Getting a job in SDR sales
In the U.S. in 2022, a sales development rep salary ranges from $35k to $60k in base salary, with an average salary of $45,424 per year. However, most companies will offer commission-based incentives and other bonuses for high-performers, raising the average total pay to the $39k to $77k range.
Here are the average SDR sales salary ranges (before commission) in other countries:
UK: £22k to £39k, with an average of £29,057/yr
Germany: €29k to €48k, with an average of €36,440/yr
Canada: C$35k to C$56k, with an average of C$44,543/yr
South Africa: R16k to R515k, with an average of R176,874/yr
When scanning sales development rep job descriptions, be aware that some companies use the term “sales executive” as an alternative title for the SDR meaning. Others use “business development representative (BDR)”, although this may also be used to describe a more fundamental sales role wherein reps identify and connect with new markets, or for a rep who focuses exclusively on outbound prospecting.
Lead Development Rep (LDR) is another title you might come across, a position that’s usually assigned to follow up on inbound leads. Different titles come with different base salaries, with BDRs earning between $36k and $70k before commission in the U.S., while LDRs can earn between $33k to $54k before commission in the U.S., which is slightly lower than the range for a sales development rep salary.
For many people, the biggest appeal of the sales development representative position is the career path opportunities it provides. While the exact amount of time you’ll spend as an SDR will vary depending on the company you work for, an SDR who regularly hits their numbers can expect to be promoted quickly. For example, VC company Bowery Capital looks for nine to twelve months of consistent quota achievement from the SDRs before they’re ready to be promoted to AEs.
Traditionally, SDRs could expect to work in an office putting in a 9-5. However, the demands of the job mean you might end up having to set the alarm earlier or working into the evenings, especially if you’re trying to contact potential customers in different time zones.
Additionally, as more companies embrace remote work, there’s an increased chance you’ll be working from home. While this has its benefits, such as greater flexibility and no commute, it also comes with challenges. As with any remote role, working in a room on your own can get lonely, while managing a remote sales team comes with its own challenges. Without the team environment and in-person training, it can be difficult for new SDRs to get up to speed and stay motivated, something that’s critical in such a difficult role.
How to stand out from other candidates
Think of a sales development representative job as your chance to show a company your potential as a sales person.
The good news is you don’t need to have any existing sales experience. As an entry-level position, hiring managers are more interested in seeing candidates with the right skills, which they’ll often include in the sales development rep job description, and they will likely take cues from your interview that indicate you have the conversation skills and personality to be an SDR. Along with the skills we’ve already discussed, companies are also looking for individuals who are motivated and willing to learn.
Kate DiCioccio, Associate Recruiter at Greenhouse, looks for the qualities of hunger and coachability. “We’re really looking to see how well someone can hear feedback, absorb it, and deliver on it.”
To stand out from the other candidates and get an interview, Sam Nelson, SDR leader at Outreach, recommends taking the initiative and using your SDR sales skillset to get your job.
“Being a self-starter, doing your research, finding SDR strategies, and then using them to get the job can be really positive for you.”
For sales managers: What to look for when hiring an SDR
If you’re a sales manager looking to hire an SDR, you’re unlikely to find many candidates with actual sales development experience. Instead, look for transferable skills.
- Do they have experience interacting with people, such as working in retail or bartending? Past roles don’t need to necessarily be in sales in order to showcase that a candidate has people skills.
- Have they displayed adaptability in previous roles, indicating that they’d be able to look beyond the latest popular templates and find ways to creatively stand out?
When conducting sales interviews, don’t sugarcoat the challenges that the role presents. Being an SDR is hard work, and if they’re not prepared for that then they won’t last long in the role.
Use the interview to get an idea of how they’ll talk with prospects. Don’t just pay attention to what they say but also how they say it. Are they a skilled communicator? Do they ask questions? Do they listen? If a candidate can hold a conversation, it’s a good sign that they’ll be able to engage naturally with your potential customers.