Sales Prospecting and SDR


Below we list the best resources about the Sales Development or Appointment Setting function within sales, discussing the importance of this part of the sales process, techniques and best practices, collected by a team of expert editors.

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Sales prospecting and the sales development role are increasingly important components of sales teams. Sales teams want to move towards specialized roles to increase efficiency. The SDR role focuses entirely on the beginning of the sales funnel, researching and qualifying leads and prospects. This leaves account executives free to focus on the main stages of the sales cycle and closing deals.

SDRs can work in either inbound or outbound teams. In inbound teams, the SDR sits between the marketing and sales teams qualifying leads that the marketing team has generated. In outbound teams, the SDR themselves are responsible for generating leads, through sales prospecting. Sales prospecting is the process of researching, reaching out to, and nurturing people who haven't previously shown interest in the product, but fit the right criteria for successful customers.

To do this successfully, SDRs must become experts in the customers of the company. They have to understand the challenges customers are facing and build up extensive knowledge of possible solutions, including their own product. The SDR role and sales prospecting process aren't about selling to the customer, but offering information and value about their current issues and solutions.

By building out the separate role of SDR, sales leaders can better manage a pipeline of prospects. SDRs will have a certain quota of outreaches each month to hit and will be responsible for passing on qualified opportunities to their assigned AEs. This discretizes the sales process and allows sales leaders to see the number of leads, prospects, and opportunities at each stage. With this more data-driven approach, SDRs have to define a set sales prospecting process that will allow them, their assigned AEs, the sales team, and the company to be successful. An example process may look like this:

  1. Research the prospects using online prospecting tools.
  2. Prioritize the prospects for the outreach process so the high-likelihood/high-value targets that closely match your ICP are contacted first.
  3. Prepare emails and content specifically for these people.
  4. Reach out for the initial contact via a personalized email that will already contain valuable information for the prospect.
  5. Follow up. If they haven't responded, the follow up can contain deeper content (such as a whitepaper). If they have responded, follow up with a contact that matches their interest in the initial email.
  6. Set up a prospecting call to further qualify.
  7. If qualified, schedule and pass off to an AE for another meeting.

By using a sales prospecting process, SDRs can hit email, call, and meeting goals consistently each month.

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