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5 Things to Look for When Choosing the Right Leader for Your SDR Team

The business development team, traditionally within the sales department of most organizations, is further removed from having a real “home” than ever before. Those sales development reps — those “phones-to-the-ear” lions who drive your sales organization — need a home. But where is it?

A trend is happening right before us across the landscape of this business development/lead gen function. It is starting to bleed into the marketing department. Is that the right move? But, aren’t they salespeople?

The Answer

The truth is, there is no real science as to who should own the SDR team. But, here’s one thing that’s true — it takes a very special manager/leader to make one successful. 

So, a better question to ask is, “Who is the best manager to manage my SDR team?” If it’s your sales leader, great! If it’s your marketing leader, great! If it’s the head of your janitorial staff, perfect! 

5 Things to Look for 

The Person Capable of Managing with High Accountability

At the end of the day, the key to winning the ground game of Sales Development is being consistent. Consistency takes accountability. The role of the SDR is a grind filled with lots of rejections. So, keeping the team consistent, amid all the ups and downs, is a necessity.  A manager comfortable with holding people accountable to this consistency is a must-have for your team.

The Person Who Enjoys the Weeds

Quality of work and in-the-moment training are really critical when developing the talent level of your SDR team. But training doesn’t just happen in a conference room or a Zoom call. Training happens by finding teachable moments and real examples. Find a person who is willing to get into the nitty-gritty details, review phone calls, proof emails that went out, and verify that every step of the process was followed. The wins are in the weeds!

The Person Best at Personal and Professional Development

The SDR role is usually (not always, I know) a young professional’s game. This makes development as important as anything else. Not only are your SDRs learning your product and learning how to cold call, but they are also learning how to be professionals. Remember when you first got into the professional world? If you’re like me, you knew absolutely nothing about how to manage your personal and professional life to maximize your performance at work. These professionals need coaching and teaching beyond the features of your product. They need to know how to be the kind of salespeople (professionally and personally) who are capable of excelling in their role. 

The Person Who Can Think Strategically

Sales development is a chess game. There are no one-shoe-that-fits-all answers to being successful. Yes, it takes persistence and hard work, but the rest of the game is a bit of an art.  What works for one rep may not work great for another. So, you need a leader who has the ability to manage every SDR differently. They need to know their strengths, their fears, their goals, and how they best communicate. Strategic thinking will take your team into the two-dimensional game where quality can meet quantity — a place where most teams don’t know how to play.

The Person Who Can Keep Things Fresh

With all the prospecting, phone dialing, email sending, and demo scheduling work that happens day-in and day-out, someone has to keep things fresh. The best SDR teams in the game have a high-energy, competitive, fun culture that drives people to achieve more than they would on their own. If you’re in the remote world, there are still ways to do that — make it a focus!

Take a long look at whoever is leading your SDR team and ask yourself if they are the right person for the job. Remember — it takes a skill set to run a great SDR team, not a job title.  

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