Live Training

Digital Courses

'ChatGPT + AI will replace SDRs'

My take on the argument

Chris Ritson

28 Jul 2023

3 mins

Share to:

Fun Fact: Next week we will launch the next cohort of our SDR Leader Bootcamp. 

Fun Fact 2: My SDR>AE Skills Bootcamp sold out in 2 weeks. 

If you missed my last newsletter it’ll be in your inbox with the subject line; ‘My 3-step framework for time management’.

Everyone has been talking about AI and ChatGPT for the last 12 months. 

With any major technological advance, there comes a tonne of unanswered questions for the sales community. 

The two most common: 

  • Will it replace salespeople? 

  • How do we use it to improve results? 

We saw this with automation and the rise of demand gen. Only this time it feels a bit bigger. 

It’s scary for people to think about but the truth is a lot of folks out there want to replace salespeople. 

They don’t want to have poor interactions with a salesperson who has commission breath every time they make a cold call or run a demo. 

They don’t want their inbox full of junk and they don’t want to be hounded after they’ve already said no. 

There is so much good in sales but these are major problems for buyers and whatever solves them stands to make a huge amount of money. 

And we all know, humans love fighting over money, power, and status. 

The question is can humans and AI work together harmoniously? And what will that mean for our beautiful SDR community? 

When I thought about it, I didn’t know the answers to these questions and I still don’t but I wanted to get a more unbiased view than the one I had so I spent 50+ hours: 

  • Doing an AI course 

  • Following AI know-it-alls 

  • Consuming AI newsletters 

  • Researching AI Sales Tech use cases 

  • Learning ChatGPTs uses and limitations 

Today, I’ll share my learnings (in 3 parts) so AI doesn’t feel like such a scary concept. 

Let’s dive in. 

Part 1: The Past 

In order to understand where we are going, we must look to the past. 

This sounds ridiculous but actually, the best indicators of what will happen are from similar moments in history. 

As I said, removing salespeople from the buying equation is not a new concept. It’s actually been happening since the start of commerce. 

Thousands of years ago, ‘Marketplaces’ were created so sellers could sell their goods in one organised place. This meant fewer ad-hoc selling interactions for buyers and the buyer could go to the exact stalls they wanted when they wanted.

This concept still holds true today with brick-and-mortar shops and the move to e-commerce stores. It’s all been created to remove salespeople from shop floors and drive efficiency/better buyer experiences. 

More recently we’ve seen the rise of demand gen via social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Again, all to try and reduce the need for Sales teams to go ‘Outbound’ and create better buyer experiences. 

10 years ago automation was labeled ‘the end of outbound’. But what have we seen this year? More teams are ‘going outbound’ because automation crippled their buying experience. 

So what does this tell us? It tells whatever we create to drive efficiency will likely have good intentions initially for the buying experience but will only create another problem to solve further down the line. 

The past (if you research it and see the trends) truly is the best predictor of the future. 

Part 2: The Present: 

The present is a dangerous place. Everyone has their opinion on AI and frankly, it’s often completely unfounded. 

My research here found lots of things but the most interesting for the SDR community were: 

1/ Buyer Experience is getting worse with Open AI. 

SDRs and AEs (prospectors) are not being taught or upskilled on how to use OpenAI for good. This is causing huge issues with buying experiences. 

2/ Some companies are righting the wrongs 

Salesloft, Outreach, Gong, and Clari are currently locked in a war for who will be the TOP sales tech company and rule them all. As part of that war, they are racing to include AI in their product features to enable SDRs and AEs. 

We’ve also seen other brilliant enablers pop up like Lavender, Orum etc. 

This is truly exciting but we can not fall into the same trap with OpenAI as we did with Automation and simply not train people on how to use it. 

Part 3 - The Future

AI and ChatGPTs capabilities will only accelerate. 

We are already seeing the first conversational AI tools come to the market and replicate inbound sales calls. 

This is pretty scary stuff when most people are saying ‘yes, but AI can’t do a sales call’. 

My guess is it will be able to soon, but that’s okay. 

I also guess that humans that buy our stuff will still want to have a level of human interaction (personal brands are a great example). 

We just don’t know what form that will be in yet (the scary bit). 

So how can you prepare yourself for when this happens? 

  1. Learn how to actually use OpenAI or teach your teams. 

  2. Embrace and master tools in your stack that already uses AI. 

  3. Start building a personal brand (buyers follow people, not companies). 

Quick Summary: 

The threat to our livelihoods is absolutely real if we are unable to adapt and continually improve as an SDR workforce and community. 

But let’s remember that threat has always been there and always will be. This was just a reality for street sellers thousands of years ago when markets started forming in villages.

It’s literally ‘the survival of the fittest’, just in a modern-day format. 

This week’s action step: 

Subscribe to an AI newsletter like ‘Superhuman’. It’ll help you get a broader view of the world of AI and how you can fit into it. 

Want to go a step further? Do an AI course on how to use OpenAI like ChatGPT better. 

Good luck!! 

P.S. If this is useful, feel free to share it with your team.

SDR Leader Spotlight:

Honored to introduce all 1400+ of you to Ben Smith, Global BDR Director @Reachdesk

His journey:

Ben didn’t go to university, instead, he chased his dreams and became a professional ice skater where he toured with Disney for 5 years. After moving to London he applied to 300+ BDR roles, got <5 interviews, and got no job offers because he didn’t have a degree (bonkers)! So he took a PR internship and quickly got promoted to an AE role. 

Unfulfilled, his best friend referred him to Reachdesk where he became their 1st commercial hire, 4 years ago. He smashed 10 months as an SDR then started closing some deals but decided SDR Leadership was where he wanted to go. Since then, he’s been promoted 3x from SDR Team Lead (hybrid role) to Senior SDR Manager and now runs a Global SDR org at a rapid growth Series B scale-up and is currently hiring (message him for deets). 

His top prospecting tips:
  • The better your account list, the better your results. Before you start prospecting, prepare. If you have access to it, use intent data to identify bad-fit accounts and don’t spend time on them. 

  • Look at where the opportunities you create drop out. It’ll give you great insight into who you shouldn’t be targeting. 

  • Make sure you are messaging people who aren’t buying right now but who you’ve started conversations with. Remember they go from; Busy > Curious > Interested. It’s your job to make them interested over long periods of time. 

His advice for new leaders:
  • Dedicate time to cross-functionally working with other departments. For example; Rev Ops and Marketing. Whiteboard your problems with them and use their expertise internally to pull levers and get better results. 

  • Focus a lot of time on relationships with your AE Leaders. This shows your SDRs how important their relationships with AEs need to be. This will move your team from being a ‘pipe gen’ team to a ‘revenue gen’ team. 

  • Career progression is more important than ever and that means more than promotions. Focus on creating opportunities and experiences for skill development with your reps. The job is to give them skills they’ll take with them where ever they go. 

Amazing growth journey and advice 🙂  

Thanks, Ben. 

PS. Follow Ben on LinkedIn, his journey is really special!

Our Sponsors:

No sponsors this week. 

So you know, our sponsors are either; 

  1. Companies advertising open roles for SDRs or SDR Leaders to this community to find talent. 

  2. Companies advertising their services (that are helpful for the SDR Community). 

So, if you’d like to advertise something useful for the SDR community then please email me at

PS. All ads are £250. 

Whenever you’re ready, here are 2 ways I can help you: 

Our September cohort goes on sale on August 1st. You can join our waitlist by emailing  

The last one SOLD OUT in 2 weeks. Our October cohort goes on sale in September. You can join our waitlist on the landing page.

The Pipeline Post

The Pipeline Post

The Pipeline Post

for free

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.