The term “Sales Development Rep” is a relatively new title for the frontline salesperson. From the classic cold caller, to old school door-to-door sales rep, to the more updated business development rep… the way we refer to reps on the frontline of the sales process has evolved over time.
But the mainstay throughout the evolution of the sales development rep is — and has always been — specialization. What do all of those aforementioned roles focus on, first and foremost? Prospecting and uncovering qualified leads to feed into the sales pipeline. The primary focus of a sales development rep is to find for those ideal prospects and create a customer acquisition machine.
JM Hood is a perfect example of a someone who didn’t necessarily begin with the title of “SDR,” but grew into the industry from the bottom into a powerhouse sales development leader. We asked her how she got her start, where she is now, and how sales development has influenced her career. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Where was your first role in the sales industry?
I kind of fell into it! I landed a business development gig at a local credit union. My role was to cold call companies in Silicon Valley like eBay, Google, other big tech firms, set up shop during their lunch and convince the employees to move over their direct deposit on the spot.
2. What role are you in now?
I am a Manager of the Sales Development Team at AdRoll North America, and have created the global process/training for the teams in New York, San Francisco, Dublin and Sydney.
3. Is there a set career matrix for SDRs at your current company?
Our career matrix is currently in flux. The career matrix is dependent on where you’re at as a company. For example, if you’re a really fast growing company, you’ll have a need for people to move faster depending on the size of your teams and headcount you are allocated. We are currently transitioning as a company. While we’re continuing to grow (and a lot!), the hiring growth has slowed down a bit. This means the career matrix and path has a need to change with the times.
Being a tech “startup,” it’s one of those things to always be ready to change and have the resources (training, development, career path, etc.) ready to rock at any given time.
4. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone entering their first job as an SDR?
It will be tough and it will be hard. You’ll have days you don’t want to send that other email or make that extra call. Find one thing new to learn each day and set yourself reminders to always step outside the box.
Sales development is proving to be the springboard to many a career, launching sales veterans into management and leadership roles at lightening speed. Whether within their starting company, or in new ventures, the growth potential of a seasoned sales development rep is boundless.
Want to be a Manager of Sales Development someday? Start your career as an SDR, and odds are, that day will come sooner than you think.