What is a Sales Development Representative?

The Sales development representative (SDR) is a commercial profession that comes to us from Anglo-Saxon countries where it is very present in companies. This new profession is now taking on more and more importance in European companies. It corresponds to a movement of specialization of the sales function in different interdependent professions for greater efficiency and performance.

With the health crisis of the Covid-19 coronavirus that we are going through, we are seeing strong demand from these sedentary salespeople, able to act strategically from a distance to boost sales. Their importance and their presence in companies will increase considerably in the coming years. We even expect their numbers to explode.

What is the role of a Sales development representative?

The Sales development representative is in other words a sedentary salesperson or inside sales. He does not come to a physical meeting with clients but works remotely from his employer’s offices or home, teleworking.

The SDR intervenes in the strategic implementation to prospect target accounts. He can also participate in the nurturing (monitoring and maturation) of business opportunities. Its objective is not to sell directly, but to advance marketing targets in the conversion funnel towards purchase.  Nevertheless, it happens in certain circumstances to sell, if the product is sufficiently packaged in particular.

This salesperson intervenes upstream of the sales cycle. The Sales development representative acts as the junction between the marketing teams, bringing out leads, and the account managers (or executives). These are the field sales representatives that they supply with meetings and qualified projects.

SDR, a strong arm of marketing teams

The Sales development representative works in conjunction with the marketing teams to ensure the success of operations. Its role is to convert the MQL (Marketing qualified leads) generated by marketing operations into SQL (Sales qualified leads). These are then used directly by the account managers.

The SDR’s mission is therefore to contact (by email, phone, social networks, etc.) and to qualify the contacts provided by the marketing department. Thus, it will process the leads coming from:

  • incoming requests,
  • downloads of white papers,
  • feedback from emailing campaigns,
  • feedback from advertising campaigns (LinkedIn Ads, Google Ads, etc.),
  • social selling actions (likes, comments on posts on LinkedIn, etc.),

The role of the sales development representative also concerns ABM (Account-based marketing) campaigns. He intervenes upstream to identify and qualify the strategic contacts in the target accounts. This will allow marketing to route highly personalized messages to the contacts to be targeted. He will also rely on these actions to detect projects and make qualified appointments for field sales representatives.

SDR, a real lead hunter

The sales development representative is not just responsible for processing leads from marketing. It is also and above all a real hunter of lead projects. This is its primary quality.

The main goal of this sedentary salesperson is therefore to prospect. He must seek to detect new business, opportunities, and contacts. He will use all the resources at his disposal (database, social networks, web research, etc.) to find interesting prospects. Once projects have been identified, he will qualify them with a view to making permanent appointments for field sales representatives.

To be successful in prospecting, inside sales must have a perfect command of the service or product offerings that it pushes. He masters argumentation techniques to convince his interlocutors. To come into contact with the identified targets, he must constantly demonstrate qualities of ingenuity and perseverance.

Some sales development representatives specialize in large accounts. They, therefore, have a particular talent for understanding and mastering complex decision-making circuits. They know better than others how to adapt to this type of company to position their offers.

Writing skills, mastery of social networks and data

The skills of the Sales development representative are very varied because prospecting today is multi-channel. In other words, it is done at 360 °, that is to say by using alternately:

  • Email: Salespeople must know how to write personalized emails that are as relevant as possible to arouse the interest of their interlocutors. His objective is then to start an exchange with them by obtaining a response to his message.
  • social networks: He must know how to prospect on social networks in social selling mode to reach his prospects. In B2B, he writes InMails on LinkedIn, relays posts from his company, comments on his clients’ publications …
  • data: SDR knows how to handle large volumes of data and perfectly masters CRM (Customer relationship management), such as SalesForce. Its goal is to use the data to find and target the interlocutors with the most potential.

Working hand in hand with account managers

The distribution of tasks between sales development representatives and account managers greatly improves the closing rate of sales teams. This specialization by profession with different skills makes it possible to boost sales efficiency overall.

Each is specialized in their area of ​​expertise:

  • The sedentary salesperson takes the time to find prospects representing the best potential, to contact them, and to qualify them before passing them on to the field salesperson;
  • The account manager focuses on where he has the most added value, namely in customer meetings or on the closing of deals.

This division of trade missions saves significant time and improves performance. Salespeople no longer have to juggle field meetings and sometimes long and tedious prospecting procedures.

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What are the KPIs for evaluating sales development representatives?

The SDR will be evaluated using various KPIs (Key performance indicators) on the commercial pipeline that it will be able to generate. Concretely, this involves measuring the number of meetings and qualified projects identified each month.

However, to be more complete, the assessment must also integrate other indicators, related to the quality of its pipeline, the volume of deals handled and the valuation of the opportunities detected. Other metrics can be taken into account, such as the number of contacts prospected, the quality of the relationship with prospects, autonomy in carrying out missions, etc.

What is the salary of a sedentary salesperson?

The remuneration of a Sales development representative varies according to his specialization, skills, and seniority. The average salary is 42 K € per year, according to Glassdoor. Some SDRs can reach an income of 110 K € per year, which remains exceptional.

A newcomer to the sales teams, the Sales development representative corresponds to a strong tendency for the sales force to specialize. Although the profession is still recent, it is becoming an essential function in companies. A strategic link in the growth of an Insurance company, SDR is a major cog between marketing teams and field sales teams. Also, it should not be seen as a junior position, as many still think.

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