Sales Development Representative (SDR): Definition and SDR-as-a-Service

Maddy Martin
|
2023-02-21

If you want to boost sales and increase revenue, SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) play a vital role. A team of SDRs will help handle various sales-related tasks, from outbound calling and outreach campaigns to lead generation and nurturing.

Thanks to the digital global economy, more companies are outsourcing to remote teams that can do the same work as employees, but at a fraction of the cost and often with more expertise and experience. Outbound sales outsourcing is also referred to as SDR-as-a-Service, which essentially means you’re using outsourced sales reps to support your business. 

In this post, we'll cover all you need to know about SDR sales, including what SDR-as-a-Service is and how it can benefit the growth and success of your business. 

What does a sales development representative do? 

SDR sales, or Sales Development Representatives, is a team that focuses on lead nurturing. They find quality leads, nurture them through the sales funnel, and then pass them along to an account executive who will close the deal.

To generate qualified leads, SDRs should have expert knowledge of your industry, sales strategy and processes, and offerings. Once they find qualified leads, their job is to initiate the first contact and lead them through the initial phases of the sales pipeline using nurturing techniques

For example, if a lead downloaded an eBook, an SDR would reach out to them and begin the nurturing process. This could look like booking appointments, scheduling sales demos, emailing marketing material, performing lead follow-ups, and other services to ensure leads are moving through the sales process.

In a nutshell, SDRs do the preliminary work so account executives (AE) can approach qualified leads with a goal to close the deal. 

BDR vs. SDR

While sales development representatives (SDRs) fill the sales funnel with inbound leads or warm leads, business development representatives (BDRs) concentrate on producing outbound leads.

SDRs work with contacts who are already familiar with your business or product. For example, SDRs work with warm leads who may have reached out to you via form fill or live chat

BDRs, on the other hand, research and compile a list of contacts to reach out to within a fresh industry or market — making the leads they deal with cold rather than warm. This would lead to cold calling or cold emailing, for example. 

The contacts of BDRs are located further up the sales funnel than those of SDRs, which makes their task a bit more challenging. However, there is still some overlap between the roles of BDRs and SDRs because they both need to book appointments or sales demos and pass the information to AEs.

AE vs. SDR

Account Executives (AEs) are in charge of the later stages of the sales funnel, such as closing deals and managing customer relationships, whereas BDRs and SDRs concentrate on prospecting, qualifying, and nurturing leads.

AEs take on the leads that BDRs and SDRs generated and work to further nurture them through the sales funnel to the closing stages, which include negotiating and finalizing deals. In order to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty and to foster strong customer relationships, they also strive to ensure brand loyalty.

SDR vs. AE Duties

What is SDR as-a-Service?

SDR-as-a-Service is exactly what it sounds like: outsourcing Sales Development Representatives who can handle lead generation, qualifying, and nurturing, so your sales team can focus on what they do best — closing deals. 

Companies are popping up all over the place that offer various types of outsourced sales support, taking all of the tedious work off of your hands for good. This is appealing to companies for several reasons, but cost is the primary factor. 

Do you have the time, money, and means to hire a full salesforce? Do you need to? These are questions you need to ask yourself and you’ll likely find that going the SDR-as-a-Service route could be just what you need. 

The benefits of SDR-as-a-service

With SDR-as-a-Service, you can outsource to a third-party team of dedicated SDRs that act as the face of your company for a fraction of what it would cost you to hire even a single sales employee as part of your payroll. Of course, there are several other benefits to using this solution for your outbound sales needs. 

4 Benefits of SDR-as-a-Service

Cut your lead nurturing budget drastically

Lead nurturing can become costly for your business over time. That’s why it is advantageous to use any resources that you can to cut costs without cutting back on quality or the services you provide. 

When you outsource your outbound sales and outreach campaigns, you’ll free up more of your own resources and save a small fortune in the process. 

Even if you spend $5,000 a month on a third-party SDR team, you’re getting an entire team for less than the cost of a single SDR on your payroll (currently around $81K annually).

When you add that to the fact that you’re getting so much for your money and that you’ll be able to scale faster and grow more quickly than ever before, it all adds up to a great idea for many small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) today. 

Saves more time and money than hiring in-house

Another perk with outsourcing SDRs is that you’ll have access to an entire team of sales reps or as many as you need. When you hire in-house, you probably have to hire one or two people at a time, and that means it will take longer for your business to grow. 

When you hire a team to manage everything, you won’t have to worry about training or hiring, or the costs associated with them. With outsourcing, it’s much more liquid. You can scale up or scale back, depending on your needs during that particular time of year or promotional period. It’s a much more flexible and risk averse solution. 

More tools and software at your disposal

Even the most experienced sales teams may struggle with managing and using SaaS platforms. There are so many solutions out there that it can be hard to narrow down what’s best for your team. 

And then, of course, you have to teach everyone how to use the tools. This can take a lot of time, money, and other resources. On the other hand, you could outsource and save a fortune while getting the exact services that you need from experienced sales reps. Outsourced teams can keep CRM notes and log activity just as you’d expect of your in-house SDRs, with the benefit of not having to onboard or train them on the software or tools.

SDR-as-a-Service solutions are designed to be customized and scaled quickly and easily, saving you the hassle of upgrading software platforms every time you grow. If you are looking for a better way to handle sales without tapping your own resources beyond their means, this could be the ideal solution. 

Can be used for market validation 

Entering a new market is challenging. It's easy to become buried in analysis and theory when there is a lack of information in a new market. Thankfully, SDRs can also be used for market validation to test whether or not your offerings will be accepted in a new market. 

You can use SDRs to investigate the market for your solution without the restrictions and expense of a broad-sweep marketing campaign or market research project. If executed properly, sales development outreach will enhance your messaging and your targeting while gathering real-time market data.

What to look for in an SDR-as-a-Service provider 

When you are going to outsource, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re getting. Consider the experience and quality of any service, as well as their qualifications, areas of expertise, size of team, and other factors. Ask what they currently do, how they have room to help your company, and what kind of experience they have. 

Think of this as an interview. It’s your chance to find the ideal people for the job, so you need to take advantage of that. Make sure you also ask what their average length of time between prospect outreach and getting a meeting is (e.g. speed-to-lead) because you’ll want to ensure they can keep pace with your company and its turnaround times. 

You will want to ask about the pricing structure, but not necessarily focused just on cost. Instead, you’ll want to be sure that the company is transparent about its pricing and services, and that they’re willing to work with you to find something that custom-fits your strategy and budget.

Partner with Smith.ai for outsourced SDR sales and more

If you’re ready to streamline your operations and let the pros handle your SDR sales calls, consider a partnership with the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai. Our dedicated team will be able to assist with all kinds of outbound sales and support, outreach campaigns, and even things like lead screening and intake, appointment scheduling, and more. 

We’ll even be there to answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week so you never miss a single opportunity. Plus, we can help you create a solid strategy that makes it easy for us to manage it all. Whether you just need some help with your outbound sales or you’re looking for a full-service outsourced solution for sales, communication, and more, we’ve got you covered. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do as your SDR-as-a-Service provider. You’ll also find us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 709-2987.

Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's VP of Marketing. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

Try Smith.ai now

Accelerate growth with live receptionists and AI.

Accelerate growth with live chat agents and AI

GEt Started NOWGEt Started NOW

sign up for our newsletter

Thank you!
Your submission has been received.
Yikes! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Categories

Learn More About Smith.ai

Virtual receptionists can help your business!

(We serve thousands of businesses daily, just like yours.)

Let's talk!

Please complete the form and we'll be in touch shortly.
14-day money-back guarantee
Live Agents 24/7
Bilingual