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.

Financial Recommendation

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.

Career Plan

🎓 Education

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

💼 Experience

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience while doing some good. Here are a few resources you can use to find opportunities.

If you're up for a challenge, gigwork platforms allow you to market yourself and gain experience while getting paid.

When you're just starting out, set your rates low and take any job you can.

Additional Resources

🤝 Networking

These groups are good places to meet other SDRs—to network, learn, and even find job opportunities.

💬 Interviewing

Rank: Unkown 🤔

Create an account to how you stack up as a candidate.

Complete steps on this plan to unlock job opportunities!