Product managers need frequent, reliable interactions with prospects and customers.  This helps validate market problems, user stories, messaging, and price points.  Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) interact with hundreds of potential prospects and customers every week. Product managers should develop a detailed understanding of how SDRs work and what motivates them.

Putting Compensation in Perspective

In 2021, the median compensation for Product Managers was $86,005 in base salary and $7,121 in bonus:

product manager comp

Salary.com

Sales Development Representatives had total compensation packages between $62K and $87K:

SDR compensation

Salesloft

The highest-paid account managers had dramatically higher compensation:

Account Executive OTE 2021

Compgauge

SDRs Work Hard for Their Money

Every year, The Bridge Group publishes research on SDRs. Here are some relevant extracts from their Sales Development (SDR) Metrics & Comp Report: Benchmark data from 406 B2B companies

Bridge Group 2021 Survey Participants

The Bridge Group surveyed a broad cross-section of B2B software companies:

The Bridge Group SDR Study - Participants

The Bridge Group

The Bridge Group SDR Study - Participants Growth Rates

The Bridge Group

Broad Cross-Section of SDR Teams

The Bridge Group SDR Study - SDR Tem Types

The Bridge Group

SDRs Have an Average of 1.2 Years of Experience When Hired

The Bridge Group SDR Study - SDR experience at hire

The Bridge Group

SDRs Average 106 Activities a Day

The Bridge Group SDR Study - SDR Daily Activities

The Bridge Group

SDRs Average 4.4 Quality Conversations a Day

The Bridge Group SDR Study - SDR quality conversations per day

The Bridge Group

It Takes Dramatically More Effort to Have a Quality Conversation

The Bridge Group SDR Study - Average attempts before contact

The Bridge Group

68% of SDRs Meet Quota

The Bridge Group SDR Study - SDR Quota Attainment

The Bridge Group

A Day in The Life of an SDR

SDR’s work very hard.  The following is a summary of the day of a typical SDR.  It was provided by Freshworks, who just went public on NASDAQ and is now worth over $10 billion.

A day in the life of Nawin

Nawin works for the US shift and has made over 5000 cold calls in one year as an SDR at Freshworks. Here’s a description of what a typical workday looks like for Nawin in his own words.

8:00 AM: Arrive at the office

As soon as I reach the office, I grab a cup of hot coffee, catch up with my colleagues and head to our daily scrum. Here we discuss what’s in our pipeline and the accounts we are going to target that day. Of course, we also celebrate small wins to keep us pumped and motivated.

Once a week, I talk to my Account Executive (AE) and strategize on the verticals to target, accounts to focus on and provide updates on the progress of interested prospects.

8:20 AM: Check and respond to emails

Check Freshsales CRM for prospects who have responded to my earlier email. If they are requesting for additional product information, I immediately send a reply with the required documents. At times, prospects ask me to remove them from my mailing list or aren’t interested in continuing the conversation further. So I quickly add a note and take them off my list so that I don’t contact them again.

8:40 AM: Plan my day

Now it’s time to prioritize my activities for the day. I open my calendar and check for calls scheduled on that day. This is really important as even the most seasoned SDRs miss appointments with prospects because they weren’t aware of the call scheduled, or they rush for one at the last minute. So I make it a point to check if I have any meetings lined up for the day and be prepared for it.

Sales Development Representative's calendar

8:45 AM: Follow-up with hot/warm leads

Next, I reach out to my hot leads — those who I had earlier reached out to and have requested for a demo or signed up for a trial. I follow up with them (if I’ve any for the day) over the phone after which I start focusing on the rest of my sales pipeline.

9:00 AM: Cold calling time!

Now it’s time for some hardcore cold calling. The best time to cold call, and what’s worked for me is 1 hour in the morning, exactly after an hour I reach the office, and 2 hours before I leave office. In the first slot, I make about 20 calls and get about 3-4 proper 4-5 minute conversations. It’s a myth that the best days to cold call and set-up meetings is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because I’ve called prospects and had opportunities on Mondays and Fridays as well.

10:00 AM: Send follow up email to prospects

I quickly send a follow-up email to prospects with whom I had a conversation, either by summing up our discussion and confirming the appointment or with documents they requested.

follow up email in Freshsales

10:15 AM: Break!

After the first round of cold calling, I take a break for a cup of coffee and snacks. In this time, I catch up on industry news, what’s new in the competitor software and read other sales-related articles.

10:45 AM: LinkedIn prospecting

It’s time to start my LinkedIn prospecting. I use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to get a list of my ideal customers by filtering based on industry, geography, department and job title. Once I have the list of prospects, who are primarily decision makers, I send a connection request with a note that explains why I would like to connect with them.

sales development representative Linkedin prospecting Freshsales

12:00 PM: Break for lunch

After sending about 100 LinkedIn connection requests, I take a break, relax and grab lunch.

1:00 PM: Send personalized emails

After lunch, I send personalized cold emails to C-level Executives, VPs and Directors. I try to send at least 20 personalized emails; most of my research from LinkedIn.

personalized cold email Freshsales

2:00 PM: Cold calling time again

Now I start the next round of calls. This is the best time to cold call because there’s a high chance that you might end up talking to people who you’ve missed in your first round of calling, and also because they are most likely to be available post lunch. In this slot — between 2 PM to 4 PM — I make around 30 calls with an assured 4-5 conversations with prospects.

4:00 PM: Check LinkedIn

Towards the end of the day, I check my LinkedIn to see if I’ve had my connection requests accepted and send a detailed message on what we do and why I offered a connection.

Freshsales SDR LinkedIn message

4:20 PM: Prepare for the next day

I start preparing for the next day by organizing my Accounts. For instance, if I’m going to target a particular vertical, I work on getting the list of prospects to call and email tomorrow.

5:00 PM: Wrap up, go home

After all the hard work done, I now pack my bags, go home and relax.

How SDRs Can Help Product Managers

The core responsibilities of product managers include understanding market problems and defining user stories.  Product managers need input from customers/prospects to do this.  Interacting with SDRs can help product managers do this.  SDRs can help product managers a number of ways.

Validate Personas

Understanding personas is critical for product managers.  A major task SDRs perform is to reach out to prospects via email, LinkedIn, and social media.  SDRs can provide great insight into which personas respond to their outreach efforts.  This can help product managers to understand and refine personas for their products.

Validate Messaging

Messaging is a core product management responsibility.  Key messages, proof points, unique selling propositions, and differentiators are critical.  SDRs have the opportunity to test product messaging hundreds of times a week.

Price Points

SDRs can help product managers test price sensitivity.  Many prospects will cease to engage once they determine that a product’s pricing and packaging were not a fit.  Recently I evaluated some technology for a client.  There was one product they were especially enamored with.  Early in my research, I learned that the entry-level price was $5,000/month.  This was no a fit for the client and I was directed to quickly move onto more affordable options.

Summary

Product managers need frequent, reliable interactions with prospects and customers.  This helps to validate market problems, user stories, messaging, and price points.  Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) interact with hundreds of potential prospects and customers every week. SDRs have a hard job.  Product managers should develop a detailed understanding of how SDRs work and what motivates them.


Also published on Medium.