Sales Development Representative (SDR)
Sales Development Representative (SDR) Jobs
The last couple of decades have seen a significant evolution in sales development. Formerly, sales representatives began their careers cold calling and answering phones in the hopes of landing potential customers.
These days, sales development representatives (SDRs) take an even more active role by qualifying leads, prospecting, and conducting sales outreach. Their primary job is to make as many contacts with potential clients as possible to determine whether to advance them in the sales funnel promptly.
While cold calling and making direct contact with prospects using lists supplied by the marketing department is still a part of an SDR's responsibilities, that task is not only done via phone but also through direct messaging on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition, an SDR must also perform customer research and gather critical sales data. The most successful SDRs build sales opportunities, educate prospects about solutions, and facilitate closing deals.
What Are Sales Development Representatives' Duties?
The primary purpose of sales development representatives is to increase the company's customer base. As an entry-level position, there's usually no need for a college degree, but it's a good idea to have some sales experience in your background.
A typical list of an SDR's responsibilities includes:
- Make cold calls, send emails, engage in social outreach, network, and conduct independent research to schedule outbound meetings.
- Engage potential customers and communicate the benefits of products or services.
- Assess prospects' pain points through sales discovery.
- Provide prospects with relevant marketing content.
- Follow up with existing clients to stay current with their needs.
- Manage sales pipelines using customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
- Work with sales representatives to support and close sales.
Successful Qualities For SDRs
You need to study prospects, analyze data, and stay up to date on everything in your business to succeed in an SDR role and hit targets.
This doesn't happen overnight. It requires time. You'll get rejected a lot, but don't let that deter you. You'll experience highs and lows each day. The trick is to remain optimistic, determined, and laser-focused.
You also need to have a strong understanding of your product. At the same time, it's essential to remember that, as a sales development representative, you're not just selling a product. You're selling a solution and your expertise.
Advancement In Sales Development
Many enthusiastic SDRs who join the profession soon advance to management and account executive positions. That said, the career path is not always easy.
To advance to an account executive position, you must reliably demonstrate your ability to perform your duties without repeating the same mistakes. From there, you may find yourself acting as an SDR stand-in. This is when you'd fill in for an account executive and take on their responsibilities. Sometimes this is just for a single call or two. Sometimes it's for an entire day. This allows your supervisors to evaluate your sales potential and exposes you to that portion of the sales process.
Another way to advance quicker is involve yourself in as much of the sales process as possible. Senior SDRs often join in on discovery and demo calls which is a great way to prepare them for what’s to come in an Account Executive position.
If you perform well, you could possibly see yourself advancing to a new position with greater responsibilities and opportunities. On the other hand, if there are any issues with your performance, use this as a learning experience to perform better in the future.
What Are Some Positions An SDR Can Advance To?
Here is a list of some of the possible ways you can step up your career in sales following a successful stint as an SDR:
- Account Executive – Responsible for closing sales, supporting existing clients, developing sales strategies, and communicating product value to clients.
- Customer Success Manager - Guides new clients in finding solutions and meeting goals and works to retain existing customers
- SDR Management - Responsible for managing junior SDRs and training SDRs just starting.
Locating SDR opportunities
SDR positions exist across the country with exceptionally high demands in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Denver, Chicago, NYC, and Raleigh.
Many businesses have work-from-home and hybrid office options, providing employees with increased flexibility and autonomy.
How Much Do Sales Development Reps Earn?
It can vary.
The salary of a sales development professional depends mainly on how well you accomplish your goals. Some businesses choose to provide a base salary with occasional performance bonuses.
Comparably.com, a website that tracks industries, salaries, and brands, lists the average US sales development representative's compensation at around $74,000, including bonuses and commissions.
By averaging the reports from the job tracking sites Indeed, Builtin, and Payscale, we find an average of $55,200 as a yearly base salary with bonuses and commissions averaging approximately $17,500. This adds up to $72,700 yearly.
Not bad for an entry-level position.
These figures, of course, are not guarantees but more a reflection of averages across numerous businesses that employ SDRs. New employees with little to no work experience will understandably earn less than more senior SDRs who can negotiate better base salaries.
The takeaway is that an SDR who starts strong and stays strong has excellent earning potential.
Succeeding in Sales Development
It goes without saying that in outbound sales, SDRs experience a lot of rejection. Don't take it personally. SDRs need to have great mental fortitude to succeed in sales and deal with the frustrations of not being able to connect with people they need to.
The good news is that if you have the right skills, being a sales development rep can be very rewarding, watching your prospected leads turn into closed-won opportunities.
Here are some of the top skills to work on.
Do your research and—at the very least—confirm the prospect's name, job title, industry, and location. Verify the accuracy of the B2B marketing data you've been given. Demonstrating that you know who you're talking to and why will help you make a more favorable impression.
Look up information on various buyers, industry trends, and competition. Use this information to help isolate sales triggers to tailor your pitch and provide a more helpful sales experience.
Say a company has recently increased its workforce. Perhaps in doing so, they're dealing with some growing pains. How can your company help? Who is the best person to talk to? Why should they go with your solution?
Answer these questions, and you're off to an encouraging start.
One of the most crucial SDR abilities is active listening since it enables you to interact with prospects on a personal level and allows you to establish yourself as a consultant.
In addition, you can pin a voice to the data profile you developed during your per-call investigation and don't need to rely on cold calling scripts.
Finally, active listening assists SDRs in assessing a prospect's suitability and lets you engage them more effectively. This can save you time and reveal when a candidate may be a poor fit before you get too deep into the sales funnel.
You should keep in mind that, as an SDR, you are likely disrupting someone's workday. Getting right to the point will make you appear confident—a quality your clients will find value in.
You'll gain more traction the more inventive your outreach is. Due to the intense competition in sales, SDRs must constantly develop strategies to differentiate their message.
Immerse yourself in activities that will advance your knowledge, abilities, and creativity. Whatever you do, you must be able to inject some imagination and personality into it and distinguish yourself from the deluge of other messages that your prospects are receiving.
Consider trying alternative message formats. For example, video prospecting, LinkedIn voice notes, and even TikTok-style reels can inject some needed creativity into your call process.
Sales development representatives need to be inquisitive in addition to having tangible SDR skills. Reps that come across as genuinely invested in their prospects' problems deliver themessage that they want to do more than just seal a deal. Additionally, they benefit by learning more about the market and the product, which can facilitate future sales.
The Start of a Great Career
Sales development is an essential step in the sales process and a terrific path for entering the field. While being an SDR on a sales team can be challenging, it's a crucial role that can also be quite rewarding.
You are the first point of contact and the one who qualifies leads for sales representatives farther down the funnel. Your job paves the way for the success of the company's sales team.
By cultivating the right skills and putting in the hard work required, you can stand out from the crowd and build a strong foundation for a lucrative future sales career.