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Sales Development Representative: Job Description and Responsibilities

What is an SDR?

If you're looking to grow your business, you may have heard of a Sales Development Representative (SDR). But what exactly does a Sales Development Representative do? In short, an SDR is responsible for finding and qualifying leads and moving them to the next stage of the sales funnel.

More specifically, a Sales Development Representative is a type of salesperson who focuses on generating new business opportunities for the company by identifying, contacting, and qualifying potential customers. They are typically responsible for creating and managing leads and turning them into sales opportunities. This includes researching potential clients, connecting with and educating prospects, and qualifying leads before handing them off to the closers or account executives.

SDRs are given many different titles depending on what the company chooses. Some of these titles include:

  • Business Development Representative

  • Sales Representative

  • Inside Sales Representative

  • Lead Generation Specialist

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll stick with the SDR title for this post. As an SDR, you'll be responsible for outbound sales and marketing activities in the initial stages of a sales pipeline. Your goal is to identify the most promising leads and qualify them for the sales team, while also building relationships with potential customers and establishing yourself as a trusted advisor in your industry.

SDR Job Description and Responsibilities

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), your primary role is to generate new business opportunities for the company. This involves prospecting and identifying potential customers through various lead building tools and databases. Once you have identified potential customers, you will be responsible for contacting them through outreach methods such as emails, cold calls, and social media.

Your goal as an SDR is to qualify prospects with as much information as possible. This is typically done by booking a discovery call where you’ll uncover their needs, pain points, and budget. You will need this information to determine whether they are a good fit for your company's products or services and qualify them as a lead.

To effectively manage leads, you will use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to keep track of all communication and manage the sales pipeline. As an SDR, you will be an integral part of the sales team and will often work closely with the marketing team on lead-generation activities.

In summary, as an SDR, your role is to generate new business opportunities for the company by identifying, contacting, nurturing, and qualifying potential customers. You’ll be responsible for managing leads from initial contact to passing qualified leads to account executives. Effective communication, prospecting, and active listening are vital skills for success in this role.

Skills and Qualifications

To become a successful Sales Development Representative (SDR), you need to a unique set of skills and coachability. This section will outline some of the essential skills that will help you excel in this role.

Communication Skills

As an SDR, you will be responsible for connecting with prospects and building relationships with them. Because of this, excellent communication skills are essential for this role. You will need to communicate effectively and persuasively, both verbally (over the phone) and in writing (through email). You should be comfortable making cold calls, writing emails, and engaging with prospects on social media platforms.


The role of an SDR can be challenging, and you will face a lot of rejection. You need to be resilient and have the ability to bounce back from setbacks and rejections. You should be able to handle rejection positively and not take it personally. There’s always a new prospect to reach out to.

Time Management

SDRs are responsible for managing their time effectively to make sure they hit quota. You’ll need to prioritize your tasks like prospecting and outreach to make sure you’re maximizing your productivity.

Work Ethic

The role of an SDR requires a high level of dedication and hard work. You should be willing to put in the effort required to achieve your sales targets and leave any excuses at the door.

Bachelor’s Degree

While some companies may require a bachelor's degree for their SDR positions, most companies do not make this a hard requirement. If you want an SDR role, don’t let a lack of a bachelor’s degree stop you from pursuing this goal.

Written Communication Skills

As an SDR, you will be communicating with prospects and customers through written communication channels such as email and social media platforms. Therefore, you need to have excellent written communication skills to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. As a rule of thumb, start by writing how you talk, and you’ll see a massive improvement in your writing.


Curiosity is an essential trait for an SDR. You should be curious about your prospects and be interested in learning more about their pain points. This will allow you to better serve your customers as well as better sell your product.


Finally, confidence is key to succeeding as an SDR. You need to be confident in your abilities to get the job done and serve your customers. One of the best ways to make someone trust what your saying, is to say it with confidence.

Career Path and Progression

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), you have a unique opportunity to build a successful career in sales. While the SDR role is often viewed as an entry-level position, it can lead to a variety of career paths and opportunities.

One of the most common career paths for an SDR is to become an Account Executive. As an Account Executive, you will have the opportunity to work with existing customers, build relationships, and close deals. This role requires a strong sales background and experience, as well as the ability to manage a pipeline of opportunities.

Another potential career path for an SDR is to become a Sales Manager. In this role, you will be responsible for managing a team of salespeople and driving revenue growth for your company. To become a Sales Manager, you will need to have a proven track record of success in sales, as well as strong leadership and management skills.

To progress in your career as an SDR, it is important to gain as much sales experience as possible. This includes learning about the industry your in, networking on LinkedIn, and seeking out a mentor who has taken the career path you’re interested in.

In addition to these career paths, there are many other paths an SDR can pursue. Some of these include:

  • Sales Engineer

  • Marketing Manager

  • Account Manager

  • Customer Success Manager

Overall, the SDR role offers a unique opportunity to build a successful career in sales. With the right skills, experience, and mindset, you can progress to a variety of roles and achieve your career goals.

Compensation and Benefits

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), your compensation package typically includes a base salary plus commission. According to Payscale, the average base salary for an SDR is $47,000 per year in the United States. However, your base salary may vary depending on factors such as your location, level of experience, and the company/industry you work for.

In addition to your base salary, SDRs typically earn commission on the sales they generate. Commission structures vary by company but are usually based on a fixed dollar amount per qualified lead. In addition to qualified lead commissions, many companies offer a commission on closed sales that typically ranges from 2% to 5% of the total sale. Some companies also offer bonuses or accelerations for exceeding sales targets.

As an SDR, you may also be eligible for other benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. The specific benefits you receive will depend on your employer and your location.

It's important to note that while the compensation package for SDRs may not be as high as that of an Account Executive, it is still a lucrative career path with plenty of room for growth and advancement. As you gain experience and develop your skills, you may be promoted to a Senior Sales Development Representative or an Account Executive, which typically comes with a higher salary and more commission opportunities.

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Tools and Resources

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), you need to leverage various tools and resources to be successful in your role. Here are some common tools used by most companies to connect with prospects, manage leads, and streamline workflows.


Salesforce is the most popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform used by businesses of all sizes. As an SDR, you can use Salesforce to manage your leads, track your sales activities, and collaborate with your team. You can also use Salesforce to automate your sales processes, such as lead nurturing, follow-up emails, and appointment scheduling.

Sales Outreach Software

There are several sales software options available that can help you automate your sales processes, manage your leads, and track your sales activities. Some popular sales software options include HubSpot, Outreach, and SalesLoft. These tools can help you automate your sales process, save time, and increase your productivity.


LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform that can help you identify and connect with prospects, build relationships, and generate leads. You can also use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find leads, get insights, and engage with prospects.

Social Media

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be powerful tools for SDRs to research your prospects and find new leads.

As an SDR, you need to leverage various tools and resources to be successful in your role. By using tools like Salesforce, outreach software, LinkedIn, and social media, you can streamline your workflow, manage your leads, and connect with prospects more effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key responsibilities of a Sales Development Representative?

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), your primary responsibility is to generate new leads and qualify potential customers for your company. This involves researching and understanding your target market, reaching out to prospects through various channels such as email, phone, and social media, and qualifying leads to ensure they are a good fit for your company's products or services.

What skills are required to be a successful Sales Development Representative?

To be a successful SDR, you need to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. You should be comfortable speaking with people you don't know and be able to quickly build rapport with your prospects. Strong organizational skills are also essential, as you will be responsible for managing a large number of leads and keeping track of your progress in the sales pipeline. Additionally, you should have a good understanding of your company's products or services and be able to effectively communicate how your product or service brings value to potential customers.

How much can one expect to earn as a Sales Development Representative?

The salary for an SDR can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry. According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for an SDR in the United States is around $50,000 per year. On-target earnings (base + commission) can often vary between $75K to $100K+.

What kind of training is typically provided for Sales Development Representatives?

Most companies provide on-the-job training for new SDRs, which may include shadowing experienced sales reps, bringing in sales trainers, and learning about the company's products or services. Some companies may also offer additional training or education budgets to help SDRs advance in their careers.

Is Sales Development Representative a good career choice?

If you enjoy working in a fast-paced, dynamic environment and are passionate about sales, then a career as an SDR may be a good fit for you. SDRs often have the opportunity to advance into more senior sales roles, and the skills gained as an SDR can be valuable in a variety of other careers.

What is the difference between a Sales Development Representative and a Business Development Representative?

SDRs and Business Development Representatives (BDRs) are the same exact position. Either title can be used for someone in the position and it is up to the hiring company to choose which title they would like to use.