What is a Sales Development Representative? The VP’s Guide

What is a sales development representative? Learn more about how this position can optimize your sales funnel to help convert more prospects.

Blog Post

5 minutes

Feb 22, 2023

Sales teams have a more difficult task than ever trying to find and identify high-quality leads from a sea of people available online. For businesses who need help optimizing their sales processes and finding more qualified leads, it’s time to ask: “What is a sales development representative?” 

The role of a sales development representative (SDR) is to reach out to prospects, learn about them, and nurture them along the sales funnel through education, communication, and relationship-building. But the overall importance of an SDR within a business’ sales team goes much deeper than those tasks. 

Boost the effectiveness of your SDRs and other salespeople by supporting them with a strong marketing strategy led by data, research, and effective content. Read Increase Sales Exponentially with These 5 Marketing Strategies to see what strategies you can use to align marketing and sales and promote growth in your business. 

SDR Roles and Responsibilities 

An SDR plays a very strategic role within a business' sales cycle. They typically come in at the very beginning of a potential customer’s buyer’s journey. An SDR is often the first touchpoint from a sales team member after a lead has been passed down from marketing or found via prospecting.  

SDRs are responsible for interacting with these fresh prospects, learning more about them, making sure they’re worth pursuing further, and moving them closer to becoming a paying customer. 

It’s so important for sales teams to have effective SDRs because they’re the ones who connect with prospects first. They set the tone for the entire relationship by using data, research, relationship building, and other skills to produce a strong first impression and the foundations of a good business relationship. 

What Does a Sales Development Representative Do? 

SDRs have a few core responsibilities, including: 

  1. Connect with Prospects: SDRs are responsible for engaging with, educating, and connecting with prospects on a variety of levels. 
  2. Qualify Leads: SDRs filter out leads that don’t fit your business' ideal customer profile (ICP) through questioning and research. Leads that do fit the mold are then passed to account managers further down the funnel.  
  3. Communicate: SDRs need to communicate clearly with their peers and with prospects to make sure everyone is on the same page and the handoffs between company representatives are seamless. 

Sales Development Representative Skills Required 

Sales development representatives require a unique skillset because they’re responsible for doing such a large variety of important things at the top of the sales funnel and they need to be able to do all it well. Interviewing, outreach, organization, researching, and other core skills are critical in order to see success in this role, including:

critical skills for a sales development representative (SDR)

Using Video When Prospecting: With tools like Vidyard, SDRs can utilize videos in their sales process to provide a more personal touch, explain complex ideas quickly, and create a more engaging experience right off the bat. 

These videos can be as simple as greeting the prospect and explaining your business while on camera, but they can also deep dive into your products or services by sharing your screen or demonstrating something quickly and easily. 

Personalizing Outreach: It’s no secret that personalized approaches are more effective. 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if offered more personalized experiences throughout their journey. This means that SDRs need to know who they’re talking to, what they’re talking about, and when to talk about what. 

Every detail of a conversation must be tailored for each prospect using research on the company and industry, real data, and messaging based on their place in the sales funnel. 

Active Interviewing: When talking with prospects, it’s important for SDRs to not only know what to say or ask, but also how to listen. Active interviewing is a skill that involves planning questions, preparing for meetings, and actively listening for answers that help you drill deeper. An SDR with these skills can get more out of each conversation and more quickly pull prospects along. 

Being Coachable: There will always be better salespeople, more seasoned veterans, and people you can learn from. A successful SDR must be willing to listen, learn, adapt, and truly absorb information from people who’ve done it before and done it successfully. 

Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills like organized communication, punctuality, and social awareness are needed here, too. 

SDRs need to be able to know who they’re talking to, how to pick up on what prospects are feeling but not saying, what stage of the journey they’re on, who they’ve already talked to, who to pass leads along to, and more, all within these processes.  

Relationship Building: Sales is all about relationships. People want to buy from people they know and like. As the first touchpoint from a sales team, SDRs are responsible for the all-important first impression which will pave the way for future sales with prospects if done right. 

Audience-Awareness: SDRs need to be aware of how all their communication efforts will feel from the prospect’s point of view. How many emails is too many? How often should you reach out? An SDR needs to understand the proper cadence required for effective communication. 

How SDRs Benefit Sales Teams and Businesses 

A sales team is not complete without sales development representatives because it’s so easy to reach out to prospects online. It’s actually too easy. Almost every business has the means now to reach anybody online no matter where they are.  

This deluge of prospecting has made the market highly competitive and it is now necessary for businesses to add a layer of ”quality control” to their sales process to help more ICP-aligned leads stand out and receive more attention. 

What Can You Do to Help Your Sales Teams? 

SDRs can have a big impact on your sales success, but you can do even more to help both them and your overall sales process. Implementing some key marketing strategies can align the marketing and sales funnels for the most optimized experience possible for prospects, and the highest amount of sales for you.  

Learn more about some of these effective marketing strategies in Impact's blog, Increase Sales Exponentially with These 5 Marketing Strategies, and discover what you can do to further strengthen your business’ customer journey and sales process. 


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Additional Resources

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Increase Sales Exponentially with These 5 Marketing Strategies

Brand awareness is great, but how can you take the next step and use marketing to actually increase sales? Find five strategies in this blog from Impact!

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