Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)

Who are SDRs? Do they handle inbound or outbound prospecting? What’s the difference between an SDR and BDR? If you’re looking to hire salespeople, or in the process of building an effective sales strategy, you would have come across the term sales development representatives (SDRs). And most probably you would be asking some of those questions too. In this page, you’ll find answers to these questions and more:

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Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) or Business Development Representatives (BDRs) are inside sales representatives who focus solely on sales prospecting. Unlike sales executives (quota-carrying salespeople) who close new deals, SDRs reach out to new leads, qualify them and push them further down the sales funnel.

SDRs are equipped with well-researched information about the prospect and company before getting in touch with them since they are the first face of your company. They have a fair understanding about the industry, sales process, and competition to make meaningful conversations.

SDRs call and email prospects, take them through the early stages of the sales pipeline, and get them ready to talk with a closer. The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is based on the number of qualified opportunities, or sales qualified leads (SQL) they garner every month.

Having an SDR team also ensures that your sales executives are spending most of their time on qualified leads and achieving targets, rather than engaging in prospecting.

Role of an SDR

Now that you have a fair understanding of what is an SDR let’s take a look at their role, responsibilities and objectives. The role of a sales development representative (SDR) differs depending on each company’s definition. But primarily, the role of an SDR is twofold - inbound and outbound sales prospecting.

Inbound sales prospecting Outbound sales prospecting
  Nurture leads who have shown interest in your solution and have already engaged with your company through its marketing channels.   Reach out to potential customers who have never engaged with your company’s product or solution, i.e., cold prospecting.


SDRs reach out to potential leads, or promptly follow up with those who have inquired about your company and offerings. The three primary channels they mostly use are the phone, email and social media - in short, SDRs hit prospects in every direction, so that leads know who they are and what the product is all about.

The role of an SDR is similar to that of a consultant where they actively listen and provide an appropriate solution to prospects. SDRs understand the prospect’s business model; analyze if your product is a good fit, and educate leads on how your solution can help solve and improve their business.

To understand better, here are the roles and responsibilities of an SDR.

Research, identify and prospect for new customers

SDRs should have good knowledge of the prospect’s industry, sales process, competition and compelling events to make effective and meaningful conversations.

Make more calls and send more emails

SDRs should reach out to potential leads, or promptly follow up with those who have inquired about your company and offerings via phone, email and social media.

Setup quality meetings and appointments

SDRs should write down the list of smart questions to ask during the call, or create a sales call script to qualify or disqualify leads, and to setup quality meetings with sales executives.

b2b lead gen funnel 2x b2b lead gen funnel 2x

Sales development representative job description

If you’re looking to hire an SDR and require a job description, the one below is a great example to get you started. Of course, you can add your specifications and requirements, and make it your own.

The responsibilities of an outbound Sales Development Representative include:


Job description

We’re looking for a results-driven sales development representative to actively seek new business opportunities, engage and build relationships with potential customers. You will provide complete and appropriate solutions for every potential customer to boost top-line revenue growth, customer acquisition levels, and profitability.





Skills and qualities of an SDR

SDRs have to be quick on their feet, excel in having online conversations, master in tools, be great content finders, have a positive outlook that isn’t put down by a bad interaction. Here are some of the skills that every SDR in your team should possess.

Prospecting skills

SDRs should be familiar and a master in the language of sales - What are the buying signals to watch out for? What words to use that makes customers buy? When is the right time to ask the right questions?

Art of listening

SDRs should actively listen to each conversation with the prospect, interrupting when they need clarification and ask probing questions that allow them to explore the buyer’s mind.

Product knowledge

Sales representative should have adequate knowledge about the features, benefits, and weakness of your product before creating effective pitches and connecting customer’s needs to your solution.


Webinars require people to share their email ID, which makes it an ideal lead gen activity. Timely webinars, with relevant topics and quality speakers, can build a brand around your business.

Time management

Ability to optimize time improves sales productivity and creates an environment for high performance. This soft skill coupled with a CRM Software and other technologies deliver significant ROI for any business.

Communication skills

Good at building rapport and starting a conversation over phone and email. Effective communication also helps prevent objections by providing clarity into how your solution can solve business problem.

Why you need an SDR team

Healthy sales pipeline

With specific sales representatives to handle prospecting, you not only have a well-defined sales process but also a fast moving pipeline, clear of junk and dead deals.

Increases growth

With two separate sales roles, your sales representatives have time to follow up with warm and cold leads, cross or upsell to existing customers and engage with new customers.

Increase productivity

SDRs unburden sales executives from prospecting, allowing them to solely focus on closing deals, thereby saving time and increasing their productivity.

When you should hire an SDR team

When you are a growing business, you probably have one or two salespeople handling end-to-end sales. But as your business scales, hiring just a salesperson won’t work anymore. With leads pouring into the top of the funnel and an unclear sales process, it becomes increasingly challenging for salespeople to prospect and close deals. With leads falling through the cracks and your sales pipeline filled with junk deals, there are huge chances that your competition will surpass you in their ability to woo leads effectively; causing harm to the health of your company.

You need to have a sales strategy that gets potential buyers in and nurtures them, and another sales strategy that closes the sale. To do that, two primary roles should be a part of your sales team - SDRs and Sales Executives.

You know you need to hire an SDR team when,

SDRs vs Sales Executives

In the table below, you’ll find a clear distinction between SDRs and sales executives.

Sales Development Representatives Sales Executives
  • Termed as ‘Finders’ who reach out to new leads that have come in through inbound marketing efforts or outreach.
  • Termed as ‘Closers’ who focus on qualified leads, create deals and move them further towards closure.
  • Their primarily role is to qualify or disqualify leads and set up appointments for sales executives.
  • Their primarily role is to take demos, send sales proposals, quotes, negotiate and close deals.
  • They are compensated and rated based on the number of qualified opportunities every month.
  • They are compensated and rated based on the quota they have achieved.
  • SDRs should have sufficient knowledge about the customer’s world, and also about the product they are selling.
  • Sales executives should have excellent knowledge about the product they are selling and its use cases.

Tools used by SDRs

Sales development representatives have to work hard to setup qualified leads and pass them on to sales executives to close the deals. However, that’s not the only thing SDRs have on their plate. Sales representatives also have to research about the prospect before getting in touch with them, follow up with the cold and warm leads and reply to the ones who have shown interest.

Since the entire process of sales prospecting can be tiring and time-consuming, SDRs need productivity tools that can speed up their process. These tools, of course, need to be simple and user-friendly because SDRs can’t afford to lose their time on training and customizations.

Let’s take a quick look at 3 of the must-have tools that help increase sales representative’s productivity.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

SDRs need a wide range of sales productivity tools that can help them achieve what they want without wasting time and effort. And LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one that no SDR should live without. SDRs have to set up preferences using which, LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides lead recommendations. SDRs can then create sales leads list, find the right prospect to connect, and reach out to them via InMails. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is great to find and get in touch with prospects even before the initial conversations.

Technographic tools

For B2B sales, you need to know what technologies your prospects use. And free tools like Datanyze, BuiltWith and Ghostery are great at doing just that. Out of these, Datanyze tracks a much broader aspect of technologies and has the ability to give company information like employee count, revenue range, industrial and social activities. With technographic tools, SDRs can approach prospects with meaningful data and start an effective conversation.

CRM Software

Since a majority of the SDRs work revolves around prospects and engaging with them, sales representatives need a centralized database to store and access lead data as and when required. A CRM is a great tool to do that and a lot more. A CRM is also a sales engagement platform that allows SDRs to create and send campaigns, track the email open and click rates, make phone calls and set up appointments and meeting with sales executives.

Freshsales CRM is one such CRM that has all the above features built-in along with reporting, deal management, lead scoring, automations and more. It comes with a 21-day free trial, plus a free plan and free 24x5 support over phone and email - irrespective of whether you’re a free user or a paying customer.

Freshsales CRM features for SDRs

Email Management

  • Connect your mailbox to the CRM
  • Send personalized emails
  • Send bulk emails
  • Schedule emails
  • Filter emails
Email Templates FSA Email Templates FSA

Built-in Phone

  • Make calls
  • Log calls (automatic and manual)
  • Assign numbers to reps/territories
  • Record voicemail
  • Forward calls
  • Transfer calls
  • Record calls
phone sdr phone sdr

Email tracking

  • Instant email notifications
  • Track email opens and link clicks
  • Email analytics by open and click rates
  • Filter emails based on open and clicks
email tracking email tracking

Sales Sequences

  • Create time based or behavior based campaigns
  • Include link to unsubscribe
  • Track email open and click rates
sdr sales campaigns 2x sdr sales campaigns 2x

Identify and target sales-ready leads

  • Score leads by characteristics and behavior
  • Customize scores by lead property and interactions
  • Get insights into the factors that contributed to the score
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Ready to try a CRM software designed for SDRs?

Try Freshsales, a cloud-based CRM for your SDR team. Freshwsales help SDRs prospect and engage with leads more efficiently, saving time juggling between multiple tools. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use CRM system for your SDR team (plus a 21-day free trial to start off with), we’re here.


Resources for SDRs