A sales development representative (SDR) is an inside sales representative that focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. SDRs don’t focus on closing business; instead, we connect with as many leads as possible and determine if they’re good customer fits. The job is high-volume and certainly not for everyone, but it can be a great place to kick off your sales career.

When thinking back to why I became an SDR, certain important skills come to mind. Here are 10 skills that every SDR needs:

  1. Organization
  2. Drive
  3. Team player
  4. Resilience
  5. Goal-oriented
  6. Curiosity
  7. Consistency
  8. Flexibility
  9. Persistence
  10. Engagement

1. Organization

Organization is important in every role, but especially when you’re an SDR. SDRs run their own book of business, and that can easily fall apart if you lack the right organization processes.

It can be overwhelming to come in each morning and see you have a ton of leads that you should have already reached out to — a great organization process will not only let you stay on top of your leads but move closer to reaching quota.

2. Drive

No one is going to do your work for you as an SDR. Your success is (mostly) in your hands. Whether you want to make 25 or 100 calls each day, it’s up to you. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to be a successful SDR.

3. Team player

At ActiveCampaign, SDR teams are typically made up of 8-12 people. Not every day is going to be great for everyone — it’s important that you’re aware of who might need some extra support or help on certain days, and that they do the same for you when you’re having a bad day.

There’s so much value in supporting and cheering on others. Not only do you feel good about yourself, but you’re viewed as someone who wants others to succeed. You never know what you might learn along the way.

4. Resilience

SDRs get hung up at least once every day! And the leads we call at ActiveCampaign are inbound. You will also get people on the line who have no interest in speaking with you, or who have already decided on another tool.

You need to be able to pick yourself back up, remember that it wasn’t a personal attack on you, and put yourself in their shoes. You never know what the person on the other end of the phone might be going through.

5. Goal-oriented

SDRs have targets that we’re expected to hit daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Every day counts, and it’s important to not only meet your goals but to do your best to exceed them.

6. Curiosity

It’s important to be willing to learn as an SDR because it’s a development role. Adapting new processes from teammates, other sales teams, and managers is something you should constantly be focusing on to better improve your process. You don’t know what you don’t know.

7. Consistency

Remaining consistent is important for a multitude of reasons. It proves you have refined your process and can be counted on as someone who will perform.

8. Flexibility

Things change often, especially in a growing sales organization. Staying flexible means you can adapt to new situations and circumstances — and help your team do the same.

9. Persistence

Not everyone is going to answer the phone on your first call — and maybe not even on the second or third. If you want to get in touch with someone, the trick is to keep calling them. If someone asks for a call back or gives you a timeline they’re working on, adhering to that timeline will:

  1. Show that you respect their wishes and
  2. Give them a reason to gain respect for you because they appreciate your listening skills

10. Humanity

At the end of the day, we all crave human interactions. These days, too many calls we get come from robots. If you are acting like a robot, people are going to treat you like one. Be human, be engaging, and don’t be boring. Your leads will notice.

Conclusion: How to build SDR skills

Sales is certainly not for everyone, but it’s an important career path that helps businesses move forward. An SDR role can be the start of a successful career in sales — or maybe you’ll realize it isn’t for you.

This set of skills can be adapted and maintained over time. As with every role, focusing on the skills that make you successful will allow you to flourish in your role as an SDR.

PS: We’re hiring!