Expectations of a Sales Development Representative (SDR): Guest Post by Carlos Cheung (B’13)

Originally posted at Sales4Startups.

Over the past couple months, I’ve interviewed with several different excellent companies: AdRoll, Square, Stripe, Mixpanel, OpenDNS, Okta, and Optimizely. One of the top things that contributed to my interview success is having a clear understanding of the role I was applying for and the value it brings to the company’s vision. Thus, I hope this post can shed some light on what to expect in the sales development representative role.

As the class of 2014 joins us in the workforce, there will be many graduates seeking employment and trying to figure out where they should start their career. I believe a great place to start your career is in a sales role at a hot SaaS (Software-as-a-service) startup. It’s a good point of entry to build your skills and learn about the industry.

Here are the objectives of a Sales Development Representative (SDR):

1. The main objective of a sales development rep is to utilize emails and calls to qualify and disqualify potential opportunities. Then set up appointments for account executives to close the deal. The KPI (Key-performance-indicator) for this role is how many qualified opportunities you bring in monthly.

2. The secondary objective is to learn about the sales process, company, product, industry, competitors, customer stories, and compelling events (things that happen in the customer’s world that may prompt them to buy).

Let’s take a deeper dive into the SDR role in two parts, audience and action:

(AUDIENCE) The role of a sales development representative (SDR) is twofold: inbound and outbound. Inbound refers to the potential customers who have engaged with your company through its marketing channels. Outbound is you reaching out to potential customers that have never engaged with the company’s product or services, i.e. cold prospecting.

(ACTION) The SDR role consists of lots of question asking and providing information. The role is similar to consulting where you understand what the business is currently doing; seeing if the product or service provided is a good fit for the business; and teaching them how it can help improve their business.

Here’s a presentation to understand the various stages of the sales process and the different sales related roles within an organization: Sales Roles and Sales Cycle.

Recommended Books Before You Start The Job:

These books will help you get a clear understanding of sales and how to succeed in the role. Once you become an expert in sales, those skills will be transferable to wherever you may go.

Major Account Sales Strategy – Understand the purchasing and buying process of the customer

The Challenger Sale – Understand what it means to be a great sales person

You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride A Bike At a Seminar – Tactics to close the sale

Spin Selling – Understand the type of questions to ask

Predictable Revenue – Strategy to implement a sales team

Other Good Books:

Zero-Time Selling

To Sell is Human

Carlos Cheung is a 2013 graduate of the McDonough School of Business and currently resides in San Francisco.  He works in Market & Business Development at Optimizely, a startup that enables businesses and organizations to make better data-driven decisions through website & mobile optimization and A/B testing. Learn more about Carlos at carloscheung.com or follow @CarloskCheung.