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During the last several years we have seen technology advance in ways we never would have thought possible. Some people have suggested that robots and automations will take over our jobs – for some that’s become a reality.

We are not so quick to believe that humans are so replaceable. There are so many skills that only human beings can provide. Perfecting those skills will ensure a person’s success and help them take their career to the next level.

At Ready Hire Academy we help our students acquire and develop these top 10 critical SDR skills in order to become successful in sales development.

1. Critical Thinking

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) usually have an ocean of information at their fingertips. Often much more information than they or their prospects will ever need. However, none of it is useful if SDRs can’t quickly process and analyze it to apply only what they need.

Being able to do that involves critical thinking. Critical thinking is a vital SDR skill. They don’t need to know everything, but they need to know how to find out everything. Critical thinking will allow SDRs to find out whatever they need to know.

2. Judgment and Complex Decision Making

It’s true that machines are able to analyze data at inhuman speeds and depths, but at the end of the day, the decisions regarding what to do with that information must be made by humans.

There will be times when an SDR must make the decision to end a prospecting endeavor. There may be several reasons for doing this: the timing may not be right for their company, the prospect might already be working with a competitor, or they may not need your product/service at the moment. No matter the reason, the SDR must maintain integrity and professionalism until the very end.

You never know what might happen down the road, so don’t burn bridges! Keeping a relationship with these contacts may help you later. Even if nothing ever comes of that relationship, don’t risk your company’s reputation just because the timing wasn’t right.

3. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Empathy

Emotional intelligence helps SDRs really understand the objections they face when speaking with prospects. Empathy allows SDRs to ‘walk a mile in the prospect’s shoes’ and understand their thoughts, problems, and requirements.

Emotional intelligence and empathy are skills that need to be genuine. If an SDR is faking these emotions, a prospect will be able to tell immediately and may end the call. Work hard on developing these skills from a real place.

4. Creativity

Think of the number of cold calls, emails, LinkedIn messages, and everything else a prospect receives every day. The best SDRs find a way to stand out from the crowd. Being creative is all about staying ahead; thinking outside the box to get noticed.

Keep an eye out for new creative tools and share that information with your managers! They may want you to test them out and share your insights before potentially having the whole team start using them.

5. Collaboration and Teamwork

Strong collaboration skills are a must for an SDR. They should be able to interact and work well with others and in teams, and help drive the organization forward collectively. At the end of the day, sales is a team sport – don’t be a diva.

6. Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal skills are traits you rely on when you interact and communicate with others. All SDRs should cultivate these skills.

Here are 7 interpersonal SDR Skills to be successful in your career:

  • Showing respect
  • Active listening
  • Displaying positive body language (even on Zoom)
  • Asking questions
  • Understanding online communication (emails, LinkedIn messaging, etc.)
  • Being open-minded
  • And giving useful feedback.

7. Adaptability and Flexibility

SDRs should be able to demonstrate that they can adapt to changing circumstances and environments and take on board new ideas and concepts. They should have the personal confidence to respond positively to change and new ways of working. SDRs should always be prepared to rise to the challenge of dealing with the unfamiliar and show they can cope with the new or unexpected.

8. Cultural Intelligence and Diversity

Companies are looking for SDRs that have a strong cultural intelligence and the ability to adapt to working with a vast array of colleagues and coworkers. Keep your mind open and develop sensitivity to other cultures, languages, religions, and political beliefs. Respect diversity when it comes to race, age, gender, and sexual orientation.

9. Ethical Awareness

In the workplace ethical awareness is very important because it allows people to focus on performing their jobs without the constant temptation of cutting corners or doing something unethical.

Being unwilling to betray one’s personal code of ethics for a quick reward, either to the individual or to the company he/she works for is incredibly important in sales. Build and strengthen your inner compass. Have the courage to step away from the crowd and do the right thing.

10. Leadership Skills

It might not seem like it at first, but strong leadership skills are important an important set of SDR skills. SDRs should work hard on developing strong leadership skills as these skills are critical for making good decisions and leading projects.

You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader. As a leader, it’s your job to bring out the best in every individual on your team which is something you can always do regardless of your title.


As an SDR, there will always be more data than you know what to do with. Understanding how to interpret that data and use it in a meaningful way will allow you to become an incredibly effective SDR.

Focus on mastering the 10 crucial SDR skills laid out above and you will find yourself meeting your KPIs month over month, earning promotions, and furthering your career.

To find out more about how to become a successful SDR visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn.

Professional Photo of Marielys

Marielys Rosado

Head of Training | Ready Hire

Marielys is a hands-on teacher who makes sure all her students are engaged, learning, and feeling confident in the material. She and her team of expert lecturers, work hard to bring the most up-to-date, industry-leading information to our classes.

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