books of accounts that fit the ICP like a glove and (as much as possible right now) are in-market. Everything else is extraneous and shouldn’t even show up for the reps. More accounts does not more opportunity in this environment. If an account is disqualified, get it out of their name and give them a new one, STAT.
Reps have messaging that clearly addresses ICP pain points. They’re equipped with use cases and customer references from similar accounts that drive radical relevance when they reach out.
Reps don’t (and aren’t incented to) spray-and-pray. They’re using every channel at their disposal (email, phone, LI, communities) to engage with multiple stakeholders in a thoughtful way.
You have all the analytics you need (and the will) to hold reps accountable for coverage and immediately address any gaps.
Try doing all of that. These “uwilling/unskilled” reps might be more willing and more skilled than you thought.