It seems like the field of sales has hundreds of different titles that basically mean the same thing, one of which being a Sales Development Representative. So, what is an SDR exactly and how is it different from other sales jobs?
When it comes to working for a business-to-business company, a SDR plays a huge role in the success of the business! After taking the SDR course through ProSky, I learned just how integral their role is, not to mention unique. Having had past retail experience myself, I thought being an SDR was going to be another “typical sales job.” However, thousands of tech companies like Yelp and Zillow have sales departments. I bet some of you didn’t even know that, but it’s true. Their objectives may include selling advertising packages that will increase their customer’s overall internet presence, making them profitable. That’s where you come in.
First and foremost, unlike selling a tangible object in person (business to consumer), a SDR is an inside sales rep that focuses on outbound prospecting. Outbound prospecting means searching for the right customers that will most likely be interested in your product. Unlike B2C sales jobs, you want to be pickier about who you sell to because spending the time to find the right clients means you care about delivering a good overall experience to interested parties, void of annoying and irrelevant sales pitches to merely anyone and everyone. It’s also not about getting someone in and out, trying to sell them the most expensive things you have with all the attachments. It’s more about making sure they are provided with the tools or products they need to do their jobs more effectively and yes, making a few bucks in the process!
At the end of the day, you are selling to other businesses and that means the relationship already extends that of a typical sales job. They may need upgrades, additional tools or tech support over time, which means with proper conditioning they may be around for years and years, staying loyal to your brand and to you as their trusted point of contact for products and services your company provides.
Some tech companies hire sales people for inbound leads. This means that the company has enough business coming in through their own marketing efforts or brand recognition and need their SDR to qualify those calls and in some cases close those deals as well. However, this is a less common instance.
Difference between a Sales Dev Rep and Account Executive
- Sales Development Representative
- A SDR will search for potential clients by using other softwares like Datanyze or Xoom, for example, to look for decision makers’ emails addresses. This step is crucial to the process of spending the time in advance to look for the right people to get ahold of will increase the chances of overall success.
- Building a Relationship
- Once you have a database of emails to start reaching out to, it is important to draft templates of various emails that are unique to the person you are sending them to. Personalizing emails and asking to set up a quick call is how you can grab your potential buyer’s attention. Using email trackers will help you monitor this process so you can find the right balance of reaching out to your clients when they become unresponsive.
- Qualifying the Cold Lead to become Warm
- This step is required and also the most important before moving on to the next phase of the sales phase. Once you get them on the phone, it is important to ask the right questions. An SDR communicates with their clients to find out what their needs are, going to great lengths to make sure there is a good match between the client’s needs and the products your company offers. This process is usually done over the phone or by email. Asking questions about what it is they are looking for, what their pains are with the products they already have or what they hope to achieve can help your account executive more effectively close the sale.
- Account Executive
- Demonstrate Software and Answer Questions
- After that, the baton is passed to the Account Executive or AE, who then will most likely demonstrate the software or product and attempt to close the sale. The most effective demos are the ones that show the customer the features they are most interested in. This is why the SDR is crucial to the sales cycle. Most of the clients you are selling to have only allotted a short period of time to listen to what you have to say, so picking and choosing what is most important to your client tells your AE how to present the product in a way that is going to appeal to the client and increase the chances of making the sale.
- This method ensures that people have the opportunity to play to their respective strengths. Some people are better at asking the questions and making sure there is a good match, while others are really good at closing deals. These roles can be different at each company and sometimes will overlap, requiring one person to go through the whole process themselves, depending on the nature of their business.
The Benefits of Working as a SDR
- Work Alongside Peers
- Many SDR positions tend to be entry level. So, while many young professionals want to get their foot in the door, you may find yourself surrounded by other peers your own age. This provides an opportunity to learn and grow from one another, knowing you are all in a similar boat. You can also take advantage of this situation by learning how to be a great team player and also learning how to lead a team of peers.
- Growth and Advancement
- According to this Forbes article, “Inside Sales is the fastest growing segment of sales and marketing.” To to be a successful SDR, you have to know the product and services inside out. It’s like Paul Walker said: “If you believe in your product, know your product, you sell it a lot better.” If you want to experiment with inside sales and then navigate yourself to other departments of interest, having the knowledge of the product inside and out will help you succeed. If you want to explore marketing as a career, having the experience with knowing what your clients want, what their needs are and where the pains are can lead you to write more relevant content, effectively use social media to target the right clients and be more aware of your SEO efforts. Advancing to an AE or even management roles is highly likely upon good performance. Millennials and iGen want to grow with companies at a rapid rate, so knowing that there is a fairly structured path for most inside sales positions, you can plan your life accordingly.
- Interpersonal Skills
- Inside sales can help boost your confidence and further develop your interpersonal skills. While you are not selling to people in person, you are constantly communicating with clients, meeting new people, solving problems, providing solutions. The “people” element is still a huge part of it and it is recommended that everyone should have at least one sales job in their life, especially if you are a young professional. It not only helps you develop thick skin, but it allows you to overcome adversity in any situation, personal or professional.
- Lucrative Career
- Not many careers offer the potential earnings that sales careers offer. Not every career in sales will offer unlimited income potential, but most do. While being an overachiever can lead to potential promotions, it can also leads to extrinsic rewards. Many companies participate in quarterly/annual bonuses, trips or other various prizes in addition to handsome commission checks!
- Work Culture
- Unlike with other sales jobs, especially traveling sales careers, inside sales provides for an unusually pleasant work/life balance for sales! Many younger professionals stress the importance of company culture and the importance of being able to have a life outside of work. An SDR typically works in an office setting, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 hours, emailing or talking on the phone. Hello weekends and holidays! (read here about how to know when a company’s culture is not the right fit for you).
If all of these are not enough to convince you, consider this: Sales is the fastest way to get your foot in the door at the tech companies you may want to be working at. You can learn all the tricks of success with ProSky’s SDR course taught by those working as SDR’s themselves or having worked as SDR’s in the past and moved on to managerial positions. Get your foot in the door today and let ProSky help you take that first step!