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An assumption that management often has about SDRs is that the role is simply filled by junior sales reps. Not so — not if it’s done right!

Today we are joined by Nissim Yves Ohayon, Director, Global Business Development at OCTOPAI, to talk about elevating the SDR role to its proper function.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Management’s assumptions about SDRs
  • What SDRs actually do for sales reps
  • Peer to peer learning strategies
  • Helping SDRs develop a career progression

Want to make SDR more than a stepping stone? Let’s dig in!


Assumptions and perceptions of SDR

SDR roles can be exciting. They’re usually not, but that’s because we think about them wrong. We label them “junior sales roles” or “stepping stones.” In fact, SDRs have a super important function in the sales process.

Nissim knows this because he’s spent a career in sales and enterprise sales, mostly around SaaS. He was one of the first to embrace the remote selling model in Israel. 

Only recently, however, did he assume an SDR leadership role. 

That career move might seem a little backwards. Normally, people go into SDR because they see it as the easiest pathway into sales.

That approach makes sense. An SDR position can be a great stepping stone, but it can be much, much more than that.


More than a stepping stone

Filling the top of the funnel is actually a really important job. 

Account executives work with what’s in the funnel. Without someone feeding in those new leads, they’ve got nothing. Often, however, account executives are disconnected from their lead sources.

Consequently, they need SDRs.

If you are an SDR, don’t rely on blind automation and walk away. Instead, manage a robust pool of leads in a meaningful way.


An SDR’s actual job description

Management’s Perception — SDRs are just junior sales reps who do the easy stuff.

Reality — Calling people who’ve inquired about your solution and attempting to get a meeting is anything but easy!

The first part of an SDR’s job description is to handle rejection well. If you want that role, grow rhino-thick skin. You’ll need it.

As an SDR, you’re going to be sitting at your desk, making call after call, and hearing no after no. You still have to smile.

At the same time, you can’t just throw stuff against the wall and hope something sticks. Don’t qualify every conceivable lead. That actually hurts the rep. Do the legwork, set reasonable standards, and qualify good quality meetings.

“I would prefer to get one of the few calls scheduled by the guy who does his homework very, very carefully,” Nissim said. “And I know that’s going to be a qualified call. I know that I’m going to invest that time into the meeting, and I’m going to do some research in advance.”

What if you’re not a traditional sales pro?



Conventional wisdom says salespeople are loud, energetic extraverts who consume every room they enter.

Nissim says he’s an introvert. 

Maybe introversion is more common in sales than most people think. If that’s you, Nassim recommends reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain, which offers perspective on how introverts contribute to society in a way that can change the world.


Peer-to-Peer learning

How can you foster peer-to-peer learning among SDRs when your team is working remotely?

Even if things open up more — as they have in Israel where Nassim lives — work-from-home is here to stay. It offers plenty of benefits, but it comes with drawbacks, too. Bouncing ideas off each other, listening to one another, and creating camaraderie from a shared world — these all get lost in this new environment.

You can solve this problem with a few key interventions:

  • Maximize communication technology. 
    • Nissim uses Teams. There’s also Slack, WhatsApp, and other tools. Whatever you choose, share information with each other on a regular basis.
  • Share a hack.
    • Every Monday morning, Nissim asks each member of his meeting to share a life hack they came up with. 
    • For example, “Here’s what I do when a customer says X.”
  • Listen to podcasts.
    • Lots of great sales material is out there. 
    • Don’t forget ebooks and audio books.

Developing an SDR career

Most people in SDR don’t want to move to accounting or customer success. They’re aiming for an account executive sales role. 

If that’s you… 

Here’s how Nissim suggests you manage your career to get what you want:

  1. Invest in yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you to sign up for a course. Just do it.
  2. Work more closely with marketing. You’ll start to understand the campaigns that produce the best leads.
  3. UP your game.

Always be a student. 



Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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