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

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Brandon Bornancin
October 7, 2022
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min read

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 didn’t know…We are hiring. Check out our Careers Page.

What Is a Sales Development Representative (SDR)?

Sales development representatives (SDRs) are critical to any B2B sales team. They are the first line of contact for a prospect, and they're responsible for engaging with new and existing leads to build relationships that will eventually lead to a sale. As an SDR, 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.

The Basics of the SDR Role

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: 

  • Cold calling
  • Email 
  • Social media outreach (i.e. LinkedIn)

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. Here are 18 reasons to use a sales script.

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

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. 

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. 

Here is more info on 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. 

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.

Final Thoughts

In the end, being a successful sales development representative takes hard work and dedication. But it’s worth it! Sales reps are critical to the success of any B2B sales team. By following my tips, you will flourish at this role and enjoy the perks that come with an amazing career in sales.

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