What is a Good Conversion Rate for SDRs ?

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


No matter what industry they belong to, almost every B2B organization struggles with bridging the considerable gap between their marketing and sales departments. Marketers complain that salespeople fail to follow up on their leads, while the latter claim that the prospects they’re given are terrible and won’t amount to anything.

Preventing misunderstandings between those two departments is precisely what a Sales Development Representative (SDR) is responsible for. They’re in charge of engaging with the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to determine whether they’re the right fit for the business.

Do I Need an SDR?

It’s easy to overlook the importance of an SDR team; many business owners have even considered doing away with them to cut costs! But the value they bring to the company shouldn’t be underestimated.

Here are a few reasons why your business needs an SDR team:

Boosts Company Growth

Given that sales roles have been separated and distinguished, your actual sales representatives now have more time to follow up with their leads. It also allows them to dedicate most of their efforts to upselling existing customers and engaging with new ones.

Increases Employee Productivity

An SDR team shoulders the burden of prospecting, so sales executives can focus more on closing new deals. This saves them time and increases their productivity.

Healthy and Seamless Sales Pipeline

Because prospecting is the primary job of an SDR team, your business is ensured a seamless, healthy, well-defined sales pipeline that moves quickly and is clear of dead deals. This means that sales representatives will spend less time and effort on leads that ultimately go nowhere.

How Do I Know If My Business Needs an SDR Team?

If your business is in its early years, you can probably get by with only one or two representatives handling the entire sales pipeline. But as you scale, you’ll undoubtedly need more.

Establishing an SDR team is non-negotiable when:

  • Your sales representatives are failing to follow up with prospects
  • Your sales representatives focus too much on closing deals, so much so that they forget about prospecting and guiding leads
  • Your sales representatives aren’t paying attention to cross-selling or upselling to existing customers
  • Your sales representatives are too slow at following up, which leads to their prospects switching to your competitors
  • Your sales pipeline is cluttered with dead deals

If any of these are happening, then take it as a sign that you must create two different sales strategies. One should concentrate on enticing and nurturing potential customers, while the other should focus on closing deals.

What is the Ideal Conversion Rate for an SDR Team?

After establishing an SDR team, could you pay attention to their output? How many raw leads are they turning and feeding into the sales pipeline? Do the opportunities they generate end in closed deals?

“The ultimate measure for sales development success is closed business. If sales development representatives (SDRs) are not contributing opportunities to the pipeline that result in closed businesses, it’s hard to justify that effort. Furthermore, looking at other key conversion steps in the overall sales and marketing process can highlight needed improvements to sales development process and execution.” – Kristina McMillan, Gartner.

According to Kristina McMillan from Connecticut-based consulting firm Gartner, the following conversion rates should be considered when assessing the success of an SDR team:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): The rate at which an SDR turns raw leads into qualified ones. Your company’s key success indicators (KSI) should be kept in mind when analyzing this
  • SQL to Opportunity: The rate at which qualified leads are fed into your company’s sales pipeline
  • Opportunity to Close: The rate at which opportunities generated by an SDR end up as closed deals

The average conversion rates for these metrics are as follows:

  • MQL to SQL: 21%
  • SQL to Opportunity: 59%
  • Opportunity to Close: 22%

If your SDR team is failing to meet these rates, then the following challenges could be hampering their performance:

  • Failure to Score Leads: The SDR team is unable to determine which leads are valuable and thus, should be prioritized
  • Poorly-Defined Qualified Lead: The criteria for what “qualified lead” means wasn’t communicated enough, which is why members of the SDR team have different ideas of what it is
  • Inconsistent Follow-Up: The SDR team fails to connect with the prospect, making it less likely that they’re fed into the sales pipeline

It’s a bit difficult to remember and measure all these metrics, so if you want to know whether your SDR team is successful, then know this – 30% is considered a reasonable lead-to-opportunity conversion rate.

Why is Speed Important?

While the average conversion rate is 30%, it’s essential to keep in mind that the variance is wide because many factors, such as influence it

  • How quickly the SDR responded to the lead
  • When the SDR had their first call with the lead
  • How well the SDR questioned the lead about their needs
  • The budget allotted by the lead

It’s easy to underestimate the value of responding quickly. A 2011 study by researchers from the Harvard Business Review found that out of 2,241 companies interviewed, 24% took more than 24 hours to respond. More disturbingly was that 23% didn’t respond at all.

Consumers today have access to a ton of information, which means it’s easy for them to switch to another company if yours aren’t meeting their needs. A speedy response not only allows you to build stronger relationships with your customer base but also enables you to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Need a little more convincing? Then, consider the following numbers:

  • 50% of leads will work with the organization that contacted them first (HubSpot)
  • Responding to leads within the first-minute increases conversions by a whopping 391% (Xoombi )
  • Calling after 30 minutes is 21 times less effective (LeadSimple)
  • 82% of consumers expect responses within 10 minutes (Small Biz Trends)
  • 71% of customers have made purchases based on the quality of their experience (Salesforce)

The Need for Sales Coaching

Even if your SDR team responds to leads quickly, there’s no guarantee that they’ll know what kind of questions to ask during the subsequent phone call. This stage is incredibly crucial, as it’s where they’ll learn about the prospect’s needs, purchase intent, and budget.

Sales coaching is traditionally provided via many hours of training and re-training, which you may not have the time or money for. But now, thanks to Sellerz.io, you can present the right questions that an SDR should ask on their computer screen and track whether they’ve been asked or not. The platform even creates a score for each representative, allowing you to assess whether they’re performing well or not accurately.

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