What Is a Sales Development Representative?

What Is a Sales Development Representative?

August 18, 2021
What Is a Sales Development Representative?

Helping to support account executives and business development managers, a sales development representative (SDR) will primarily focus on outbound sales and marketing activities. The idea is to generate prospects that other sales team members can then take forward through a further qualification process.

 In other words, you can think of an SDR asa sales rep who is primarily involved in generating leads for the start of a sales pipeline. This can play a key role in many sorts of sales and marketing setups. Of course, the more a business is reliant on new prospects rather than repeat custom to operate, the importance of effective SDRs only goes up.

What attributes do you need to be a good SDR, and what sort of things will you do in the role? Read on to find out.


Understanding the Role of a Sales DevelopmentRepresentative

Before finding out what an SDR does on adaily basis and the skills they'll need to develop, it is worth defining the role more clearly.


The Definition of an SDR

An SDR is a sales representative who is focused on client outreach and making first connections with prospective clients, commonly by initiating outbound prospecting. Once a prospect has been established, their work is usually to push the details of the would-be client into the sale pipeline for others to take over. That said, some SDRs will also often carry out initial lead qualification processes too.


Which Skills Does an SDR Need?

Since the work of a sales development representative is primarily about making first contacts with people, a key softskill that is a must is approachability. SDRs need to be able to strike up conversations, start sales processes with an engaging personality, and be abl eto remain 100 percent focused on the person they're speaking to.

Part of this will be a level of self-awareness in what they're doing, the ability to be resilient against knock-backs, and the desire to build relationships with people. Good SDRs will also be highly organized, be willing to be coached, and have the ability to listen actively, too.

These days, SDRs can also benefit from some technical skills since technology is now often deployed in prospecting. This might mean handling a video-conference pitch rather than making a phone call or managing social media interactions, not just email correspondence, for example.


Tasks Associated with an SDR Role

Given that many of the skills associated with SDR roles are what you might call person-centered, it is important to note the various ways these skills can be deployed.

Typically, SDRs will use their skills on one of the four following tasks.


Task 1 – Physical Prospecting

Physical prospecting means making face-to-face interactions with people. Many SDRs will simply knock on the doors of prospective clients to see if they are able to make an introduction with the business owner or someone who can influence buying decisions. Attending a tradefair and simply striking up conversations with other attendees is another way an SDR can carry out physical prospecting.


Task 2 – Phone-Based Prospecting

Many business-to-business enterprises make use of phone marketing to generate prospects. Often from a list of leads, an SDR will pick up the phone to make sure the information is still correct and relevant. SDRs will often be able to make a cold call into a warmer one by confirming whether or not a lead is satisfied with their current supplier. If not, then they may consider the lead to be qualified and hand the details over to an account manager or sales director.

Overall, phone-based prospecting requires a similar set of skills to physical prospecting. Both involve subtle information gathering by being able to strike up conversations in a friendly manner quickly. Active listening is even more important with phone conversations,however, since SDRs do not have any visual cues, such as body language, to fallback on.


Task 3 – Social Media Prospecting

SDRs use social media platforms, especially professional ones like LinkedIn, to convey their company's knowledge and expertise in a given area. By targeting likely prospects on such platforms,they can present themselves as experts in a particular product, service, or business solution. The idea is to promote the business as one which is a leader in its sector by sharing information with prospects who will find it valuable.


Task 4 – Email Prospecting

Cold emailing is an art form that meansbeing able to send concise written communications that will be read and not dumped as spam. Outreach emails will ideally offer something to the recipient that is of value to them and, therefore, promote interest. Typically, an SDR will use emails to generate responses that will flow into their firm's digital sales funnel by providing links and further online resources to click on.

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