Skills for SDR Career Success

The role of the Sales Development Representative continues to transform rapidly as technology advances, yet rather than making the SDR obsolete, advances have made the SDR’s role even more valuable over time.

An SDR is often the first contact your business has with prospects, and in a world where we are surrounded by people and things demanding our attention, the SDR must stand out and continually hone their craft in order to prove their product’s value and leverage their career for the long term.

At first, this seems overwhelming. How do you make yourself and your product stand out? How can you use technology to your advantage? How do you balance the quality of service with quantity as you try to meet regular quotas? How can you set yourself up for success and become a master of your craft long-term?

Fortunately, according to experts, there are some common characteristics among the most successful SDRs. Here are the top four habits that can set you up for SDR career success.

Stay Organized

Some call this keeping a schedule, others refer to it as “maintaining a strong process,” but it all really boils down to plain, old organization. Kieran O’Connor of Hubspot writes that one of the most important tasks you can undertake as an SDR is to organize your day. That being said, do be sure to organize in a way that works best for you.

There are a million different kinds of calendar software and reminders you can set if that is what it takes for you to stick to a schedule. Some of us are more likely to remember an event or task if we write it down. However you choose to plan it out, it’s important to remember the crucial role that timing plays when you’re working with prospects. Following up on commitments and calls in a timely manner demonstrates that you are reliable, and you understand the value of your prospect’s time.

Keeping a solid schedule as an SDR can often be helped by establishing a strong sales cadence, which makes it easier to manage your leads as well as your time. Sean Kester of SalesLoft uses his “7 by 7” model as an example, while O’Connor recommends a combination of rigorous prioritizing and utilization of scheduling technology.

Whichever way you choose to structure your day, set a schedule, stay organized, and stick to it in order to build a reputation as a trustworthy SDR.    

Know Your Product, and Your Customers

Another SDR essential for long-term success is knowing your product, and understanding its value. Tim Brown of Offsource writes in his “SDR survival guide” that SDRs should be the “champion of their product offering.” Know your product inside and out and know its value. After all, it’s going to be really hard to sell a product if you yourself don’t have confidence in it.

An ideal SDR is also knowledgeable when it comes to the Ideal Customer Profile or ICP. Once you are familiar with the basic characteristics of your customer base, you can become better attuned to their specific needs, places that Tim Brown refers to as “pain points.” He adds that “a competent SDR will differentiate themselves” when they know exactly how their product fulfills the customers’ needs.

Get Personal

It may seem like common sense, but the well-rounded SDR should also possess and develop personal skills like how to leave a good voicemail, confidence in communication, and active listening.

Jason Richman of Hubspot takes this further by suggesting “highly customized outreach,” by making simple customizations to calls or e-mails, perhaps with a touch of humor. And doing your research on the prospect using social networking insights could also give you a better sense of who your customer is and what they will need. While quantity is important, these simple touches can greatly increase the quality of your customer interactions.

Get Creative

It can be risky to reach out in a world where it seems like everyone is selling something. Each of us has messages coming from all directions, telling us what to buy and why we need it. In order for their product to stand out, SDRs have to get creative.

Don’t be afraid to use a little humor, try new strategies like “video prospecting,” or develop new strategies to make your product stand out.

Get Going!

Yes, being an SDR has become more complicated over time, but by cultivating these essential skills, you can fulfill your SDR role with confidence and make yourself an indispensable part of the sales process with a life-long career.