Step-by-Step Plan for Becoming a Sales Development Representative (SDR)
This plan will show you exactly how to become a sales development representative (SDR) candidate companies can’t ignore.
It’s based on recent job posts and discussions with hiring managers and sales development reps to give you everything you need to land the job.
As of 2021, the best path to becoming a well-paid SDR is by attending one of several bootcamps we recommend (more on that below).
Regardless of what path you choose to become an SDR, it's your skills that matter. We've listed the most important ones you'll need below, along with ways get started learning—whether you attend a bootcamp or not.
Keep student loan debt below $71,808. This will ensure your student loan debt-to-starting salary ratio is below 1.25x.
Assuming a 6.8% interest rate and 10-year loan repayment, your maximum monthly payment would be $826 or 17% of a starting salary of $57,446.
How to use this plan
To help you build your skills, we’ve included best-in-class education sources and projects throughout the plan.
You can use other sources as well, but the most important thing is that you can apply what you've learned.
Complete steps on this plan to start receiving job opportunities. The more skills and experience you have, the more opportunities you'll receive.
👋 NOTE: StepLadder is currently in beta and the job placement feature is limited to Denver, CO.
However, this plan can still help you become an incredible candidate and you'll have an advantage when we launch in your city.
As of 2021, we recommend you attend one of several sales bootcamps. The programs are 8-12 weeks, and offer payment via an ISA (income share agreement).
Basically, you don't pay anything until you find a job, then you pay a % of your salary for a specified period of time. Tuition is typically in the $6,000 - $9,000 range.
A good bootcamp will provide you with valuable training on the specific skills, approaches, and tactics you'll need to excel in a sales role.
They will help prepare you for interviews, and recruiters will prioritize you as a graduate. Finally, bootcamps provide access to a network of other salespeople and instructors who can help you as you get your career off the ground.
💵 Cost: $5,000 - $7,650
⏳ Time: 8-12 weeks
You don't need a bachelor's degree to become an SDR, but it certainly won't hurt.
If you currenlty have a bachelor's degree, or are on your way to getting one, it should be enough to get you an SDR job along with a decent resume and good interview preparation.
However, a bachelor's degree won't teach you anything you need to be successful in a sales. You'll do all your learning on the job, which is why a bootcamp can be so helpful—it gives you the tools to hit the ground running.
💵 Cost: $35,348 - $172,256
⏳ Time: 4 years
🗃 Hard Skills
Sales is a discipline that requires a unique blend of clear communication, persuasive skills, a smart approach, and the right mindset. It's also something most us aren't naturally good at. Fortunately, because human nature doesn't change, neither do the ways to influence human behavior. There are proven sales principles and tactics anyone can learn, and a good course will give you a solid introduction to the basics.
💵 Cost: $0 - $130
⏳ Time: 1-160 hours
Email is still one of the most effective sales channels in any industry. As an SDR, it will be a one of the most important tools you use to find and qualify leads.
💵 Cost: $130 - $130
⏳ Time: 4 hours
Cold calling: the art of calling complete strangers and trying to sell them something. Most people dread it. Successful sales people master it. Fortunately, cold calling doesn't have to be scary once you understand how to take the right approach.
💵 Cost: $95 - $150
⏳ Time: 1-2 hours
All SDRs are required to use a customer relationship management system (CRM). A CRM is the software that keeps track of the companies and leads you're working to move through the sales pipeline. It's your command center as a sales professional. Salesforce is by far the most widely-used CRM. Learning the basics now will give you a head start in any SDR job—and recruiters love to see it.
💵 Cost: $20 - $20
⏳ Time: 4 hours