Your team is up to bat, and you need runs.  The lead-off hitter is your key player. They will get on base and put the rest of the team in position to bring in runs.


Your Sales Development Representative (SDR) is your lead-off hitter. He’s fast, focused, and the first step in your sales cycle. But how do you know your SDR is putting you in position to win?


The SDR team must have the skill to speak to the goals, priorities, and metrics that are important to the persona.  They must size-up the prospect’s current situation and help identify the desired future state.  Finally, they must articulate how your product or solution will help them bridge that gap.


That’s what we’re going to look at: The core competencies and traits your SDR team.


When you have a revenue number to hit, your SDR team is the difference between success and failure.  SDRs provide qualified leads by engaging with your key personas. They have to be on top of their game or your sales reps will struggle.


Quick tool: Before we dig in, download our Sales Development Rep Core Competencies Scorecard. These competencies are necessary for SDRs to be successful. The tool will help you evaluate your SDR team. Download the competencies here.


Three Key Competencies


We’re going to go over the top three SDR competencies that you may have overlooked in starting your sales cycle. One thing to remember about the SDR: This rep is in the trenches. There are a lot of little tasks that go into meeting an overall objective.


  1. Active listening – All sales people are good at having conversations and talking about their product/service. But how good are they at listening to what their prospect is saying on the other end? That means reading between the lines, as well as asking the right questions.


  1. Tenacity – Not all SDRs are successful at seeing a process all the way through. Rarely is an SDR’s job a one-and-done deal. An SDR routinely requires 8-12 touch-points to move the prospect forward.


  1. Adaptability – An SDR needs to quickly and seamlessly move among different offerings, if needed. This role is unique because objectives can change rapidly based on company needs, tasks, or sales campaigns.


The SDR Sees and Hears First 


They are the point tip of the spear. They are often the first to hear what’s going on in the marketplace. The A-player SDR is going to take these findings and bring the information back to the firm. They are going to identify any disconnect between firm strategy and marketplace needs.


Your SDRs will hear what new topics your personas care about before anyone else. Recently at SBI, I pointed out how sales leaders and CEO’s have an incredibly high interest in Pricing Strategy.  The marketing team responded by launching a series of workshops focused on pricing that have been highly successful. A-player SDRs will effectively communicate these findings to the firm so that the firm can adjust its go-to-market strategy.


Expect More


An A-player SDR team will help you ramp revenue quickly. More conversations equal more appointments. More appointments equal more revenue.


Expect your SDRs to be able to hang with your top personas.  In the book, “Selling to Vito: The Very Important Top Officer,” author Anthony Parinello makes a great point. You talk to people based on who you are. If your mindset is “Hey, I’m just a rep,” you’re going to talk to reps and directors. If your mindset is that of a sales leader, you’ll talk to VPs and above. You want your SDR to be able to talk to someone who is responsible for carrying the revenue number for a team, not just carrying their own number.


Leading Off in 2018 


You want your SDR to be an A-player in 2018 and beyond. Download the SDR Core Competencies tool, identify what works and what will help you achieve your revenue goals.


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right strategies to support your revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Sales Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if:



  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You are set-up for success in 2018


Sales Revenue Growth


Photosource: By Eric Broder Van Dyke