If you’re in the commercial real estate industry, you may come across sales and marketing job titles which seem similar but are actually quite different. The more common job titles that CRE brokers experience are Marketing Assistants and Sales Development Rep. While they both share the similar goal of selling a product or a service and generate leads (AKA: generating more clients), their responsibilities are very different.

A person goes through different stages before they become a buyer/client. With each stage, a specific person is responsible for ensuring that the customer goes through the pipeline. Marketing assistants are usually the ones to come first in the sales process. They are responsible for making ads, banners, flyers, and newsletters to help the potential tenant or buyer become aware of your product or service. But what happens most of the time is that the Marketing Assistant spends a lot of time creating marketing materials and flyers to market existing properties. That leaves little time for them to try to drum up new business.

The other thing about marketing assistants is that they serve a “Marketing” role, not an outbound sales role to aggressively drum up new business. Instead of creating new leads they focus on moving listings your existing clients have you represent them on. Once the marketing materials generate a lead that expresses interest in a property, they pass it off to their boss (or broker).

This is where the Sales Development Representative comes in. They focus on outbound prospecting (not on generating tenant/buyer leads for your existing listings). This means, they identify promising prospects, create client target lists, make cold calls, send cold emails, search through LinkedIn for the best way to get you a meeting with an account and also qualify the prospect before handing them off to the salesperson/broker who will close the deal. Their job involves doing research about the prospect, calling, emailing, and booking appointments and meetings. The salesperson or agent then meets with the prospect to close the deal. Sales development reps basically have to make sure to keep your sales pipeline full with the right prospects thus making your sales process much faster.

Think of Sales Development Reps (SDR) like this:
  • SDR = generate qualified leads
  • Salesperson/Agents = Close the deal

When trying to grow your commercial real estate business, specialization roles like these can prove to be very beneficial. When there is a dedicated person taking care of each stage of the buyer’s journey, it becomes much simpler. You don’t want scatterbrained reps who handle everything from lead gen work to closing the deal. Having specific departments dedicated to marketing, sales development, sales, and account management streamlines the process. It allows everyone to focus on every delicate stage of the buyer’s journey.

The book Predictable Revenue written by the sales leader who scaled Salesforce.com’s sales team created and employed this method. They specialized their sales roles and experienced a quick growth in their business. No matter what size your business is, you can greatly benefit from having a separate Marketing Assistant, SDR and salesperson or agent. 


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