Building Confidence as an SDR

August 20, 2021

A Roadmap to Success

When you think about the best salespeople you know, there’s one trait that seems to crop up over and over again:


In the context of sales, people often think confidence is something reps just…have.

That they’re born with it. It’s innate. And it’s what makes them a good rep.

But we argue against that.

Confidence is something you can build over time. Through frameworks, community, and help from your manager, it’s one of the greatest weapons an SDR can possess.

The coolest part? It’s different for everyone.

The goal is to build up the experience and skills you need to become the definition of confidence that works for you – not for everyone else.

Let’s dive into some resources that will help you do just that.

Symposium Recap

Our Symposium this past month was all about how you can effectively build confidence as an SDR.

Jarad Spriggs, one of our panelists, summed it up pretty well:

“Confidence is all about trying something, recognizing where you went wrong, and fixing it for next time.” 

Everyone on our panel had their own definitions, experiences, and journies to building up the confidence they needed to become top reps.

And while no two SDRs are the same, they all hinted at a few key traits and mindsets to adopt:

🧠 Knowledge is comfort. The more you know about your product, the value it brings to your prospects, and (roughly) how it works, the better off you’ll be.

💡 Self-awareness is necessary. Without it, you won’t know what you need to improve and how to compound your skills into becoming a well-rounded rep.

😬 You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Comfort is the enemy of growth, and if you want to build confidence you’re going to have to grow. Seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true!

As an SDR, let this recap guide you toward understanding how you can start the process of building confidence now.

DialedIn: Smile

Learning how to build confidence isn’t easy or repeatable.

What works for your colleague might not work for you.

Every successful SDR will have a different story for how they developed the confidence they needed to achieve their goals.

Our VP of Client Success, Sarah Fotos, shared the secret to her process early on in her career: smile.

From her time doing door-to-door sales to her first cold-calling position, she found that slapping a smile on her face did wonders for her approach & tone.

Is that overly simple? Yes.

But sometimes a simple act like that can be the catalyst you need to start building up the skills required to reach your goals.

Better Call Saul

Speaking of catalysts, Saul Goodman has a 6 season TV show about his (and it’s realllly good if you haven’t watched it yet).

That’s right, Saul Goodman. Everyone’s favorite sleazy attorney from Albuquerque.

He can teach you a lot about the value of confidence and the importance of building it bit by bit.

In fact, if I could give him some advice, it would be to get into tech sales.

His confidence, brand-building, and ability to have a conversation with anyone really lends itself to the role.

And while he’ll never take my advice, you can still learn why his brand of confidence suits the SDR position.

Learn From Saul

Phil’s Take

Talking about building confidence is all well and good, but actually doing it is another thing. After all, talk is cheap.

We pulled Phil Gerard, one of our Business Development Managers, to talk about his process around building confidence.

As a former SDR, he has a treasure trove of tips, advice, and best practices to share with his team. And by taking that experience and creating a roadmap for his reps, he’s made the process of building confidence replicable.

Phil’s tips around how you can start building confidence as an SDR are solid building blocks for any rep. From there, the roadmap is wide open, and you can leverage those initial steps into a successful career.

Building Your Sales Development Puzzle

ELO isn’t just a 70’s English Rock Band or a rating system for calculating players’ skill levels.

It’s a simple framework you can adopt to piece together your own sales development “puzzle” and start building the confidence you need for success.




At its core, the framework rewards you for spending time on the front lines and learning as much as you can about your prospects, industry, and product.

From there, it’s all about tweaking your approach and optimizing it for next time.

How can SDRs and managers adopt the framework to build successful SDR functions?

Read The Instructions

Ditch Fake Referrals

Imposter syndrome rears its ugly head in many ways. And for SDRs, that feeling of “lesser than” can manifest in bad practices.

One of the most common is a referral…let’s call it a ‘shortcut.’‘

“I reached out to your boss, and they directed me to you as the best person to talk with…”

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that email, you perk up real quick. If your boss wants you to look at something, you probably should!

It’s an almost surefire way of netting a meeting or at least getting a response.

Unless of course…it’s not true.

Fake referrals might open the door, but that same door slams shut pretty quickly when the prospect realizes they’ve been tricked into taking a meeting. We’ve said it before – don’t trick, intrigue.

Opt In to eliminate fake referrals and focus on helping your prospects.

Let’s See Some Energy!

Hello. *beep boop* This is [SDR] calling from [company]. How is your day *beep* going? *boop*

Ever been on the receiving end of a cold call like that? 👆 Where the SDR sounds like Ben Stein pitching a solution to dry eyes?

It’s hard to stay active, excited, and enthused when you have to make 50+ cold calls in a day. But it makes a HUGE difference in the outcome of your conversations.

Whether you’re talking about the newest AI features to help upgrade legacy systems (I almost fell asleep typing that) OR how you can drastically improve your prospect’s jobs, you have to sound excited.

Otherwise, you get tuned out. And when you get tuned out, even the most revolutionary system in the world can sound boring.

Opt In to inject enthusiasm into your outreach and make your cold calling sessions “human-to-human” vs. “business-to-business.”

At the end of the day, confidence is a skill just like objection handling or account mapping. It’s something that can be improved upon throughout your tenure as an SDR. And it’s certainly not “innate” or something you’re “born with.”

As an SDR, it’s important to think about this early on in your career. The faster you can start stacking these building blocks, the better.

As a manager, building a roadmap for your reps early on will help them settle into the role faster and speed up their ramp period.

Sounds like a win-win to us!

What do you think? Drop us a line and continue the conversation.

aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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