Seriously: Who WANTS to Manage an SDR team?

June 4, 2019

You trudge into the office and that familiar smell of Juul vapor and ‘desperately trying to hit quota’ assaults your nose. Also, someone definitely burned their bagel in the toaster (again).

As you walk through the sea of Patagonia vests and AirPods to your desk you wonder to yourself, “is any of this worth it?” Nerf Footballs whiz past your ears and the rhythmic pounding of the office gong haunts your dreams. You hear a voice call out, “how was the weekend?” and the appropriate follow-up, “went out and slammed some beers with the boys.”

You take a looong sip of your coffee and let out a deep sigh. As you power up your computer to start checking email you notice everyone begin to crowd around a single desk, laughing at (what you assume is) a video of someone doing something dumb over the weekend. You don’t get paid enough for this.

You are an SDR Manager, and the bane of your existence are the 20-something-year-olds that litter your office.

Gritty novel intros aside, managing a sales team is difficult work, but managing a sales development team brings a new host of challenges. The biggest challenge of it all? The SDRs themselves. These millennial employees share gifs more than advice, and The Office quotes never stop. It’s like they really thought the Dunder Mifflin model was the best way to run a successful business; as if putting a stapler in gelatin was a good use of their time. They’re the reason most open SDR positions ask for at least a year of experience even though it is an entry-level role. SDRs are immature, inexperienced, and idealistic, and it gets in the way of everything you do to be successful.


Entry-level jobs are for entry-level employees, and what are most entry-level employees doing before entering the workforce? Going to college of course! Where we put a protective bubble (read: campus) around a collection of 18-21 year-olds whose only previous experience living away from home came in 3 week spurts every summer on the shores of Lake Whatever-you-call-it. And you’re telling me we’re supposed to hire these people straight out of college? Before you rebut keep in mind that immaturity comes in all shapes and sizes, none of which you want in your office. You’ve got your classic “potty humor” guy; always one misread situation from being accused of legitimate harassment. There’s Ms. “Doesn’t play well with others” – she specializes in creating unnecessary conflict when something doesn’t go her way. And of course let’s not forget about Silent Jim…or maybe you already have, how would you know if he doesn’t have the personal skills to interact with his colleagues? The list of unprepared college grad stereotypes could go on for miles, so why would you risk hiring any of them on the off chance you find a mature one? And even if you did you’d still have to deal with their incessant questions because you took a risk and hired someone who’s…


Don’t take it personally, but do you really have the infrastructure in place to train a green SDR on A) workplace dos and don’ts B) The SDR role and C) how to live up to the expectations you’re setting up for them? I didn’t think so. Especially if you’re a smaller company looking to build a sales development function from the ground up. Add this to the already overwhelming task of evaluating and adopting sales enablement tools, finding an SDR manager, and training all your new employees in the little time you have and you’ll quickly realize you created a monster of a project with no end in sight. Sure, in a vacuum an inexperienced SDR can be overcome, but when put into context, where are you going to find the time, money, and energy necessary to teach them everything they need to succeed?


This one’s for the Millennials (trust me, I am one). We all want to save the world, and while that’s a great mentality once we have the means to do so, it can create a strange mindset and ultimately impede a young SDR from reaching their full potential. Look at it this way: A “save the world mentality” takes a look at the big picture without noticing all the little steps that have to be taken along the way. For an SDR those little steps are all of their calls and emails that go unanswered. Not getting a response is a vital part of the SDR process, but it takes a toll, and if your SDR has their head in the clouds and isn’t focused on their immediate progress they aren’t going to take the time to put in the work necessary to become a great SDR.

“But I know I need a sales development function to compete as a company…you’re telling me it’s not worth it?”

No, it’s just not worth doing yourself. Today, every sales team leans heavily on enablement tools that would be way too cumbersome to build themselves. Sales development works the same way. At demandDrive we pride ourselves on being sales development experts. We’ve developed a comprehensive SDR training program to counteract the inexperience nearly all of our SDRs have when they join. Our Team Lead position facilitates a peer-to-peer support system where our SDRs develop leadership traits and workplace maturity to counteract the bad habits they picked up in college. Lastly, our open floor plan means that new SDRs are seated next to multiple Sr. SDRs who can consistently offer advice and make sure the newbies are putting in the work necessary for success. Sales development isn’t something to be taken lightly or half-assed. By trusting an expert that already has the infrastructure and experience to develop an A+ SDR you’re guaranteed to get the most out of your sales development function.

Oh, and if you want to bring your SDR in-house after we train them to be successful, they’re all yours.

Disclaimer: This blog is (mostly) satirical. To all you SDR Managers out there killing it day after day – we see you. And to the SDRs who don’t fit any of the above descriptions – we see you too!

alex ellison

Alex Ellison is the Marketing Communications Manager at demandDrive. He started his career as an SDR before discovering a passion for creating content and resources that drew him towards marketing. In his current role he primarily works behind the scenes drafting, editing, and developing a wide variety of marketing materials and educational resources. He is also currently enrolled at the University of Washington pursuing a Masters in Communication Leadership with a focus on Digital Media.
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