Qualified leads are essential to ensure an efficient sales operation. There’s no point in prospecting people who aren’t a good fit for your product. 

However, qualified leads do not appear out of nowhere. The process begins with careful nurturing, and that’s where sales development representatives (SDRs) come in.

In this article, we explain what the SDR role involves, why it’s so important, what a typical day looks like for an SDR, and provide actionable sales advice.

What Is A Sales Development Representative?

A sales development representative (SDR) is an individual who specialises in finding and nurturing new prospects, and determining whether those leads are a good fit for the company.

SDRs start by researching potential customers and reaching out to them to see if they’re interested in the company’s products and services. However, they don’t close the deal – it’s only about getting qualified leads ready for the next stage of the sales funnel.

What Does A SDR Do?

An SDRs job is focused on lead generation and qualification rather than making the sale. Their key responsibilities are to connect with and generate as many leads as possible.

SDRs use a combination of market research to define their target audience or ideal customer. Alternatively, SDRs conduct individual prospect research to learn about a specific lead. This can include checking social media profiles or running a Google search on a company’s background and latest news.

By doing this, the SDR can determine if the potential lead is a good fit. The SDR will base this decision on the prospect’s expectations and challenges, and whether they match pre-defined buyer personas. 

SDRs then reach out to prospects across multiple channels, including phone calls, voicemail, email, social media or in-person events. 

Using insights from their research, SDRs can educate the prospect to solve a particular pain point. Plus, SDRs answer questions and provide helpful resources. 

Where Do SDRs Fit Into The Sales Structure?

A hugely important part of the sales team, the SDR will move leads through the pipeline and lay the groundwork for sales. Without the lead qualification process, the sales cycle would take much longer, and senior reps would waste time talking to people who have no intention of buying.

SDRs nurture prospects until they’re ready to make a purchase. When this happens, the SDR schedules the following steps, often by setting up an initial meeting between the potential lead and an account executive. The senior representative will then take over and close the deal.

What Core Skills Do SDRs Need?

A great SDR has excellent communication skills, can adapt quickly to different situations, and maintain a positive outlook. Below, we’ve listed four skills successful SDRs need to excel in their careers. 

1. Product knowledge

If you don’t know your product inside out, convincing a prospect they need it will be challenging. SDRs must familiarise themselves with everything their company offers, including technical details and pricing. That way, they’ll be prepared for any question the prospect asks.

SDRs need a commitment to continuous learning too. That means collaborating with senior reps, talking to other departments, reading about industry developments, and using the product for themselves.

2. Organisational skills

SDRs also need to be highly organised and possess great time management skills. They’ll connect with many different prospects in a day and follow up with people who’ve already shown an interest in the company. Every interaction needs to be logged and reported to help SDRs identify common questions and objections and always be prepared for them.

It’s essential to have a robust system with repeatable actions and flexibility to change things if something’s not working. Allocating specific times in your calendar for calls and emails is an excellent way to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed.

3. Resilience and Adaptability

You need to handle rejection without taking it personally, as an SDR. You might have to speak to a prospect who is annoyed by your call – it’s vital to remain polite and calm, and recognise where things have gone wrong. 

SDRs must also be able to adapt quickly, such as moving away from a prepared checklist if the prospect has some unexpected questions. The best SDRs can spot opportunities to dig deeper, and are always ready to demonstrate how a product or service can meet the prospect’s needs. 

4. Great communication

Sales development representatives are excellent communicators. As well as highlighting the company’s benefits without giving it the hard sell, they need to listen to what the prospect has to say. It’s essential to pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues while not interrupting, taking a moment to understand, and remembering what’s been said.

SDRs should focus on gathering valuable information. In any future conversations, this shows you’ve remembered the prospect’s challenges and preferences, and will prove you care about their needs. 

Is It A Stressful Job?

More than 40% of reps say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, and SDRs have a lot of responsibility. They are typically the first point of contact with the company, so they must make a great impression.  

As an SDR, you will frequently hear the word ‘no’, which can dent your confidence. Part of the role involves learning to overcome rejection and stay positive. If you have a strong desire to improve, you’ll find the job rewarding as you start hitting your targets.

You must be aware that the job can be quite intense, as you’re communicating all day long. 

You don’t get the glory of closing the deal, as the senior sales reps do, but if you can manage your workload and hit your targets, being an SDR doesn’t have to be stressful.

How Much Do SDRs Make?

The national average salary for a sales development representative varies on how long they are in the role. Download the complete salary guide here.

However, SDRs have the potential to increase this figure by between 50% and 150% through bonuses, commission, profit-sharing and other various perks. The commission is usually determined by the number of successful leads they pass along compared to their target or quota.

Are you looking to hire top SDR talent to help scale your leads and sales? Ingenio can help you find the ideal candidates.

Add your details to the form below and one of our team members from Ingenio will be in touch within 24 hours.

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