A Day in The Life of a SDR
By: Ashley Artrip
When you were a little kid and adults asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, chances are you didn’t say “A Sales Development Representative” (unless your parents worked at SV Academy!). This isn’t because being a SDR isn’t awesome; it’s because the average person doesn’t actually know what a SDR does. While we’re all familiar with the broad strokes of what teachers, doctors, and lawyers do, roles in sales might be a bit different - particularly in the tech industry. It can be helpful to get an inside look at what a SDR does on a day-to-day basis — before deciding it’s what you want to do when you ‘grow up’.
At SV Academy, we’ve trained, mentored, and coached hundreds of entry-level SDRs, the vast majority of whom had never worked in sales before entering our sales training program. Before accepting candidates, we like to give them an inside view of what being a SDR really means. It’s not all glitz and glam (but there’s usually some of that!), but it’s also not all nose to the grindstone work. Here’s what a day in the life of a SDR really looks like.
From Coffee to Coaxing Prospects: One Day in the Life
First thing’s first: you’ll pour yourself a cup of coffee, turn on the kettle for hot water, attend a morning yoga class (if you’re lucky, your company might even have on-site classes - gotta love tech industry perks!) or complete whatever morning ritual helps ground you for the day.
Then, you move into whichever is the most pressing of these three components of your job:
- Research and identify business opportunities
- Conduct cold outreach
- Do qualifying calls and emails
If none of these terms make sense to you, no sweat! In plain English, what this means is that your day will consist of researching and identifying potential clients/customers, reaching out to them, and then gauging their level of interest. Your goal as a SDR is to identify potential clients, get them excited about your company/product, and then pass them off to Account Executives (AEs) as soon as possible.
Any time you pass off a prospect to your AE, that’s called a Sales Qualified Appointment (SQA)— meaning, you found a potential customer who ticks off boxes that make them likely to convert into an actual customer. The number of SQAs that you set will be the bulk of what you’re judged on in your job.
Let’s dive into each component of setting up an SQA, in the order that most SDRs follow on a day-to-day basis:
1. Do qualifying calls and emails
When you get to your desk in the morning, chances are you’ll have received a fair number of responses to your cold outreach from the previous day. Depending on your company, these responses may come in the form of emails, voicemails, or even text messages. The first thing most SDRs do is respond to these follow-ups in ways that encourage the potential customer to heighten their interest, while also providing information to see if the prospect is ‘qualified’ — meaning they fit criteria that make them a potential buyer. Most SDRs try and conduct this follow-up via phone, if possible, as that speeds up the cycle from cold outreach to SQA.
This can take several hours, particularly if you need to conduct research on each prospect prior to following up with them — not to mention the actual time spent on the phone or crafting emails. Knowledgeable, personable, and informative follow-ups are a key component of being a successful SDR.
2. Research and identify business opportunities
By now lunch time may have come and gone, and you’re trying to stave off a food coma. To do this, many SDRs spend their afternoons researching new business opportunities and developing contact lists from these opportunities for cold outreach. The research aspect consists of finding businesses that could be customers based on firmographic data (the company version of demographic data), such as revenue, employee count, industry, etc. Then, you identify the most likely decision maker(s) at those businesses and find their contact information.
The list you compile will be your new prospects — individuals who are likely to become customers based on data such as their company, industry, title, and years of experience. Once you’ve identified your target businesses, there are tools out there to help you find the actual people at the businesses that you want to sell to, as well as their contact information. However, even with these, most SDRs end up doing a fair amount of manual searching.
3. Now the fun part — conduct cold outreach
Whoever said there’s thrill in the chase wasn’t lying! Many SDRs find cold outreach to be fun and exciting.
Cold outreach can consist of writing messages for and then deploying an automated email campaign or auto-dialer phone campaign; or it can consist of doing personalized calls and digital outreach. If you’re using an automated system, you can A/B test different messages and schedule messages to be sent at the most optimal time of day. For data-driven, analytical people, this aspect of the job can be interesting and rewarding.
And voila, you just finished your first day as a SDR! Take a last look at your emails to make sure there’s nothing urgent, do a quick checkout with your manager, and you’re all set.
What the Overall Lifestyle of a SDR Looks Like
For the right person, the SDR role can be exciting, fun, and interesting. SDRs have high earning potential as well as significant opportunities for advancement or lateral moves within their companies. Because the SDR role requires interpersonal skills and a deep understanding of a company’s product and value proposition, it is one of the most versatile jumping off points in business. SDRs go onto working in PR, Marketing, Operations, Customer Success, and of course, Sales. Many SDRs eventually end up leading companies; one study found that over 25% of global CEOs have a sales or marketing background.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in sales, or are just trying to get your foot in the door of the tech industry, an entry-level SDR job can be the perfect place to start.
To learn more about applying to SV Academy’s SDR training program — a tuition-free online academy with highly compensated job placement upon graduation — visit our website.
Elaina Ransford contributed to this article