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The SDR Role: 2020 vs 2030

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Chris Ritson

31 May 2024

3 mins

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Despite what you read on LinkedIn - the SDR role is NOT dead or dying.

By 2030 [maybe before], SDRs will be the single most important team in any org [they are already mission critical at A LOT of orgs].

What most don’t consider when they say these polarising statements is over the last few decades sales has shifted from mostly field-sales/in person sales to virtual/online sales.

When SaaS came around a couple of decades ago no-one had tech in place thus there was a huge need to ‘‘digitalise’’ their businesses with SaaS solutions.

Companies hired huge numbers of SDRs and AE’s to go and capture this demand.

Now, most companies have digitalised. They have tech stacks in place for all their departments and so it’s much harder for SDRs to just convert demand.

The pipeline-gen game has fundamentally switched and SDRs / AEs are being tasked with creating demand meaning they are moving up-funnel. This is traditionally where marketing operate but not anymore. This is SDR AND Marketing territory now.

So what does this all mean?

In short: less accounts to convert = more need to go and try to create accounts to convert.

The problem? SDRs and AE’s are NOT trained at all on this [because they aren’t marketeers].

The SDR role must therefore evolve [but it’ll take time].

In this newsletter I’m going outline a before an after for the evolution of the SDR role and show you why the survival and growth of orgs will depend on it.

Let’s dive in.

SDRs in 2020:
  • Inexperienced

  • Don’t really know the market

  • Don’t really know the customers

  • Don’t really know the problems they solve

  • Don’t really know the product they propose

  • Focus on volume led metrics - phone, email & DMing

  • They convert demand only and can’t create it

  • Only create pipeline at the Top of Funnel

  • Not a thought leader in the space

SDRs in 2030:
  • Senior, experienced members of staff [3-5+ years in sales, consulting, product…]

  • They know the market, product and customers deeply

  • Thought leader in the space and trusted by prospects

  • Prospect-led outreach [through signals, intent & triggers]

  • Run webinars, events and social media channels to engage prospects

  • Create demand and ALSO convert it through marketing abilities

  • Support entire funnel efforts through insights and content/market fit

I know that sounds scary at first glance but rest assured this is where the role is heading. Plus, we have 6 years [5.5 now] to adapt and get there.

So what is the logical next step? Evolution takes TIME. Let’s start with 2025.

Here’s what I think it’ll look like for teams that win…

SDRs in 2025:
  • Mix of inexperienced and more experienced members of staff [0-3/4+ years in sales]

  • They know the market, product and customers well

  • They have begun learning the skill of thought leader in the space they sell to

  • They have adapted to ‘‘Prospect-Led Growth’’ [only contacting prospects with signals, intent & triggers]

  • They are learning to run webinars, events and social media channels to engage prospects

  • Evidence some teams can create demand [through ‘‘Prospect-Led Growth] and ALSO convert it

  • Start to impact the entire funnel through content activities

Your Action Step:

Firstly - do not freak out. This isn’t the death of the SDR its just an evolution and it’ll take time.

If humans can evolve from apes I’m confident SDRs can evolve to being mission critical to orgs.

But we should start as we mean to go on so you should begin by considering the skills you will need in the future to generate pipeline.

If I was you I’d focus in 2 core areas right now:

  • Gaining a deep knowledge of my customers & prospects problems so you can become a subject matter expert

  • Get involved more with marketing activities like webinars / events - these skills will be critical for the future of GTM teams success and if you possess those skills you future proof your career.

I’d love to know you’re thoughts on this newsletter. Did you agree with it?

See you next week.

Cheers, Chris

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.