What Is a Sales Development Representative?

Sales development representatives play a significant role in long-term business growth. Learn about their core responsibilities here.
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Over the last few years, there’s been a distinct shift in sales and marketing. While many companies are looking for ways to maximize sales, finding a lead generation strategy that works is never an easy task. More companies are implementing sales development teams into their everyday business growth structure to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. 

Many small to medium-sized businesses find sales prospecting frustrating when done in-house, which is why more have started turning to outsourced sales development representatives (SDRs) who focus solely on sales prospecting and connecting with potential buyers.

If your core business goal is to maximize sales opportunities, you need to pay close attention to the role of SDRs within your company. Sales prospecting often works best when companies hire experienced sales development reps, which sometimes means outsourcing. 

Throughout this article, we’ll explain what an SDR does and the fundamental role they play in your business operations.

What Does a Sales Development Representative Do?

Sales development representatives are tasked with prospecting, lead qualifying, lead nurturing, and setting sales appointments. This means getting in touch with as many potential buyers who meet your ideal customer profile (ICP) as possible and guiding them closer to making a purchasing decision. While sales and account executives often focus on closing deals in-house, sales development reps are responsible for reaching out to new leads and pushing them further down the sales funnel.

An SDR team should be able to develop a well-researched and detailed report of the potential buyers your company wants to target. SDRs often practice cold emailing and calling to communicate with customers and gather information for that report. While there are a variety of metrics SDR teams can use to present their success, the most common KPI is the number of qualified leads identified and the number of sales appointments set each month. 

With an SDR team, it’s easy to keep your entire sales executive team more focused on securing sales than finding high-quality business opportunities. This frees up time for specialization and allows your sales and account execs to close business while the SDR team builds your sales pipeline.

What’s the Main Role of an SDR?

Now that we understand what an SDR is, it’s easier to dive into their responsibilities and objectives. When it comes down to it, the primary function of an SDR is to find sales prospects and convert them into leads.

Once SDRs connect with qualified prospective businesses, it’s time to introduce and pitch your company’s products or services. An SDR acts as a consultant who actively listens to the potential buyer’s wants, needs, and pain points, then provides feedback to sales and account execs about the information they gather.

Sales development reps are primarily responsible for:

Conducting Market Research 

An SDR is responsible for conducting market research so they can learn what potential buyers are looking for in a B2B product or service provider. Through market research, the SDR can identify gaps in the sales process, which may be helpful as a starting point for meaningful conversations. Once the SDR pinpoints these gaps, they have a better opportunity to pitch your business and effectively guide leads to the end of the sales funnel.

Contacting Prospective Businesses

Many SDRs make phone calls and send emails to contact prospects. However, social networks have also become essential communication channels for SDRs. Platforms like LinkedIn are great for connecting with and learning about decision-makers because you can network with other like-minded professionals. LinkedIn for lead generation gives businesses an additional avenue to build relationships and introduce prospects to what your company has to offer.

Scheduling Sales Meetings

SDRs also schedule high-quality sales meetings by asking open-ended questions to understand the needs of potential buyers. Sales development reps are well-prepared to address any question or pain point the prospect has, then set the sales appointment with a member of your internal sales team.

Main Objectives of Outsourced SDRs

When you outsource sales development reps, you delegate three critical objectives to them. These objectives include: 

Qualifying Leads

Lead qualification is a core benefit of hiring outsourced SDRs. Whether it’s a sales-qualified or marketing-qualified lead, SDRs qualify any lead that comes in so your sales and account execs can conduct a sales meeting that has a high chance of converting.

Contacting Potential Buyers

Outsourced SDRs contact potential buyers in your target market effectively. By knowing your buyer personas, they should be able to contact prospects in a way that encourages them to respond to your inquiry. 

Representing Your Company Positively 

Since an SDR is the first point of contact between your company and a potential buyer, they must make a good first impression. An SDR should represent your company professionally and positively by asking open-ended questions about the prospect’s current product or service provider and what they could be doing better.  From there, the SDR can highlight your business as the better provider that can relieve the prospect’s pain points.

Traits To Look for in an SDR

When hiring SDRs, it’s important to consider their traits. If they interact with you one way, they’ll engage with prospects similarly. Here are some features that matter most when seeking a high-performing SDR:


Chasing a lead takes quite a bit of work. You need an SDR who consistently pursues leads even when they’re rejected (within reason). An SDR should be resilient and keep a good head on their shoulders even if things don’t seem to be going in their favor. 


Every prospect in the sales pipeline is different, which means it’s essential that an SDR can adapt to each prospect’s wants and needs and adjust to different sales scenarios and markets. This could include changing the tone of voice in a phone call or rewriting each email based on the specific target. Adaptability allows decision-makers to feel more comfortable and open up to your company. 


Every successful SDR should be ambitious. Ambition is essential for an effective sales and marketing campaign because it means an SDR is always looking for new ways to generate more sales opportunities. This reflects a willingness to go out of their way to push for sales conversion even when the journey may seem frustrating.

Ambition also shows that the SDR is driven to stimulate your company’s financial growth. It’s critical to hire a sales development representative who cares about scalability because you have the assurance that they’ll stop at nothing to push for more significant ROI.


While resilience pays in sales, it can quickly become a source of irritation and potential fallout with leads. SDRs must have the self-awareness to know when to pull back and quit pushing for the sales meeting if the decision-maker isn’t ready. It’s crucial to know when to simply thank the prospect for their time and move on so they aren’t completely turned off from ever doing business with your company again. 

Benefits of Hiring SDRs

Many organizations assume that closing leads is a straightforward process—a view that places too much of a burden on your sales and account executives. It’s hard to make the whole selling process successful when that responsibility entirely rests on a single team.

In many cases, sales executives have a deeper understanding of the end of the sales funnel but lack experience in initiating contact with leads. Hiring SDRs to build your sales pipeline is beneficial because they have extensive knowledge of prospecting, qualifying, and nurturing leads. When the two roles remain separate, it’s easier to close more sales because there’s a streamlined sales process in place.

Companies looking to convert more leads should consider separating sales and development teams. This allows each department to focus more on what they are better at, which yields more significant long-term results.

Things To Consider When Hiring an Outsourced SDR Company

Selecting an outsourced lead generation company can be challenging. To find the best outsourced SDR team for your business growth efforts, it’s essential to consider their: 

Sales Experience

An outsourced SDR team should have a good amount of sales experience under their belt, specifically in your industry. The more years of experience they have, the higher their chance of delivering exceptional results.

Proof of Impact

Everyone wants a high-performing SDR team in their corner. The best way to find a reliable sales development representative team is to consider their track record and proof of impact on growing businesses like yours. If a company has testimonials and case studies to showcase how they’ve helped businesses in similar scenarios, they’re likely to help your company in a similar way.

Understanding of Sales Metrics

Sales are about numbers, and it takes an expert to understand the dynamics of sales and the metrics that matter. An outsourced SDR team should be able to prove their understanding of the data points that are useful in measuring individual and company performance in the long term.

When To Consider Hiring SDRs

Like all other functional parts of sales operations, an SDR should be incorporated into your team early in the purchasing process. A company with marketing and sales executives should have an SDR team to simplify marketing, qualifying, and selling rotation.

An SDR team may be your best bet if you struggle to align your sales and marketing functions. SDRs can help you bridge the gap between the two departments because they ensure that no prospect or inbound lead falls through the cracks. When your marketing team gets a lead, they can direct the contact to the SDR team to make sure they’re qualified for your company’s product or service.

Why Outsource Sales Development Representatives?

While many companies like the idea of keeping their sales development efforts in-house, it’s not always feasible for small to medium-sized businesses. By outsourcing SDRs, you have the ability to:

Save Money

Retaining top talent can be costly, especially in a high-turnover industry like sales. Outsourcing SDRs helps businesses protect their bottom line by lowering the cost of training and retaining the sales team. The money you save can then go towards more pressing business matters.

Save Time

The process of recruiting, hiring, and training employees is time-consuming. If it’s done internally, the risk of putting other important projects on hold is high. Outsourced sales development representatives are already trained, allowing you to skip this process and prioritize doing what you do best: running a successful business.

Obtain Sales Expertise

SDRs are experts in their craft, especially in a company that knows what they’re doing. When they’re onboarded, outsourced SDRs become a crucial source of expertise for your organization. While you might have seasoned sales executives on your internal team, outsourced SDRs can still offer greater expertise because they’re constantly trained on sales development best practices, ensuring you get the most out of your business growth efforts.

Grow Your Pipeline

While hiring outsourced SDR teams is ultimately to get more high-quality sales meetings, it’s also an opportunity to grow your sales pipeline. Outsourced SDR teams know the best approach to finding prospects and converting them into leads, allowing your company to reach the right prospective businesses and pitch them your products or services.

Key Takeaways

Sales development representatives play a crucial role in a company’s business growth efforts. Hiring a team of SDRs allows your company to streamline sales and marketing efforts and generate high-quality business opportunities. Without a team of SDRs, your sales process might not be as effective in converting prospects into leads and leads into customers. 

At Sapper Consulting, our team of sales development reps is well-versed in every stage of the sales process. We help B2B clients build predictable sales pipelines with leads who meet their ideal buyer persona. If you need help with your appointment setting and lead generation efforts, contact the business growth experts at Sapper Consulting!

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About The Author

About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

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