5 signs to help you hire the hire the right SDR

5 Signs to Help You Hire The Right SDR

“Sorry to do this, but today is my last day,” I heard one of my relatively new SDRs say.  He had just received an offer to be a customer success manager at another company for the same pay and fewer benefits.  I asked if this was the position that he ultimately wanted. He replied he didn’t ever really want to be in sales.  He always wanted to be a manager and hated the idea of his income being dependent on his performance. I was glad to have him choose this early on with our team but sad to need to backfill an employee.  So what could I have done better?  Probably hired for fit.  He clearly was not the right fit, and I may have been more zealous to hire someone to make calls than someone that actually fit the role.  Here are 5 Signs to Help You Hire The Right SDR

Intrinsic motivation

What you might call a “real go-getter” a phycologist might call Intrinsically Motivated.  Especially in today’s Covid/Work-From-Home environment, it is essential to hire the right SDR that is intrinsically motivated.  This can be challenging because intrinsically motivated people are hard to find. Making cold calls all day doesn’t appeal to many people intrinsically.  Trusting that an SDR will stay on task and continuously put out the right “inputs” will ensure the right outcomes. Of course, they need the juice behind their motivation (Grit), but having a self-motivated employee is almost always worth paying more for.  


Some of the best sales leaders I have ever worked with have always been fond of someone with a lot of grit.  Of course, to make sure you hire the right SDR, you need to find someone that possesses Grit.  What many people lack in skill, they make up through a combination of work ethic and perseverance; Grit.  I had a rep on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) many years ago, and things were not going the right way.  The KPIs were “off the charts”, but the performance was not there.  She quickly became one of my all-time best performers through a series of coaching sessions and helping her find a call-flow that worked well.  This Cinderella story could be repeated with any rep willing to learn and put their nose to the grindstone.  


Have you ever tried, only to have someone refuse to implement coaching that you know will elevate them personally or professionally?  I have, and it is super frustrating. Coachability is a great trait for every position, but you will know you are hiring the right SDR for the job if they can instantly apply coaching.  Many tools can aid coaching of an SDR and automate instant success (cough, cough, ABSTRAKT, cough), but many SDRs fall into old and comfortable habits without the ability to be coached.  One of my favorite things about hiring SDRs is that if you hire the right SDR, they can be molded and shaped into highly tuned quota-crushing sales machines.  

Wants a Path to a Sales Career

If you are reading this, you probably already know that the SDR position is one of the highest churn positions in the sales industry… not that any position in sales is super great for retention.  And that is understandable.  It’s a tough position that requires a lot of sacrifices and hard work.  But that said, when hiring the right SDR, they must want sales as a career.  Some of the best salespeople I know decided to start in their careers by becoming SDRs first.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that someone cannot “grow” into the position, but they certainly need to have some aspiration for promotion and career progression. Without determination to move further into a sales career, many SDRs will fail in the first week of prospecting. 

Handles Rejection Well

The first time I worked as a professional salesperson, it was for a company making door-to-door sales.  I bet you will never guess what happened on the first door I knocked?  That’s right, slammed in my face.  Nothing a grin and a quick shrug can’t solve for me personally, but not everyone is as capable when it comes to being rejected. 

Being rejected is hard. Something about it makes you feel unvalued by the person doing the rejection (sad truth, you probably are not valued by them).  So, you know you will hire the right SDR when they are ok with rejection.  When interviewing, accept them and see how they take it… that’s like giving them a peanut and not knowing their allergies!  But, you can poke and prod the issue by asking questions around how they handle rejection, times that they have been rejected, and times that they have been rejected and not overcome the obstacle.  

PS – if you liked this, you may also like 3 Steps to Building Your Ideal Sales Team


Tiffany Williams - SDR

Before joining Abstrakt, Tiffany had a very successful career as a Physical Therapist. As someone who selflessly looks to serve others, she is always looking to help her prospects by helping them understand how technology can enable their success.