Sales Development is Project Management
Guest Post by Sales Development and Project Management Pro Daniil Krets
Knowing how to run a good process has unquestionably been helpful as a manager, and it was also a force multiplier when I was an individual contributor. Before focusing on building a career in Sales Development, I’ve been super passionate about Project Management. I ran complex projects in fintech for years before moving to the US and making a transition to sales. I even secured a PMP certification back in 2016 which I’ve been finding extremely valuable ever since. For example, as an SDR, whenever you have a slow week and ask your manager how to bounce back you’re most likely going to get a similar answer every time: trust the process.
This is why the process is so important in Sales Development. The essence of Sales Development is building a repeatable, measurable, and predictable process that scales with the business. In this blog post, I will dive into the key knowledge areas of Project Management and how they align with Sales Development. I will provide examples to highlight some of the key components of a successful sales development strategy and what SDR Leaders need to focus on to build a good process.
What does Project Management have to do with Sales Development?
Actually a whole lot. If you run a basic search on key knowledge areas the waterfall Project Management methodology focuses on, the list is going to look like this:
Let’s see how each one aligns with Sales Development. By doing this, we will unpack the similarities and see how project management skills are relevant in sales development and identify the top 3-5 most important “project management components” of sales development an SDR Manager should polish to be successful.
Let’s dive into each individual component:
Another component that stands out when I think about this knowledge area is integrating and defining the scope of Sales Development within the organization. As an SDR Leader, you have to be a bit more involved in sales and marketing than you’d like to because you’re sandwiched between the two parts of the funnel and the state of both heavily influences your performance and what ultimately your “project” needs to look like.
What does this mean?
The SDR Manager job is increasingly becoming more about running a good scalable and measurable process, rather than about getting the messaging out there and making sure the results are good enough. The job is becoming more and more complex as the function matures in the business world and becomes a key component of the GTM strategy for a lot of organizations. I’d argue that at this point, the job is probably done best by a group of people, rather than one person.
Some “projects” are very different jobs by design and it’s difficult to find a unicorn SDR Manager that does all of them well. Some are better people leaders (or cheerleaders) than others, some are focusing on strategy, tools, and process more than anything else. Both are good options but for different stages of Sales Development function maturity and the type/stage of the organization.
Right now, we’re seeing SDR Enablement and Operations emerging as new, separate functions within SDR organizations and this is a sign of the function evolving and becoming more complex. This proves my point about the fact that this part of the funnel, being run by one person with no support and resources, the way it used to years ago (but still being the case quite a bit today), is unscalable or impossible.
The areas to master will be different for each individual SDR manager but being self-aware and identifying the key areas of growth is extremely important for career development and growth. Communities and resources like Tenbound help accelerate this growth and learn from past mistakes and experiences. Networking and having mentors are key drivers that helped me grow as a professional and a leader faster which I’d highly recommend to any new SDR Manager.
To sum things up, the most important project management areas to master as an SDR Leader from my perspective are Risk, Resource, Communication, Quality, and Stakeholder management. Coupled with an ability to run a good process, mastery within these areas guarantees a long and successful Sales Development Leadership career.
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