Sales Development Representative: A Complete Guide

Sales Development Representative

What a typical sales deal looks like? Probably like the one shown below.

Leads → Qualified Leads → Clients

It seems easy, right? Approaching various prospects, selecting the most legit ones and finally bringing them onboard as your customers.

But this process doesn’t go as smoothly as it appears. A sales deal doesn’t just happen in a blink of an eye. Any sales deal starts from looking out for leads who will be interested in your product, then differentiating between a ‘lead’ and a ‘qualified lead’ who is actually worth your time and will be buying your product, and finally moving the deal forward to its closing. This three-step journey requires a division of work among various members of the sales team of a company.

This blog talks about Sales Development Representative, aka SDR, an entry-level position in sales. Fling yourself into this blog and educate yourself about this position and the skills that an efficient Sales Development Representative should have.

What is a Sales Development Representative?

In layman terms, the Sales Development Representative is a salesperson. He works towards generating leads, filtering out the leads which are not a good fit and moving potential leads through sales pipelines. He is responsible for selecting the most appropriate leads or qualified leads among the many leads that the sales team is working on.

Let’s make things simpler and decode the above flowchart. The sales team of a company is a group of people that works on selling products or services of a company. The SDRs approach various prospects who might be interested in their company’s product or services via mail, LinkedIn, social media, events, etc. in order to sell its products.

Among the many prospects which the sales team works upon, only a few show a keen interest. It is the Sales Development Representative who approaches people, generates leads and filters out inappropriate prospects. He then directs these qualified prospects to the Account Executive who is responsible for carrying out the process further and bringing these qualified leads onboard as clients.

What is the role of a Sales Development Representative?

An SDR is a salesperson responsible for getting potential customers for the company. He does detailed research on every prospect and selects the one who ticks all the boxes. He works on prospecting and selecting the most appropriate leads thereby reducing the burden of the account executive, who now has to focus only on closing deals rather than prospecting. This division of roles increases the rate of client growth of any company.

This is what an SDR is required to do:

  • Researching and prospecting:
    The first step in generating customers for the company is to explore the market and look for businesses/ people who are in need of your services. Investigate systematically and take out useful insights to make effective and sensible conversation with the prospects. Keep the sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously.
  • Communicating with prospects:
    The next step involves connecting with prospects. This requires a lot of talking and convincing. It should be remembered that unless you make yourself appear relevant to the prospect, you won’t be able to take the deal forward. Communications can be done via phone, email, and social media. Don’t forget to follow up because if you don’t take care of your potential clients, your competitors will.
  • Setting up meetings and appointments:
    The meetings are arranged to know about the requirements of the leads in detail. Prepare yourself for facing questions and answering queries. These meetings let SDRs conclude whether a particular lead is appropriate for the deal. If yes, the last step is to connect him with the Account Executive who will carry the deal forward.

How is a Sales Development Representative different from an Account Executive?

Sales Development Representative is an entry-level position in a sales role. The responsibility of a Sales Development Representative is to contact businesses and organizations, determine good leads and set-up them for the Account Executive to close. So, an SDR works on lead generation and prospecting.

However, the Account Executive is a higher position than SDR. An Account Executive focuses on closing deals with the leads which have been directed by the SDR. So, an AE focuses on closing deals rather than looking for leads.

What skills does an SDR need?

If you’re a novice at this business of sales, you need to work on the following skills to be an efficient SDR:

  • Good Interpersonal Skills:
    Be a glib talker because that is what the game is about. Communicate with confidence and clarity. Make things easy to understand for the prospects.
  • Knowledge about the product:
    Well, you can’t sell a product without knowing what it is. Successful SDRs have to know everything about the product they are selling.
  • Knowledge about the prospects:
    Know your eligible customer before pitching him for your product. Unless you are thorough with his business and needs, you won’t be able to crack that deal.
  • Presentation Skills:
    Establishing a good rapport with the lead is crucial for building a relationship. It is always easy to communicate with someone over a call or mail. You have to be decent and reasonable while presenting yourself and the product in a face to face meeting.
  • Sales Tools:
    Sales ain’t that easy! So why make it more difficult? They are a myriad of sales tools that can be used to ease the business. School yourself with these sales tools and get cracking!
  • Keen Learner:
    In the sales business, learning never stops. Every day is a different race for a Sales Development Representative. It is important to keep learning different sales tactics and clever terminology to move up the ladder.

These were some of the essential skills needed to be a top-notch SDR. You have to be creative, collaborative, think unconventionally and be passionate about making big. 


SDRs are undoubtedly a very significant part of the sales team because they initiate the process of any sales deal. They bring in customers and qualify them as valuable to the company. Moreover, they alleviate the burden of Account Executives by prospecting and moving suitable leads through the sales pipeline. Without them, the sales cycles would take much longer. Sales Development Representatives have to be agile, nimble-witted, dedicated towards their work and should always be in a quest to succeed even after the umpteenth rejections from prospects. 

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