We asked you… What is the most essential skill for an SDR?

What separates the best SDRs from the crowd? We asked the Sales Confidence community! Here’s what you told us…

In the first of what may become a regular series of Sales Confidence articles, we asked the Sales Confidence community a question on LinkedIn.

What is the most important skill for an SDR to develop?

Here are the options…

· LinkedIn — Being able to identify prospects on LinkedIn and engage with them quickly and effectively is vital in today’s connected world

· Listening — Active listening is an essential SDR skill. How can you discover pain points and if you don’t listen to your prospects? Making prospects feel like you’re listening to them also puts them at ease

· Cold calling — Cold calling is the classic SDR skill. Great SDRs can get through, instantly build rapport and get their message across without sounding robotic

· Email writing — Can you craft an email that your prospect wants to actually open, then act upon? A great SDR needs to be a copywriter in disguise!

· Other — Maybe your choice for the most important SDR skill isn’t on this list. If so, what is it?

And the winner is…

I got an overwhelming response to this question on LinkedIn, with 126 votes and 26 comments.

Drum roll please. Here are the results:

· Listening — 85 votes

· LinkedIn — 16 votes

· Other — 12 votes

· Cold calling — 8 votes

· Email writing — 5 votes

Well, that’s a pretty clear result — no need for a recount there! Listening wins with 67% of the vote.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to cast their vote. It’s great to see people in our industry thinking deeply about what makes someone stand out.

Now, on to the comments section.

The ‘others’

So, what did those people who voted ‘other’ think are the skills that make a superhero SDR?

Let’s dive in! (If you were good enough to leave a comment, prepare for your possible moment of fame!)

I was thrilled to see some long-time friends of Sales Confidence weigh in with a comment.

Pat Traynor from Mixpanel said:

For a newbie, just behaviours (activity, grit, positivity, curiosity). Skills come later, but for an already successful SDR, then developing ‘conversational control’ gets my vote. Don’t sound like every other rehearsed SDR. Have a conversation about their business, not yours. By listening/summarising, control the conversation back to your goal of booking a discovery call or demo.

Ben Wright, the brilliant sales and strategy consultant, put it this way:

Curiosity and empathy combined with resilience and hard work ethic. You can put processes in place to ensure your SDRs (and all salespeople) are asking questions and asking the right sorts of questions, but curiosity is something I test for at recruitment stage as it’s much harder to teach someone who is innately incurious.

Thanks Pat and Ben, now let’s go a bit deeper. What else is here…

Dale Smile from Benify voted ‘listening’, but left us a comment to expand on his selection:

I think listening (2 ears 1 mouth for a reason!), but it’s always going to take time to be able to use listening effectively — if you don’t know the product well enough then cold calling and hard work is where you have to start, also two good skills to learn along the way.

I really enjoyed this from Addison DeVries from Pluralsight:

Resourcefulness. The ability to use whatever tool you have to make the most opportunities. Insight. To see what you’re doing isn’t working and quickly pivot to a strategy that will get you to your number.

So true. I also liked this short and sweet from Sanjeev Bhuhi from Headspace:

Compassion and appreciation

And this from Mike Conti at G2

Time management

Let’s give the final word to Costa Koizi, Cofounder at Growth Stream:

The most important skill for a successful SDR to develop is how to properly qualify a lead. IMO, qualification is the key.

Over to you

Thanks again to everyone who voted or left a comment. It’s times like this that I love the Sales Confidence community even more than usual!

I’ll ask another one of these LinkedIn questions soon, so keep your eyes glued to your feed. Make sure you vote. Plus, if you leave a comment, maybe you’ll be featured in our next article and fame will be yours!

If you would like to share with us any more essential SDR skills, please feel free to leave a comment below.