3 Ways to Improve as a Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Our best insights and know-hows for sales, marketing, and customer success teams.


Bridging the Sales-Marketing Gap can be complicated, but that’s precisely what a Sales Development Representative (SDR) is trained to do. Rather than close deals, they instead focus on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. This means that their work involves identifying leads and determining whether these can be converted into actual paying customers.

Many business owners tend to confuse an SDR with a sales representative, but the two roles couldn’t be farther from each other. Here’s how marketing software HubSpot distinguishes between the two:

“Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are measured on their ability to move leads through the sales pipeline. They focus on nurturing quality leads over closing deals. On the other hand, sales representatives are measured on their ability to close deals that meet or exceed their quota for a given period. Although the two are different, these royals rely on each other to meet their individual and business goals.”

An SDR guides a lead through the sales funnel, connecting with them and figuring out their needs. If they prove to be a good fit for the business, then they’ll be handed over to the sales representative in charge of closing the deal.

What Makes a Good Conversion Rate?

An SDR’s performance is measured by their conversion rate, which refers to the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that they were able to turn into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) intending to purchase from the business.

The ideal conversion rate is 30%, which means that around 70% of prospects contacted will amount to nothing. An SDR must be mindful of their performance to arrive at this figure since this will influence their decision. More specifically, they should pay attention to the following factors:

  • How quick they responded to the lead
  • When they scheduled the first call
  • How well they addressed the lead’s concerns

The first is usually referred to as “speed of call,” You’d be surprised at how it affects the lead conversion rate. Check out the following statistics:

  • A one-minute response time can lead to 391% more conversions (Velocify)
  • 82% of consumers expect responses within ten minutes (HubSpot)
  • Calling after 30 minutes is 21 times less effective (LeadSimple)
  • The first vendors to respond to leads win up to 50% of sales (Zendesk)

How is Lead Response Time Calculated?

The “Lead Response Time” refers to the average time between when leads are first created and when an SDR responds to them.

To calculate this, total the time between lead creation and first response. Then, take the number of leads assigned to an SDR and divide it by the number of leads they could respond to.

For example, pretend that your SDR was able to respond to 3 leads on Tuesday. Their response time was as follows: >

  • Lead 1: 4 minutes
  • Lead 2: 6 minutes
  • Lead 3: 9 minutes

The sum of all these is 19, which means that the SDR’s total Lead Response Time on Tuesday was 19 minutes.Divide this by 3 – or the total number of leads they had that day – and you get 6.3. This means that the SDR’s average Lead Response Time is 6.3 minutes.

3 Ways to Improve an SDR’s Performance

The goal is to shorten the Lead Response Time, which can only be achieved by maximizing the efficiency of your SDRs. Here are a few things that you can do to improve their performance:

Provide a Suggested Workflow

In business, time is money, so an SDR should organize its schedule to ensure maximum productivity. Unfortunately, not all of them can do that – research shows that 64.8% of their time, on average, is spent on activities that don’t generate revenue. This indicates that less than half of their workday is dedicated to responding to leads.

If your team is struggling with this, then provide a specific workflow that will keep them on track, helping them prioritize their tasks and organize their schedule. This simple fix will enable your SDRs to allocate more time responding to leads and guiding them through the sales pipeline.

Have a Clear “Ideal Customer Profile” (ICP)

Targeting the proper accounts is arguably the biggest challenge that an SDR faces. It’s straightforward to find leads, especially given the wide variety of sophisticated software that we now have access to. However, it’s much more complicated to sift through hundreds of prospects, figuring out who’s valuable and who isn’t.

To resolve this, an SDR must clearly understand your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), which refers to the type of individual or company that will benefit the most from the product or service you offer.

An ICP can be created by evaluating your current customer base and identifying their similarities. For instance, a B2B company might consider the following:

  • Industry: Do their customers belong to the same industry?
  • Location: Where are their customers located?
  • Founding: When did their customers establish their businesses
  • Size: How many employees, on average, do their customers have?

Automize Non-Selling Tasks

If you want to maximize the productivity of your SDRs, then invest in software that will automate their administrative tasks, such as collecting, entering, and analyzing data. Besides giving them more time to take care of their leads, this will also ensure that their reports have fewer errors.

Today, many tools can be used to automate routine tasks, but one of the things that you should invest in is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This will provide your team with a centralized dashboard, staying organized as they interact with their leads.

Additionally, CRM software allows for a more accessible data sync from multiple sources. This is incredibly crucial since an SDR will only be effective if they understand their lead’s various needs and activities.

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