Lately, we have been receiving a lot of enquiries about our SDR service, and the first thing that usually happens is that we are asked… What exactly is an SDR?
We understand that many people are not familiar with the term (let alone its acronym), and it is because the SDR or Sales Development Representative is a relatively new role in the world of sales. Their job is to nurture new opportunities for the sales team and they are often the first point of contact between the company and a potential customer.
This role started to appear in the sales world in the mid-2000s, mainly with the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) companies.
In some cases (such as ours, at Springboard35), this job is offered by an agent external to the company for which the representative service is offered.
OK, but then, how is it different from a salesperson, Business Developer or Account Manager, for example?
That is a good question! To put it briefly and simply so that it is quickly understood:
An SDR does all the prospecting work, gets the leads and qualifies them but does not close the deals, but passes them on to the Account Manager or BDM to manage them; these do cover the entire sales cycle, from prospecting to closing.
OK, but what is important for the Sales Development Representative team, and what exactly are their tasks?
To begin with, in order to carry out its tasks properly, a Sales Representative (whether in-house or external) needs:
1. That the executive team defines the accounts to be contacted and the initial messages (SDRs can then make suggestions based on their experience, as long as these suggestions are measured).
2. Ideally, there should be a Data Research team that will deliver prospect information to the SDR team. More on this in the next section.
3. There should be an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that objectively defines what a qualified prospect is. It is very important that the qualification of potential or not is done through an objective system and is not at the mercy of the Account Executive.
With this in mind, the SDR knows that his or her job is to contact the prospect and generate the meetings. Once the prospect shows up for the meeting they are reassured that their job was well done. This is also important for defining the compensation scheme, so it makes it clearer what a Sales Rep is in sales.
Three key points in the work of an RDS are:
1. It is the bridge between sales and marketing:
It is responsible for qualifying and passing the best leads from marketing to sales.
This key procedure creates a bridge between the two departments so that, in short, leads are better followed up, better qualified and passed on to sales:
Leads are better followed up,
CRM is used for more accurate data,
Account managers have access to better leads.
2. Creates qualified appointments:
Ross argues that sales people can’t effectively prospect, manage accounts and close deals at the same time.
So having an SDR would focus on prospecting thanks to the data provided by marketing and take the pressure off ACs so they can spend their time doing what they do best, which is following up ad infinitum (and with strategy) and closing sales.
3. Turn the sales process on its head:
Taking this type of role into account makes the sales process even more structured and efficient, as SDRs are dedicated to prospecting and qualification, Account Managers are dedicated to deepening/finalising negotiations and Customer Success are focused on making customers happy.
More and more companies are hiring (outsourcing) these role as they are experts in prospecting and lead qualification and allow them to get quality leads more quickly and cheaply so that their Business Development and/or Account Management team can close them, shortening the internal sales cycle.