What is a Sales Development Representative?

What sales development representatives do and why they are important.
what is a sales development representative article cover
As a business grows, it can become imperative to delegate more specialized roles and responsibilities; accessing the expertise of specialized professionals can be especially beneficial for ambitious SaaS companies looking to acquire leads and close deals.

Outsourcing an experienced Sales Development Representative (SDR) is one way in which organizations are taking control of their growth trajectory and moving away from traditional sales processes.

But what exactly is an SDR?

In this article, we'll uncover what they do, why you should consider outsourcing one, and how they fit within your overall sales strategy.

What is an SDR?

A sales development representative is a salesperson who qualifies leads and generates opportunities.

This salesperson will have a monthly lead quota to reach, usually every month or quarter. It's met by contacting potential customers through phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn outreach.

An SDR should have knowledge of the company's products and services they are selling. They should also be able to communicate the value propositions of the company they're selling for.

The best SDRs are those who know what makes the product special and who the product is special for.

Why does a specific customer need the product you are selling them? How will the product you are selling them help them?

These are questions that top-notch SDRs ask themselves when reaching out to prospects.

Once you understand the answers to those questions, SDRs must target the right people for outreach. These are called prospects and leads, and both terms are slightly different from each other.

We made a whole blog dedicated to this topic: What's the difference between a prospect and a lead?

But if TL;DR:

A prospect is a potential customer who you think has an interest in your product or service. A lead is a prospect that has shown interest and needs more training before they are ready to buy the product or service. It's like when someone visits a website for the first time but hasn't purchased yet.

The best ways to target prospects and leads are by using sales tools such as LinkedIn SalesNav.

The most effective way for SDRs to make their meeting quota is through a process called lead nurturing. SDRs do various sales touches between touchpoints with leads, like sending them an email or a LinkedIn message to keep in touch with them.

While gathering prospects - aka "prospecting" - is an important part of the role, the best SDRs are those who also nurture their prospects. Many SDRs attribute most of their meetings to prospects who responded to their follow-ups, on the fifth touch, for example, not their first.

What is the Role of a Sales Development Representative?

The main role of the SDR is to book meetings with prospects so they can have a discovery or product demo with the AE.

The goal of the discovery or product demo is to see if the prospect should become a lead or not. If not, your next step would be to pass on them and keep looking for more prospects who are ready to buy.

The methods of outreach performed by SDRs are largely dependent on the business they are working for. Some organizations prefer SDRs to spend most of their time cold-calling. Others prefer SDRs to spend most of their time cold emailing and doing LinkedIn outreach.

Companies have SDRs that send email campaigns, also known as email sequences, which are a series of cold emails sent to prospects. The emails and subject lines should be catchy and communicate the product's value proposition.

Sales development representatives that cold-call have scripts that they read from to make a sales pitch. The most effective scripts include openers, questions to gauge interest in the product or service but also a way of asking for commitment.

What is Prospecting in Sales?

Sales prospecting refers to the process of identifying and engaging with potential customers who are likely to be interested in the SaaS product or service being offered. The initial stage of the sales cycle is where sales professionals actively search for and qualify leads.

Whether it is inbound prospecting or outbound prospecting, your sales team will be devoted to this to build a pipeline. A sales pipeline is the steps you take leads through to arrive at a sale.

Outbound B2B lead generation efforts include making use of sales tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator. From here, you can then establish contact with these leads, who have never heard of you and your product or service before, via a variety of cold outreach methods, including cold calling, cold emailing, or LinkedIn.

The goal is not only to fit the customer profile and find the perfect fit but also to get the word out about your products and services. Someone might not need it now but might know someone else who does.

Your SDRs take on the bulk of this work, and they are typically the ones representing you and your company in these outreach efforts. They aim to turn your leads into actual prospects that will go on to become paying clients by aiming for a response.

Inbound efforts are a bit different, but no less important. Especially with the rise of SEO and prospects searching for solutions to their problems themselves.

Having a form on your website that leads can fill out means prospects are coming to sales teams these days as well, as long as your inbound prospecting strategies are top-notch. Your sales teams are then focused on qualifying leads, and finding the best outreach strategy for those leads to move them up the sales funnel or throw them out.

SDR Prospecting Tactics

sdr prospecting tactics

Personalized Email Outreach

SDRs go beyond sending generic, one-size-fits-all emails to book more meetings and stand out, investing time and effort into crafting individualized messages tailored to the recipient's unique circumstances. This includes considering factors such as the prospect's industry, pain points, and specific needs.

By clearly understanding the prospect's challenges, SDRs can establish credibility and trust from the first interaction. They showcase their knowledge of the prospect's industry landscape and the specific obstacles they may be facing. This personalized approach captures the prospect's attention and highlights the SDR's commitment to providing relevant solutions.

The main goal of these personalized emails is to initiate meaningful conversations with potential prospects. Addressing their pain points directly and offering viable solutions increases the chances of provoking a positive response. The prospect is more likely to engage in a dialogue and express interest in exploring the offered solutions further.

Social Selling

As media platforms gain popularity, Sales Development Representatives acknowledge the value of using social selling tactics to connect with prospects. They leverage LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to research potential leads, share valuable content, participate in relevant discussions, and build relationships.

Using social media, SDRs gather insights about their prospects, such as professional backgrounds, interests, and current challenges. This research enables them to approach prospects in a more informed manner.

SDRs also utilize social media to share valuable content with their network. Whether it's educational articles, industry insights, or helpful resources, they address the pain points of their target audience. Sharing such content positions SDRs as trusted advisors and showcases their expertise.

Engaging in relevant discussions on social media platforms is another strategy SDRs utilize. They actively converse about their industry or target market, offering insights and valuable perspectives. This approach establishes them as knowledgeable professionals and increases visibility among prospects.

Ultimately, social selling for SDRs aims to nurture leads and expand their network in an organic and personalized way.

Cold Calling

Though a traditional method, cold calling continues to be a valuable prospecting tactic for SDRs and SaaS sales in general. It involves proactively reaching out to potential prospects through phone calls, where SDRs introduce themselves and present their offerings. The primary objectives of cold calling are to generate interest, uncover pain points, and schedule follow-up meetings to explore the prospect's needs further.

During a cold call, SDRs seek to make a solid first impression and capture the prospect's attention. They briefly introduce themselves, their company, and the value they can provide, being concise, clear, and respectful of the prospect's time.

As the conversation progresses, SDRs actively listen to the prospect, seeking to understand their pain points and challenges. They encourage the prospect to open up and share their needs and goal by asking relevant questions. This information determines whether their offering aligns with the prospect's requirements.

If a potential match exists, SDRs focus on scheduling follow-up meetings or product demos to delve deeper into the prospect's needs. These subsequent interactions allow for a more in-depth discussion and exploration of how their product or service can effectively address the prospect's pain points.

It's important to note that cold calling requires a respectful and empathetic approach. SDRs understand that only some prospects will be interested or ready to engage in a conversation. They handle objections or rejections gracefully and professionally, recognizing that building relationships takes time and persistence.

Account-Based Prospecting

Account-based prospecting starts with identifying the right target accounts that align with the organization's ideal customer profile. SDRs invest time in researching these accounts, gaining insights into their industry trends, competitive landscape, and specific pain points. This information serves as the foundation for tailoring their messaging and value proposition to resonate with the account's unique needs.

Furthermore, SDRs take the time to identify and understand key stakeholders within the target account. By researching decision-makers, influencers, and other relevant individuals, they can personalize their outreach and demonstrate a genuine understanding of the account's challenges. This level of customization and relevance significantly increases the chances of capturing the attention and interest of the account's stakeholders.

Armed with this knowledge, SDRs craft personalized outreach strategies for each target account. This may involve creating customized email campaigns, developing targeted content, or utilizing other channels of communication based on the account's preferences.

Multi-Channel Outreach

By strategically leveraging various communication channels, such as cold email, social media, and cold calls, SDRs can significantly expand their reach and enhance the likelihood of connecting with prospects. They understand that each individual has unique preferences and habits when it comes to communication, and by catering to these diverse preferences, SDRs improve their overall prospecting effectiveness.

This diversified strategy ensures engagement through multiple touchpoints, creating more opportunities for conversions and forging stronger relationships with potential clients. With a comprehensive understanding of the prospect's preferences and by providing them with the convenience of communication channels that best suit their needs, SDRs can establish a solid foundation for successful lead generation and lead-to-customer conversion rates.

What Makes a Successful SDR?

There is no magical solution to being a great SDR or meeting quota consistently. The reality is that every SDR is a bit different, even if we're all playing from the same rulebook.

But the one important thing an SDR needs is perseverance and consistency.

Being an SDR is not an easy job. The majority of your time is spent being told no. This is fatiguing at the best of times, and downright demoralizing at the worst.

Companies like SalesPipe create safe havens for SDRs to compare notes on tactics that work and support each other through the ups and downs of the job. And we commit to taking on the tactics that work and persevering through them.

GIFs, memes, or video messaging are all tools employed by the best SDRs. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but you won't know until you try.

Because above all else, an SDR has to be willing to try.

So what do SDRs need to be successful?
Strong communication skills are crucial to articulate their value proposition clearly, actively listening to prospects, and engaging in meaningful conversations.

Resilience and persistence, as prospecting, can be challenging. Successful SDRs maintain a positive attitude, persistently reach out to prospects, and bounce back from rejection.

Active listening is vital for understanding prospects' needs, pain points, and challenges. They listen attentively to tailor their messaging and position their offerings as solutions.

Curiosity and continuous learning drive top-performing SDRs to seek knowledge, stay updated on industry trends, and enhance their prospecting efforts continually.

Time management and organization skills help them prioritize activities effectively, allocate sufficient time for prospecting, and stay organized using tools and systems.

Adaptability and agility to adjust their approach based on prospect feedback and evolving market dynamics. They embrace new technologies and strategies.

Empathy and relationship-building skills enable SDRs to understand prospects' challenges, build rapport, and position themselves as trusted advisors.

A goal-oriented mindset to set clear targets and work diligently to achieve them. They are motivated by exceeding goals.

Collaboration and teamwork to work closely with other sales and marketing team members. They contribute ideas and collaborate to optimize prospecting strategies.

A positive attitude and enthusiasm resonate with prospects. Successful SDRs approach prospecting with energy and passion, differentiating themselves from the competition.
what makes a successful sdr?

How Can I Hire the Best SDRs?

When hiring the best Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) for your SaaS company or startup, you can take a few key steps. One effective solution to consider is outsourcing your SDR needs to a specialized service provider like SalesPipe.

By partnering with SalesPipe, you can access a dedicated team of SDRs who are proficient in driving meaningful conversations, identifying qualified leads, and setting appointments with potential customers.

This allows you to leverage their expertise while focusing on other critical aspects of your business.

Fill out this form and we'll be in touch to discuss the best SDR for you and your company.
Post edited by Luciani Zorrilla.