When I first began applying for SDR jobs fresh out of school, I was already longing to have the titles and positions that came next. Account Executive. Customer Success Manager. Hell, Vice President of Sales. Those titles were desirable, they carried weight — some semblance of power. SDR? That didn’t sound nearly as powerful or important. I viewed sales development, and all of the non-sexy duties that came along with it, as something I had to do — a means to an end.

If you had a chance to read my last article, you know how abysmal I was in my first SDR role with JazzHR. I quickly realized that the titles and duties I wanted wouldn’t be handed to me. First, it was necessary that I demonstrate my drive and passion for sales by being a halfway decent SDR. I needed to earn those spots.

So, I landed at Wombat and put my head down. I couldn’t have dreamt up my 11 months spent here more perfectly if I tried. I work have had the opportunity of working with an absolutely wonderful team, gained authentic mentors in the sales side of our company, and am fortunate enough to say that I have had great overall personal success — a “cherry on top” so to speak.

It’s a great honor to say (with enormous humility) that I’ll be moving into a Customer Success role here at Wombat.

My emotions are mixed, because I’ve grown to love the daily grind of being an SDR, but could not be more excited for this new opportunity. I’m looking forward to learning new things, tackling new challenges, and continuing to strive to make our company more successful as a whole (regardless of how small my role in that may be).

Below are a few lessons that I’ve learned in sales development; lessons that will translate to almost any role within a sales department.

  1. Get good at eating shit. An account executive that I work closely with here loves to remind me of this (almost daily): you have to get really good at eating shit if you want to succeed. Translation: you’ll only achieve what you want to if you’re willing to do the gritty, grimy, tedious work day in and day out. Take care of the details. If you aren’t willing to do small tasks perfectly as an SDR, why will things suddenly change if you were in a “higher-ranking” position? They probably won’t.
  2. Yesterday doesn’t matter. Did you schedule 5 demos yesterday? Did you schedule your last demo 7 days ago? Neither scenario should make a difference in the way you approach today. If you did schedule 5 demos yesterday, that’s awesome. But, today is a new day to strive to schedule 12 and keep the ball rolling to hit your accelerators. If you’ve been in a 7-day drought, today is the day that you can change your luck and get back on the board. Tailor some awesome emails. Ask great questions on the phone that make your prospect think. Try something “outside the box”. Today is the only day that matters — get the most you possibly can out of it.
  3. Look for ways to do more. It’s easy to get sucked into the same daily routine in sales development. Don’t get me wrong… you absolutely need a routine to stay on task and crush your metrics. However, I strongly suggest blocking time on your calendar each day (or once a week) to simply brainstorm and create. Sending emails, picking up the phone, and talking knowledgeably about your offerings is 95% of the job. However, I implore you to maximize that last 5% to do things that set you apart. Become an expert in what others in the SDR world are doing to win consistently. Share those lessons with your team and apply them together. I’ve had the opportunity to lead lunch and learn sessions, help onboard new team members, and to write for this awesome blog. It has been an absolute game-changer to work on things outside of normal daily tasks.
  4. Network. Building a great network on LinkedIn has been nothing short of amazing. It’s how I heard about SDRHuddle, and how I went sort-of-kind-of viral a few days ago (on one of my last as an SDR). Over 13,000 views in 24 hours, awesome engagement, and folks in development collaborating — I never thought this would happen to me, but it did. If you aren’t already, get connected with Morgan J Ingram, Brian Vital, and the others that you find through them. You won’t regret it.

The list above isn’t exhaustive, but a culmination of my greatest lessons from sales development nonetheless. Of course, I will be applying these and learning new ones, each and every day moving forward. They are transferable.

This has turned into something much longer than I first anticipated, so the rambling ends here. Being an SDR has been a great pleasure, and I now know that I was couldn’t have been more wrong when I first began — this title carries lots of weight and power when you take ownership of it. If you find success in sales development, doors will be opened, because you will have defined yourself as a hustler.

I’d like to thank this community for everything. Always feel free to reach out to me with any and every question or comment. Happy hunting!

-Gavin Nirmaier-