Home Business Insights & Advice Key qualities to look for when hiring a sales development representative

Key qualities to look for when hiring a sales development representative

by Sarah Dunsby
24th Mar 23 12:10 pm

As a software company, your sales development team is critical to your success. These professionals are responsible for identifying and qualifying leads, setting up appointments, and ultimately closing deals. Finding the right Sales Development Representative (SDR) is a challenging task that requires careful consideration of the candidate’s qualifications. In this blog, we’ll explore the key qualities to look for when hiring an SDR.

1. Communication skills

Effective communication skills are an essential quality to look for in an SDR. As the first point of contact between your company and potential customers, sales reps must be able to communicate your product’s value proposition clearly and effectively. This includes both verbal and written communication skills. They should be able to articulate the benefits of your product and address any objections the prospect may have. Good writing skills are also necessary, as much of their work may involve emailing or messaging prospects.

2. Tenacity and persistence

Being a salesperson can be an arduous task, requiring resilience and an unwavering determination. The top-performing sales people possess the traits of tenacity and persistence, enabling them to overcome rejections and setbacks while retaining their drive. These individuals exhibit a level of comfort with cold calling, following up with clients, and conducting email outreach, all with the objective of propelling potential customers through the sales funnel. Successful sales representatives understand that their work requires a never-give-up attitude and a thick skin to persevere through the highs and lows of the sales process. They keep pushing forward, learning from their failures, and adapting their approach to achieve their goals. Ultimately, the ability to maintain a relentless pursuit of success is what sets the best sales reps apart from the rest.

3. Tech savviness

A solid grasp of technology is critical in the software sales industry. SDRs must possess a fundamental knowledge of the software they are selling and be familiar with the technological landscape. They should also be proficient in using sales automation tools, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems, email automation software, and social selling platforms. Such technical competence is essential to enable effective interaction with potential customers and gain insights into their challenges. SDRs’ ability to identify prospects’ pain points and offer relevant solutions is directly related to their comfort with the software and sales automation tools. Therefore, a sound understanding of technology is crucial for sales reps to excel in the software sales industry.

4. Data-driven mindset

Specialist sales people rely heavily on data to drive their work. They need to be skilled in using data to make informed decisions and track their progress towards achieving targets. It is crucial for the ideal candidate to feel comfortable working with metrics such as conversion rates, sales cycle length, and deal sizes. This data-driven mindset will allow them to gauge their performance and continuously adjust their approach to meet or exceed their targets.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, having a data-driven mindset is essential for any sales professional. The ability to analyse data, identify trends and make data-backed decisions is critical to staying ahead of the competition. Sales reps who embrace a data-driven approach can effectively measure their success, optimise their strategies and increase their chances of achieving their targets. Therefore, having a data-driven mindset is a key attribute for any sales rep looking to succeed in their role.

5. Collaboration Skills

​​In a software sales organisation, the sales representative is an integral part of the team and does not work in isolation. To ensure a smooth and successful customer experience, the SDR collaborates closely with the marketing, customer success, and other sales teams. It is, therefore, essential for the candidate to possess excellent collaboration skills and be comfortable working with cross-functional teams. Effective communication, the ability to work collaboratively and to build strong relationships with other stakeholders in the sales process are critical competencies required for this role.

Successful collaboration requires the ability to listen actively, provide constructive feedback, and communicate ideas and information effectively. The candidate must also be able to work closely with colleagues to resolve challenges and find innovative solutions to meet customer needs. A candidate with strong collaboration skills will not only enhance the overall team performance but also contribute significantly to achieving the company’s sales objectives.

6. Positive attitude

In the demanding field of sales, rejection and setbacks are common challenges faced by SDRs. To persevere in such an environment, maintaining a positive attitude is crucial for keeping motivated and focused on achieving success. When hiring a salesperson, it is important to look for candidates who possess an optimistic and upbeat outlook towards their work, and are passionate about their role. A can-do attitude and a willingness to learn are also vital traits for the ideal candidate, as they should always strive to improve their skills and knowledge. Overall, a positive mindset is a key characteristic that can help SDRs handle the pressures of the job and overcome any obstacles they may face.

7. Curiosity

Sales representatives require a fundamental quality of curiosity. This innate inquisitiveness drives them to seek out more knowledge about their prospects and the industries they work in. Through curiosity, SDRs can pose insightful questions, uncover possible challenges, and foster more robust connections with their prospects. The ability to ask the right questions and genuinely understand the prospect’s needs and wants is essential to success in sales. Without curiosity, SDRs may miss vital information, which could ultimately lead to missed opportunities. Therefore, it’s crucial for sales people to nurture their natural curiosity continually. By doing so, they can stay ahead of industry trends and develop a deep understanding of their prospects’ businesses. This helps build a foundation for long-term, successful business relationships.


In conclusion, hiring the right SDR for your software sales team requires careful consideration of their qualifications. The ideal candidate should possess strong communication skills, be tenacious and persistent, have technical proficiency, a data-driven mindset, excellent collaboration skills, a positive attitude, and natural curiosity. By hiring an SDR with these qualities, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful sales team that drives revenue growth for your organisation.

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