Sales Development Representative (SDR)

🤔 What does a Sales Development Representative (SDR) do?

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are phone detectives with some sales game. They are experts at finding and developing leads. In many companies, the sales team closes new deals with executives who were first found and engaged by an SDR. 

💸 Sales Development Representative (SDR) salary and job market

💵  Entry Salary


💵  Senior Salary


📈 10-Year Growth


🤖 Automation Risk

Moderately Low

🙎 What it's like to be a Sales Development Representative (SDR)

SDRs work on finding and qualifying leads—people who are interested in your product or service and have the authority to make purchasing decisions at their company.

SDRs identify the right people so more experienced salespeople can focus on turning them into new customers. As an SDR, you’ll figure out who’s really making decisions at a company, get them interested, then set up a meeting with an account manager who will (hopefully) close the deal.

Problems you’ll solve

One of the best ways to understand what someone does is through the questions they answer and problems they solve.

Here are some questions SDRs have to answer:

  • How do I get someone interested in our product or service in three minutes?

  • What are their pain points and how can our product address them? 

  • What questions or doubts do they have? 

  • Does this person have the authority to make decisions or are they gathering information for someone else?

  • Is this person really interested or just being polite?

  • Who else is involved in the decision-making process at their company?

Here are some examples of real projects a digital marketer would work on.

Example 1: 

You work for a marketing automation company that sells ad software to e-commerce companies. The company publishes great content. Potential customers find it, sign up for email lists, and come to your website to inquire about your services. 

Every time someone submits an inquiry form or clicks a CTA in an email, a new lead is created that you need to develop and qualify. Once you’ve established that they are legit and interested, you pass them off to an account manager on the sales team.

Example 2: 

You work for a financial technology company that sells payment processing services to other businesses. They don’t do any content marketing, so you don’t have any warm leads.

You are given lists of companies. Your job is to do some research, find the right executive to talk to, and get her interested enough to schedule a call with your sales team.

Tools and tech you’ll use

95% of your time will be spent using your phone, your email provider, and your company’s CRM software.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM software like Salesforce is a recordkeeping system designed to help companies manage relationships with both current and potential customers.

For each new lead you begin contacting, a new record will be created in the CRM where you’ll log all calls, emails, and notes to track where the lead is in your sales pipeline. 

Important traits you’ll need

Clear written and verbal communication skills are important. You’ll be given scripts and talking points you can use as a starting point, but you’ll often need to improvise.

You’ll need to be organized and focused to stay on top of all your leads. This is where proper use of your CRM will be invaluable.

You need to be willing to develop some sales game—to learn how to talk to people on the phone, and just as importantly, how to listen to their responses and read between the lines. You have to become an amateur psychologist.

Finally, you’ll need some persistence. Part of any sales job is getting told “no” a lot. It has nothing to do with you, it’s just the game. On any given day, you’ll talk to people who are really cool, downright rude, and everything in between.

Where you’ll spend your time

At a desk with a computer and a phone headset. SDRs are a type of “inside” sales rep, meaning they work by phone and email instead of in-person meetings.

What's awesome about the job

  1. You can make fat commission checks

  2. You get very comfortable talking to people on the phone

  3. You learn how to get in touch with almost anyone in the world

  4. You learn how to sell

  5. It’s a great path to more prestigious and higher-earning sales roles

What can be not-so-great

  1. If the company you work for hasn’t built an inbound marketing model, you can spend a lot of time doing cold calls and emails

  2. Like most sales roles, you get told “no” a lot

  3. Since you sit between sales and marketing, both teams might try and pull you in different directions

  4. The work can be monotonous

  5. Your performance is measured on a monthly basis

🏢 What companies look for in a Sales Development Representative (SDR)


  • Bachelor’s degree is usually required

  • The most common majors are Business Administration, Communication, and Marketing, but you can get a job with an unrelated major as well

Hard Skills

  • Decent typing speed

  • Basic computer skills

  • Experience with CRM software

Soft Skills

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Charisma

  • Confidence

  • Objection-handling

  • Active listening

  • Time management

  • Receptiveness to feedback

How to become a Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Learn what it takes to get hired as a digital marketer. Follow the plan and unlock exclusive job opportunties.

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