SDR Team Leads: Game-Changers

In recent years, Business Development has become the lifeblood of every fast-growing startup.. A role that is often overlooked as organizations grow and establish leadership structure is the SDR Team Lead. This role can be a game-changer; the ideal SDR Team Lead is a top-performing individual contributor who has the awareness and desire to share their success with the rest of the team. That being said, the hybrid nature of the BDR Team Lead role does make it a delicate balancing act between individual and team. It takes the right type of work mindset.

Traits of a Strong SDR Team-Lead

  • Compartmentalizes their day
  • Invests time in team development
  • Leads by example 
  • Is adaptable and innovative

Ability to compartmentalize 

 The role of an SDR Team Lead is an “and” role, more so than an “or” role. A stellar SDR is a great individual contributor “and” a great leader. Therefore, being able to compartmentalize your day-to-day is extremely important. An SDR Team Lead is still a quota-carrying role, and more often than not the quota is higher than that of an average rep.

It’s important to be extremely efficient in time management. Make sure you have time blocked out to prospect, cold call and email while also remembering to monitor team KPIs, coach, and correspond with your sales team management.  

Invest time in team development

More often than not, an SDR Team Lead is someone who has demonstrated an exceptional ability to create opportunities and crush their role as an IC. However, the motivation for work has to be shifted slightly away from just hitting quotas and being a top performer. 

 A good team lead will have a deep desire to share their knowledge and skills to help develop other reps on their team. This may go against the “sales” instinct of solely maximizing your own metrics. Oftentimes, it requires you to take time away from your own prospecting and outreach to help the team overcome objections, craft responses, build reports, and share strategy. A good SDR Team Lead must see the forest through the trees and realize that they are now being judged on both their ability to be a top performer and their impact on the team as a whole. 

Lead by Example 

While this may seem fairly obvious, part of being a Team Lead is leading by example. This includes practicing what you preach. Team Leads often wear many hats, which means they can be stretched thin enough to potentially overlook smaller tasks. Hold yourself accountable in ways that you want your team to hold themselves accountable.. 

If you want to inspire confidence from your team, your SalesForce records should be exactly how you want theirs to be. Your outreach strategies and tone with potential prospects should be a shining example of professionalism and salesmanship. Take the extra time to make sure everything is buttoned up and it will go a long way. 

Adaptability + Innovation

While trying to juggle leadership and outreach, it is easy to forget the need to constantly be iterating. In moments like these, it’s important to remember that adaptability and innovation are likely part of the reason a BDR Team Lead had so much success as a BDR.  

BDR Team Leads should continue to constantly learn. This includes staying up to date with subject lines, content, and new strategies that may be fruitful.  It also includes fostering innovation in your team. Just because you saw success as a BDR and are now a Team Lead, doesn’t mean your outreach is the end all be all. Create guardrails for your team so they know as long as a sequence fits certain criteria, they have room to experiment. This is not only empowering for your reps but will allow them to see what does and doesn’t work for themselves.    


Being a BDR Team Lead is a delicate juggling act between being a top performer and a manager. It requires extreme efficiency, constant rebalancing of priorities, and a serious interest in spending your time developing other people. Typically, this role isn’t one people are in for very long. It is usually a step between an IC and a full-time manager, but in my opinion, there are very few roles that force you to grow more professionally than that of a BDR Team Lead. 

David Berardi

David Berardi is a Business Development Team-Lead at Rhino, an NYC based start-up that aims to unlock the $45B tied up in residential security deposits. As one of the first 20 employees, he has helped create the playbook to expand Rhino to over 1 million homes nationally.

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