The role of a sales development representative (SDR) is to find prospects, qualify leads, nurture relationships with key decision-makers (KDMs), and secure high-converting sales appointments. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, that’s where you’re wrong.
A sales rep’s role may be simple, but it’s no walk in the park. To be a successful SDR, an individual must be knowledgeable about the sales industry and develop soft skills to build relationships with prospects and convert them into customers.
While anyone could learn the hard skills of the SDR role, it’s challenging to train SDRs on the soft skills they need to yield results. To be a good SDR, individuals must be:
For an SDR to succeed in their role, they must be curious and always ask questions to learn more. However, it’s important to remember that being curious can mean various things. From the SDR role itself to the decision-maker on the phone, they should be curious in every avenue.
When it comes to curiosity about the SDR role, it’s essential that you pay attention to the kinds of questions they ask (if any). They should constantly be asking questions to help them advance in their roles and grow as sales professionals. If they’re not asking questions, this may be a red flag that they’re not happy with the position or already feel like they know everything they need to know about the SDR role. The most successful SDRs are always looking to grow and improve and never settle for being less than adequate.
If an SDR is curious about their role, they’ll likely be curious about prospective businesses in the sales pipeline. A good sales rep should always be curious and open to asking decision-makers questions. If an SDR is asking KDMs a lot of questions, they’re showing that they genuinely care about the success of their company. Additionally, they’re ensuring that they set up high-quality sales appointments that are likely to result in closed business.
More often than not, sales reps are social butterflies and love talking to anyone and everyone they encounter. Successful salespeople are relatable and good at finding ways to relate with potential buyers.
To be a good SDR candidate, an individual must be sociable, personable, and able to mirror the personalities of decision-makers in the sales pipeline. Mirroring personalities gives SDRs the opportunity to further connect with potential buyers. If the potential buyer sees a lot of themselves in an SDR, they’re more than likely to agree to meet for a sales meeting.
Along with the character trait of being personable, qualities of a good sales representative include being empathetic with potential buyers. A good sales rep should be able to easily envision themselves in the shoes of potential buyers and feel the same pain points that they have. When SDRs are empathic, potential buyers are more likely to trust the SDRs and ultimately trust your company’s product and service offerings.
As we mentioned earlier, good salespeople are social butterflies—it’s their job to talk a lot. However, while they may be talkers, they should also be active listeners.
Not-so-experienced SDRs tend to forget that listening is a crucial part of appointment setting. When they call prospects in the sales pipeline, they often have a script to follow and focus on following the script rather than having a genuine conversation with potential buyers. High-performing SDRs should be experts in having a two-way conversation—not following a word-for-word script. When they follow a script, they risk missing out on having a valuable discussion and seizing valuable business opportunities.
Active listening demonstrates genuine interest and makes the prospect feel like their needs are actually being heard. When a sales development rep is a good listener, they’ll also be able to handle objections better because they took note of what they said.
One of the most important qualities of a good SDR is resilience. It can take dozens of cold calls just to find one lead interested in what your company has to offer. And sometimes, that can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. If an individual is able to pick themselves back up when things don’t go their way, they’d make a good sales rep.
Grit and resilience are must-haves for being a successful SDR. For some industries, it can take over 18 calls just to set up a single sales appointment. Maintaining focus on the end goal and coming at these challenges head-on will make an SDR successful in the sales industry.
No top-performing SDR wants to remain in the middle of the pack. Successful SDRs should have an innate desire to come out on top and out-perform every other appointment setter on their SDR team.
There’s competitive energy in any sales team, and having an ambitious spirit will be the difference between what makes a successful SDR over an average one. Whether it’s a contest for who can set the most appointments, make the most dials, or get the most email responses, competitive culture in the sales world drives SDR teams to go above and beyond.
A part of being an SDR is constantly setting appointments, remembering tasks, and gathering crucial market statistics. An SDR regularly juggles reporting numbers, meeting call quotas, and scheduling meetings, so it’s vital that they stay organized and have a way to keep track of all their responsibilities.
While having a sales personality is a crucial part of the SDR role, so is staying organized and managing time well. A successful SDR should always know what they have going on for the day, track their time if they can, and set attainable goals.
While an SDR could keep a calendar to manage their sales pipeline, organization can be made easier with a CRM system like Salesforce. With a CRM, SDRs can prioritize leads based on their readiness to buy and their stage of the sales pipeline. Additionally, using a CRM system to organize priorities also enhances communication between team members. Even if one SDR isn’t closing a lead, talking points can easily be transferred from one team member to the next to ensure each conversation with a KDM is valuable and gets them one step closer to setting a meeting.
A good sales rep is always ready to roll with the punches. Adaptability is one of the most important qualities in a good sales rep since the job description and best practices are constantly changing. A great SDR needs to be able to adapt to different selling situations, whether it’s talking to a KDM or trying to get past a gatekeeper.
An SDR must be able to adjust their selling style depending on the geographic area of the country they’re pitching. Additionally, it’s important that they know different tactics to use during different times of the year.
For example, in Q4, a great SDR would talk to a prospect about how their product or service will set them up for success in the new year. To be a successful SDR, it’s essential that they stay relevant with the times and align their pitch with the state of the world and market as a whole.
Last, but not least, an SDR should be coachable and willing to adjust their pitch to achieve more sales appointments. Sales enablement strategies are constantly changing, and goals are always shifting in sales. Even the best SDRs still have areas where they could improve, and they must be eager to learn.
Sales managers want to see their SDR teams succeed, so it’s important that they listen to what sales managers have to say to maximize appointment setting efforts. To be a good salesperson, an SDR should absorb as much information as possible, constructively process criticism, and act on critiques to make positive changes.
An SDR and account executive have to work together to be successful. While SDRs prioritize setting up high-converting sales appointments, sales execs should focus on perfecting their sales presentations to close significant business deals.
Unfortunately, many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the time, money, or resources to internalize their appointment setting efforts. When they don’t have the bandwidth to handle it internally, they seek additional help from outsourced lead generation providers.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our SDR teams are well-equipped to find leads that meet your criteria and set sales meetings with value. If you need sales reps who have all the soft skills to present your company in a positive light, contact our lead generation experts!