SDR lead generation helps businesses identify prospects that require the least amount of time and effort to convert. This process increases the sales pipeline efficiency without overworking account executives.

Lead Generation Definition

Sales funnels begin with lead generation, which is the process of attracting potential customers to a product or service. Businesses can benefit from lead generation by: 

  • Filling the pipeline with qualified leads: Lead generation replaces churn by identifying prospects who’ll benefit the most from your offerings. 
  • Speeding up the sales cycle: A well-executed lead generation strategy efficiently moves prospects along the buyer’s journey, which speeds up the closing process. 
  • Increasing brand awareness: Many lead generation strategies are designed to increase your audience reach and establish your brand as an industry and subject-matter expert.

How Sales Development Representatives Implement Lead Generation

The primary role of sales development representatives (SDRs) is to unburden salespeople by taking over lead qualification tasks. They bridge the gap between sales and marketing, ensuring that the pipeline has a steady conversion stream while reducing missed opportunities. 

There are two types of SDR lead generation: inbound and outbound

Point of ComparisonInbound Lead GenerationOutbound Lead Generation
Content formatsGeneralPersonalized
Target prospectsDiverseSpecific demographic

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound lead generation refers to strategies that generate attention to your brand and offerings. Marketing teams commonly implement these, but SDRs leverage them to identify high-quality leads. Examples of these tactics include: 

  • Content marketing: This involves leveraging different content formats to catch the attention of potential customers. Examples of content used in SDR lead generation are e-books, how-to articles, and case studies. 
  • Email marketing: This technique uses email as a marketing channel to raise awareness for an offering and inform potential customers about promotions and new products. 
  • Social media marketing: Using social media features and tools, this aims to generate leads through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 

Inbound SDRs are primarily responsible for filtering marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Also known as warm leads, these prospects have shown previous interest in your offerings by engaging with one of your marketing channels. 
Inbound SDRs use a lead qualification process to determine if an MQL is ready to become a sales-qualified lead (SQL). The definition of an SQL varies, but it usually refers to a prospect that fits the company’s ideal customer profile.

Outbound Lead Generation: 

Unlike inbound lead generation, wherein potential customers approach your brand, outbound lead gen requires engaging prospects using the following techniques:

  • Cold calling: This tactic involves calling prospects that belong to a particular demographic and introducing them to your brand and offering. It’s a common lead qualification strategy that aims to gather prospects’ data instead of closing deals. 
  • Cold emailing: This process is similar to cold calling, but instead of phones, it uses email as a channel to engage unknowing prospects. 

Outbound lead generation strategies are often challenging to implement because they elicit a wide range of responses. Fewer prospects answer cold calls or emails, while the rest are likely to dismiss them. This is why having experienced and trained SDRs is crucial to get the best possible outcomes.

In some companies, outbound and inbound SDRs are merged into one role, as they have overlapping responsibilities.

Sales Development Representative Metrics

Tracking SDR metrics enables evaluating performance objectively. You can use the following indicators to assess SDR lead generation: 

Calls Made & Outcomes

This is a metric commonly used to evaluate appointment setting programs. It reveals the quality of calls that SDRs make and whether they generate enough leads. 

Calls made outcomes can be categorized as:

  • Connected
  • Disqualified
  • Qualified
  • No answer
  • Initial meeting scheduled

When used to measure cold emails, these classifications can be modified to:

  • Qualified
  • Disqualified
  • Replied
  • No reply
  • Initial meeting scheduled
How to track: 

Most customer relationship management (CRM) tools SDRs use have features that allow them to log the calls made and their outcomes. If your SDRs are not using CRM systems, they can manually track these numbers.

Scheduled Appointments

Scheduled appointments indicate whether SDRs are supplying enough leads into the pipeline. This is also a crucial metric for forecasting sales targets.

How to track: 

To get the number of booked appointments for every SDR, track how many initial meetings were scheduled from the calls made in a particular time frame. 

Meetings to Sales Accepted Opportunities (SAO) Rate

A lead becomes an SAO when an account executive attends a meeting set up by an SDR and decides that it is a worthwhile opportunity. This metric will show you the quality of leads that SDRs generate for the pipeline. 

How to track: 

You can calculate the SAO rate by looking at the number of appointments booked by SDRs within a specific period. 


Tracking revenue generated by SDRs is essential because it: 

  • Analyzes whether the investment in the team was worth it;
  • Forecasts whether revenue objectives are achievable within the set time frame. 

If your SDRs aren’t generating enough revenue, you can make adjustments such as increasing call volume or changing strategies.

How to track: 

You can track the revenue made by SDRs by looking at the conversions that resulted from the scheduled meetings. If most of the appointments resulted in closed deals, your strategy is working to positively impact your top line. 

The video below explains how to calculate your conversion rate. 

Bottom Line

SDR lead generation can speed up the sales cycle by engaging prospects with the highest conversion potential, allowing businesses to boost revenue and scale.