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What is an SDR?

What is an SDR?

When putting together a difficult puzzle, you start by sorting the pieces. Group the edges in one section, the corners in another section, and then the centerpieces or unknown in their own group. As you begin to arrange the pieces into a foundation you connect the pieces together and start to frame your image. If you’re able to visualize this process as described, you could do well as a sales development representative (SDR).

SDRs are a buyer’s problem solver. Their role is to look at all the pieces of a buyer's puzzle and identify in what way their company’s product or service can solve the puzzle. Identifying potential customers in the sales process is known as prospecting. SDRs focus on creating a direct channel outbound to a specific target audience. Once a prospect is interested in learning more about your product or service an SDR has now made a contact.

You’ve sorted your puzzle pieces. You’ve connected almost all the pieces, but how do you finish? In your conversations with your potential buyer, you have created an opportunity. The opportunity is to finish the puzzle, closing out your deal (sales terminology - closed won), or not finishing (sales terminology - closed lost). SDRs will go above and beyond to build customer relationships that provide a smooth and enjoyable transaction for their buyer. This part of our puzzle is not historically new in the sales industry but has evolved over time. 

History of SDRs

The history and evolution of sales can be traced all the way back to 9000 BC. Throughout time, we began to learn from the past and recognize strategies and methodologies that worked to improve the selling process. 

If you look back at a movie for instance that takes place in 1970, you might notice that salespeople focused on establishing a customer relationship before making a sale. The strong focus on customer relationships allowed the salesperson to connect on a personal level, allowing for transactions to occur at little league games, breakrooms, and restaurants. 

Now in today’s society, SDRs have completely flipped their method. Instead of starting with relationship building, trust and relationships are earned by the success of a sale. But when did things change? In the mid-1970s to late 1980s selling trends began popping up and shifting the industry to reflect consultative selling.

Is an SDR a good position?

Yes, an SDR is a good job. SDRs have a lot of responsibilities which include prospecting clients, qualifying leads, closing deals, and more, but they are compensated graciously. An SDR was reported to make an average salary of $73,500 in 2021 (US News). 

It is not uncommon for SDRs to move up the chain of command within a company rather quickly. Motivation, as well as financial goals, can be a big factor in hitting quota. On average Sales Managers were reported to make $147,580. Managers typically receive a bonus depending on the success of their team. 

A good salary can be a great motivator when it comes to working. Sales are one of the few careers that reward an employee's performance in their income. This is also known as a merit-based compensation structure. Typically your commission will be pre-determined and will reflect in your pay when you have achieved your goals. 

Terms to Know

If you want to be a successful SDR you need to learn the sales language. You can start to improve your sales terminology by recognizing these terms. In sales, there is a hierarchy that helps each company function. Being able to recognize these will help you stand out in front of potential employers because of your knowledge and understanding.

About Collegiate Sales Society

Founded in 2019, Collegiate Sales Society was established to bridge the gap between the experience and skills college students learn in school and what is sought after by employers. The premier national collegiate sales organization, CSS creates lifelong leaders through sales education, networking, and career opportunities. Program offerings, including the Collegiate Sales Certification, CSS Summit, and Virtual Career Fair, allow members to cultivate sales skills through real experience and network with industry professionals. 

For more information on joining CSS contact CSS Program Director, Courtney Cochran at