Alexa Sales Development Representatives

Sales Development Representatives: Sales Role, Skills, and Qualifications

Sales | by Steve Conway
Sales Development Representatives

Sales Development Representatives are the team members of the sales team of any company. Their focus is on reaching out to leads and deciding if these leads are qualified or not.

Previously, only some tech companies had a niche role. However, the sales development representative is now an important position in companies across various industrial sectors. If you are planning to be an SDR (sales development representative), this post will help you to decide whether it is the right post for you. When you have a better idea, you will be able to stand out from the rat race in the job world. Also, sales managers must know what they should look for in candidates when hiring sales development representatives.

Sales Development Representatives

Primarily, SDR is a role inside the sales team. SDRs solely focus on outbound prospects with the goal of generating a sales pipeline for the sales team. As the role is considered an entry-level position without years of experience, it can be seen as a good way to start your journey in sales.

In order to achieve this goal, SDRs typically research potential prospects before connecting with them. A particular objective of this role is passing sales leads that match the proper criteria and taking them forward to the account manager or account executive.

This is called outbound sales. In outbound sales, SDRs identify their potential customers and connect with them. After that, they pass the customer details to the other sales team members. Inbound sales are where a prospect or lead contacts you after seeing your marketing campaigns or hearing word of mouth.

In businesses, sales development representatives are still popular as the company can have groups within the sales team. SDRs are one particular team with a specialization in a particular process. These segmented efforts of the sales teams help the business to divide and conquer many strategies, and challenges and streamline the processes systematically.

Work and Responsibilities Of Sales Development Representatives

The role and meaning of sales development representatives differ. In some companies, the SDRs may deal with inbound prospects who show interest. Sometimes, they may have to search for their outbound leads. Depending on the organization, the sales development representatives may have to do both.

Lead Generation And Lead Qualification

At the beginning, SDRs find out the potential leads. Therefore, potential sales become qualified leads. If you are an SDR, you have to reach out to the prospects and connect with them through inbound and outbound channels.

However, before you contact your prospects, you must conduct some preliminary research. You will find that prospects who have similarities with your existing customers are going to be a good fit.

Things an SDR needs to consider:

  • Does your prospect match the buyer’s persona of the company?
  • Prospects’ top priorities
  • What do the prospects want to achieve?
  • Prospective challenges that are pressing
  • Decision-maker of the prospect’s company
  • What tools do their company use currently for solving a problem? (if there are any tools).

Though we know that SDRs decide the qualified leads, BANT, or (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing), or similar criteria, helps us to determine who may buy the products or services.

Initial Outreach

When you find a quality lead, you can decide which is the best way to reach out. Depending on the leads’ availability or where they spent their time, you can reach out to them via social media, cold calls, and/or cold email.

Each of these channels has a different type of approach:

  • Are you connecting to them over LinkedIn or commenting on a particular Facebook post?
  • Are you going to talk to them by phone or send a voicemail?
  • Will you send a video message or a plain email?

In most cases, you may want to touch multiple touchpoints through multiple channels. You have found out that it’s the best course of action.

Whatever channel you choose, the research work will help you to personalize all the messages. So, you will go beyond the given industry information and do targeted research on specific leads and their companies.

So, you are balancing effort and personalization with time management. As a self-development representative, you have to spread a large net, but don’t forget to notice the details of the leads. You must make your leads feel that they are valuable as your potential

Lead Nurturing

No matter how enthusiastic your inbound leads are, you can’t make them ready to meet after just a single call. On various occasions, the timing can be wrong even though you have a good prospect. As a result, you must nurture those new leads and further educate them on your service or product.

Of course, there is a difference in pitching. If your words appear to be too expensive to sell, the prospect is unlikely to be impressed. But if you can offer the right value and deliberately help them tackle their most pressing challenges, prospects may trust you more. It creates a genuine interest in achieving a positive outcome. Your prospects will reach out to you as they will trust you and that your product or service will serve their needs.

Moving Leads Through The Pipeline

As soon as the leads are qualified, you then pass them to the account executive. For the SDRs, this is the main object. Most organizations have a reward system for SDRs. The reward depends on metrics that reflect the number of meetings booked with sales-qualified leads.

Skills to Be a Sales Development Representative

In order to excel in a sales development representative role, a candidate needs to have the following key skills:

  • An unfaltering mindset
  • Excellent communication abilities
  • A resilient attitude
  • Boundless curiosity and creativity
  • Active listening skills
  • Multitasking ability
  • Self-awareness and empathy

The traits of an SDR and a good salesperson are almost similar. That’s why it is a wonderful position to step forward to higher-level sales positions.

According to some, there are three key areas in which any SDR must develop in order to be successful in the role:

  • When SDRs have a gritty mindset, buyers’ personal knowledge, and added sales skills, they move above the competition. Having the right mindset for the role is critical, along with having a resilient attitude to get things done. Also, having curiosity and creativity makes the outcomes better. With their impeccable sales skills, they will be capable of handling conversations and increasing the sales rate. Besides these skills, buyers’ personal knowledge means they know the customer’s problems, their pain points. It helps the SDRs articulate the prospects and how they can be of help.

Being an SDR means you have to have quality research skills. This skill will enable you to discover all the information you need. Of course, you can get help from many tools available for finding demographic details. However, if you put some extra effort into research, you will reveal the psychographics of the customers.

For a budding sales development representative, communication is the number one skill to master. It is not similar to having an email template or a good script that contains powerful words of persuasion. Here, SDRs have to listen to the prospects instead of thinking about what they are going to say to them. If you have good communication skills, you will be able to help them better.

Though SDRs look after one part of the sales process, one still has to take care of lots of tasks. And it is a time-sensitive task. But as the market takes a turn, SDRs also have to juggle research work, outreach, and follow-up. If you are not aware of the difficulty of the role, you may feel overwhelmed by it. Therefore, having time management and organization skills is vital for all SDRs. So, if you embrace your curious nature, you will stay motivated as you try to learn more about the industry, products and services, customers, and their pain points.

Qualifications To Be Hired As Sales Development Representative

The sales manager must conduct extensive research when hiring SDRs for your company. After all, it is unlikely to have lots of candidates with experience being sales development representatives. Therefore, the sales manager must focus on the transferable skills of the candidates, like:

  • How much does each of these candidates interact with people, if they work in retail or other places like bartending? They don’t have to have any prior roles in the sales department to show their people skills. But people skills are one of the key qualifiers for the role of sales development representative.
  • Do the resumes of the candidates show adaptability in their previous roles? It will indicate that they can look beyond the popular templates and stand out from a creative point of view.

Sales interviews require qualified candidates because sales teams are a key part of any industry. It is advisable for sales managers that they do not sugarcoat all the challenges the SDR role presents. SDR is a hard-working position. Unless candidates are prepared for the hard work, they can’t last long.

Sales interview shows how the candidates will talk with any prospect. Besides paying attention to what these candidates say, sales managers must take notes on what they are saying. Are these candidates skilled communicators? Do they listen intently? Do they ask the right questions? A candidate with good communication skills can engage easily with your potential customers.

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