The job of a software sales development representative (SDR) is to find and open new sales opportunities with qualified leads for an Account Executive. This is also known as outbound prospecting, a form of lead generation popular amongst B2B companies.
To do this, SDRs are typically given lists of businesses that fit their company’s ideal customer profile. They then locate decision-makers (leads) within that company and conduct account research, personalized cold outreach, social selling, lead qualification, and other prospecting-related responsibilities designed to get qualified leads to agree to meetings.
In this article, we’ll go over the eight most common responsibilities in the sales development representative job description so that you can evaluate whether this sales position is something that you will both enjoy and excel at.
1. Cold Calling
Cold calling is the act of calling new potential leads to try to interest them in your software solution. The end goal is to get them to schedule a meeting with your Account Executive.
Often, companies set daily call quotas that their reps must hit (anywhere from 40-100 dials per day). Compared to other SDR job duties, this activity is likely to be the most time-consuming and impactful.
Most SDRs will do a few cold call blocks or power hours throughout the day to get into the flow state. These are 60-90 minutes of cold calling with no distractions, aside from perhaps a quick scan over the lead’s job title and other useful details.
2. Cold Emailing
Cold emailing is another form of cold outreach where SDRs write and send personalized emails to decision-makers in order to generate a meeting. Often, the emails contain an introduction, value proposition, and call-to-action. SDRs often aim to send between 25-50 well-crafted emails per day.
Because this can be so time-consuming, many SDRs use sales engagement or email automation software to streamline the email creation, sending, and tracking process. These tools provide templates, automated fields, and analytics.
3. Social Selling
Social selling is the act of using social media, especially LinkedIn, to engage with potential buyers and turn them into qualified leads.
In the B2B software space, this usually entails SDRs connecting with decision-makers at target accounts on LinkedIn and interacting with them on the platform by posting helpful content to the newsfeed, commenting on their posts, and directly messaging them.
Most reps dedicate anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours per day to social selling activities. As more executives and business professionals hop onto social media, it's becoming an increasingly effective route for initiating sales relationships.
To learn more about this technique, check out SDR Nation’s guide on the 5 steps for SDR social selling.
4. Fielding Inbound Sales Calls
Some SDRs, especially those at smaller startups, are responsible for answering calls from potential customers that come into the sales department at random times throughout the day.
Because many of the callers are trying to find information about how your business can help them, this is often a quick and easy way to book meetings.
When I was an SDR, our company had no intelligent routing system set up, so there was often a race to be the first one to answer the call.
After answering, it’s important to ask questions and verify what the lead needs help with before you pass them on to an Account Executive. This leads nicely into our next responsibility: qualification.
5. Qualifying Leads
Lead qualification in the sales development representative job description is when you ask a potential lead specific questions that help you gauge whether they are a good fit for your product or service. These questions are typically about budget, authority, needs, and timeline.
Once an SDR has determined they are willing and able to buy, they mark the lead as sales-qualified and assign the opportunity to an Account Executive.
I remember when I first started as an SDR I was lazy about qualifications. Anyone who said they were interested in learning about the solution and worked in property management I passed on through.
Only after a few tongue lashings from Account Executives that I realized I needed to take this responsibility more seriously. It can be extremely time-wasting and frustrating for AEs to receive leads who are just never going to buy the solution.
6. Collaborating with Marketing
Sometimes you will work with marketing to design strategies for lead generation or act as support for a strategy they have planned on their own.
For example, marketing might be running a booth at a trade show in a few months, and ask you to schedule booth meetings with leads through an email campaign that lasts the month leading up to the event.
Working with marketing is elemental to your success, and is often overlooked in this role. It’s important to consult them regularly for blog posts, product videos, and other material that can help you spark interest in a lead.
7. Updating CRM Data
Most companies expect their SDRs to update their customer relationship management systems with relevant data, like call notes, changes in a contact’s job title, or the outcome of a call.
This is important because it enables both you and your colleagues to operate from true data, which enables you to conduct personalized outreach. Typically, SDRs type in call notes and other important information after each interaction with a customer.
8. Finding & Researching New Accounts
Typically, sales operations specialists or managers will create lists of target accounts and distribute them to SDRs. But, sometimes you’ll have to find companies on your own, through Google, networking, and CRM report functionality.
Reps then do further research on each account, finding useful information like its size, needs, and industry. This is usually done by looking over a company’s website.
Next, SDRs find the exact people whom they’ll contact. This often entails reviewing a target company’s team page and each contact’s LinkedIn profile.
SDRs then jot down their findings in the CRM and use them to craft emails and calls that pertain to each individual’s unique job responsibilities, needs, and challenges.
Example SDR Schedule
Every SDR’s day is unique, but here’s how an effective SDR might arrange their day to hit 60 cold calls, 25 cold emails, and several hours of research, learning, and administrative work.
9 AM - 9:30 AMLearn - read industry news, study the product, and study the average customer.9:30 AM - 11 AMCold call block - 30 calls.11 AM - 12 PMCold email block - 25 emails.12 PM - 1 PMLunch1 PM - 1:45 PMResearch accounts for the next call block.2 PM - 3:30 PMCold call block - 30 calls.3:30 PM - 4:15 PMResearch accounts for the next call block.4:30 PM - 5:30 PMRespond to emails, administrative work, CRM updating, and social sell.
Bottom Line: Sales Development Representative Job Description
The sales development representative has a hard job. With nothing but their words and a bit of marketing material, they have to turn cold leads into interested prospects.
This level of difficulty makes it a rewarding first sales job that will prepare you for success as an Account Executive, a common next step in the software sales career path.
If you’re interested in getting started in software sales as an SDR, head over to the Sales Trax job board, where we’re dedicated to helping aspiring software salespeople land their dream job.
Or, read up on the 25 companies paying software salespeople the most to learn more about some potential employers.