The sales development rep role is an answer to the lack of focus and specialization in the traditional sales rep function. The role of sales representative used to span the entire extent of the sales cycle. In the traditional sales process, reps would be responsible for finding and contacting leads, qualifying prospects, setting up meetings, demo-ing the product, answering questions from the prospects, and closing and finalizing deals. They would also be expected to update any sales tracking tools and CRMs as they moved people from lead to prospect to opportunity.
This lack of focus led to an inefficient process and lack of high-quality data. Two more specialized roles were created within each sales team to deal with prospects at the start of the cycle and opportunities at the end of the cycle:
- Sales development reps took on the responsibility of prospecting for customers, qualifying those prospects, and setting up the initial meetings for account executives.
- Account executives then were focused on the “selling” aspects of the sales process. Showing customers the value of the product and moving them toward a closed-won deal.
SDRs have three main functions within the sales team:
- Prospecting. In an outbound sales process, SDRs are tasked with finding high-quality leads that match the company's ideal customer profile and that have a high chance of becoming customers. This requires a detailed knowledge of the industry the team is selling to, and the buyers in that industry.
- Qualifying. In either an inbound or outbound sales team, SDRs will be responsible for qualifying leads or prospects as they come in. This could be through demographic or behavioral data that shows the leads match the ICP and are in a position to buy, or it could be through calling prospective customers and asking particular questions that gauge their need and interest.
- Data quality. As SDRs are the first point of contact with most prospects, they are heavily involved in entering all information needed for AEs and sales leaders into the CRM and keeping the data up-to-date.
The SDR role is often seen as an entry-level position in sales, with successful SDRs moving quickly into the AE role.
Perspectives on the Sales Development Rep (SDR) Role
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