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In a world of sales development and B2B lead generation, I’m often asked, “What Characteristics Should A Sales Development Rep Have?”

Below, I’ve fine-tuned the following Top Sales Development Representative Characteristics that should be considered in 2020. You can also, take a shortcut to our brief questionnaire: 

Are you Ready for An Outsourced SDR

 Top Sales Development Rep Characteristics

  1.  Positive Attitude
  2.  Drive & Grit
  3.  Active & Reflective Listening
  4.  Time Management
  5.  Accountability

In Sales Development, A Magical Attitude!

A high performing sales development representative will have an excellent attitude during the prospecting process.

An attitude comparable to Harry Potter. In other words, they will need to be some-what “magical” and a “seeker” of leads.

Take for example, the “golden snitch” in the game J.K Rowling identifies as “Quidditch.” And if you don’t know, imagine just for a second.

A sales development rep might feel that they are the only one flying through the data and making efforts to seek and obtain their golden lead. In contrast, there are already many others calling the same prospects. Meanwhile, most have already gotten a head start.

Sure, you’ll have to battle through the inevitable and annoying “dementors” that we’d coin as gate keepers and daily objections, but for those who don’t know much about Harry Potter, Dementors feed off of human happiness. Therefore, fighting these challenges will demand a well-grounded and positive attitude.

Transmitting a positive type of attitude in your outbound prospecting efforts can be viewed as a critical factor when scoring an appointment with a qualified lead that will actually stick with their appointment set date rather than no-show at the last minute because they weren’t fully invested.

On the other hand, when you think about the SDR’s attitude, you acknowledge that they set the tone and first impression for who they’re representing. Therefore, ask yourself, does my rep have the right attitude to represent the culture we want to promote?

At LeadJen, we believe positivity must be a foundational pillar to promote healthy and sustainable sales growth and performance alignment. 

“Grit” Drives Sales Development Success

Caren Baruch-Feldman defines grit it like this, 

Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals…

It is the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. This kind of passion is not about intense emotions or infatuation

(Baruch-Feldman 2017)

Grit in Sales Development

When a sales development representative begins their day, it’s common to have this pre-existing fear in speaking to the “Susan” or “Scott” you don’t know. This fear can be overwhelming. But grit in sales development, is whats going to keep an SDR motivated to move forward.

SDR’s should be open to implementing goal-tracking and performance applications like Hoopla, which is an employee recognition and engagement platform that’s designed to motivate and optimize peak performance through KPI tailored programs and align with your specific goals.

To accelerate persistent conversation rates, it might be ideal to consider these data first software solutions for sales team I’ve listed below;

At LeadJen, we utilize the latest technology in sales development to maximize the amount of touches, conversation ratios and set appointments to fill any sales pipeline.

These tools effectively help our sales development representatives generate more opportunities, so sales reps can focus more on closing.

Sales Development Reps That Listen

Communication skills in the sales development role is about asking thought-provoking questions and then providing some sort of value to tie down the benefits of what you’re offering. But first, you need to listen.

A great sales development representative should demonstrate that they are not only an active listener, but a reflective listener as well. The two are quite comparable in meaning.

In a world of distractions, especially, with smart devices and flooding advertisements everywhere we go, excellent listening skills are going to be critical to creating relationships and establishing respect and trust.

Active Listening

This type of listening demands the full attention from the one speaking through body language, eye contact, and to ensure the speaker feels heard and appreciated. These listener’s give their undivided attention while the speaker is talking. They will state their feelings back once the speaker is finished with their message to ensure that the message was heard and delivered correctly.

Reflective Listening

In reflective listening, the listener pays more attention to the content, feelings, and meaning behind the message of the speaker. They reflect back to the speaker what key items were expressed that could uncover more insight. The objective with reflective listening to become a mirror reflection of the speaker, helping them realize and discover new things about themselves.

During the hiring process, you should be able to identify within seconds of an interview who obtains active and reflective listening skills. Take note and see if the candidate interrupts when you answer their questions. If they do, it can be a great indicator that they’ll probably do this to your prospects as well.

Sales Development Requires Time Management

The sales development representative should have a strategy in place to minimize administrative work. As this helps free up time to maximize productivity during the prospecting process. They are innovative, pivot quickly, and they don’t multi-task.

They are Innovative 

There are many tools that sales teams can utilize to automate these tasks. Rather than fighting back and forth on a date that fits both schedules, try utilizing Zoom’s Go-To-Meeting link that can be generated and then inserted at the end of your signature or in the body of your outbound email invitation to streamline the appointment setting process. End users and prospects will be able to click to join the meeting from smart device, computer, and have the option to dial into the meeting if needed.

They Pivot Quickly

Today’s sales development reps are absolutely going to deal with cancellations. So, it’s important to understand when to pivot and keep your mind in that current state of preparing for a demo even when they cancel at the last minute. Why? You must be thinking.

Because now, a sales “closer” can utilize this time to glance at their calendar and be prepared for the next call.

On the other hand, your “setter” should be following up accordingly so your “closer” can focus on their next tasks and prepare themselves for their next opportunity to close. This helps with speed, efficiency, and pivoting quickly to get them back on the books while preparing for your next priorities for the day.

Check out the benefits of outsourcing SDR services to scale your ability to pivot quickly here.

They Don’t Multi-Task

Sales development representatives who are efficient are usually aware that multi-tasking doesn’t exist. They know to complete each task, one at a time, to reduce hand-made error. Generating a fluid workflow throughout their day, allowing them to clearly focus.

Accountable Sales Development Reps

Finally, a sales development representative should have characteristics that demonstrate accountability.

They Take Ownership

It’s more than just shouting out “Be more Accountable” to your sales development rep. Sure, they will want to take “accountability” more. But, they also must review goals, metrics, and be devoted to meet weekly expectations.

They Align

Sales development representatives should have the ability to align with the companies goals. Providing transparency, and feedback to others and encouraging peers to perform and engage. They are eager to learn more and strive for out-of the-box solutions.

Are you ready to outsource your SDR/BDR tasks?

 Learn how we can help.


Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (New York: Scribner, 2016).