In a nutshell, the sales process involves generating leads, qualifying them, and closing qualified leads. In other words, you generate leads, identify the ones that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and turn them into customers. 

Lead qualification is what Sales Development Representatives (SDR) do. In this article, we discuss how to become a successful SDR in 2023. 

  1. What Does A Sales Development Representative Do?
  2. Skills That All SDRs Should Have 
  3. Tips To Become A Successful SDR
  4. Conclusion


What Does A Sales Development Representative Do?

The terms SDR and sales reps are often (and inaccurately) used interchangeably. SDRs are responsible for nurturing quality leads until they are ready to be sold to. Sales reps, on the other hand, focus on selling to these leads. 

In a nutshell, the marketing team sends SDRs information on all the leads they have. SDRs use this information to determine which leads are ready to be sold to and which others need nurturing. Then, they pass the qualified leads onto the sales representatives who end up turning them into customers. 

A SDR reaches out to as many leads as possible and qualifies the leads they connect with. 

They Reach Out To Leads

SDRs use a variety of channels to reach out to leads - emails, personalized videos, phone calls, social media, etc. They also do their research on each prospect to understand what they do, their pain points, how their product can help the prospect, etc.

They Learn And Educate

SDRs qualify these leads. They do this by learning and educating. Firstly, they learn about their prospects: 

  • Their needs
  • Their business processes
  • Budget
  • Timeline (Is their product a current priority for the lead)
  • Company size

…and a host of other metrics. 

SDRs also use educating their leads as a way of qualifying them to see if they are a good fit. They answer questions about: 

  • Product or plan features and benefits
  • Product or service capability (If the product or service can help the lead in question)
  • Past customer success
  • The process (from signing up to using the product or service)


Skills That All SDRs Should Have 

As you may have realized by now, SDRs need to have certain skills under their belt to qualify a lead properly. Here are the skills all SDRs should have: 

Personalized Outreach

As a SDR, one of your primary responsibilities is generating a high volume of leads. However, you cannot compromise on the quality of your leads to increase quantity. In other words, you need to be able to generate as many qualified leads as you can. 

This is where personalized outreach comes into play. In this day and age, personalization is everything. 

If you want to increase the number of qualified leads you get, you need to tailor your communication to each prospect you approach. Identify their pain points, their goals, roadblocks, and pitch them accordingly. 

Keep this in mind as you prospect via email, call, social media, etc. 


This skill goes hand-in-hand with personalized outreach. You cannot personalize your pitch if you do not do your research on each prospect. Be sure to check out the lead’s website and social media accounts, sign up for their newsletter, check their postings on different job sites, etc. Also consider using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Find That Lead to simplify your research. 

Listening & Curiosity

Here’s a related (yet distinct) set of skills that all SDRs must have. As a SDR, it is vital to recognize that selling isn’t as much talking your lead into buying something as it is about listening and asking good questions. 

The best SDRs actively listen and are genuinely curious about their lead’s pain points, desired goals, objections, and every other piece of information they can use to help the lead get what they want. 

Self Awareness And Coachability

Self awareness and coachability are the answer to “how to be a successful SDR.”

Being coachable is crucial if you want to go from being a newbie SDR to an intermediate, to a successful, in-demand SDR. Self awareness is the first step to being coachable. You need to be aware of your strengths and areas of improvement. Be sure to ask your manager and colleagues for feedback and implement it to catalyze your growth as a SDR. 

Time Management

As a SDR, you will be dealing with numerous leads at different parts of the pipeline. It becomes increasingly difficult to monitor these leads as you scale if you do not know how to manage them. If you cannot manage your leads, you run the risk of losing deals you could have closed otherwise. 

This is where time management comes into play. You may want to set reminders to follow up with leads who do not reply, set interviews with ones that do, and so forth. 


Tips To Become A Successful SDR

Now that you know what a SDR is and the primary skills every SDR should have, here are a few practices you can implement to become a successful SDR: 

Understand Your Product, Understand Your Company

You will not be able to sell anyone a product until you know it inside out. Before you decide to find leads and qualify them, make sure you know:

  • What your company does
  • What your company stands for (vision and values)
  • Your target audience
  • The products and services your company offers
  • How your products and services help your target audience

This means you need to ask your manager, colleagues, CEO, etc., as many questions as needed to understand your brand and products to the bone. 

Master Your Communication

Communication is everything when it comes to sales. This encapsulates communication with your colleagues, prospects, manager, etc. Here are a few things you can work on to improve your communication: 

  • Develop patience and curiosity
  • Actively listen to your prospect, manager, and colleagues
  • Practice your communication over various channels like emails, phone calls, social media, video etc., 
  • Get regular feedback (we touched on this when we mentioned self awareness and coachability)

Learn From A Library Of Resources

An excellent way to accelerate your progress as a work-in-progress SDR is to learn from a library of resources. Consider asking your manager for access to sales articles, blogs, new trend updates, sales scripts, company updates, and so forth. Here’s a nifty resource that can help you sell more. 



To recap, every successful SDR has a bunch of core skills under their belt. These skills are research, personalized outreach, listening, curiosity, self awareness, coachability, and time management. Adopt the tips we’ve discussed and it shouldn’t be long before you become a successful SDR in 2023.