CMO Coffee Talk ‘Aha! Moment’: 7 Reasons Your BDRs Aren’t Making Quota

4 minutes
Apr 29, 2022
Account-Based ExperienceDigital Marketing

Editor's Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz...

Editor’s Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing co-hosts these dynamic, illuminating conversations with 6sense CMO Latané Conant. 


The role of sales development continues to expand and evolve, as companies exponentially grow the number of sales professionals focused on lead development and appointment-setting capacities. 

Simple job, right? Find the right audience, identify those with need, and get them interested in learning more. 

Of course reality isn’t nearly that simple, as we found during a recent CMO Coffee Talk conversation. We discussed how companies continue to hire aggressively, throw people at a phone and a list, and then wonder why they aren’t hitting their number. 

If you’re managing a sales development or business development representative (BDR) team, take a peek at these seven symptoms we identified during our chat that can drag down your results. 

They Lack Discipline

Sales development is a difficult job. It requires a high volume of activity that can typically only be consistently achieved by staying focused on execution for long stretches of time.

This takes discipline and a set of productivity/efficiency skills that most BDRs aren’t naturally equipped with. This training alone — helping your reps hone the ability to focus and execute — can significantly increase their capacity and results. 

They Don’t Understand Your Customers or Their Industries 

Sales training too often focuses on product knowledge at the expense of customer and industry knowledge.

Do your reps know who they’re speaking to? Do they know their language, their slang, their acronyms?  Do they understand the calendar cycles of their industries in ways that empower them to speak credibly, build rapport, and continue the conversation? 

Their Lists Suck 

Lists always suck. There is no perfect list. But all too often, BDRs are given lists that marketing says are fine, but in reality cause a dramatic drop in their productivity. These lists may appear fine when used to send email, because the resulting response metrics look “fine.”

But if you require an individual rep to call each and every prospect, they’ll end up wasting time with a high volume of prospects that don’t exist, are the wrong buyer, or take five times too long to reach simply because the data hasn’t been updated recently. 

Their Pitch Sucks 

Left to their own devices (and far too many BDRs are), and in a vacuum of customer/industry understanding, your reps will create a pitch that is product-centric.

These kinds of pitches confuse prospects because they’re delivered out of context. They’re also often delivered in the midst of a crazy-busy day that offers no wiggle room to interpret something new that isn’t easy to understand.

Great pitches aren’t about products. They’re about people and products. 

They Lack Motivation 

Generating motivation among BDRs can be simple. It can be $20 in beer money on a Friday afternoon, or recognition in front of their peers. Little things can jump-start behavior that create habits and, ultimately, big results.

If you think team motivation is, “Well, they have a job and our comp plan is solid,” you’re missing an opportunity to drive greater productivity, retention, and loyalty. 

They’re Pushing Prospects Too Far, Too Fast 

“Thanks for downloading our white paper, would you like to see a demo?”

Uh, no thanks. You can’t ask prospects to take you home on the first date. If your primary metric across the sales development team is demo appointments, you’re probably moving too fast for your prospects.

Appointments are fine, but they should be positioned based on the prospect’s needs — not your product pitch. 

They Lack Empathy and Customer Understanding 

Empathy requires training and practice. And it takes listening to those who came before you and to the shifting needs of the prospects you’re speaking with every day. BDRs who care more about their prospects than they do about their products consistently perform better.

Even over the phone, prospects can hear this empathy and understanding, and respond positively to it. 

Coming Up on CMO Coffee Talk… 

In our next CMO Coffee Talk meetup (which is just around the corner!), we’re focused on agency management best practices.

How are you measuring impact and performance? What intangibles should you look for during the search process? And what are some early warning signs that things just aren’t working out? You don’t want to miss this one! 

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