How to Make Six Figures as an SDR (Sales Development Rep)

How to Make Six Figures as an SDR (Sales Development Rep)

Congratulations on becoming an SDR, it’s been a long road to this point, but you have finally landed your dream job with your dream company… now what? Will untold riches just fall upon you; will your bank account increase by 6 figures by the time you read this paragraph?

I hate to be the one to tell you this but the answer to all these thoughts is NO. Now, the real work starts… being an SDR isn’t an easy gig and it’s a grind for sure. Your first few months will test you and push you and grow you but in the end what you’ll have is a rewarding career that has endless upward potential. Below we are going to walk you through your first few months in the job and how you can position yourself to be one of the top SDR agents in your company and start seeing those 6 figure paychecks landing in your bank account.

  1. Seek out Mentors
    • Look for people that are welcoming you early on in the job, these will be senior account reps and other SDR agents that have been with the company longer. Most will want to help you if you’ll reach out and ask lots of questions, building community and a relationship with others in the company is a great way to get up to speed quicker.
    • Talk with your manager about who would be a good SDR to shadow and learn from; your manager is a great resource to use… don’t think of them as your boss or just someone you work for. Think of your manager as a partner that is working with you to help grow you into this new position.
  2. Learn Who you are Working for
    • Speaking of your manger, learn to lean on them to grow into the SDR you want to be. Talk with them early on about what the expectations are and in turn let them know your expectations for how you want to grow inside the company.
    • They will become your best resource for learning things like:
      • What does it take to move up here?
      • Who are the best and most productive SDR agents at this company?
      • How will I know when it’s time to move up, what quality’s will I possess?
      • If I want to do XYZ in the company, what should I learn to go about becoming that.
  1. Listen, No… Really Listen
    • In the beginning you are going to be shadowing a lot of other SDR agents, sales reps’ and even some of the higher-level managers to call on clients.
    • Take notes, find out how these agents are using their cadence and the way in which they speak to win over the clients.
    • What indications or keywords are they listening for to clue them in on good or bad leads?
    • What verbiage do you hear repeated over and over – this is a clue that it’s important to use in your own sales calls.
    • Take notes, you want to be able to refer back to this when talking with your mentors and your manager and eventually you’ll want to have this info for when you are making your own calls.
  2. Talk to Them…
    • So, you are basically looking for qualifying leads for your sales team in the beginning of your job, so learn who these people are.
    • You are going to be judged on how well these “leads” you provide turn out for the sales team, so doesn’t it make sense to find out what sort of “lead” your particular sales team or sales agent would like.
    • Follow up with the sales team and ask them; “How was that lead?” or “How are the leads I’m sending over working out for you?”. Ask them, but then LISTEN to them… take notes, find out what to change and what to focus more on.
    • And here’s an idea… ask the sales team, “What would you do??” – get their advice on how to sell. This isn’t the time to be prideful, you want results!!
  3. Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock – Learn to Use the Clock
    • Here is an actual sales trick from the good old days; did you know there are times of the day that are just better for selling than others? Sure are!!
    • Each industry and geographical location are different however, so your mentors and managers will know these things, talk with them and learn from them.
    • If 2pm is dead for your sales team normally, no need to do your full court press at 2pm – wait till the fishing is good, and then GO FISH!!
  4. Keywords, they aren’t just for Google
    • Keywords, yeah… you know those little things people say that tell a world about their true wants and needs. You need to become part phycologist when you are an SDR agent. You want to be on the lookout for things like:
      • I just moved to a new job in the C-suite
      • Oh yeah, we have a new product launching coming up
      • Don’t tell anyone but we are moving into another round of VC funding
      • Did you hear, we are merging with XYZ company
    • These are all clues you can use to know that this prospect is going to be hyper-ready to be closed. They need what you are selling… these are pivotal moments in a company’s life span and chances are that what you are selling can help them.
    • Now, what are those key words and how to capitalize on them… ask your mentors and manger – these people are your ticket to the show; don’t ignore them… utilize them!!

I hope through this journey you are encouraged that becoming good at your job is really all about growing as a person and finding that sweet spot of being helpful and being a salesperson. I will close with a story from my days in retail sales; I owned a company that sold vitamins and sport supplements back in the early 2000’s. We sold around 44,000 different items and had about 150 vendors, each sales rep that you would deal with treated the job very much like a used car salesman; pushy and trying to get my order amount up as high as they could each order. No surprise there, they were sales agents for a retail product. 

However, I had one sales rep… Chris Walters, I’ll never forget him… he approached sales like an SDR would, he was there to not sell me something – he wanted to BUILD my company. He would call with ideas, and combos and bundle packages for promotions that I could offer my clients. He would call with tickets to an event that I could market at or an idea for a way to use his vitamins to up-sell a client. Over the course of the next 5 years, Chris helped me grow my company into a top 5 brand in the industry and guess what, I sold more of his product than the rest of my items combined; matter of fact I grew into the largest retailer for his brand in the US for those years. Can you imagine what his commission checks looked like – whoa! Now, that’s what an SDR does… they provide value to their clients; you do this, and you’ll be making 6+ figures in no time. Thanks Chris, 20 years later and your still taking me to school!