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Tech-savvy, data-driven, and professionally skilled in using advanced tools. That’s how you can define a modern-day SDR in today’s day and age. Over the years, the role of an SDR has had to accommodate various shifts and imbibe various skills and trends to stay on top. It can sound exhausting, yes. But, with the right support, tools, and guidance, sales reps can easily master the art of sales.

In session 8 of our Outbound for Dummies series, Bryan Elsesser, Managing Director at Elsesser Ventures and Strategic Partner, teaches how to become a highly effective sales rep in this dynamic and fast-paced environment.

Below is an excerpt from Bryan’s session. 

Evolution of SDRs

Before we get to Bryan, let’s look at a few ways how the role of SDRs has evolved.

Digital Transformation: 

The shift from traditional cold calling to using AI-powered software enables reps to analyze customer behavior, personalize interactions, and optimize outreach strategies.

Data-Driven Insights: 

Modern SDRs rely heavily on data to identify high-value leads. Through analytics, they can prioritize prospects who are more likely to convert.

Multichannel Engagement: 

SDRs now have to take a 3-4 pronged outreach approach to connect with prospects across channels such as social media, email, phone, and messaging apps. This helps in an increased chance of getting a response.

Relationship Building: 

The focus now deeply lies on relationship building and customer engagement. Instead of transactional interactions, they nurture long-term relationships by understanding client's needs, providing valuable insights, and acting as trusted advisors.

Now, over to Bryan.

“Technology and the buyers’ mindset.” These are the two things that Bryan says have led to the evolution of SDRs.

Since buyers now expect more, they expect you to be more knowledgeable and mindful.

Bryan says the spray-and-pray approach of reaching out to 500 buyers a day has been long dead. Whereas, your team should write 10 great emails and hold them to that metric.

The deployment of AI across teams is going to help empower conversations and the outcomes are going to be different.    

The Mindset Shift

The one skill SDRs should have is the willingness to go beyond expectations. The extra effort they put in is always visible, says Bryan. 

But there’s one shift that not just SDRs, but CROs and VPs should also adapt to - i.e. a revenue-focused approach rather than just a pipeline one.

How can that be done?

1. Outbound is the most expensive channel. And as we have built teams, we have moved them away from the metric that matters, i.e. revenue. We have aligned them to the pipeline, and paid them on pipeline - that’s not scalable.

2. You have to deploy a team against the revenue number. This team needs to make sure they’re bringing in new contacts, and that they're understanding how things are moving down the funnel.

3. An SDR should be working hand in hand with the account executive. By doing that sale, sales teams will find better success. 

Influx of Sales Tools

“You do not need 7 sales stages for an SMB sale. You need 3 tops,” says Bryan.  

All these tools are going to evolve and enable the SDR to the next point in their career.

We're not going to replace people, we're just going to replace a job function and we're going to repurpose people towards revenue. 

The Rule of Tech in Sales

AI is all about how we can use the information out there quickly and regurgitate it right.

Technology will give rise to more buyer-centricity. We’re heading towards an age where buyers are smarter, and that’s exactly what technology is going to enable.

It’s all about how to influence a positive customer journey. The true metric to follow is having/sending meaningful calls, emails, LinkedIn connections, and touchpoints.

Meaningfulness is the true key. 

KPI to Keep in Mind

Have your team do their sales math to understand the conversion rate.

That is the funnel metrics starting from the meetings booked to qualified opportunities to close. Understand up to what point an SDR can make an impact.


Build your compensation model around that action or point of decision. Because beyond that point of decision, there's nothing else for the SDR to do.

The SDR manager is looking for KPIs around the number of dials today - but that’s broken. The leadership needs to change the conversation to revenue and be judged on revenue. It can no longer be just about a qualified pipeline. 

How to Stop the Blame-game

The synergy between SDRs and AEs is crucial for a successful sales process. But sometimes due to a lack of communication or accountability, it can lead to a discord between the two roles.

This is what Bryan has to say about any conflicts between SDRs and AEs -

“If anybody’s willing to point a finger and say I’m not successful because of this person. That person needs to get off your team because they’re in the way of your success.

You need to have people who own the funnel completely and own the mission completely at every stage. They should each be deep into the engagement that they’re working on and not simply blame each other when something doesn’t work.” 

Top takeaways from Bryan

We loved these closing statements shared by Bryan.

1. Find people in your team who care. If you find that, you’re golden. 

2. Efficiency works. You don’t always need a team of 20 to grow. Make sure you give your current team enough resources and support.

If you want to listen to Bryan’s entire session recording, you can check the video below. It has everything you need to master sales as a modern-day SDR. 

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