Why the Sales Development Representative (SDR) function is vital to your organisation’s success

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The importance of the SDR role

The Sales Development Representative (SDR) role is a starting point for many successful sales professionals. It is the learning ground where they make mistakes and build knowledge. Ultimately, the time spent in the SDR role is the deciding factor in which of these new salespeople have what it takes to go all the way. Many new salespeople drop out of sales after failing in the SDR role.

A robust SDR play is essential to every sales team. SDRs add significant value to an organisation’s sales performance by ensuring a steady supply of high-quality leads for the senior salespeople or the BDMs to work on. Though it is often an entry role, business leaders must treat the acquiring of talent for the SDR role with the utmost scrutiny. Ultimately, the success of an organisation’s SDRs can directly impact the overall success of the sales function and the organisational revenue down the line.

A healthy sales funnel starts at the top of the funnel. For the top of the sales funnel to be healthy, you need best of breed SDRs focused on the mouth of the sales funnel.

Why SDRs fail

Many organisations approach the SDR role incorrectly. They view SDRs as the ‘bottom of the food chain’. There is an overall lack of respect and regard for how SDRs are perceived and treated. This culture ultimately takes a toll on self-confidence and, in turn, the SDRs’ ability to perform.

Sales development is highly challenging, and it requires leaders to train, coach, motivate, optimise, and care about their SDRs. Without sufficient guidance and support, SDRs are highly likely to fail.

Overloading the SDR function with inappropriate work often leads to an SDR’s failure. As more senior salespeople and leaders often become swamped with their workload, SDRs can become a ‘dumping ground’ for other tasks like providing sales admin support and sales ops support. Taking an SDR away from their core duty of lead provision reduces their ability to optimise time and focus on meeting their qualified lead quota.

Hiring a ‘bad fit’ will lead to failure as the SDR role needs an individual who is ‘cut out’ for it. A bad hire will promptly become an underperforming and demoralised mess.

Not having an agreed-upon lead definition will result in confusion and failure. You need to finalise lead definitions before the SDR delivers the first qualified lead to ensure they meet the expectations of sales leaders.

Top traits of a great SDR

SDRs must be well-rounded professionals to perform at peak levels and deliver a steady supply of quality leads to senior salespeople.

Here are 22 traits a good SDR must possess:

  1. Passionate about the profession of B2B Sales
  2. Passionate about the company and its offering
  3. Being technology savvy
  4. Ability to prospect leveraging a variety of channels
  5. Ability to customise and personalise outreach based on context
  6. Excellent listening skills
  7. Adaptability to suit personality type
  8. Proactive and persistent in outreach
  9. Ability to make a sales script sound natural and free-flowing
  10. Proactive and persistent in the follow-up
  11. Next level resilience and grit
  12. Being coachable
  13. Having a high degree of self-awareness
  14. Being highly organised
  15. Being curious about various aspects
  16. Ability to build professional (and personal) relationships
  17. Overcoming objections
  18. Harnessing creativity in the top of funnel sales cycle
  19. Deep awareness of the use cases that the offering applies to
  20. Professional courtesy and respect
  21. Ability to articulate complex concepts simply and effectively
  22. A good sense of professional humour

How well does your organisation’s SDR play stack up?

It can be easy to make the mistake of focussing on an SDR’s strong points, especially if they are achieving at a ‘passable’ level. However, it is vital to measure SDRs against all the traits they require to excel. Taking the care to assess SDRs properly can mean a significant difference in revenue. It is an exercise well worth undertaking by sales and business leaders.

How to build a solid SDR play

Finding, coaching, and retaining good SDRs can be an all too elusive task for busy organisations. With sales leaders often bound to myriad other priorities, many companies benefit from outsourcing the SDR function to an external team. Outsourcing the SDR function to a company that specialises in this space allows the top of funnel to be managed efficiently and effectively by specialist SDRs. At the same time, the organisation’s senior salespeople focus on mid and bottom of funnel management and closes.


You must tightly manage your SDR play on an hour-to-hour basis. Slipping on this can lead to SDRs becoming overworked in the wrong areas and underperforming where it counts. You must not overlook the value that high-performing SDRs can bring to their sales function. Outsourcing the SDR function is a great alternative for busy organisations seeking to win without suffering the pains associated with SDR management.

Resonate offers SDR as a Service. If you would like your organisation’s SDR problem taken off your hands, please get in touch with us.

RK is the CEO & Co-Founder of Resonate.

RK is Resonate’s chief strategist, thought leader, and IT industry veteran. Our clients depend on RK to advise on their business strategy, channel strategy, and sales strategy. 

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