Before deciding to hire a sales development representative (SDR), you need to understand what a sales development representative does so you can weigh the costs and benefits of hiring an SDR for your organization.

What is Business Development?

At its core, sales development is about qualifying prospects and generating leads, rather than closing sales. 

Once you know what the job entails, from skills to specializations, you’ll know how SDRs drive business and whether you should hire one or outsource the functionality.

Read on to learn more about sales, sales development, and sales development representatives.

What is a Sales Development Representative?

A sales development representative (SDR) is a specialized salesperson focused strictly on generating top-of-funnel opportunities to be passed to an account executive to close. 

Typically, SDRs create these opportunities through a high volume of outbound cold calling, although this isn’t always the case.

What Do Sales Development Representatives Do?

It’s easy enough to say that sales development representative duties involve generating top-of-funnel opportunities, but what does that mean? How do you define sales development representative responsibilities in terms of the sales funnel? 

Basically, the top of the funnel is where you engage cold prospects and begin to generate leads (source link). In other words, you make people aware of your product or service because no one can do business with you if they don’t know you exist. Although you can do this through marketing, referral programs, or other types of lead generation, sales development representatives are focused on generating opportunities through outbound prospecting. 

Generally, an effective SDR will create a more predictable pipeline than marketing initiatives because they are not dependent on inbound leads searching for your solution. SDRs also have the advantage of qualifying these top-of-the-funnel contacts, separating out low-quality leads so that account executives don’t have to expend time and resources chasing dead-end deals.

What Are the Day-to-Day Duties of an SDR?

Qualifying leads is only part of the sales development representative job description. Several specific duties go into the role.

Identify the Best Targets for Outreach within a Target Organization

You can’t throw darts at an org chart and hope they land on the right name. Your SDR needs to put in the time to get to understand the target organization so they know who to reach out to rather than swinging blindly.

Test and Iterate Messaging

Being an SDR is all about messaging, communicating to the prospect that they have the solution to a problem the target organization is facing. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to find the most effective way to communicate your message, and it’s the SDR’s job to figure that out.

SDRs Qualify Prospects

Not all prospects are created equal. Some are simply researching options and don’t have the authority to make purchasing decisions for their organization. SDRs work to ensure that both those prospects who lack authority and those who cannot be served by what you’re offering don’t end up taking too much time or resources.

Participate in Sales Team Meetings and Training

Sales development is an iterative process; as your team grows and learns your organization and the market, they will build and improve their skills. In addition, working through team meetings and internal training programs enables them to share hard-earned knowledge with other salespeople and stakeholders throughout the organization.

Sales Calls and Emails

At the top of the sales funnel, many SDRs spend a lot of time working on initial contacts, primarily through calls and emails. Of course, success depends on many things, but every successful SDR knows a large number of calls and emails daily.

Advantages of Hiring SDR

So what are the advantages of hiring one or more SDRs for your organization? How can they benefit you instead of simply increasing the number of account executives and other direct sales personnel? To understand this, you have to understand both the sales development role description and the specific advantages.

SDR Efficiency

Hiring SDRs lets your salespeople focus on developing a single skillset, which is important because many of the skills that make a person good at closing deals are not the same as those which make someone good at evaluating potential prospects.

SDR Skills

Breaking down two different tasks and allocating them to specialized roles helps increase the efficiency of both groups. Increased efficiency correlates directly to increased productivity and better results for your investment.

More Sales

If done correctly, hiring SDRs increases your sales because your account executives can spend more time closing deals rather than qualifying prospects. More opportunities to close directly transfers to more sales. 

Specialized SDRs

While they may have the same names, sales development representatives fulfill several different roles. First, as mentioned earlier, most SDRs are inside sales development representatives who generate outbound opportunities through a high volume of calls, although there are some exceptions. 

While the basic job function may be the same, there are even further specialized SDR roles that it’s worth looking at the specializations to understand their utility better.

Here are some examples of specialized SDRs:

Enterprise SDR

Dealing with the enterprise, these SDRs are more involved with building long-term relationships and identifying stakeholders in the target organization. This is rarely about a single transaction but more about bringing a new partner on board for the long haul.

Inbound SDR

Not all SDRs focus on cold calling. Inbound SDRs are deployed to engage warm inbound leads, where they follow up with people who have already expressed some interest in your product.

Industry-Specific SDR

Some industries require specific knowledge or skill sets on the part of the SDR.

For example, this is very common when dealing with Software as a Service, or SaaS, and many ads in this industry look for people with specific software experience to serve as a software sales development representative.

Should I Hire an SDR?

No one can answer this question for you. In truth, it depends on many things, including your business goals. One potential risk factor is that if you do not have the institutional knowledge base in professional sales development,  managing your own in-house SDR or SDR team can be tricky. 

The other option is that you can hire an outsourced company rather than doing it all internally. This gives you many advantages. Outsourcing provides faster results than bringing up an internal SDR team. It also offers reduced costs. 

Perhaps the biggest benefit in choosing an outsourcing company is that you can take advantage of its institutional expertise. You don’t need to worry about whether you already have the necessary skills in-house and possibly discovering you don’t know when it’s too late to worry about things.

For more information on sales development representatives and outsourcing your team, contact Sales Roads today.


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