Throughout the SpareFoot office, there are whispers of wild creatures known as LDRs–no one knows what they stand for, what they do or when they feed, but their presence is felt and their name feared. We see them fly by with headsets askew on their heads and half-eaten squirrels hanging out of their mouths, and we can’t help but wonder–who are these mysterious beasts?
Just kidding–our office is nowhere near that savage. But I’m serious when I say that most of us–and the outside world, probably–don’t really know what an LDR is or does. It’s easy to pinpoint what sales, customer experience, or marketing do–the job is in the name, after all. I set out into the wild, brushy tangles of Jungle SpareFoot with Eliza Thornberry in my heart to figure out everything I could about the LDR.
The first thing I discovered was that sadly, the term “LDR” doesn’t stand for lethal deadly reptile or Lana del Rey–it’s actually lead development representative. I wrangled two of our LDR team members, Charlie Windlinger and Tod Mullen, who allowed me to peek inside their obscure world.
“We are the first contact that our potential clients have with SpareFoot,” said Charlie. “So a good impression is very important.”
A misconception of lead development is that it performs the same function as a sales team. There couldn’t be a bigger difference, however, and it’s important for startups and small businesses to recognize the distinction if they want to streamline better sales.
“We function as a part of the sales team,” said Tod. “We’re the first touch with the customer, so essentially we’re laying the groundwork. Ultimately, we bridge the gap between potential customer and our sales team.”
Lead development representatives are basically friendly and informative people who try to figure out if the customer is a good fit for the company and vice versa. LDRs nurture a relationship with potential clients, build rapport and trust, and give and receive relevant information all at once. Not an easy thing to do. As a B2B company, SpareFoot’s own LDR team plays an integral part in our sales pipeline.
“We want to find out as much initial information as possible about the storage facility,” said Charlie. “For example, what kind of units and availability they have, so that the sales rep doesn’t have to spend a lot of time on that and can instead focus more on the product.”
Lead generation is more vital than ever for effective and high-quality sales. It’s a challenging job, especially when so many business operators are bombarded with calls daily. The task requires finesse and a great deal of intuition.
“Typically we’re not talking to decision makers,” said Charlie. “We’re talking to gatekeepers, so everyone gets a lot of calls like this. They’re pretty wary of being pitched and sold stuff, which is not what we’re trying to do.”
Creating an LDR team can have huge benefits for your company and increase productivity and revenue in the long run. It ultimately poses great advantages for the sales team, who can allocate more time to their actual sales, and allows for greater relationships with potential customers and future clients. According to Tod, small companies and startups considering an LDR team should hire the following type of candidate:
“You need someone who is persistent and extremely organized. They should be quick to extract relevant information from the customer while still relaying a positive impression of the company. You don’t want someone who might leave out insightful information that could make or break a sale for the sales team. Find someone who’s able to think on their feet and adapt to the settings of a phone call, because it can go in any direction. Finally, and maybe most importantly, you need someone who’s not afraid to ask questions.”
After all, as Tod so philosophically phrased it, “LDR is life.”