6 traits of high-performing SDRs

Following on from my article on what makes a high-performance SDR team, I want to look at the attributes of a top-performing individual SDR. It’s funny; SDR positions are generally the first steps on a salesperson’s career journey, but they’re also some of the toughest. The role of SDR is also extremely important. After all, you can’t close something you haven’t prospected.

When you have great SDRs in your team, your revenue figures reflect it. But how do you know what to look for in an SDR? Here are six traits I see in all the best ones.

1 – Passion

A great SDR understands the sales process and their place in it. But more than that, they are passionate at about it. It’s this passion that drives them to look for ways to improve the process.

They are also passionate about the company they work for and enthusiastic about the products they sell. You need this inner fire so you can sound as bright on the hundredth call of the day as you do on the first.

2 – Eagerness to learn

Even the highest performing SDRs know they can improve. Not only that; they strive for it. They realise that however well they are doing, they are only at the start of their sales journey. To be truly great salespeople, they need to learn and hone new skills. Raw talent only gets you so far.

Great SDRs are open to continuous learning. They seek out advice from people who can help them enhance their skills. They are coachable. They are curious. They look for, accept and take action on feedback.

3 – Accountability

The best SDRs hold themselves to higher standards personally and professionally. Then, they are accountable to these standards. On a personal level, honesty and integrity is everything.

Professionally, great SDRs do what they say will do. Whether it’s on a call to a client or talking to your team or leader about what you will achieve this month, they always deliver on what they say.

4 – Discipline

A modern SDR team will be part of a wider sales team that works to a systematic sales process. They turn leads into opportunities then customers in a consistent way, tested to perfection and proven to work. An SDR cannot be a lone wolf, trying new things on the fly to impress a prospect. They need the inner discipline to stick to the system.

That’s not to say an SDR can’t be creative. In fact, creativity is a hallmark of all the best SDRs. They are always looking for new ideas which may improve results. However, they discuss them with their team and formally test them, before adding them to the playbook.

5 – Resilience

The life of an SDR is tough. They may make hundreds of calls per day, with a vast majority of them saying ‘No thanks.’ That’s if they can get through to them in the first place.

A great SDR gets used to failure very quickly. However, they know that it’s how they deal with that failure that sets them apart from the crowd. When something knocks them down, they get back up again. When someone hangs up, they breathe, then smile and dial the next number.

This resilience could derive from a highly competitive spirit, or from a naturally optimistic nature. Failure can bring on an ‘I’ll show you’ attitude, or it can make you see the funny side. Either way, if it gets you back up and producing, it’s okay.

6 – Communication skills

The best SDRs are articulate. They are good speakers, skilled at getting their ideas across to their prospects. That said, these skills can be coached and will improve over time.

What is more important is that they are good listeners. They ask questions then listen to the answers. Then, they provide value based on those answers.

Top-performing SDRs are also great communicators within their teams. They may be the least experienced people in the room, but they have a point of view and are not shy about sharing it. Whether it’s offering feedback or sharing an idea that could help improve the sales process, good SDRs will speak up.