Subscribe To The Newsletter

Insights delivered straight to your inbox! Receive news & updates from Seamless.AI

By submitting this form, you agree to the Seamless.AI Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


min read

SDR Tips - How to Be a Great Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Headshot of Brandon Bornancin
Brandon Bornancin
October 7, 2022
Sales Development Representative (SDR) on a video call making a sales pitch

Hi, I'm Brandon Bornancin! I'm the founder and CEO of Seamless.AI, the #1 sales software. But before all of that, when I was just starting out in my career, I was an SDR. 

I booked calls, qualified leads, and as a sales rep for IBM and Google I generated over $100M in sales! I don’t mention this to brag, I mention it to let you know that if I can do it, you can too.

Below I cover the basics (like what an SDR is) and I give you some tips on how to survive and thrive in the role.

Oh and in case you are wondering, we are hiring. Check out our Careers Page.

Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Let's start with the basics. A sales development representatives (SDRs) are critical agents to any B2B sales team. They are the first line of contact for a prospect or new lead, and they're responsible for engaging with new and existing leads to build relationships that will eventually lead to a sale.

Related: What is an SDR?

Basics of the SDR Role

It's important to remember that your job isn't just about making sales, it's about building relationships and earning trust from prospects over time so they feel comfortable buying from you when they're ready.

Step 1: Do Your Research

As an SDR, you will be responsible for finding and qualifying prospects, and working with them throughout the sales process, but only after they've expressed interest in your company's product or service. You will first need sales leads from a B2B database like Seamless AI.

Once you have a prospect's contact information, you can reach out to them in a number of ways: 

Once you have identified a potential lead (i.e. Someone who has expressed interest) then it’s time to start the qualification process. The first step of this process involves researching your prospect to determine if their needs match what your company offers.

Having a qualification framework like Budget, Authority, Need and Timing (BANT) is important. Most sales teams have a framework they use.

Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice asking and answering questions quickly and accurately. 

You can do this by asking your peers questions about their lives and their jobs. You can also ask colleagues and managers for feedback on how you’re doing in meetings or on calls with prospects. 

Practicing calls and learning how to ask the right questions and listen to your prospects is important to success in this role. 

Here are a few amazing sales discovery questions you can ask. You should also ask your sales manager for sales scripts you can practice.

Step 3: Set Goals

As an SDR, you have three main goals:

  • To help the company meet its revenue targets by convincing companies to buy more products or services.
  • To help the team meet their sales quotas by helping them close deals.
  • To create a good experience for each client so they continue buying from your company and eventually refer others.

Step 4: Hustle to Hit Your Goals

To be a great SDR, you’ll need to be able to hustle. Your goal is to reach your quota. And sometimes that means putting in more time than what’s expected of you.

You should also ensure that your expectations are realistic and achievable. If you set out to beat your manager’s sales numbers, they’ll likely just laugh at you—or fire you if they feel threatened by the competition. 

Instead of focusing on lofty goals, focus on achieving small victories along the way…

  • Call one more prospect today than yesterday. 
  • Follow up with three prospects this week instead of two. 
  • Find one new person every day who could benefit from what your company offers.

Step 5: Learn From Your Mistakes

The only way to get better at your job is to practice and learn from your mistakes, so be open to them. When you make a mistake, realize that it’s not the end of the world, and use it as a learning opportunity. If you are able to admit your mistakes and learn from them, then you will eventually become a great sales development representative (SDR).

Step 6: Perfect Your Pitch

You've made it through the first five steps, so now it's time to perfect your pitch.

Remember that you should use the same structure for every call: the hook, story, hook, call to action (CTA). This will help keep you on track and make sure you don't forget any important details.

Remember to use scripts as part of your pitch process especially if you are trying to close a cold lead.

Now that you have the basics down. Here are 8 tips to be the best SDR ever.

8 Tips for Becoming the Best SDR

If you want to improve your sales skills to be a better SDR than these eight tips will help you succeed.

1. Test and Master All Your Sales Channels 

The Biggest Mistake SDRs make...Believing that only one channel works vs. All Available Channels. 

  • Cold calling works if you work on mastering cold calling. 
  • Social selling works if you work on mastering social selling. 
  • Sales emails work if you work on mastering sales emails. 
  • Video selling works if you work on mastering video selling. 
  • Texting works if you work on mastering texting. 

You want to leverage every single channel in your sales strategy to get the greatest returns. 

And despite what some would say, every channel will flood your calendar with opportunity if you learn the strategies and the scripts to master all of them. 

2. Fill Your Calendar 

One of your goals is to fill your calendar with activities. 

Set a time on your calendar to:

  • Prospect
  • Outreach
  • Qualify leads
  • Book appointments for your sales team

If it is not on your calendar you probably won't do it. PERIOD.

So learn to live and die by your calendar and plan out every hour of activity for every single day. 

3. More Activity = More Booked Appointments 

Success in sales is a formula: 

The more activities you do to book qualified leads = The more sales you will generate

Make sure that you put in the work because just like with diet and exercise, you get what you put in. 

Related: 10 Strategies to Book more Appointments

4. Perfect Your Follow-Up 

Just like with your sales channels, follow-up works the same. If you work on perfecting your follow-up, it will give you big returns. This means following up with a prospect every time, even if they ghost you. Don't stop following up until you get a hard, hard “No.” Then say, “I'll try again next year” and follow up next year.

5. Become an Expert at Overcoming Sales Objections 

Believe it or not, hearing "No" is just the beginning of the sale. If they just say, "Yes, I'd love to buy your product," then you didn't really have to sell them. 

You should embrace leads telling you no and learn how to overcome all the objections that come along with that “No.” This is the Way. 

Related: How to handle objections.

6. Set Up a Qualification Framework 

You really need a good qualification framework so you don't waste time. As I mentioned earlier, BANT is a popular qualification framework. 

With BANT, you’ll figure out…

  • If a prospect has the budget for your product or service. 
  • If the person you are talking to has the authority to sign a contract (if they don't, you have to find the person who does).
  • If your product or service fits their needs. 
  • If the timing is right to close the deal. 

Related: What is BANT

This is all important information to find out because if you book a call for a prospect who isn’t qualified, you are wasting everyone's time and not doing the work of an SDR.

7. Always Ask for (Honest) Feedback

Always ask for feedback. The best way to learn is from your mistakes.

8. Never Give Up!

Over 200 venture VCs turned me down when I was raising money for Seamless AI. I never gave up. 

Now Seamless AI is the top performing company in their portfolios. 

Don't give up. Do the activities and that will lead to closing deals.

What it Takes to be Top 1% SDR

A small fraction of professionals consistently outshine the rest. They effortlessly meet and exceed targets, forge lasting relationships with clients, and consistently contribute to the success of their organizations.

These individuals are the cream of the crop, the top 1% of Sales Development Representatives (SDRs).

What sets them apart? Let's delve into the unwavering traits that distinguish the elite SDRs and contribute to their remarkable success.

Relentless Work Ethic

The top 1% of SDRs possess an unparalleled work ethic that drives them to go above and beyond.

They understand that success is not handed to them on a silver platter but is the result of persistent effort and unwavering dedication.

These individuals consistently put in the hours, make the extra call, and pursue leads with an unmatched tenacity. They are motivated by their intrinsic desire to excel and consistently strive for greatness.

Resilience in the Face of Rejection

Rejection is an inherent part of the sales profession. While some may be discouraged by rejection, the top 1% of SDRs view it as an opportunity for growth.

They possess the resilience to bounce back from setbacks, learning from each rejection and using it as fuel to improve their approach.

They understand that every "no" brings them closer to a "yes" and persevere even when faced with challenging circumstances.

Exceptional Communication Skills

Effective communication lies at the core of successful sales. The top 1% of SDRs are exceptional communicators, adept at both verbal and written interactions.

They possess the ability to actively listen, understand customer needs, and articulate value propositions persuasively.

Their communication skills extend beyond initial pitches, enabling them to build strong, trust-based relationships with prospects, nurturing them through the sales cycle.

Continuous Learning and Adaptability

Top-tier SDRs understand the importance of continuous learning and adaptability.

They stay updated on industry trends, leverage new tools and technologies, and actively seek feedback to refine their skills.

Their adaptability allows them to pivot quickly, adjust their approach, and consistently deliver exceptional results.

Impeccable Organization and Time Management

The top 1% of SDRs are masters of organization, efficiently managing their pipelines, tasks, and priorities.

They leverage productivity tools, develop effective workflows, and prioritize their activities based on their impact.

By staying organized and managing their time wisely, they maximize their productivity and ensure consistent performance.

Collaborative Mindset

Sales is rarely an individual pursuit. The top 1% of SDRs recognize the importance of collaboration and actively seek opportunities to work with other sales professionals, account executives, and team members.

They understand that collective knowledge and shared experiences lead to superior outcomes.

By collaborating effectively, they harness the power of teamwork, learning from others and contributing to the success of their organization as a whole.

Related: Mindset Rules to be Successful in Sales

Skills to Be a Successful SDR

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), your role is pivotal in driving revenue and generating leads for your organization.

Being a top salesperson is not just about charisma and charm; it's a combination of various skills honed through practice and dedication.

Whether you're new to sales or looking to reach the pinnacle of your career, mastering these 15 essential skills will elevate you to the ranks of a successful sales professional.

Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication lies at the heart of success as an SDR. You must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills to engage prospects, deliver compelling pitches, and build relationships.  

Focus on clarity, empathy, and adaptability in your communication to resonate with diverse audiences.

A top salesperson knows how to actively listen to clients, articulate product benefits, and tailor their pitch to meet the specific needs of each prospect.

Active Listening

Active listening is equally important—understanding prospects' pain points and needs allows you to tailor your messaging and provide relevant solutions.

Practice active listening to empathize with clients, gather valuable information, and offer tailored solutions that address their unique challenges.

Resilience and Perseverance

Being an SDR can be challenging, with frequent rejections and objections. Resilience and perseverance are critical qualities to overcome setbacks and maintain a positive mindset.

Develop the ability to bounce back quickly from rejection, learn from each interaction, and persistently pursue new opportunities.

Adopt a growth mindset that embraces challenges as opportunities for growth, enabling you to stay motivated and achieve your goals.

Persuasive Selling

Persuasion is an art that top salespeople have mastered.

Develop the ability to influence prospects by highlighting the value your product or service brings to their lives or business.

Strong Product/Service Knowledge

A successful SDR possesses in-depth knowledge of the product or service they are selling.

Take the time to understand its features, benefits, and value proposition thoroughly. This knowledge enables you to articulate the value and address prospects' questions effectively.

Stay updated on industry trends, competitors, and market insights to position yourself as a trusted advisor to prospects.

Effective Time Management

As an SDR, you juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities simultaneously. Time management skills are vital to prioritize activities and maximize productivity.

Create a structured daily or weekly plan, allocating time for prospecting, follow-ups, research, and learning.

Leverage productivity tools and automation software to streamline repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on high-value activities that drive results.

Continuous Learning and Adaptability

To thrive as an SDR, embrace a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability. Stay informed about the latest sales methodologies, industry trends, and emerging technologies.

Seek feedback from mentors, managers, and peers to identify areas for improvement. Invest in professional development by attending workshops, webinars, or industry conferences.

Being adaptable enables you to navigate changing market dynamics and adjust your approach to meet evolving customer needs.

Resourcing and Collaboration

Successful SDRs understand the importance of leveraging available resources and collaborating with other teams.

Work closely with marketing to align messaging and access valuable content. Collaborate with sales teams to gain insights, share best practices, and refine your approach.

Utilize CRM systems and sales enablement tools to streamline workflows, track progress, and leverage data-driven insights.

Building strong internal networks helps you tap into the collective knowledge of your organization, enhancing your effectiveness as an SDR.

Relationship Building

Sales is not just about transactions; it's about building meaningful relationships with your customers. The key is to not pressure clients into sales or burn bridges.

Cultivate long-term connections by maintaining regular communication and providing exceptional customer service.

They will appreciate the honestly and integrity over time and continue buying rather than only a one-time purchase or refunded customer because they didn't want it.


Being a problem solver adds tremendous value to your sales interactions. Solve the customer's problem and you'll close tons of deals.

Understanding your clients' pain points and offering tailored solutions that demonstrate how your product/service can address their specific needs is key to improved sales.


In most dynamic sales environments, adaptability is key. Sales often move fast with promotions and other seasonal trends so it's good to be ready for anything.

Stay flexible and be open to adjusting your approach based on each prospect's preferences and personalities.

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is an integral part of the sales process, but it's important to understand the different between negotiating and pressuring.

Top salespeople master the art of finding win-win solutions, ensuring both parties feel satisfied with the outcome, where some just feel the need to close a deal even if it doesn't benefit.


Confidence instills trust in your clients and empowers you to navigate complex sales situations. Knowing the product and how it helps the customer will ensure confidence to clients.

A confident demeanor will make prospects more comfortable in doing business with you.

Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing your emotions, as well as empathizing with others, are essential for successful sales interactions.

Emotional intelligence helps build rapport and establish meaningful connections.

Closing Techniques

The ability to confidently close a deal is what sets top salespeople apart.

Learn various closing techniques and choose the ones that suit your style and the prospect's buying behavior.


Great salespeople use storytelling to paint a vivid picture of how their product or service can positively impact the prospect's life or business.

Craft compelling narratives that engage and resonate with your audience.

Bonus Tip: Managing Stress in Sales

From end of month quotas to rejection handling, getting ghosted by prospects, complications from the pandemic, finding qualified leads, or always being on call—the pressure never ends in sales. 

According to Thrive Global’s survey, 57% of sales reps believe that their workload is in excess of their capacity, and that their average stress level is a 7 on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest.

Managing the “bad days” is more crucial than ever because you can’t maximize your potential without first taking care of yourself.

We recently asked our audience how they stay motivated when facing adversity in sales. So exhale, relax, and soak up some of the tips we gathered to reduce the stress that comes with sales. 

Graph titled "How Do You Stay Motivated when Facing Adversity in Sales." 40% responded "Take a Short Walk Outside," 18% responded "Talk with Teammates," 36% responded "Listen to Music," and 7% responded "Other."

  1. Step away from your desk and take a walk: If you can’t go outside, walking around your house or doing a quick stretch are easy ways to let go of the bad feelings that may come after a bad call. And if you sit at a desk all day, walking around and burning some calories has great benefits for your body.
  2. Put on some jams: Listening to your favorite songs is a great way to turn around your mood. We recommend any ‘feel good’ or ‘work out’ playlists on Spotify to get pumped! 
  3. Speak to your team: Sales is a team game, and your co-workers are there to support you. Plus, they can relate to your experience like no one else can!

Becoming a successful SDR requires a combination of core skills, personal qualities like motivation, and a strategic approach along with healthy mental state.

Honing your communication skills, cultivating resilience, developing product knowledge, mastering time management, embracing continuous learning, and leveraging available resources, you can excel in your role.

Incorporating these elements into your professional arsenal, you can elevate your performance and make a significant impact on your organization's success.

Remember that success as an SDR is a continuous journey of growth and improvement.

Final Thoughts

While achieving a top-performing 1% SDR in sales requires hard work, dedication, and honed skills, the distinguishing traits of the top 1% go beyond mere competence.

It is their relentless work ethic, resilience in the face of rejection, exceptional communication skills, continuous learning, impeccable organization, and collaborative mindset that truly set them apart.

Aspiring SDRs can emulate these traits to unlock their full potential and elevate themselves to the upper echelons of sales success.

In the end, being a successful sales development representative takes hard work and dedication. But it’s worth it!

By following my tips, you will flourish at this role and enjoy the perks that come with an amazing career in sales.

It’s hard to keep going when there is so much bad news and rejection in the world, but we hope these techniques help you stay energized, positive, and ready to crush it. Happy selling! 

Related SDR Resources: