What is a Sales Development Representative?

Feb 9, 2021

Not all salespeople are the same. Most new starters in SaaS sales begin as Sales Development Representatives, or SDRs. Here at SaaSLeads, we focus on turning individuals with raw talent but little experience into SDRs set for success.

If you’re considering a career in sales, or looking to develop your outbound marketing capabilities as a business, you may be curious about what an SDR is and what they actually do. In this article, we’ll spell it out. We’ll also talk about the qualities that great SDRs possess. Let’s go.

What is an SDR – exactly?

An SDR is a type of salesperson who works at the start of the sales process, focusing on outreach, beginning relationships and qualifying leads.

They are ‘inside salespeople’, which means they do not meet their prospects face-to-face. Instead, they connect remotely, over the phone, email or other channels.

The SDR role is traditionally given to people at the start of their sales careers because its intensity gives you a chance to build your skillset before you move on to other parts of the sales process, like closing deals.

What do SDRs do?

To really explain what an SDR does, we need to look at the sales process that most SaaS companies run.

Because selling SaaS takes time and can’t be done with one phone call or email (not often anyway!), there has to be a process. Companies identify potential targets that may have a need for the product they sell. Then, an SDR makes contact and starts building a relationship with the target prospect, finding out more about them to work out if there is a genuine need for the product. They also ‘qualify’ the prospect, working out whether they are in a position to buy. 

If the SDR does not qualify the prospect out of the process, they will pass them on to an Account Executive (AE). The AE takes over the process and goes more in-depth with the prospect. Eventually, if all goes well, the AE will close the deal and win the customer.

SDRs are there to introduce the company and the product, qualify prospects, build trust, as well as start communicating the benefits of the product and how it solves prospects’ problems.

Types of outreach

SDRs will spend the majority of their working day trying to reach their prospects. Because prospects are not the same and respond in different ways, SDRs need to be good with a variety of outreach tools:

  • Phone – it’s the oldest method of communication available, but it still works
  • Voicemail – if you can’t get through, you still have the opportunity to leave a voice message that makes them want to call you back
  • Email – while they’re easy to ignore, a well-crafted email that speaks to your prospect’s pain points can work wonders
  • Social – all your prospects are on LinkedIn, can you cut through the noise with a quick, concise message?
  • Video – video is a great way to grab your prospect’s attention and show them your personality

The best SDRs will hone their skills in all these areas – and when new ways to reach prospects come along, they’ll throw themselves in.

What makes a good SDR?

Now you know what an SDR is and does, do you think you could do it? The good news is that you can learn to be an SDR. At SaaSLeads, we turn people with the right attributes into SDRs that add significant value to fast-growing SaaS companies.

We find that the people who make the best SDRs are:

  • Curious – good SDRs want to know more all the time, about their prospects, their product, the industry, everything
  • Coachable – SDRs need an insatiable drive to improve, seeking out feedback and coaching from their leaders
  • Organised – SDRs are busy, often making more than 100 calls per day and running cadences to move prospects along the sales funnel, you need to be able to keep track of everything
  • Communicators – the best SDRs are good talkers, but they’re even better listeners. They ask the right questions and take note of the answers
  • Relationship builders – one of the most essential parts of the SDRs role is building trust with the prospect. Authenticity is key to making solid connections
Will Koning

He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful start-ups in the UK over the last 10 years.

He is passionate about Sales and disruptive Technology. In particular, elevating the Sales development industry in the UK to new levels.

Outside of work, Will spends his time split between London and Folkestone in Kent where you’re likely to find him sampling English beers and walking his dog by the sea,

Follow him on LinkedIn here

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