Sales development is a though job, and success is hard to come by. If you managed to set an appointment for a sales demo, congrats, you can do a little victory dance. But your job doesn’t end there. Sales development representatives need to have a perfectly smooth process to hand-off qualified leads to the account executives, after they have set an appointment.

The key to success is having the heads of both departments in the same room to hammer out the compromise. Open dialogue and transparent communication is integral to ensure the needs of both parties are met. I’ve mapped out below the lead qualification and lead hand-off process, with easy steps to follow and templates included.

Lead Qualification

Sales development reps need to hand off information about the prospect. They also need to provide an easy way to know where the information is held. Below we have an email template example to an account executive for appointment hand-off. It has all he details the account executive needs before jumping in on a demo call:

  • Company name
  • Person name and title
  • Link to event in Salesforce where notes will be stored



Hope you are doing well. I just set up an appointment for you with Robb Young who is the Director of Business Development at InsideSales.com.

Here is the link that will take you to the event in salesforce where you can find my notes from the call:  (include CRM Link)


Alex J

State of Sales Development 2017 - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Sales Development (1)

Adding Notes to SalesForce:

Now, whether you are working with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP or any other customer relationship management software, you need to leave notes for your account executive about the prospect. Here is the list of details you must enter in the CRM notes. Now, there are obviously some details which are specific to SaaS sales here, and you might customize this list based on your industry and sales goals :

  • Source of meeting (eBook download, webinar, demo request, cold outreach or target persona, etc.)
  • What sparked their interest initially?
  • What did you discuss that led them to agree to a discovery call?
  • Structure of their company/team
  • What types of systems are they using?
  • *Optional – What product would best fit their needs?

Below you have an example of how we do this at InsideSales.com:


  • Robb filled out a web form to receive our “Time management for sales” infographic
  • We started talking about his sales team and he opened up about how his SDR’s could be better with their time management. He wanted to check out the infographic to see what it was about. I explained to Robb that we have a platform that helps make SDR’s be a lot more efficient with their time. Robb was interested to learn more, so we set up a time for a discovery call next week.
  • They have 20 SDR’s and 40 AE’s in their team, and two managers
  • All SDR’s and account executives use Salesforce
  • Didn’t go into detail about if they are calling on cold leads, or if they get more inbound leads. No information on what product they might need.

sales follow-up guide - how to talk to customers so they listen - woman on the phone smiling

Lead Qualification Criteria

The lead qualification criteria will depend on your go-to market strategy, target audience and personas. Make sure you have these buttoned up and come up with a list of minimum criteria for lead qualification. Here is an example below:

Account/Persona Minimum Matrix:

  • Annual contract paid upfront – Does the prospect have the funds needed?
  • Technology requirements OR other requirements, based on industry (Are they able to implement your solution, service or product?)
  • Title minimum – What is the minimum title level for a prospect to be able to close the deal or become an executive sponsor for your product (manager, director, or other?)

You might add or remove some of these criteria based on the specifics of your business or product. Some companies work only with local clients, others will do national or international shipping. Or, you might have other lead qualification criteria you care about.

Sales development representatives qualify prospects based on the first two sets of the ANUM model, Authority and Need. If the prospect does not have authority (can they sign? were they asked to look into this solution by their manager? do they hold the credit card?), or need (the need will vary based on your industry or product), then the sales development rep will not receive credit or commission for the demo.


never miss your number again - how to respond to inbound leads

What Makes a Sales Qualified Lead?

What is a sales qualified lead, well – this will vary of course with each company and each product or service. Oftentimes, the difference between a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead is the intent to purchase.

If you found prospects which are ready to become a client, congratulations! However, your work is still not done yet. Here are the next moves to make sure you get closer to signing a contract:

-Secure stakeholder with agreement to next steps

-Identify a potential timeline for decision

The key to success is having the heads of both Sales Development and Account Executives departments in the same room to hammer out details. Open dialogue and transparent communication is integral to ensuring the needs of both parties are met and and buy in from both sides is achieved. 

Make sure you set criteria for both inbound leads and outbound lead qualification.

Sales Executive Responsibility

Once the lead has been qualified, the sales executive will assume that the prospect / lead falls under the first two sets of the ANUM model, Authority and Need. The Sales Executive will dig further into the prospects’ situation with specific questions to identify problems and gaps in their strategies, and create a sense of Urgency.

Once Urgency is created through various questions, pricing is presented and budget is identified. 

The account executives are responsible for the demo, allowing the prospect a window of ownership (if running late), follow-up Demos, meeting with additional members from the team, as well as coordinating next steps.

If the lead doesn’t show up,  it is the Sales Executives’ responsibility to either continue to re-engage, or pass it back to the SDR lead pool to prospect into.

The Importance of a Seamless Lead Hand-Off Process

Once again, success for your lead hand-off process– and ultimately for your sale will depend on great communication between your sales development rep and account executive teams. Research from InsideSales.com Labs shows that sales teams with good coordination between sales development reps and account executives show higher rates of appointments holding and opportunities successfully passing.

Appointment hold rate for SDRs and AEs who meet daily is 17.7% higher than for those who only meet once a week. More importantly, quota attainment is 7.2% higher for those companies with daily communication between SDRs and AEs, shows the “State of Sales Development 2017” study.

That should surely motivate you to become best friends with your account executive. Happy selling!

sales development 2017 report - people in call center, girl smiling


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