Are Sales Roles Too Specialized? w/ Bridget Gleason and Anthony Iannarino [Episode 450]

In this episode, we unpack sales qualification and sales role structure, and how that relates back to driving revenue the right way.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. This episode also features guest Anthony Iannarino, of and author of the best-selling book The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.


Anthony has written an article about sales roles being broken down into too many pieces, as in an assembly line. He claims the division is disruptive to the client. Anthony explains his views about qualification.

SaaS seems to assume that specialization is the right model. Bridget says that assumption should be challenged. Her Israeli company doesn’t rely on this American concept.

Anthony compares and contrasts BDR, SDRs, AEs, and AMs, and Subject Matter Experts (SME). He lays out the case that none of this division appeals to, or adds value for, the client, and the client is not interested in it.

The closing success in the SaaS industry is very low compared to traditional B2B sales. Anthony talks about how he targeted multiple stakeholders in 1979. “Bellbottoms are back.” Sales is a cyclical business driven by repeating trends.

Bridget has not seen sales specialized to the degree Anthony describes. When she has employed SDRs, they have also closed some business. The way for people to grow is not to be confined into narrowly defined roles.

SDRs serve their employer, rather than providing value to a client, and burn out in a year. Bridget says truly is committed to the customer, and to the customer experience.

You can’t qualify before discovery. You need to understand where the buyer is in their cycle, and how to help them. Not every future customer is ready to buy at this moment. “A lead is like a lottery ticket.” — Andy Paul.

Anthony contrasts selling and the pipeline, and looking to a future sale. Help get them ready to buy, or your competitor will do that for them. Show them how to fix their root cause problem. Then they will be qualified.

Bridget says BANT is a narrow way to qualify. A broader definition of qualifying involves understanding if the prospect has a pain or aspiration that you can partner with them to resolve, even down the line. Sales is problem-solving.

Anthony has no regard for BANT, and current sales roles. Qualifying by BANT gives the prospect no value to listen, so you disqualify people who might have bought.

Bridget would define BDRs and SDRs into roles that do more than BANT, because prospects will continue to shut them out. Anthony brings up AI taking over sales roles. Bridget has heard it before.

Anthony calls out poor performers. The process itself cannot sell. Selling is a human role. The individual makes the difference. Anthony hails the new Account-Based Andy.

The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.