What Do Sales Development Representatives Do and How Much Do They Earn?

What Is a Sales Development Representative?

Prospecting for new clients is a major responsibility of sales development representatives. They research and contact potential customers who might be interested in the company’s products, introduce them to that business, and try to build up their client base.

The SDR job description is to generate leads and move them through the sales pipeline. It’s a numbers game, so they are typically judged by how many people their lead generation efforts bring in.

What does sdr stand for in sales? It stands for Sales Development Representatives who help to find and qualify potential customers. They will do as much work as possible before passing them off to account executives, who are the more senior sales reps that close deals.

Ultimately, sales development reps are educators that leverage insights to assist solving a real problem customers are having.

What Skills Does a Sales Development Representative Need?

Sales development representatives spend a lot of time trying to get people who are unfamiliar with their business, or the sale itself, interested in coming on board. It is common for them to be told no.

SDR job needs:

  • Resilience
  • Organization
  • Great research skills
  • In order to be a successful salesperson, you need to know the company and industry that your selling.
  • Adaptability
  • A willingness to learn
  • The most important skill in sdr sales is the ability to reach out and communicate via phone, email or social media.

Sales Development Representatives spend a lot of time understanding the needs and challenges that clients are facing.

When you are trying to reach out and connect with new buyers, it is important that they feel like their problems will be heard. The best way to do this is by understanding the challenges of your prospects. If you want them to open up about these issues, don?t ask too many questions at first.

It?s a difficult situation to be in and can make salespeople jealous of their marketing colleagues.

Most salespeople are trained to sell their product and convince the customer that it is much better than other options. However, many times this sounds like: “pitch, pitch blah.”

With proper training and processes, sales development representatives can find out about the customer’s challenges.

They can use this information to provide solutions, ideas and insights to their prospects.

Sales development representative job description. A sales development representative is the most important part of a company?s team because they are solely responsible for finding new leads. Without them, there would be no contracts to send or customers to work with.

Sales development representatives need to be quick on their feet, know how to interact with people online and make great content. They also must not let a bad interaction get them down.

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Earnings of a Sales Development Representative

A business development representative can expect to make around $45,000 in total compensation. However, they have the potential for up to a 150% increase through bonuses and commissions.

Payscale.com has average salary information for sales development representatives, or SDRs in the U.S.

A Sales Development Representative’s Day in the Life

GuideSpark recently met up with Nicole and Ned, two top sales development reps. They were willing to share how they do it.

Watch a video of Ned and Nicole going through their typical day

Ned and Nicole have been together for a long time. They get up early in the morning, work all day at their jobs, then come home to relax on the couch with some TV before going to bed.

5:30 am ? Wake Up O?clock

In order to have a successful day, sales professionals need to be at their desk as early as 6am. Whether you set four alarms or snooze nine times, days start earlier for those with customers across time zones.

7:00 am ? Commute to Work

It’s a good idea to take the bus every now and then because it gives you some time to catch up on reading, listening to podcasts or looking at social media. You’ll also get fresh air while commuting.

8:00 am ? Arrive at the Office

After arriving at the office, Ned first checks his email and messages for any priority emails. Then he grabs a coffee and granola bar from the kitchen.

Every morning, he checks his social media accounts and updates them with content that is not only interesting but also relevant to their audience. He uses Buffer so he can share these articles on Twitter and LinkedIn.

He tries to respond to emails as soon as possible, and if it will take less than two minutes he answers right away. He handles the questions that need researched answers later.

One thing to avoid is being too focused on email or social media. Some things can wait.

8:15 am ? Standup Meeting with the Team

Ned has a partner in New York who he works with closely. They discuss their 1-3 key priorities and agree on what can wait until later, then they share the results of yesterday?s work or any obstacles that came up. Finally, they decide on something to improve today.

8:30 am ? Research and Respond

Ned is a professional who cares about helping customers, so he isn?t just sending out emails with generic templates. He researches the most relevant insights based on personas and past findings that have resonated well in his field.

If he notices that someone has visited his LinkedIn profile, he will research them to find out what they are like. He often responds to comments on his posts and sends thank you?s or personalized requests.

A common pitfall to avoid is not including a personal message when you are connecting with someone on LinkedIn. A simple “hello” or even just saying why you want to connect will make the person feel special and appreciated.

9:00 am ? Prioritize Your Top Customers

Ned starts to make phone calls after he has his morning coffee. He schedules all of the tasks for the day in Salesforce and then spends this time block making these calls.

A tip for the day: don’t get distracted by checking your email during this time slot. That’s a big time sink.

Chad from Infer has a very smart way of scheduling his day: he divides it into blocks for emails, calls and breaks.

9:45 am ? Take 15

Ned found that when he took scheduled breaks, his productivity increased. One of the most productive break activities is to get to know your coworkers and take a walk outside.

10:00 am ? Hit it HARD.

Ned then started to think of himself as a doctor and not just someone who is trying to sell them something. He would do the research for his customers so that they wouldn?t have too.

If you want to be a successful leader, make sure that your team is constantly evolving and changing with the market. Don’t just prescribe one solution before diagnosing what might work best for them.

  • Emails are more powerful than they seem, and can be just as effective with less information.
  • Phone calls are an excellent way to get in touch with people and provoke thought.
  • Social media has been a great way to help me understand what people want from my business. It’s helped by providing insights that are tailored for them.

11:15 am ? Follow-up Calls with Emails  

Ned takes a personal approach to customer service. He sends valuable articles in his emails and uses tools that delay sending the email so he can send follow up messages tomorrow.

11:45 am ? Break for Lunch

Nicole and Ned grab lunch. They head back to the office, where they work out or get a quick workout in before wolfing down their post-workout burrito.

One thing to avoid is eating at your desk.

12:45 pm ? Stop by Your Manager?s Desk to Check-in

Nicole does not do this every day, but it is a great way to see if there are any pressing issues that need addressing. If so, she asks how she can help.

The author then goes back to do more research on her customers and what they want so she can be strategic with how much time she spends talking to them.

1:30 pm ? Check On Your Social Channels and Emails

Nicole goes through her LinkedIn and email to make sure she has all the information. She takes care of urgent issues right away, deletes spam, marks what needs to be done later based on research. Then Nicole drinks a Diet Coke or Red Bull before delivering awesomeness at 2 pm.

2:00 pm ? AWESOME Hours

The next batch of qualification calls is happening, and she’s pumped. She has the customer?s LinkedIn profile up on her screen, knows which value props will resonate based on their persona type from research that was done earlier in the day?and she can handle common objections like a boss when speaking to customers.

If you want to be a successful salesperson, make sure that your conversations are real and keep going even if it feels like nothing is happening. You will find success.

3:45 pm ? Take a Break

You’ve done it! You’re celebrating your hard work with a day off. Enjoy the weather and spend time outside, or get together with coworkers to celebrate.

4:00 pm ? Wrap Up, Research, Prepare for Tomorrow

Nicole knows that the more she researches, the better. So to stay organized and be able to communicate with customers effectively in a way that is scalable for her business, Nicole schedules emails carefully.

Nicole only focuses on prospects she identified that could benefit from her solution. She sends them a message the night before to “delay send” it 30 minutes before she arrives at work so Nicole can prioritize who is most interested in her offer.

A common mistake to avoid is writing a long email just because they haven?t responded in a while. That might seem like the polite thing to do, but you don’t want your recipients feeling frustrated or ignored.

5:00 pm ? Another Day, Another Happy Customer

Exercise, have a social life. Read books and attend events to share best practices with other salespeople in your industry.

The day is not over yet, there are still other important tasks that need to be completed.

8:30 pm ? Executive Communication Window

If you are on the couch bingeing through your favorite Netflix series, make sure to keep that phone handy. A lot of executives get into their email window while they?re watching TV so it is important not to wait until morning before sending an email because otherwise you might lose out in the competition for attention.

10:00 pm ? Bedtime O?clock

To be well rested, you should get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is going to be tough.

Specific issues to consider

Friday afternoon

It is better to wait until Sunday night for anything that does not need an immediate response because you can always send a message over the weekend and it will still be delivered. If something needs attention, then do so as soon as possible.


On Mondays, I make sure to block out all social activities and focus on work. It?s the only day of the week where my mind is 100% dedicated to GSD.

Sunday evening

Sunday evening is a great time to email executives. One hour should be enough prep work for the week.

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
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