Here at SDR Nation, we speak to top-performing SDRs and SDR Managers on a daily basis. Among those at the top of the leaderboards emerge several trends. In this article, we outline 8 of the most important characteristics of quota smashing reps.

1. The Perpetual Student

Time and time again, the top-performing SDRs are actively seeking out the latest information and tactics to be successful. Whether that means they spend an hour each week listening to a podcast, catching up on industry news, listening to cold calls, reading a weekly newsletter, the top reps are always looking to improve.

What steps are you taking to improve your sales development skills?

2. Top SDRs are Experts in Their Industry

What happens when products/services get more complicated, but technical expertise from SDRs stays the same? Frustrated prospects. How can you ever connect with your prospects if you can’t speak their language? Top SDRs become masters in their field and can effectively understand and communicate complex ideas.

Eliminating jargon and breaking down difficult topics into easy-to-understand concepts separates average SDRs from top SDRs.

3. The Ability to Understand the ‘Why’

Why is my colleague booking more meetings than me? Why did that prospect take a meeting? Understanding the ‘why’ is key to optimizing outbound campaigns.

This means putting in the extra effort to dig through the CRM, comb through your sales automation platform, and do the dirty work to uncover these insights.

4. Copy Cats

Is another team member having a successful month? What specifically are they doing differently? It may seem like a no-brainer to copy them, but SDRs can be stubborn and stuck in their own ways. Adapting to the current conditions and changing when things don’t work is instrumental in booking more meetings.

Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Copy the successful tactics of your teammates.

5. Data-driven

While your sales automation platform can provide valuable insights, sometimes it takes a little more effort to uncover trends. For example, what’s the reply rate vs. the positive reply rate? Do VPs or directors pick up the phone more often? Based on your current conversion rates, how many cold calls does it take to book one meeting?

The best SDRs take the time to figure out these trends themselves or take the initiative to find someone else on their team who can. A simple Slack message to a manager or someone on the data team can drastically improve the outbound sales process.

6. Creative

Top SDRs are creative by nature, they stray from the pack and do whatever it takes to stand out. Nowadays, this characteristic has shifted from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have. How will you stand out from your competition if you’re using the same tactics from 2013? Hint: You won’t.

In the early 2010’s you could get away with sending thousands of emails and making hundreds of generic scripted cold calls. The modern buyer is more sophisticated and expects hyper-personalization. How will you meet their expectations?

7. Ability to Think on Their Feet

It’s very rare that a cold call follows a script to a tee. Cold calling can be unpredictable, which is why it’s so important to adapt quickly and find a way to move a call forward.

Whether that be uncovering additional information, finding a better contact at the company, or even receiving a referral, finding a way to advance the call is key.

8. Top SDRs Fail Gracefully

The SDR role is tough. Day in and day out SDRs face rejection and constant avoidance.

Top SDRs are resilient and don’t hesitate to get back on the phone when they are rejected. They aren’t afraid to share their failures with the team so everybody can continuously improve.

Failing motivates top SDRs to improve.


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