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How to Choose the Right Senior SDR

When you have a Senior SDR in your sales development team, sitting in the structure above standard SDRs but below management, you can gain a significant number of benefits.

However, you need to pick someone with the right qualities to succeed. There are qualities you should proactively look for (if you can, design ways to quantify them), but also attributes that are not so important. 

Why you need a Senior SDR 

We advise teams to put a Senior SDR role in place for three reasons:

  • Mentorship – a Senior SDR can be a role model to the current team and new starters, pointing them in the right direction with the added kudos that they’ve held the role themselves

  • Take the heat off management – a Senior SDR can act as a bridge between the management and the SDR team, and pick up some of the slack. They could take on some coaching responsibilities, lead discussions and summarize findings around targeting or messaging tactics

  • Elevate performance – A Senior SDR helps raise the standard of the sales development team, offering quick coaching and advice to make the current SDRs perform better

So, those are the benefits you can gain with a Senior SDR in your team. But, when you look at your current SDRs, which one would be the best Senior? What qualities should you look for?

A good way to narrow down the criteria is to focus on the attributes you don’t need in a Senior SDR. 

What not to look for

It may be tempting just to award the Senior SDR role to the SDR in your team who gets the best numbers. Certainly, performance is a big part of identifying the one who the rest of the group would think, ‘Hey, this person knows what they’re doing.’

However, the best performer is not necessarily the best mentor. Plus, because of the close ties that results have to commission, your high-performers are already rewarded for their hard work. So do they really need a title change?

Likewise, your Senior SDR doesn’t have to be the SDR that has the highest activity levels or success rates. They should perform reasonably well in those areas, but it's more about whether or not they understand the purpose of those activities and whether they can elevate other team members' performances. 

Qualities of a Senior SDR 

Okay, here are the five qualities you should look for in a senior SDR: 

  1. High performer. They don't need to be the best, but good performance indicates that they are committed, they're aware of what works and what doesn't, and they understand the fundamentals of accountability. 
  2. Creative thinker. Your Senior SDR should be someone who regularly offers feedback and ideas relating to "off-book" tactics that get more traction. They have the skills to think through the sale, not just meet activity volumes. 
  3. Contributes to discussions. Look for a  team member who regularly speaks up in team meetings and isn't shy to challenge others (including leadership). Part of the Senior SDR role is "managing up" by exposing performance gaps, maintaining a market feedback loop, and commenting on sales enablement needs. 
  4. Engages in coaching. While you can train people about coaching styles and methods, they need to show that they have that basic passion for helping others succeed first. Aptitude is the potential to fill a role, while affinity is the willingness to do so. It's much more difficult to build the latter. 
  5. Demonstrates leadership. If your candidate is demonstrating all of the above, they're likely meeting this standard, too. Their actions day-to-day should be team-oriented, and include things like offering to help others, setting an example for behavior at the desk, and shifting priorities to help lagging teammates succeed. 

With those qualities in mind, does someone on your roster fit the bill?

Takeaways: Senior SDR Qualities

If you're still not sure about the purpose of the Senior SDR, think about sports. 

On teams, there are plenty of team captains who aren't primarily responsible for putting points on the board. But they excel in their position and have a good understanding of the field. Because of that, they allow top scorers to push even further, they strengthen the defense, and they help put their coaches' strategies into practice. 

Review your organization's career development plan and Senior SDR selection process to confirm which candidates on your team may be the right fit. 

Do you think there is room for improvement in your existing SDR Leadership layer? Request a consultation with a SalesWorks trainer to explore lessons on leadership, coaching, growth attitude, and more.