Inbound Marketing + Sales Blog

March 9, 2018

The Role of an MDR in the Inbound Sales Process

Written by: Eric Velli  |  Share:


You may be familiar with the acronym MDR, but what is an MDR's function? And what role do they play in the Inbound marketing and sales process? We'll fill you in on the reasons why MDRs are so essential to aligning marketing and sales operations, generating revenue growth and streamlining your sales pipeline.

What is an MDR?

A Marketing Development Representative, or MDR, is the tip of the spear when it comes to prospect engagement. They are the first real human communication that a prospect hears from. Think of them as the middlemen between marketing and sales. They are responsible for moving leads and MQLs through the buyer's journey to become Opportunities.

On the other hand, Sales or Business Development Representatives, or SDRs, are more focused on outbound calls and activities while an MDR is mainly concerned with inbound Leads. However, they are similar in that they both work to help prospects recognize a challenge and teach them how to overcome it. Both MDRs and SDRs share the same goal of nurturing Leads up to the point at which they're ready to  book a meeting with a Sales Rep.

 What role does an MDR play in the Inbound sales process?

When a new Lead downloads a piece of content, an MDR's job is to qualify that Lead and nurture them through the inital stages of the buyer's journey. The MDR lives within the "connect" stage of the inbound sales process. This means engaging with prospects through calls, emails, and social channels. It's extremely important for an MDR to personalize their outreach, educate their prospects and always be helpful.

This doesn't mean that an MDR's sole role is to sell meetings — the word "marketing" in their title has significance. They create "buzz" by using existing marketing materials to stimulate interest and help solve their prospect's challenges. This involves sharing content and offering relevant and helpful suggestions. It's important for an MDR to build trust and provide value before trying to initiate a sales call.

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What responsibilities does an MDR own?

Like an SDR, an MDR shares the same basic responsibilities of qualifying and engaging Leads and performing account-based outreach to connect with the right individuals at a prospective company.  If their first point of contact isn't responsive or simply doesn't hold decision-maker status, it's up to an MDR to seek out the right individual within a company for whom a sales conversation would be most relevant. At the end of the day, an MDR is responsible for booking meetings. But they also play gatekeeper, ensuring that only qualified Leads are allowed to pass through to sales and purging unqualified or bad-fit Leads from the funnel at an early stage so resources aren't wasted on dead-end Leads.

It is crucial for an MDR to find as much context on a prospect as possible from the information captured on their form submission. That means doing some detective work on their website and preferred social channels (like LinkedIn) to uncover information about their tech stack, company revenue, funding history, buyer persona, and other criteria to determine if they're qualified for further outreach. Along with this, an MDR can use marketing automation software to gauge a prospect's "digital body language" by using their engagement behavior as a guide for inferring their underlying intent, needs and objectives. This includes taking note of pages they've viewed, marketing emails they've opened, what time they open emails, and much more.

Armed with context and the "digital body language" of a Lead, an MDR can begin outreach by delivering personalized, relevant content that they believe will be valuable to the prospect given what they've uncovered. Outreach can begin with an email or call, but there are endless ways to tap on a Lead's virtual shoulder. That's why it is important to hire an MDR that is comfortable making connections across a variety of mediums and using those connections to nurture relationships and create Opportunities.

How do MDRs impact your overall success and efficiency?

Hiring an MDR takes pressure off of your Sales Reps by allowing them to focus on the last stage of the buyer's journey: converting Opportunities into customers. Once an MDR has created an Opportunity and passed it off to a Sales Rep, it's on to the next one. By focusing solely on streamlining the first part of your funnel, MDRs should help prevent bottlenecks and build a more efficient sales process.

By ensuring that no unqualified opportunities enter your pipeline, MDRs also work to reduce customer acquisition costs. By disqualifying poor-fit Leads early on in the sales process, MDRs decrease Opportunity nurturing costs down the line and increase the likelihood of seeing greater ROI for your marketing and sales calories spent. In this way, MDRs directly contribute to revenue growth.

To learn more about the Inbound marketing and sales process, download our Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing below.

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Topics: Inbound Sales, Inbound Marketing, Demand Generation, Revenue Operations

About The Author

Eric Velli is a Growth Specialist at New Breed. He specializes in helping marketers meet their inbound marketing and demand generation goals.

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