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Why Sales Development Is Like Working Out

Anyone who is dedicated to getting in shape and working out can attest to the fact that one of the things you quickly learn is that building strength and muscle requires the right balance of weight and repetitions. Maximum gains in fitness come not from a large number of repetitions with low weight, or through the opposite, trying to lift extremely heavy weight with few repetitions. Maximum gains come from a balanced mix of both.

The same can be said for sales development efforts. Maximum increases in pipeline growth and revenue come from the right balance of quantity and quality. When talking about quantity I’m clearly referring to the number of prospects targeted with cold outreach efforts. And when looking at quality, elements such as target market specificity, highly relevant and contextualized cold emails, proper follow up sequences, etc., must be examined.

An unbalanced approach that is focused on blasting thousands of prospects with non-contextualized “spammy” emails will yield little to no results. Conversely, a very low volume of overly contextualized outreach will have a similar result. Striking the right balance in order to see maximum gains takes the right approach and some heavy lifting. (pun intended)


There’s no question that, to a certain degree, sales is a numbers game. Even in today’s hyper-focused, hyper-contextualized B2B sales world this still carries some weight. But it’s all about creating the right balance, and developing enough outbound targets to build a sufficiently large pipeline, but not to the extent that you begin to comprise quality.

Because most decision makers are getting inundated daily with cold emails, connection requests, and InMails, two things must always occur in order to stand out and be successful:

Your outreach efforts must be focused on the right companies, the right contacts, and contain the right messaging. The necessary research and segmentation must be conducted in order to ensure contextualized and personalized messaging. And this is the quality component that must never be compromised.


This all ties in closely with account based sales, and more specifically in this case, account based sales development. By creating a tiered account structure where there is a greater level of research and contextualization integrated into outreach efforts focused on larger enterprise accounts (Tier 1), and slightly less initial leg work for more standard sized target accounts (Tier 2), you can more easily maintain quality and do so at scale.


In order to maintain a high level of quality, and also maximize outbound volume (more repetitions at a heavier weight), three things must happen:

A clearly defined process around account research and crafting contextualized messages must be implemented.

Technology must be utilized whenever possible to create automation and efficiency.

Account and contact data must be detailed and also stay complete, accurate, and consistent.

These three variables are equally important and interdependent. It should be noted that process should always come before technology. After all, technology will only make bad processes worse.


The thing I love about sales development is that it’s the one area of sales that is almost 100% science, and taking a scientific approach requires building measurable and repeatable processes. So, by creating processes that have all of these traits you will be able to test your way to having a sales development program that strikes the perfect balance of quantity and quality.

The playbook on building standard sales development processes and using the right technologies is well known. The real opportunity lies in developing the appropriate processes around all of the efforts that precede the actual outreach. Processes that create efficiency and effectiveness around research, contextualization, and insight delivery enable sales leaders to truly create high quality outreach efforts at great scale.

Getting in shape and getting yourself to a level of fitness that allows you to lift more weight at a higher volume takes time, effort, and the right approach. But the beauty of it is, if you have the discipline to stick with a routine, gains in performance become very predictable. That’s also the case with sales development efforts. Taking an approach that relies on repeatable process and data will facilitate sales development efforts that achieve both quantity and quality, and subsequently, a predictable growth machine.

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