How to Hire Successful Sales Development Reps (SDRs)

A team of all-star sales development reps (SDRs) can be your golden ticket to growth. Successful SDRs will not only source more appointments for your account executives, but also better appointments. And as long as you have competent account executives, more appointments with high-quality leads will create more opportunities and revenue. That’s why it is so important to hire the right SDRs.


Image courtesy of OpenView Partners

The trouble is, that most SDRs have less than 2 years of experience (many are fresh out of college). So you can’t rely on long track records of crushing quota, like when you’re hiring your account executives.

So what should you be looking for when hiring SDRs? We recently joined RingLead’s John Kostouros and OpenView Partners’ Sales Strategist CeCe Bazar in an awesome webinar on inside sales hiring and compensation that tackled that question.

7 Habits of Highly Successful SDRs

The webinar deliveed 7 crucial qualities to look for in new SDR hires:


Most SDRs are early in their career. As a general rule, most SDRs are going to be open to feedback from managers and account executives. But I think we all have met individuals that just don’t take direction well. Confidence is an awesome quality. But you probably don’t want to hire SDRs with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. Being an SDR requires a lot of team work. So if you sense a rep might be overly cocky or obstinate, you might want to take a pass. Instead, look for reps with a positive, teachable attitude.

Genuine Curiosity

Being a successful SDR routinely involves asking a lot of questions. And the best SDRs are curious by nature. They’re natural problem-solvers who genuinely want to discover their prospects’ business drivers. They’re good listeners who can find the best ways to help their prospects succeed. And as a result, they’ll be more successful as SDRs.

Track Record of Winning

I realize that most SDRs probably aren’t going to have a long resume. But you don’t have to be an experienced salesperson to be a winner. Some of the best salespeople are athletes and participated in organized sports at the high school or even collegiate level. Try to find evidence that an SDR will go the extra mile to achieve victory. If they’ve had sales jobs before, call their references. If not, look for those indicators that they possess a winning spirit (e.g. playing on sports teams, graduating with a high GPA, becoming an Eagle Scout, etc.)


You want reps that are hungry. You want reps who are happy to work longer hours to move hot deals forward. Look for those SDRs who see themselves as future VPs of Sales or even CEOs. Look for reps who view their OTE as a mere starting point.

Eager to Make an Impact

The best SDRs, from day one, are going to be looking for ways to make an impact. You don’t just want to hire clock-punchers. You want reps who will, in the best way possible, make their presence known.

The Ultimate Stalker

Many millennials are well-versed in social media. This should be a mandatory requirement for SDRs. You want reps who are already coming to the table with throngs of social media connections. But more importantly, you need reps who know how to leverage social media, the internet and other sources to discover relevant data about prospects. So look for reps who are great at stalking prospects (but are hopefully not creepy to work with).

Goals and Results-Driven

SDRs need to hit a lot of goals. Routinely they have to create a book amount of meetings and  create opportunities. More sophisticated sales organizations also track SDRs activity goals. For example, they might require SDRs to make 50 calls and send 30 emails in a day. Therefore, it’s vital to hire SDRs that actually enjoy meeting those goals. For goal-driven SDRs, making 50 calls in a day will seem more like a game than a burden.

Without great SDRs it can be nearly impossible to achieve dependable growth. But by hiring reps that possess these seven crucial qualities, you can help ensure that your account executives always have the opportunities they need to crush their revenue numbers.

For way more tips on how to hire and motivate SDRS, download our free sales compensation eBook.banner-compensation-plan

About the Author

Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis is a sales and marketing strategist and Sr. Content Marketing Manager at RingDNA. Over the past decade, Davis has honed his business communications skills working as an inside sales manager, business writer and agency marketer. He is a proponent of utilizing platform technology and evidence-based methodologies to optimize creative campaigns, marketing ROI and sales performance.

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