It’s Time For Business Development To Eat Its Broccoli

Sales Process is the “broccoli” of the sales world – we know it is good for us but we still have a hard time implementing it. Find out why #embracingbroccoli is key to your business growth.

By David Baars, Marketing Manager at PipelineDeals


I love working with sales and business development teams but I hate the feeling of “being sold.” When I’m being sold, I get the distinct feeling that:

  • The salesperson’s needs are more important than my business’s needs.
  • The salesperson’s time is more important than my time.
  • The salesperson’s priorities are more important than my business’s priorities.

The best salespeople don’t make you feel like you’re being sold to at all. The best salespeople make you feel you have learned something valuable and they motivate you to take action. The best salespeople have a process for making themselves trusted advisors and help you navigate a complicated business decision. In short, they make buying easy and fun.

The idea that buyer’s hate being sold to is conventional wisdom at this point. So why does it feel like we’re drowning in impersonal pitches, unwanted emails, and generally scammy sales hacks? Because we ARE drowning.

Business development and sales is built on three pillars: people, process, and technology. Of these three pillars, I believe process is the most important and least sexy element of sales. It’s the proverbial “broccoli” of the sales world. And business development is still struggling to embrace sales process.

Negatives sales behaviors like scammy pitches, not respecting a buyer’s time, and impersonal emails and cold calls are symptoms of poor sales process. And truthfully, (many) salespeople have not embraced broccoli since the dawn of sales.

Salespeople have been quick to embrace technologies that make their work easier and more fun. For instance, sales enablement tools like YesWare, Salesloft, and the new Connect feature for PipelineDeals are great for helping salespeople know which emails are resonating with buyers. This type of technology helps salespeople focus on who to follow-up with and when.

There’s a dark side to these technologies that many sales teams do not admit. We may have the technology to scale business development, but that doesn’t mean we have the right processes in place to scale in the right way.

Interestingly, the adoption of new technologies in sales has grown in parallel with a rise in sales hacks. Sales hacks are quick, tactical measures that promise to improve your sales results in a big way with little effort. While sales hacks do not necessarily have to be bad, an over-reliance on these hacks in the absence of a clear strategy is dangerous.

To illustrate, I’ve recently been receiving cold emails from digital marketing and advertising businesses. As a fellow marketer and paid search advertiser, I understand how PipelineDeals ended up as a potential lead for these agencies. I respect that they’re trying to build awareness and win my business. I’m not convinced though that many of these businesses have a coherent process in place to predictably win new business.

Take for example the email that I received below. I’ve received this same email, almost word-for-word, from scores of sales development reps.

Admittedly, I’m choosing to highlight a particularly lame email that I’ve received one too many times. It also happens to be featured as a “winning” email template on a popular blog for sales development reps. However, most emails that I receive from business development types are not much better.

As business development professionals, I am concerned about the philosophy underpinning this type of spammy business development. At the very least, we should recognize that it is disrespectful of your buyer’s time to copy an email template you read on a blog somewhere and call it a day.

I make it a point to accept nearly every cold call because I’m really passionate about business development. Many sales development reps (SDRs) I interact with daily do not have a solid process in place for becoming a trusted advisor. What I hear from SDRs when they call is: these are MY needs, give ME your time, focus on MY priorities. This egocentric view of your product or service is precisely the reason why people hate being sold to.

So what can we do about it? If you’re not happy with your business’s sales results, then take a look back at the fundamentals of sales. It can be tempting to throw more money at your sales problem by adding more salespeople or purchasing new technology, but that money will be wasted if your sales process is not fundamentally sound. Bad process is costing your business’s time, money, and reputation. It’s time for sales and marketing to eat their broccoli and develop a better sales process.