Why most SDRs are not a good fit for a sales role
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the rise of the Sales Development Representative or SDR in medium and large companies.
This professional (usually a junior one) has an important job: she has to generate meetings, calls or demos for sales reps in order to help them build their pipeline.
A good SDR is the one who’s able to generate qualified meetings between a sales reps and a potential buyer who has a need and wants to buy in a not-too-distant future.
The SDR job changed a lot in last years due to the tech innovation regarding marketing and sales: it takes a click to be aware of all the customer relationship, sales engagement and marketing automation software which have almost automate her duties.
These tools have helped the SDR in several ways: they gave her a structure to follow, they helped her with the communication cadence, with follow-ups of marketing qualified leads and with all the metrics that management needs to control, evaluate and coach this young professional.
On the other side it seems the activities shifted from quality to quantity and SDR started been judged according to the volume of her activities instead of their value.
Let’s be clear: this issue is not related to the tools (which are valid and helpful) but to their usage which brings us back to 1990s when the volume of the activities was the only KPI considered to evaluate the sales rep and determine her success.
This focus on quantity generates a huge problem: SDR starts working to obtain volume instead of developing meaningful conversation, which is a key trait of every sales professional.
If we take into account the professional by herself and her lever (a junior one at the beginning of the career path) we can easily understand the damage created.
In the long run and after an ‘incubation time’ (generally 1 year and half, 2 years) a SDR should be a good fit for a sales role but she’s not because she didn’t develop the ability to have meaningful conversations.
We can agree that not all SDRs will become sales rep because of a simple numerical rule (too many SDRs for too few sales reps vacancies) and some of them will move to marketing, operations, customer success or technical roles.
But for all the others who want to sell for living the advice is to develop the ability to have meaningful conversations with prospects or customers focused on strategic value, differential value, required investment, ROI and so on.
And for all these subjects, as you can imagine, the axis shifts on qualità again.