What are Sales Development Reps (SDRs)?

What are Sales Development Reps (SDRs)?

Learn about sales development representatives, including what they are, what they do, and why you should employ an SDR team.

Sales development bridges the gap between inbound marketing and lead generation, filling your pipeline with qualified leads. Sales Development Reps (SDRs) are key to this process. SDRs handle the cold prospecting, enabling the rest of your sales team to focus on closing deals.

What is an SDR?

A sales development representative is an inside salesperson who focuses exclusively on prospecting. Their primary function is to move leads through the pipeline from cold to qualified. After a sales meeting has been booked and the lead qualified, they can be handed off to an account executive (AE) to close the deal.

Breaking your sales organization into specialized roles allows each salesperson to focus on what they do best: SDRs on prospecting and AEs on closing.

What does SDR stand for in sales? SDR sales meaning

The SDR meaning sales is often confused with other types of sales reps. SDR stands for sales development representative, meaning any rep who focuses on sales development. SDRs are never responsible for closing deals, only for booking sales meetings.


What’s the difference between an SDR and BDR?

SDRs receive a list of prospects, which they then reach out to via email or cold calling. These prospects typically come from the marketing department or a sales executive.  The SDR is responsible for qualifying those prospects, so quota-carrying AEs don’t waste their time on unqualified leads.

On the other hand, business development representatives (BDRs) are responsible for generating new business. Instead of working with a list of existing prospects, BDRs identify and act on new opportunities. The BDR role can involve social media outreach, search engine research, and networking with potential customers.

Occasionally, there can be an overlap between these two roles, as BDRs also often engage in cold outreach.

What does an SDR do daily?

SDRs are responsible for keeping the pipeline moving forward. Their day-to-day responsibilities include cold calling, email outreach, social selling, researching prospects, and qualifying leads. Depending on the complexity of your sales process, SDRs could also spend a significant amount of time researching and preparing for each call.

For high-volume sales environments, SDRs focus on making as many outbound calls (or emails, LinkedIn connections, etc.) as possible. If you have a longer sales cycle and larger deal size, SDRs will need to spend more time researching and personalization.

SDRs need to be organized and strong communicators. They work alongside the marketing team to generate leads, and they also need to keep track of all the necessary information about each prospect, update their CRM, and communicate with AEs during the handoff phase.

Can anyone be an SDR?

There are no strict requirements for becoming an SDR. Some companies require past sales experience or a university degree, but it’s becoming more common to hire based on soft skills rather than direct experience. Curiosity, resilience, and strong listening skills are good indicators someone will be successful in the SDR role.

Traditional sales skills like objection handling can be taught during the training process. Innate characteristics like coachability are often more important, as the best SDRs are always striving to learn and improve. Some of the best sales reps come from non-traditional backgrounds such as bartending or teaching.

Why should you employ an SDR team?

Building an in-house SDR team is a significant investment. It takes time and experimentation, but outside help can help you achieve results faster.

More and more B2B companies are outsourcing their SDRs. Outsourcing means you’ll follow a well-established strategy from an experienced company, with no need to worry about hiring or training costs. An external SDR team is often more cost-effective due to high turnover rates in the role.

Another major constraint to building an in-house SDR team is time. Most sales leaders simply don’t have enough time to dedicate to hiring, training, and coaching SDRs.

Regular coaching can improve your sales team’s win rate by 28% and quota attainment by 10%, yet few managers are able to make time on their schedule for one-on-one meetings with each rep. The benefit of employing an external SDR team is that the coaching is taken care of as well.

Our SDR Pods can help you book a steady stream of meetings, with no need to worry about hiring or training. All of our SDRs receive ongoing coaching from our Head of Sales so that you’re able to focus on what you do best while your pipeline practically fills itself.

If you’re interested in learning more about outsourcing your SDR team, click here to book a free discovery call.

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