Career in Sales

What Is the Role of an SDR, and Why You Need One?

We have all taken a lot of sales calls, but have you ever considered how you ended up on that company's radar in the first place? 

Sure, some of them may have just dialled your number from the phone directory, but innovative businesses are reaching out to you because they have done their homework and believe you would be a good fit for their product.

This front-end ‘homework’ is the duty of Sales Development Representatives (SDRs). In addition, SDRs are responsible for outbound prospecting. 

They conduct research and reach out to potential new clients interested in your offerings and introduce them to the company. These clients are referred to as leads.

Thus, a SDR's ultimate goal is to increase a company's customer base. The SDR will generate leads, solicit new prospective customers, and connect them with the right salesperson.

This article will detail the role of an SDR and why you need one. 

Who Is a Sales Development Representative (SDR)?

who is a sales development representative SDR

SDRs are in charge of qualifying leads at the beginning of the sales process. Before passing leads to the sales team's closers, they must conduct research on prospective clients, communicate with and educate prospects, and qualify leads. 

Instead of closing new sales, SDRs concentrate on generating leads. Therefore, SDRs are evaluated by how effectively they move leads through the sales pipeline.

The responsibilities of a sales development representative (SDR) differ company-to-company. However, the primary task is twofold: inbound and outbound sales prospecting.

Inbound lead prospecting is the practice of nurturing leads interested in the product and who have already interacted with the company through its marketing channels.

Prospecting for outbound leads: Also called cold prospecting, it is the process of reaching out to potential customers who have never purchased or used the company's product or service.

Before approaching a potential client, SDRs will usually conduct research about them. Their specific goal is to pass on sales-qualified leads (SQLs) to an account executive or account manager to close the deal.

In most cases, SDRs will take the prospect to schedule a meeting before handing it over to the account executive. In other words, the SDR sales role focuses on outreach and lead qualification, whereas the account executive's primary responsibility is to close deals.

Why Is the Role of a Sales Development Representative Important?

why is the role of a sales development representative important

Sales cycles have lengthened, and the number of decision-makers involved in a single transaction has increased. In addition, new communication channels have opened up. 

As a result, getting through to a prospect has also become more challenging.

There are a lot of potential clients at the beginning of the sales pipeline, but only a handful of them will make it to the buying stage. Therefore, a sales manager must devote a significant amount of time to meticulously reaching out to them via multiple communication channels.

As a result, sales specialisation became necessary. Every day, teams introduced an SDR role to process dozens of leads, sift them out, and schedule appointments with the good-fits.

What Does a Sales Development Representative Do?

SDRs are typically the first point of contact for a prospect. Their communication with prospective clients helps in the development of brand perception. 

In general, an SDRs' day-to-day tasks or responsibilities include:

1. Lead generation and qualification

The two most essential functions for SDRs are prospecting and lead qualification.

  • Prospecting—to generate a sales pipeline using their network, social selling, and other strategies.
  • Lead qualification—to ensure that the sales pipeline only contains qualified prospects, and they start discovery calls with marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

SDRs are taught ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) or customer personas during sales training, as each firm will have its qualification requirements.

An SDR must gather information about the prospects at this level by answering the questions below:

  • Is the potential customer a good fit for the company's ideal buyer persona?
  • What are their top priorities, pain points, or issues you can help them with?
  • What are their company's objectives?
  • Who is the company's decision-maker?
  • To solve their problem, what tools or solutions will the prospect require?

SDRs can determine whether a lead is worth their time or not by using tactics like BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing).

2. Initial outreach

When an SDR discovers a promising prospect, the SDR determines the most effective strategy to contact the prospect. This mainly depends on where the lead/prospect spends most of their time. For example, an SDR may use social media, emails, or a cold call if necessary.

While a prospect may have numerous ways to contact them, it is best not to flood them with texts across all channels. As a result, before beginning a conversion, an SDR should think aloud:

  • Is it better to send a text or video email?
  • Is it possible to speak with the person directly?
  • Should you send a LinkedIn connection request or reach out to them on Instagram or Facebook?

If the prospect does not answer on any channels, the SDR attempts to contact them through other channels.

Whether written or verbal, personalising communication is the next step in the outreach process.

SDRs, for example, must complete their research on the prospect, address them by name, and talk in a language they understand.

Personalisation goes beyond adding the "First name" or "Company Name" to an email when communicating over email. It needs to be relevant to their job and the problem they're trying to address.

3. Lead nurturing

An SDR is also in charge of maintaining lead engagement throughout the qualification process to generate interest in the offering. For example, prospects may be unlikely to meet after the initial phone call. An SDR would then nurture them and educate them about the product or service.

It's important to note that this is not the same as making a product pitch. If everything the SDR says sounds like a sales pitch, the prospect will be unimpressed. 

However, an SDR must assist prospects with their most pressing problems and provide them with something of value. An SDR can be confident if the prospect trusts the SDR.

4. Moving leads through the pipeline

Account executives and account managers receive qualifying leads from SDRs. The SDR's major responsibility is to qualify leads, and most companies pay SDRs based on this metric. 

A company could, for example, pay an SDR based on the number of scheduled meetings with SQLs or sales-qualified leads.

Every sales team requires a fantastic sales development representative to bring in new business! Sales development representatives are entirely responsible for prospecting for new business. 

Sales executives close new transactions, but sales development representatives discover fresh leads, initiate conversations with them, qualify them, and move them farther down the sales funnel.

We hope this article was educative. At Juno Business School, we help aspiring salespeople kickstart their careers with a comprehensive online course covering everything sales. 

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