SDRs are superheroes who fill your sales pipeline with leads. But like Batman needs Robin, a lone SDR can’t lift revenue alone. Here’s the complete playbook on assembling an SDR dream team. We cover ideal SDR qualities, proven prospecting tactics, essential sales tech, motivation techniques, powerful training and ongoing learning resources. Everything you need to transform your scrappy startup revenue or scale your enterprise juggernaut. Let’s get started!
What is an SDR Team and Why are They Critical?
SDR stands for “Sales Development Representative”. An SDR team is a group of salespeople who focus solely on prospecting, lead generation, and qualification. Their goal is to identify and engage new potential customers, then hand them off to Account Executives (AEs) to progress further down the sales pipeline.
Simply put, SDRs fill your pipeline, while AEs focus on closing the deal.
The Role of SDRs
The responsibilities of SDRs typically include:
- Researching target accounts and identifying ideal prospects
- Executing outbound campaigns via calls, emails, social media, and other channels
- Responding to inbound leads and determining their sales readiness
- Qualifying prospects using demo calls, needs assessments, and other techniques
- Capturing prospect information in the CRM and keeping data updated
- Scheduling appointments and product demos for AEs
- Maintaining relationships with existing prospects through nurture campaigns
SDR activities encompass both outbound prospecting on cold leads as well as inbound follow up with warm leads. Their metrics are focused on pipeline generation rather than closed revenue.
Why You Need an SDR Team
Here are some of the key reasons an SDR team is a must-have for revenue growth:
- More leads and pipeline. SDRs spend all day actively prospecting and qualifying new opportunities. This expands your potential customer base.
- Higher AE productivity. By handing off qualified, sales-ready leads to AEs, SDRs allow AEs to focus purely on closing deals rather than finding prospects.
- Improved conversion rates. SDRs specialize in converting raw leads into qualified opportunities. This improves lead to opportunity conversion rates.
- Increased revenue. Ultimately, the expanded pipeline and improved conversion generated by SDRs leads to higher closed revenue.
- Better data. SDR activities provide data on lead sources, conversation rates, win rates, and more. This enables better marketing and sales decisions.
- Scalability. As your company grows, adding more SDRs allows you to scale pipeline generation without reducing AE productivity.
Where SDRs Fit in the Sales Process
SDR teams are the engine that drives the entire sales process. Here is an example of where SDRs fit into a typical sales workflow:
!SDR sales process
As you can see, SDRs take over once a lead enters the sales pipeline. Their job is to qualify and develop the lead, getting them sales ready.
At that point, the lead becomes a sales qualified lead (SQL) and is handed off to an AE for further nurturing and closure.
This separation of prospecting vs closing roles allows both SDRs and AEs to specialize and maximize their productivity.
The Ideal SDR Skills and Qualities
To be effective at their job, SDRs need a specific set of skills and personal qualities:
- Prospecting skills – Mastering cold outreach across multiple channels like calls, emails, social media etc.
- Communication skills – Ability to engage prospects via excellent verbal, written and listening skills.
- Curiosity – Strong desire to understand the prospect’s needs, challenges and motivations.
- Persistence – Tenacity to follow up regularly without getting discouraged.
- Organization – Manage a high volume of prospects while tracking detailed data in the CRM.
- Adaptability – Adjust messaging and tactics based on prospect profile and interaction history.
- Teamwork – Collaborate seamlessly with marketing, sales and customer success teams.
When assembled correctly, an SDR team combines these individual skills into a high-performing machine driving rapid revenue growth through optimized lead generation.
- SDRs specialize in identifying, engaging, qualifying and nurturing new prospects.
- They expand pipeline, improve productivity, enhance conversions and scale revenue.
- SDRs hand off sales-ready opportunities to Account Executives to progress further.
- The right SDR skills and qualities are essential to maximize prospecting success.
- A world-class SDR team is invaluable for any high-growth sales organization.
Creating an Effective SDR Team Structure
Structuring your SDR team correctly is vital to maximize their performance. Three key elements to get right are team size, profiles and organization.
Determining the Ideal SDR Team Size
The optimal SDR team size will depend on factors like:
- Company stage – Early stage startups may need a small dedicated SDR team of 2-5 reps. Enterprises may require large teams of 50+ SDRs.
- Revenue goals – The number of SDRs should align with revenue targets and expected sales cycle length.
- SDR performance – As SDR productivity improves, fewer reps are needed to generate the same pipeline.
- Budget – While SDRs provide a great ROI, their fully-loaded costs still need to be accounted for.
As a rule of thumb, here are some benchmarks for SDR team size by company stage:
- Pre-seed to Series A – 1 to 2 SDRs
- Series B and C – 5 to 15 SDRs
- Series D and beyond – 15 to 50+ SDRs
To right-size your team, analyze the number of SQLs each rep generates monthly. Then determine the total SQLs required to hit revenue goals.
For example, if your target is $2M ARR with an average deal size of $25k over a 9 month sales cycle, you need 800 SQLs yearly. If each SDR generates 25 SQLs per month, you need ~27 SDRs.
Hiring SDR Specialists vs Generalists
There are two main SDR profile types – specialists and generalists:
- Specialists excel at a particular prospecting channel like cold calls, social selling, email etc. But they may struggle outside their specialty.
- Generalists are comfortable with the full spectrum of SDR activities from calls to emails to LinkedIn outreach. But they may not master one specific channel.
Each approach has tradeoffs:
- Specialized SDRs produce greater volume and higher conversion rates on their focused channel. But the team needs more roles to cover all channels.
- Generalist SDRs provide more flexibility to adapt to different prospects and scenarios. But their multi-tasking can lead to lower productivity per channel.
In early stage startups, generalist SDRs allow maximum coverage with fewer hires. As you grow, specialist SDRs help drive greater overall pipeline velocity.
SDR Team Structures
SDR teams are typically structured in one of two ways:
Specialized SDR team
The SDR org consists of multiple specialized sub-teams:
- Inbound SDRs focusing solely on nurturing inbound leads
- Outbound SDRs who only do cold prospecting
- Channel-specific SDRs specializing in email, social selling, events etc.
This structure minimizes context switching between very different activities. But close collaboration between the sub-teams is essential.
SDRs handle the full spectrum of prospecting activities for each territory or account list they own. For example:
- An enterprise SDR would manage net new prospecting and nurture for assigned named accounts.
- A commercial SDR may get inbound leads plus do outbound prospecting into their geographic territory.
This structure provides end-to-end ownership of pipeline generation for each customer segment. But SDRs have to balance more concurrent activities.
Key Considerations for Structure
Some other factors to consider when mapping out your SDR org:
- Specialization by industry or buyer persona – Allows SDRs to become experts on the needs of each customer profile.
- Level of AE integration – Closer alignment between SDRs and AEs improves handoff but can reduce specialization.
- Centralized vs distributed teams – Central SDR pods enable tighter management but remote SDRs allow local prospecting.
- Generalist managers or specialist player-coaches – Specialist managers provide deeper expertise but generalists take a more holistic view.
Take into account your business model, diversity of customers, location strategy and other factors to determine the optimal SDR structure. Maintain a balance between specialization and flexibility.
- Base SDR team size on revenue targets, productivity and budget. Right-size regularly.
- Specialist SDRs drive greater channel productivity while generalists provide flexibility.
- Structures range from specialized sub-teams to integrated end-to-end ownership.
- Consider industry, AE alignment, location, management and other elements of structure.
Setting Up SDRs for Success With the Right Tools
To maximize SDR performance, they need to be equipped with best-in-class sales technologies tailored to their prospecting activities.
CRMs and Sales Engagement Platforms
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the core platform that powers the SDR tech stack. Key capabilities to look for include:
- Maintain a centralized database of prospects with relevant firmographics, contact details, interaction history etc.
- Flexible schema to capture all SDR prospect data fields and activities
- Easy tagging and segmentation of prospects for targeted campaigns
- Create automated engagement sequences triggered by prospect actions like email opens, form fills etc.
- Generate follow up activities on set schedules to keep prospects warm
- CRM workflows eliminate manual prospect nurturing tasks
Email and SMS
- Send individual emails or bulk sequences directly from the CRM
- Track email opens, clicks, and replies to gauge engagement
- Send SMS alerts to prospects about new content or appointment reminders
Calling and voicemail
- Click-to-call allows dialing prospects instantly from their record
- Log calls, record voicemails, and attach call recordings to prospect profile
- Call analytics provides insights on call outcomes to refine approaches
- Native or web apps allow SDRs to update data and execute campaigns from anywhere
- Alerts on prospect activity or notes from managers ensure real-time response
Dedicated sales engagement platforms like Outreach or SalesLoft offer similar capabilities while more tightly integrated with CRMs like Salesforce.
Data Providers and Intent Monitoring
SDRs rely heavily on quality prospect data from sources like:
- Business contact details, technologies used, company sizes, locations etc
- Ideal for researching target companies and roles
- Which web sites prospects visit, what marketing tools they use, their digital body language
- Reveals interest areas to personalize outreach
- Alerts when prospects visit your site, demo pages, pricing pages etc
- Sign of active research that indicates sales readiness
- Overlays additional useful data onto prospect records, like social profiles, connections, news events etc.
- Provides more context for personalized messaging
Leading options include ZoomInfo, Apollo, Clearbit, 6Sense, Bombora, and more. SDRs should integrate their top data sources directly into their CRM.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn is a vital SDR tool to leverage social selling:
- Identify relevant prospects through advanced search and recommendations
- View profiles for background research before outreach
- Send InMail messages to make first contact and start conversations
- Get notified when prospects change jobs or have work anniversaries
- Share relevant content to warmer prospects via social channels
Paid Sales Navigator subscriptions unlock these capabilities to maximize LinkedIn prospecting results.
Call Tracking and Conversation Analytics
Understanding call and meeting conversion rates and trends is crucial for optimizing SDR performance over time. Call tracking software provides this data:
- Phone numbers unique to each campaign source to track effectiveness
- Record calls for review and filtering in the CRM
- Analyze peak calling times and call duration for optimal scheduling
- Track first call to opportunity conversion rates
- Listen to top performing SDRs calls to replicate what works
Leading options include Gong, Chorus, Outreach, SalesLoft, and Aircall.
Email Deliverability and Optimization Tools
As cold email remains a top SDR channel, maximizing email deliverability and response rates is essential. Solutions like Mystrika provide capabilities to:
- Automatically warm up email domains before sending campaigns to increase inboxing rates
- A/B test various email components like subject lines, sender profiles, content etc
- Track opens, clicks and reply rates to refine campaign messaging and targeting
- Schedule send times for maximum prospect engagement
- Establish a unified views of all prospect conversations across channels
Other top tools include Mailshake, Lemlist, Woodpecker, and MailUp. This category is key for executing high-performance cold email at scale.
CRM and Marketing Automation
Workflow automation tools help SDRs scale by:
- Triggering repetitive nurture activities like follow-ups automatically
- Sending drip campaign emails and texts without manual intervention
- Updating prospect records and stages when specific criteria are met
- Creating customer journeys across channels tailored to prospect segments
- Taking manual process steps like data entry and notifications off SDRs plates
They maximize productivity by letting SDRs focus on higher value prospect conversations.
- A unified CRM/sales engagement platform maximizes SDR productivity.
- Prospect data, intent monitoring, and social tools like LinkedIn expand targetable prospects.
- Call tracking and conversation intelligence identify optimization opportunities.
- Email deliverability and optimization tools increase cold email performance.
- Workflow automation decreases repetitive tasks so SDRs focus on high-value actions.
The Key SDR Metrics to Track
To optimize the performance of your SDR team, you need to be tracking the right metrics and KPIs.
Activity metrics measure the raw outbound prospecting volume generated by SDRs:
- Calls made – Total number of call attempts to prospects
- Conversations – Calls that successfully connected with a prospect
- Emails sent – Total one-to-one and mass emails sent
- Social touches – LinkedIn messages, Twitter outreach etc.
- Touchpoints per prospect – Average frequency of engaging each prospect
These quantify the overall prospecting effort. Higher activities alone don’t guarantee more pipeline or revenue though. The outcomes of activities matter more.
Pipeline Generation Metrics
These metrics focus on the quality and volume of sales opportunities sourced by SDRs:
- Meetings set – Total prospect meetings/demos scheduled for AEs
- Sales qualified leads (SQLs) – Prospects demonstrating legitimate buying potential
- Sales accepted leads (SALs) – SQLs accepted and prioritized by AEs
- SQL conversion rate – Percentage of SDR touches or activities yielding an SQL
- Lead to opportunity conv. rate – Percentage of leads becoming pipeline opps
A healthy SQL conversion rate is 10%+. Pipeline metrics show how well SDRs are nurturing leads to an opportunity stage.
Revenue Impact Metrics
These metrics reflect the downstream revenue influence of SDRs:
- Revenue sourced – Total potential value of SDR generated opps
- Pipeline influenced – Percentage of total pipeline sourced by SDR team
- Deals influenced – Number or percentage of won deals seeded by SDRs
- Time to revenue – Average number of days between prospecting and closing
While SDRs don’t directly generate revenue, these metrics quantify their revenue impact further down the funnel.
Productivity metrics assess how efficiently SDRs convert their time and efforts into outcomes:
- Activities per SDR – Average daily/weekly prospecting volume
- Meetings per SDR – Average number of set meetings
- SQLs generated per SDR – Average monthly SQLs
- Cost per SQL – Fully-loaded SDR costs divided by SQL volume
- SQLs generated per activity – Activities-to-SQL conversion rates
High productivity reduces the cost of lead generation and pipeline. Benchmarks help assess SDR relative and trend performance.
Sample SDR Dashboard
Here is an example SDR metrics dashboard tracking key performance indicators:
!SDR metrics dashboard
Dashboards make it easy to view and share key SDR metrics across the revenue organization.
Choosing the Right Metrics
Keep these best practices in mind when selecting SDR metrics:
- Align to revenue goals – Track metrics that directly impact overall sales outcomes.
- Baseline for improvement – Establish current metric benchmarks to set targets.
- Segment metrics – Break down KPIs by geo, industry, SDR tenure etc. to spot trends.
- Limit to key metrics – Don’t overburden SDRs and managers with too many metrics.
- Review metrics regularly – Analyze metrics frequently and adjust strategies as needed.
- Activity metrics show overall SDR activity levels and intensity.
- Pipeline metrics indicate SDR ability to convert activities into SQLs.
- Revenue metrics quantify the downstream sales impact of SDRs.
- Productivity metrics measure how efficiently activities turn into outcomes.
- Choose aligned, segmented metrics focused on revenue impact and improvement.
Creating a Positive and Motivating Culture
Since SDR roles tend to have high turnover, building a great team culture is key for retention and results.
Recognition and Rewards
Acknowledging top performance is integral to motivating SDRs. Some best practices include:
- Shoutouts in team meetings – Publicly highlight standout prospecting work.
- Contests and incentives – Offer rewards for objectives like most demos scheduled.
- SWAG and gifts – Send top SDRs branded apparel, gift cards, or other perks.
- Leaderboards – Display metrics-based rankings to encourage competition.
- Promotions – Elevate successful SDRs to management positions.
Make recognition frequent, varied and creative. Rewards that are tiered based on achievement levels help push higher performance.
Coaching and Development
Enable SDRs to reach their full potential through:
- Onboarding training – Equip new SDRs with knowledge and skills needed to prospect effectively.
- Shadowing – Have new SDRs listen to calls and outreach from experienced teammates.
- Real-time feedback – Review campaign results and sample outreach regularly.
- Skills training – Conduct regular workshops on pitching, objections, social selling etc.
- Manager 1:1s – Frequently discuss SDR performance and development areas.
- Career pathing – Define advancement options and training needed for promotions.
Ongoing coaching tailored to each SDR’s needs accelerates their professional growth.
As an SDR leader, set the tone with:
- Energy and passion – Your own motivation gets replicated across the team.
- Accessibility – Maintain an open door policy. Be available to provide guidance.
- Empowerment – Give SDRs autonomy with defined constraints, not micromanagement.
- Goal transparency – Ensure everyone understands key team and individual goals.
- Feedback discipline – Give timely, concrete feedback focused on improvement.
SDRs perform best when inspired by engaged, caring and communicative managers.
Leverage teamwork to enhance culture:
- Peer mentoring – Allow experienced SDRs to coach newer teammates.
- Team building events – Plan fun activities outside work to strengthen bonds.
- Collaborative brainstorms – Have SDRs regularly share and build on ideas together.
- Group training – Conduct workshops with the full SDR team participating.
- Internal mobility – Provide opportunities for SDRs to take on new challenges internally.
Teamwork gives SDRs a sense of community and collective mission.
Instilling Core Values
Shared core values define the desired cultural behaviors:
- Innovation – Encourage new ideas and continuous process improvement.
- Agility – Foster willingness to experiment, fail fast and try new approaches.
- Accountability – Reinforce personal responsibility for outcomes and development.
- Transparency – Promote open communication and visibility into priorities.
- Inclusion – Support diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
Reinforcing core values shapes cultural norms and influences daily habits.
- Motivate SDRs through recognition, rewards, incentives and advancement opportunities.
- Develop SDR skills with onboarding, shadowing, training, feedback and career planning.
- Lead with passion, accessibility and clear goals. Promote teamwork and collaboration.
- Instill core values like innovation, agility, accountability and inclusion.
- A great culture attracts top talent, boosts performance, and improves retention.
Hiring World-Class SDR Talent
Recruiting superstar SDRs is challenging but pays dividends in team performance.
Must-Have Qualities for Top SDRs
Hire for these core attributes:
- Strong written and verbal communication
- Tailor messaging to different personalities
- Active listening and questioning abilities
- Persistence to power through rejection and resistance
- Ability to retain motivation despite challenges
- Discipline to adhere to schedules and processes
- Drive to be the best and hit objectives
- Self-motivation and focus on continuous improvement
- Competitive spirit to embrace contests and benchmarking
- Innate interest in understanding people
- Propensity to research prospects and accounts
- Desire to constantly expand sales knowledge
- Accepts feedback without ego or defensiveness
- Hungry to expand skills through learning
- Openness to new prospecting approaches
SDRs with this profile balance resilience, ambition, knowledge and humility.
Developing an SDR Candidate Pipeline
To access top talent, proactively build a candidate pipeline using:
- Reward employees for referring successful SDR hires.
- Reach out through your network for promising candidates.
- Present to college sales and business classes on the SDR role.
- Attend university career fairs to meet ambitious graduates.
- Ensure your SDR job posts highlight growth, impact and culture.
- Advertise on niche SDR/sales job boards for targeted visibility.
- Search for standout SDR profiles using job titles, skills etc.
- Engage prospective SDRs directly through InMail outreach.
- Network with experienced SDRs at industry conferences and meetups.
- Sponsor sales-focused community and networking events.
Continuous relationship building expands your pool of qualified prospects.
The Ideal SDR Interview Process
Your interview process should assess:
Past prospecting success
- Review sales metrics and achievements from previous SDR/sales roles.
- Gauge skills across cold calling, emailing, social selling etc.
- Test knowledge of logging activities, tracking data and leveraging CRM.
- Assess ability to learn new platforms quickly.
- Roleplay a mock sales call focusing on messaging and persuasion.
- Evaluate written emails to determine engagement capabilities.
- Discuss work style preferences to determine environment fit.
- Assess alignment on values like teamwork, transparency and inclusion.
- Present sales situations and evaluate proposed responses.
- Judge strategic thinking, creativity and decision making abilities.
An interview process tailored to the SDR role signals your commitment to their success.
- Prioritize resilience, ambition, curiosity, coachability and communication abilities.
- Build an SDR candidate pipeline through referrals, campus outreach, job boards, LinkedIn, events and more.
- Assess prospecting skills, CRM expertise, communication style, cultural fit and strategic thinking.
- A targeted SDR hiring process attracts top talent by showing your focus on excellence.
Training SDRs for Excellence
Proper training transforms promising SDRs into elite prospecting machines.
Comprehensive New Hire Onboarding
A structured onboarding program sets new SDRs up for success:
Company and culture
- Explain the company mission, values, teams and priorities.
- Ensure they connect to the culture by meeting different roles.
- Review product/service offerings, categories, and use cases in depth.
- Demo the product and highlight benefits tailored for each persona.
- Detail the ideal prospecting workflows and sales processes to follow.
- Outline how leads progress through the pipeline to close.
- Provide competitive analyses detailing positioning and differentiation.
- Review the target personas, segment sizes, and growth opportunities.
- Clarify responsibilities, daily/weekly activities, and performance metrics.
- Define the skills and knowledge needed to excel as an SDR.
Tools and systems
- Give hands-on CRM, sales tech, and internal systems training.
- Ensure familiarity with key platforms and locations of resources.
A comprehensive 2-4 week onboarding program sets clear expectations while instilling core knowledge.
Ongoing Skills Training
Keep honing SDR skills through:
- Roleplay calls and emails to refine pitching, objection handling and questioning skills.
- Troubleshoot messaging and provide feedback using call/email recordings.
- Refresh knowledge on latest product features and use cases.
- Demo key highlights and messaging tailored to different segments.
- Reinforce following defined workflows, data tracking and follow-up cadences.
- Share case studies of successful prospect nurturing for replication.
- Have new SDRs listen to calls and campaigns run by top team members.
- Identify what techniques and approaches to model.
- Provide ongoing CRM, sales tech and automation platform training.
- Ensure maximum leveraging of capabilities for efficiency.
Frequent skills sharpening prevents SDR prospecting performance from stagnating.
Industry and Market Training
Keep SDRs up-to-date on the market landscape:
- Highlight research on evolving buyer preferences, challenges and requirements.
- Tailor outreach messaging and use cases accordingly.
- Share the latest competitor products, pricing, and positioning.
- Adjust persuasion messaging to stand out from alternatives.
- Discuss how the personas and responsibilities of prospects are changing.
- Adapt prospecting approach and messaging to resonate better.
- Analyze macroeconomic factors, events, and vertical trends impacting prospects.
- Communicate the value proposition within this bigger picture context.
- Leverage persona-specific data to refine targeting and personalization.
- Build SDR expertise on speaking to the needs of each profile.
Keeping SDRs informed ensures outreach quality and relevance as market dynamics shift.
- Onboard new SDRs on the company, product, methodology, market landscape and required skills.
- Conduct regular prospecting workshops to sharpen messaging and objection handling.
- Shadow top performers and refresh knowledge of tools, products, and processes.
- Share market research and trends to evolve approaches as buyer needs change.
- Comprehensive training transforms SDRs into prospects engagement experts.
Keeping SDRs Motivated and Driven
With SDR roles often being short-term, keeping reps engaged and inspired long-term is an art.
Providing Opportunities for Growth
Enable professional growth through:
- Map out advancement options and training needed to get there.
- Provide visibility into how top performers climb within the organization.
- Let ambitious SDRs own additional tasks like recruiting, mentorship, or cross-team projects.
- Stretch assignments prevent stagnation while developing new skills.
- Partner rising stars with sales managers to advise and fast track their growth.
- Groom top SDRs for future sales leadership roles.
- Allow SDRs to shadow AEs, managers, and other functions of interest.
- Exposure builds knowledge and relationships for advancement.
- Offer tuition reimbursement or learning stipends for continuing sales education.
- Support taking online courses, certification programs and other training.
Providing avenues for professional development and progression enhances loyalty and effort.
Frequent Feedback and Reviews
Maximize growth through consistent feedback:
- Identify small wins as they happen for immediate positive reinforcement.
- Correct minor mistakes early before they become major pitfalls.
- Formally discuss weekly objectives, analyze metrics and call recordings.
- Reset priorities and address any blocking issues.
- Comprehensively assess performance trends, achievement of goals, and competency development.
- Set objectives for the next quarter and create a progress plan.
- Gather anonymous cross-functional peer feedback on collaboration and strengths/weaknesses.
- Incorporate perspectives beyond the manager’s view.
Consistent feedback aligns expectations while promptly addressing needs.
Setting Reasonable Goals
Unrealistic targets demoralize otherwise strong performers. Set SDRs up for success with:
- Start with easier initial quotas that ramp up as SDRs gain experience.
- This prevents early discouragement and builds confidence.
- Base targets on past proven attainable results for each prospecting channel, territory, role type etc.
- Don’t force SDRs to suddenly double performance without justification.
** probation and multi-goal quotas**
- Require meeting for example both activity AND pipeline goals rather than just one.
- This provides more flexibility to adapt approaches while preventing tunnel vision.
Team vs individual goals
- Complement individual quotas with shared team objectives like total SQLs generated.
- Adds teamwork and takes pressure off singling out underperformers when other factors affect results.
Fair targets drive urgency without anxiety. Goals should motivate, not overwhelm.
- Offer career pathing, special projects, job shadowing and education support.
- Provide consistent feedback through real-time reinforcement, weekly reviews and quarterly assessments.
- Set reasonable quotas based on historical benchmarks and ramps. Use team goals to complement individual targets.
- Motivated SDRs exert maximum effort when they see a future, receive guidance, and have attainable goals.
Tips from Top SDR Leaders
Experienced SDR managers have accumulated volumes of wisdom. Let’s learn from their guidance.
Quotes and Advice from Leading Professionals
Here are impactful insights from top SDR sales leaders:
“Hire for curiosity over experience. Traits like intellectual curiosity show a hunger for constant learning and excellence.” – Rob Simmons, VP Sales at LeanData
Curiosity indicates ambition to master the SDR craft. Skills can be trained, curiosity cannot.
“Specialize SDRs based on persona, industry or niche. They’ll tailor pitches and become true experts.” – Stephanie Rodriguez, VP Sales Dev at Outreach
Specialized knowledge builds credibility and relevance with niche prospect groups.
“Tools are force multipliers, but SDR performance still boils down to work ethic, attitude and skill.” – Morgan Ingram, SDR Manager at SalesLoft
Enable SDRs with technology, but ultimately results come down to human factors.
“Motivate with rewards and perks, but also opportunities for professional growth and leadership.” – Aaron Ross, author of From Impossible to Inevitable
Motivation requires nurturing both the personal and professional dimensions.
“Instill a mindset of constant improvement through quick feedback cycles and collaboration.” – James Benson, VP Sales at Chorus.ai
Frequent feedback cycles accelerate team and individual progress.
“Hire SDR managers for coaching skills over sales skills. They need to develop people more than hit quotas.” – Lars Nilsson, founder of SDRHacker
Player-coaches invest fully in nurturing talent by coaching over directing.
Key Takeaways for Implementation
How can we apply these lessons?
Hire for curiosity
Probe candidate natural interests, learning habits and passions beyond work during interviews. Assess inclination for self-improvement.
Segment SDRs by industry vertical, persona, or prospect type once enough are onboarded. Assign territories purposefully based on background.
Focus on skill development
Invest in training, workshops, and coaching on sales fundamentals. Tools amplify abilities but can’t replace them.
Incent learning and leadership
Offer tuition reimbursement for sales courses and certifications. Recognize mentoring, cross-training and team building.
Feedback fuels improvement
Review call and email recordings weekly 1:1. Share peer feedback regularly. Analyze metrics as a team.
Hire coaching ability
Evaluate candidate patience, communication style, and influencing approaches. Sales experience matters less for managers.
Wisdom from SDR leaders only holds value when applied. Turn advice into concrete actions.
- Hire curious lifelong learners over experienced reps. Curiosity is non-trainable.
- Segment specialists by industry, persona, territory etc. Specialization breeds expertise.
- Focus on developing skills via training, workshops and coaching. Tools require ability.
- Incentivize continuous learning and leadership opportunities. Progression fosters loyalty.
- Accelerate improvement through frequent feedback reviews and collaboration.
- Hire managers for coaching and development skills over sales skills.
Resources for Ongoing SDR Learning
Lifelong learning is integral to sustaining a successful SDR career. Tap into these resources to stay sharp.
Top Podcasts for SDRs
Podcasts deliver bitesized learning during commutes or downtime:
The SDR Show – An entertaining podcast covering prospecting tactics, career advice and war stories from the SDR trenches.
Sell or Die – Jeffrey and Jennifer Gitomer analyze real-world examples of what works across the sales process.
The Salesman Podcast – Tactical podcast focused on actionable tips and structures for B2B prospecting.
The Sales Evangelist – Insights from sales leaders and subject matter experts on critical selling skills.
Sales Hackers – Interviews top performers across sales, marketing, and revenue operations functions.
Revenue Collective – Leadership focused on building and scaling high-performing revenue engines.
Podcasts turn idle time into an opportunity to pick up practical sales knowledge.
Newsletters provide a steady stream of tips and advice:
The SDR Newsletter – Weekly email focused purely on actionable SDR tactics and use cases.
Cooldown.io – Bi-weekly newsletter covering sales technology trends and data-driven insights.
Sales Hacker – Weekly newsletter highlighting sales methodology, leadership, diversity, and culture content.
SmartBug Media – Bi-weekly sales-focused digest of actionable content.
ProductLed – Weekly product-led growth newsletter including sales topics.
Subscribing ensures consistent delivery of supplemental SDR expertise.
Engaging books provide in-depth learning:
New Sales. Simplified by Mike Weinberg – Foundational book on the essential sales process techniques and mindsets.
From Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross – Playbook for opportunity discovery through outbound prospecting.
Insight Selling by Mike Schultz – Frameworks for applying insights to differentiate value propositions.
The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson – Research-backed profile of the Challenger seller style.
FANATICAL Prospecting by Jeb Blount – Practical guide to mastering proactive prospecting approaches.
Books let reps learn at their own pace while building sales knowledge.
Active communities create camaraderie:
The Sales Subreddit – Active discussions on sales topics from career advice to tools.
SalesHacker Slack – Thriving community of sales professionals in a chat platform format.
SDRHacker Facebook Group – Focused group for sharing SDR-specific tips and experiences.
Interacting with peers provides perspective, encouragement and fresh ideas.
In-person events foster connections:
Sales Hacker Conference – The largest B2B sales event covering sales acceleration topics.
SDR Summit – Conference purely tailored to the strategies and skills needed for SDR success.
Sales Enablement Summit – Sales enablement focused event addressing training, content, and more.
Immersive experiences build networks and capability.
- Podcasts deliver bite-sized learning during daily routines. Subscribe to sales-focused shows.
- Newsletters provide a steady stream of tips and advice conveniently to your inbox.
- Sales books allow deep-dive learning into foundational methods at your own pace.
- Online communities enable camaraderie, support, and collective problem solving.
- Live events facilitate building connections and absorbing energy from sales leaders.
Continuous learning sustains performance. Tap into these resources to stay ahead.
- SDRs specialize in identifying, engaging, qualifying and nurturing new prospects to generate pipeline. They expand lead sources while freeing up AEs.
- Optimize team size, structure, and roles based on revenue targets, customer profiles, locations, specialties and more.
- Equip SDRs with integrated CRM and sales engagement platforms, prospect data, conversation intelligence, and automation.
- Track activity, pipeline, revenue influence, and productivity metrics tailored to your sales strategy and process.
- Motivate SDRs through recognition, development, and a competitive yet collaborative culture.
- Hire for curiosity, perseverance, competitiveness, adaptability, and communication skills.
- Onboard extensively on the company, product, methodology, tools and required SDR skills. Conduct ongoing training through hands-on workshops.
- Inspire ongoing improvement by providing career growth opportunities, frequent feedback, and reasonable goals.
- Absorb advice and best practices from respected SDR sales leaders.
- Leverage books, podcasts, events, communities and other resources for continuous learning.
- With the right team, leadership, tools, and processes in place, SDRs transform revenue performance.
This covers the key points and takeaways from across the entire guide. Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand the key takeaways section at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the day-to-day responsibilities of an SDR?
SDRs spend their days prospecting into assigned territories or accounts via cold calls, emails, LinkedIn, event outreach and other channels. They log all prospect interactions in the CRM, maintain organized workflows, research accounts, run demos, and qualify leads for AEs.
What skills make a successful SDR?
Top SDRs have strong communication abilities, high resilience, competitive drive, organizational skills, work ethic, curiosity and coachability. They balance confidence with humility and passion with discipline. Technical aptitude is less important than raw prospecting skill.
How much do SDRs typically earn?
SDR salaries average $65,000 annually for early career reps. Commission-based SDRs can earn $100,000+ at maturity. Quotas, territories, experience levels and cost of living impact compensation significantly. Equity upside is common at high-growth startups.
What metrics are used to evaluate SDR performance?
Key SDR metrics include activities (calls, emails, touches), pipeline generation (SQLs, SALs, meetings), downstream revenue influence and productivity indicators like activities per SDR. Multi-dimensional metrics prevent misleading data.
How can I progress from an SDR role to sales leadership?
Consistent high performance, leadership traits, business acumen and relationship building enable advancement from SDR to sales management and beyond. Be a team player, take on stretch assignments, pursue continuous learning and express interest in management.
How do I keep my SDR team motivated and avoid turnover?
Foster a rewarding, competitive yet supportive team culture. Provide ongoing skills coaching, professional growth opportunities, and reasonable quotas. Maintain positive morale through recognition, feedback from managers and peers, and accountability.
What sales tech stack do SDRs need to be successful?
A CRM like Salesforce combined with data platforms, conversation intelligence, sales engagement tools like email sequencers and voicemail droppers, and LinkedIn integration comprise an effective SDR stack. Prioritize platforms that integrate and automate workflows.