What Does a Sales Development Rep Do?

Posted by David Wallace on March 30, 2022

Sales Development Team“What’s the role of a sales development representative?”

“How does an SDR’s role differ from that of an account manager or sales executive?”

In a nutshell, a sales development representative (SDR) focuses on the early stages of the sales process. The SDR owns the responsibility of filling your sales lead pipeline, qualifying leads to produce opportunities, nurturing the opportunities until they are “sales ready,” and then passing the sales qualified opportunities to sales executives or account managers.

Sales execs and account managers build on the work the SDR has started. They meet with prospects to clearly define needs, develop and present solutions, overcome objections and close the sales.

I summarize the SDR’s role as:

  • Identify – SDRs identify prospective customers both actively and passively
    • Active identification –research industries, companies and contacts who fit the company’s ideal customer profile (ICP). Gather contact information for prospects in targeted roles for decision makers and influencers.
    • Passive identification – accept and research leads generated by marketing campaigns and programs. Quickly move leads who have actively requested contact (contact me, information download, etc.) to the qualification step below.
  • Qualify – contact leads developed in the identify step above to qualify them according to sales qualification criteria. Sales qualified leads are moved to the pass step. Leads that are not yet qualified but still fit the ICP are moved to the nurture step. Leads that are disqualified and are determined not to fit the ICP are disqualified and removed from the process.

    Preferred contact methods in order of value are:

    • Voice or video call
    • Live web chat
    • Two-way text or email
    • One-way email
    • Snail mail
  • Nurture – Leads that fit the ICP but not yet sales qualified, are nurtured by the SDR or marketing through ongoing nurture campaigns including calls, email and social media.
  • Pass – Once a lead has been sales qualified, the SDR should convert the lead to an opportunity in the CRM and pass it to the sales executive responsible for the account (territory).  Ideally, a pass should include all background information (account, contact information, opportunity) in CRM and a confirmed appointment with a decision maker or influencer.


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