A successful Sales Development Rep serves as the link between marketing and sales in a Business to Business company. Their job is to solely focus on generating qualified leads that are interested in the companies solution through the use of outbound calling, emailing, and social connections. The qualified leads that they generate are then passed onto a more senior sales person called an Account Executive whose sole responsibility is to close the deal. This process in which the sales cycle is split into two different roles is a relatively new trend that has become the norm for many organizations.
The first job of the Sales Development Rep is to do research and identify companies that would be an ideal fit for their solution. They then organize these companies along with their associated contacts using a customer relationship management (CRM) software program. The way Sales Development Reps go about using calls, emails, and social connections to generate qualified leads is by educating their prospects with new insights into how their solution can solve their problems. This requires the Sales Development Rep to have a very good understanding of the industry, company solution, and their prospects' challenges.
This career requires people to be productive throughout the entire day to generate a sufficient amount of qualified leads to meet their quota. The majority of their time will be spent on the phone making calls or sending out messages through email / LinkedIn. The type of person that would be a good fit for this role must enjoy talking to new people while still being able to educate others by thinking differently. This career has become very in-demand and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Traditionally Getting Through the Door
Sales Development Reps often find their way into this profession after discovering an interest in sales by working in other customer-facing roles. The majority of people working in this role will normally hold a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, or liberal arts. Companies like to see people who have previous experience in an inside sales or call center role doing outbound calling or emailing. This helps show employers you are comfortable selling to people on the phone and have a genuine interest in getting into B2B sales.
Companies often hire people directly after they graduate college or after holding their first full-time sales job. If you have any previous history of exceeding a sales quota that is also a big plus. People can normally get connected with these opportunities at college career fairs, job boards, or through a recruiter.
Typical qualities companies look for
Typical required education & experience
- Bachelor's degree
- Sales experience, preferably B2B inside sales
- Previous experience meeting sales quotas
Using an Internship to Get In the Door
If you don’t already have the required degree or experience, then you might find it difficult to land a sales development job. Don’t worry though. CourseCareers is helping you break that barrier by showing you how to self-educate and specialize in the role and then getting you connected with year-round sales development internships.
This works best for someone who doesn’t have a bachelor's degree or someone that has a bachelor's degree, but doesn’t have the necessary experience to land a sales development position.
The reason this works is because the Sales Development Role requires a very particular skill set & knowledge base with a strong emphasis on communication skills. This allows someone who specializes in this skill set & knowledge base to easily standout when compared to a generalist with a college degree. To be able to specialize in this role you need to scroll down and look at the top skills that companies require. If your soft skills are aligned with the requirements, then this could be a very good specialization for you. I recommend that you spend time improving these soft skills and learning all of the required hard skills. You can use the top resources below as a guide to do this or look at other people's profiles to see what resources they used. There is also is list of required knowledge that you need to have before applying to companies. Most of this knowledge will be gained by utilizing all of the top resources, but you can use Google to help learn particular details. You can also set up a free one on one session anytime by booking a meeting.
Applying For an Internship
As you educate yourself on this specialization we recommend that you continuously update your profile with the latest resources you're using. Since this specialization requires people to use LinkedIn, we suggest you create a great profile. You can reference our eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Starting your Sales Career Without a Degree”, to learn more about creating a great profile.
The following items must be done before applying to an internship. Remember to follow this as you only have one chance with the companies you apply to.
- You are confident you have the required skills
- You went through the list of required knowledge and know everything very well
- Your profile page is up to date with all utilized resources and it looks good
- You have created/updated your LinkedIn profile / resume
In the navigation bar under Internships > Sales Development, you will see a list of companies hiring for this specialization. If they are a partner company, then you will go through the application process which is a set of questions/essays along with your profile page/resume. We recommend you spend your time carefully completing this application as it will have the highest chance in getting you an interview.
If the company is not an active partner, then we provide you with their best contact information and an email template (which includes a link to your profile page) you can use to apply via email. You should take the time to learn about the company/industry and make the email as personal and relevant as possible. When you get an interview and if they don’t currently have an intern position open, you will probably need to pitch them on why they should hire an intern. You can reference our “For Employers” page and sell them on the benefits of you becoming an intern.
After you land your internship, then you will need to prove you are capable of becoming a successful Sales Development Rep during the ~3 months.
Step 1: You should work hard to assist the team by doing everything they tell you in the best possible manner you can. You should also ask your manager if there is anything else you can help with if you don't have anything on your plate.
Step 2: You will need to learn everything about the industry and your company's solution.
Step 3: Try to convince your manager to start letting you get on the phone or send emails. Prove that you are capable and can do a good job.
Step 4: Ask your boss to become a permanent Sales Development Rep after your internship is over.
Advance Your Career: How to become an Account Executive
Successful Sales Development Reps are well respected as they generate all the necessary leads that allows your company to generate revenue. Their role is absolutely essential, but the next step in your career path is normally to advance to an Account Executive. This advancement would make you in charge of taking leads generated by the Sales Development Team and closing them. This is normally done over a web demo, but it could be an outside sales role involving travel. It takes on average between 12-24 months before getting promoted to an Account Executive. During this time you will need to exceed your quota of qualified leads generated, learn everything about the industry/solution, and watch other successful Account Executives preform demos. This promotion could result in as much as twice your current pay.
Different Career Paths
There are many different paths a person can take after becoming a Sales Development Rep other than advancing to an Account Executive. There is normally a path to work into a managerial role such as a Sales Development Manager. Someone could transition to a marketing role in charge of developing leads through advertising or growth strategies. There is also customer services/success where you would be assisting customers with using your product and up selling them. Becoming a product manager is also a possibility as you would help your company spec out and develop features that your customers want. For many organizations the sales development role is the entry point into the company and leads to a wide variety of opportunities.
Life Long Learning
In this industry there is a need to always be learning. The learning never stops. You will need to continuously stay current with all the new trends around the industry your in. This can be done by reading blogs and talking with other professionals in the industry. You will need to also stay current with your competitors and know how their solution compares to yours so you can position yourself correctly. You will need to know how your buyer likes to buy and which communication channels are under served to give you a leg up. This can be done by asking your prospects questions to figure out which platforms they use, so you are always current.