Previous experience in SDRs

Should we seek experience in Sales Development Representatives? This is a widely discussed topic as well as a relevant one. In this article we will discuss why looking for “experienced” SDRs can be totally counterproductive.

First of all, we should understand why the SDR or BDR role is an entry level position: in a year and a half, or often less, a smart young professional can really master the job and is ready to be promoted. In this period of time, an ambitious SDR wishes to continue growing in its commercial career and to be the next BDM or Account; so this objective must be alligned with the startups recruiting them. Searching for recent graduates who can later grow in the company can be a great move.

If a person with previous experience as an SDR wants to stay in the same role in another company, we must understand very well which are his or her motivations to want to stay in the same role (and often times, same salary range too). Of course, each case is different so we should consider all of them, but let’s remember that the SDR profile is based on skills and not on CV or past experience, as we are looking for an ambitious individual willing to grow and evolve.

As B2B SaaS companies experience hyper growth, it is a natural progression to promote the SDR to a Business Development Manager or an Account Executive who will close deals. These new Accounts will already know the value propositions of their companies and customer scenarios like the palm of their hand.

Some companies look for experienced SDR’s because they think the ramp-up will be much shorter and they will start closing appointments right away. This is not true, since the ramp-up difference is only 1 or 2 months. Also, the more experienced Sales Reps may have lost their initial enthusiasm and flexible mindset, making the incorporation process just as long, while the new ones will be highly motivated and involved. In addition, current outbound sales platforms can help in reducing the SDR incorporation time by half. Of course, there can always be an exceptional case in experienced SDRs, so it is important to understand well all the profiles.

Therefore, in general we will look for intelligent, motivated and, yes, inexperienced candidates to fill the role of SDR. SaaS companies that waste resources in the search of experienced profiles may end up having a high turnover rate and fewer sales opportunities than expected. However, the profile that really interests us is someone with the right skills who is starting his business career with a lot of motivation and can then grow within the same company.

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