Why 24% of Sales Development Reps Report to Marketing

According to recent data from the Bridge Group, 24% of sales development reps (SDRs) report directly to Marketing.


Great eBook on SDRs by The Bridge Group

These numbers are similar to what what we’ve been seeing with our own customer base, indicating not only more responsibility for customer acquisition from marketing leaders, but also increasing alignment between Sales and Marketing. Simply put, closing deals is no longer considered Sales’ problem.

Here are a few reasons we are seeing a significant portion of sales development teams report to Marketing, rather than sales.

Sales Teams Are Becoming Increasingly Specialized

The Bridge Group study shows that it is more common for reps that qualify inbound leads to report to Marketing than reps that make outbound calls prospecting for new leads. This really reflects a growing trend of sales role specialization. And as reps become increasingly specialized, it doesn’t always make sense for them to report to the same supervisors.

That being said, it makes perfect sense for a rep that hunts for new outbound leads to report directly to a sales manager (or even a specific account executive they’re mining leads for). And according to The Bridge Group, 79% of prospectors do report to sales. However, only 52% of reps that exclusively qualify inbound leads report to sales. In many cases it just makes more sense for reps that qualify inbound leads to report to marketers.

Marketing’s Role is Expanding

There’s a quote from the Bridge Group’s eBook that is worth sharing. “We recommend that [the Sales Development] team report to whomever has the expertise, bandwidth and passion to lead it.”

This duty is falling to Marketing more frequently due to an expanding role in marketing. Today’s top marketers aren’t only concerned with generating leads, they want to generate top quality leads. As such, they are taking increased ownership of teams that qualify leads in order to closely monitor lead quality.

Back in 2012, a study from the Fournaise Group showed that only 20% of CEOs considered their top marketers to be ROI marketers. But times are changing. We’re working with more and more marketers that want the ability to measure the velocity of leads through their entire pipeline. To that end, they are taking increased ownership of lead qualification teams in order to help reps do a better job of providing sales with winable opportunities.

To sum up the shift:

Old Paradigm– Marketers generate leads, closing is Sales’ “problem.”

New Paradigm– Marketers are closely monitoring lead quality, helping reps qualify leads, and doing everything in their power to maximize the ROI of their efforts.

Intelligent Call Tracking is Inspiring Sales and Marketing Alignment

Another reason that marketers are leading teams of reps that qualify leads is because they are in charge of implementing technology that helps those reps be successful. Several of our clients use our call tracking solution to not only track which efforts are driving qualified leads, but also to route calls to reps intelligently and share prospect data with those reps in the context of calls. For example, by using RingDNA, a rep could see the keyword that triggered a call and instantly know what to sell.

The fact that marketers are taking a more active role in leading inside sales efforts speaks to one of our core beliefs here at RingDNA: that Sales and Marketing should share a common goal—maximizing revenue—and should always work in tandem to transform prospects into loyal customers.

About the Author

Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis is a sales and marketing strategist and Sr. Content Marketing Manager at RingDNA. Over the past decade, Davis has honed his business communications skills working as an inside sales manager, business writer and agency marketer. He is a proponent of utilizing platform technology and evidence-based methodologies to optimize creative campaigns, marketing ROI and sales performance.

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