sdr rep

Sales Development Reps are the assembly line workers of the enterprise software market in 2019.  While product managers are not responsible for sales, they should understand the dynamics of this critical aspect of their product’s sales machine.  SDRs are on the front line.  Every day they pitch the core messages and value equations of products to prospects.  They are an excellent source of market feedback and validation.  Product managers should spend one day a month with their SDR Team.

SDR’s Are Busy

The best way to describe SDRs is activity.  Every day they churn out emails, phone calls, social media posts, etc.  Their ‘factory’ is there cubicle, phone, and computer.  SalesLoft is a SaaS solution provider of sales force automation tools.  Here is a summary of atypical day for a SalesLoft SDR:

SDR’s Are Paid Relatively Well

According to a 2019 study of 434 companies by the Bridge Group the average on-target earnings for SDR’s is $75K:

Majority of SDR’s Have Less Than 2 Years of Experience

Since 2010, the average experience required at time of hire has decreased dramatically.  This is due to the significant growth in use of SDRs and intensified competition for talent.

Quota Performance is Similar to Account Executives

Quota Performance is similar to traditional account executives.  Around 68% of SDRs achieve their quota:

Incentive Compensation is Activity Driven vs Revenue Driven:

Prospects Are Harder to Reach in 2019

Prospects are increasingly hard to reach.  In 2019 it takes almost twice as many attempts to connect with a prospect as it did in 2010:

Technology is a key enabler of SDRs:

Product Managers Need to Arm SDRs

Product Managers need to arm SDRs with crucial information for their first call with a prospect:

sdr first call buyer topics


Product Managers can obtain great insights from SDR teams.  SDRs engage every day with the market.  They can tell you what is working and what is not.  Product managers serve many constituencies.  The best way to develop empathy with SDRs is to spend time with them.  Gaining first hand insights into the tribulations and success of sales development reps will help product managers develop better products, messaging, and success.

Also published on Medium.

By John Mecke

John is a 25 year veteran of the enterprise technology market. He has led six global product management organizations for three public companies and three private equity-backed firms. He played a key role in delivering a $115 million dividend for his private equity backers – a 2.8x return in less than three years. He has led five acquisitions for a total consideration of over $175 million. He has led eight divestitures for a total consideration of $24.5 million in cash. John regularly blogs about product management and mergers/acquisitions.