Fun fact: I did a quick search on LinkedIn to see how many SDRs there are right now, and between Sales Development Representative and Business Development Representative, I found 74.1k reps, just in the US. I’d estimate there are well over 100k reps out there, right now, grinding their way through a sea of prospects to another meeting or opportunity. So, my question to you is this; what differentiates you from those 100k? When I think of good SDRs, there’s a handful of people that come to mind. Without naming names, these select few SDRs have been able to not only cut through the noise, they have become a voice that commands an audience. It’s funny though, because these people didn’t get there by being the loudest or smartest person in their industry, city, or even their office. They got there by working their ass off, in the most calculated way possible. These reps are hyper-tactical with their time, how they engage, and how they handle their attitude. Let’s dig into how you too can strategically use these three points to help differentiate yourself from the other 100,000 SDRs.
Be Deliberate With Your Time
“Time is the most valuable asset you have. “You can’t buy it. You can’t find it. You can’t store it. You can’t trade it.” – Mark Cuban
The most successful people I know are people that see time as commodity. You can always make more money, but you can’t make back the time you lost doing something that wasn’t helping you. Being deliberate with your time is a skill, and is a skill that you should always be practicing. One of the best ways to start using your time deliberately is getting into a routine. Hold yourself accountable, practice discipline, and follow through on your routine. Get up 30 minutes earlier than you do now and hit the gym. Spend your drive into work listening to a podcast or audiobook that will help you grow in your abilities instead of listening to the newest Jay-Z album. Instead, listen to it while you’re at the gym. I promise, Jay will understand.
Set a schedule for the day and stick with it. Turn your cell phone off until you’ve knocked out every email and dial you need. We live in a world full of distractions, and each one of these distractions is designed to rob you of your most precious commodity. Stop letting the world rob you of the one thing you can’t get back. That being said, don’t be so rigid that you’re afraid to break away from your cycle if you find an opportunity to make better use of your time. Time isn’t wasted if you’re finding value in that time. Also, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time goofing off as long as you can go to bed every night knowing that you made the most of your day.
Use Your Strengths To Engage
Everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and unfortunately most SDRs are encouraged to only focus on their weaknesses. When is the last time you had a performance review where your manager brought up your greatest strength with a plan of how to become even better? Usually, we are only encouraged to improve in the areas we are weak, and leave our greatest skills on the back-burner, because “you’re already good at those.” The best SDRs aren’t a jack of all trades, they are a master at implementing their best trade in their approach. Think about what you are already good at, whether it’s speaking, writing, listening, analyzing, creating, whatever it may be, now challenge yourself to become great at it. Are you creating value, or are you just talking about it? Some people are great at writing emails, some are sharks on the phone, and others can record awesome video footage, or build out a strong network for social selling. Once you’ve found your niche, start getting creative with your approach, push the boundaries a little. Create unique value or content in your approach, engage as a master of your craft, and close like it’s expected. Create, engage, close.
The Only Two Things You Can Control In Sales Is Activity and Attitude
I had a phenomenal manager when I was a SDR who once told me that the only two things in sales that you can control is your activity and your attitude. Activity is a theme that is commonly brought up and monitored, but attitude is often forgotten, yet that’s where the best reps are tactical in order to stand out. Having a tactical attitude means that you are prepared for the worst, expect the best, and stay humble through it all. Nobody wakes up in a good mood every day, but the SDRs who are out there killing it are the ones who don’t let the world shape their attitude. Maybe you missed quota this month, it happens. Instead of focusing on how bad you did, focus on how you can come back next month and destroy it. Going back to being deliberate with your time, make sure you are taking the time necessary to take care of yourself mentally. Consistent exercise or meditation can work wonders for your attitude and mental health. If you need vacation, take it. You aren’t doing anyone any favors dragging your feet every day because you’re burnt out.
One trait of some of the most influential SDRs that I’ve seen over the last year is humility. These are people who are willing to help those who have nothing to offer, who spend their time focusing on their team instead of themselves, and who treat every opportunity as an experience to grow.
“Sit Down. Be Humble” – Kung Fu Kenny
Ultimately, your time is a commodity, your approach can be your greatest strength, and your attitude is a decision. These are all daily commitments that require you to be courageous, disciplined, and sometimes vulnerable in order to overcome our natural tendencies to be negative in a position filled with negativity and rejection. If you are serious about standing out and differentiating yourself from the other 100,000 SDRs out there, start by being hyper-tactical with your time, how you engage, and how you handle your attitude.
Sam Feldotto is a writer, SDR enthusiast, and Outbound Sales Consultant for SalesFolk, where his goal is to help SDRs crush their quota by sending better cold-emails. His articles have been featured on The SDR Chronicles and SDR Huddle. Sam lives and works remotely in Denver, Colorado, the greatest city in the world. In his off time, Sam enjoys climbing big-ass mountains, exploring new cities with his girlfriend, and reminiscing about when Peyton Manning still played for the Broncos. Be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn if you have any questions, comments, or just want to tell him that he’s an asshole.