What Makes A Great SDR

Daniel Vincent
Daniel VincentMarch 30th, 2021

What Makes A Great SDR

What is a sales development representative (SDR) & who are they? And what do they do for your sales department? As a manager, you ought to understand what it takes for SDRs to make sure their job’s done well.

Or perhaps you are an SDR looking to understand how to improve your skills and get a better understanding of the role.

Either way, the end goal is to get the best from your sales prospecting and take your company’s customer relationships to the next level.

This article will discuss what an SDR is and the skills and traits that make a great sales consultant.

What Is An SDR?

First things first, let’s define what Sales Development Representative (SDR) is, SDRs are internal sales agents. They dedicate their time only to sales and moving inbound leads through the sales funnel and are generally the first person a lead speaks to in the sales process.

The SDR position occurs in businesses that segment their sales operations. Within this segmented structure, SDRs deal with lead prospecting, engaging leads in the initial phases of the sales processes, and lead qualification. SaaS businesses have mostly used this type of structure, however, over the years many types of businesses have adopted this approach.

What Are Their Responsibilities?

Your company will define each SDR’s role to fit your unique needs, however, there are general roles and responsibilities that are common among SDRs:

  • Contacting potential leads
  • Lead qualification
  • Representing the company attractively
  • Building customer relationships
  • Understanding prospects’ preferences and interests, needs and wants
  • Suggesting products and services that suit the buyer
  • Dynamically seeking new opportunities for the company
  • Bridging the gap between prospects and sales executives and sales managers

It’s SDR's responsibility to be the first relationship your prospects will have with your business, determine valid sales opportunities and hand them over to sales executives.

5 Skills That Make A Great SDR

Communication Skills

SDRs are the primer before the closing. They need to establish a good customer relationship and rapport - communication is the key skill for these agents.

Brilliant SDRs can communicate effectively with different individuals across various channels (email, call, etc). The best representative will balance an open, personal, and friendly conversation and tone. They will be able to share information in a professional and articulate manner.

Communication is not just about tone and language, though. Depending on your business you’ll need to decide which is the best channel for communication, in almost all instances cold calling is the first step. As a sales manager, you need to educate your agents on your organisation’s channels to engage leads and how to best utilize them.

SDRs must also understand prospecting best practices. This includes knowing things like the best time to contact leads and how to master their sales follow-ups. This will facilitate more successful communication.

Technological Skills

Understanding communication channels in the digital age means understanding technology. A technologically savvy SDR is an agent set up for better engagement opportunities. It is essential to have representatives that keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.

Some basic digital skills that are useful to have include:

  • Experience with CRM’
  • Email
  • Task and follow-up automation
  • Digital calendars and scheduling
Personalization & Research Skills

This leads us to our next skill. As an SDR, you interact with many prospective customers in a day and each individual is different. While it may be tempting to go for quantity (connecting with more prospects), it is more effective if SDRs focus on quality (doing your best with fewer leads).

By focusing your efforts on a smaller number of leads, your sales team can provide more personalized and customized communication, and hand over more educated and qualified leads to your sales executives. This can significantly increase the close rate for your sales executives

Active Listening Skills

A vital element of communication and customer service is listening. With active listening skills, a sales agent can understand and learn exactly what a client needs, wants, likes, or dislikes. It is also critical that your SDR's can respond naturally to social cues and avoid annoying your prospects.

Active listening is a step-up from simply listening to what the other person is saying. It is about critically engaging with what the prospect shares. This includes asking relevant questions to find out more about what they like or dislike about your products or services.

For example, paying attention to the language a client uses is important. It can be an indicator of whether the product or service suits the client.

As a sales rep, you may be focused on checking off tasks you need to complete or following a sales script. While these things are important for measuring productivity, actively engaging and conversing with the lead allows you to provide an intuitive and tailored experience. By doing so, you can achieve better results and make more sales.

Organizational & Time Management Skills

With multiple clients and so many tasks and responsibilities, SDRs have to be aware of their time management and organization.

Of course, each rep will have their own time-management approach, however, sales managers can establish a departmental culture by educating agents on different productivity approaches for a more consistently productive team. It may also be a good idea to integrate a time-tracking system or software to monitor each agent’s work.

Whatever the method, SDRs need to achieve a balance in their work. There should be dedicated time for the things they need to do and a method of checking off their complete tasks.

5 Qualities To Look Out For & Hone


As an SDR, you work with prospective customers every day. This means you need to be respectful and treat each prospect with integrity. You are often the first point of contact for clients, thus, your attitude gives the first impression of your company to the buyer.

Respect is also needed internally, as the SDR is a member of a greater sales team. A successful sales department needs dedicated SDRs that can engage respectfully with other workers in the sales pipeline.

Resilient & Tough

Working with clients is not easy. Yes, the customer is always right but some can be downright difficult.

SDRs are also faced with a lot of ‘no’s in just one day. On top of their many responsibilities, the job can be exceptionally challenging.

Thus, resilience and grit are good qualities of an SDR, so they can overcome obstacles, learn from mistakes, and find the motivation to work persistently.


The sales industry is an ever-changing field that requires shifts in sales techniques as times change. SDRs must be able to adapt to changes, different customers, different working routines and more.

Therefore, the SDR that moves with the change, instead of freezing when faced with new work conditions, is the kind that a business benefits from.

Coachable & Competitive

To adapt and grow, you do need an element of competitiveness to keep aiming to be the best. This means staying motivated to advance your skills. While you can do this independently as an agent, you can also gain from having a receptive and coachable attitude by accepting feedback from customers and management.

There’s a fine line between being confident and being open to feedback - the best SDRs will be able to strike that balance.

Creativity & Curiosity

Last but not least, great SDRs need a little spunk - a spark of creativity and curiosity that drives them to try innovative sales techniques.

Having SDRs with creative problem-solving skills, and that are resourceful with their work, can enhance efficiency and improve prospecting. For example, they might take the time to properly research the personal aspects of a prospect and integrate their discoveries into their communication.

Final Thoughts

Sales development representatives can completely transform the way your sales team engages with prospects. A great SDR can make leads feel welcome by engaging with them, understanding their preferences, and tailoring their sales experience accordingly.

An effective SDR will also build trust in your business and improve your customer relationships by offering articulate, professional, and informed service. They strike the balance between research, sales, and communication. By doing so, they make the world of sales much easier for everybody around them.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our top stories.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Daniel Vincent
Written by

Daniel Vincent

I'm Daniel! Head of Customer Success here at Myphoner. Over the past (almost) decade, I've worked with multi-national corporations as well as a handful of start-ups to transform their support experience into something truly exceptional.

At Myphoner, I spend most of my time trying to understand our client's experience and thinking of ways to improve it. My wish is for all our clients to be enabled to unleash the power of Myphoner within their businesses.

Get Myphoner

Simple lead tracking solution through a unique cold calling workflow.

Choose Your Plan