27 August 2022

The Timberseed Guide to SDR Roles

Guide to SDR Roles

If you’re looking to thrive in a varied and fast-paced career in sales, then a role as an SDR (or Sales Development Representative) might just be your perfect fit.

At Timberseed, we work with dynamic, self-assured, and forward-thinking candidates, helping them find exciting – and exclusive – openings within industry-leading teams and businesses across a number of sectors.

Our clients are innovative tech companies with software as a service (Saas), as well as principal executive search firms, all looking for raw talent – something we source in spades.

But before you discover your next challenge, let’s introduce you to graduate sales roles through the lens of an SDR position.

We’ll also cover what you can expect from our team of dedicated and experienced recruitment specialists, who are here to offer you specialised support and practical guidance, every step of the way.

From tailored career advice to those all-important job opportunities, we ensure our candidates have everything they need before starting their new position.

That’s the Timberseed touch.

What is an SDR?

We deal with every aspect of SaaS sales – from start to finish.

So, when it comes to placing talented candidates in a SaaS or sales-based career, a Sales Development Representative (SDR) is a valuable entry point.

Often seen as the ‘face’ of many organisations, the role of a Sales Development Representative is an integral part of many businesses’ sales processes.

As the name suggests, SDRs work as the initial contact between prospective clients and a technical product – aiming to build strong relationships with customers.

How do SDRs fit into business sales processes?

Within this role, you’ll be researching potential customers and collecting information on the best points of contact at targeted firms.

As an SDR, you are responsible for the first half of the sales cycle, laying the foundations for a successful sale or connection by ‘prospecting’.

After prospecting, you’ll use your excellent people-skills to reach out to customers. You may be required to use multiple channels in order to do this, utilising emails, phone calls, or company socials to tap into business opportunities.

SDRs will never initiate a conversation without doing a thorough investigation first.

You will have gathered substantial facts and reasoning to make sure they are a great potential fit for your company – as well as understanding your own sales pipeline, competition, and what is happening across the industry.

Candidates will use clear verbal communication skills and a wealth of research to facilitate worthwhile conversations. These discussions will usually take ideal customers through the first stages of your company’s sales process, before successfully passing them on to an Account Executive within the sales team.

Also known as a ‘closer’, these executives will go on to handle the final portion of the pre-sale.

Can I work remotely as an SDR?

Depending on where your company is based and their own policies, Sales Development Representatives can work remotely or on a hybrid basis.

Just make sure to check with your Timberseed recruiter if you have any questions or preferences.

What are the responsibilities of a Sales Development Representative?

In essence, SDRs act as the first port of call for potential leads and customers.

They are also expected to respond to inquiries regarding your organisation’s services or products quickly and efficiently, making them hugely important factors when it comes to business development.

You’ll likely handle communications through email, phone calls or social outreach – such as the company Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. This ensures that prospective customers are targeted from multiple sources, drawing attention to your brand and supplying leads with everything they’d need to know about your product.

The key performance indicators (KPIs) for this sales role are built on the qualified opportunities or sales qualified leads (SQLs) that are made. This may be part of a monthly quota or target.

As part of the day-to-day running of a business, you’ll be expected to do the following:

Establish solid connections and key business relationships

SDRs will be expected to use their negotiation skills to write a compelling sales call pitch or outline helpful questions to help discern qualifying leads.

You will also be tasked with setting up meetings between these potential clients with other members of the wider sales team or arranging appointments for pitch opportunities with other sales executives.

Research, prospect, and hone in on potential customers

As an effective SDR, you will be knowledgeable about the sales funnel that your employer uses, with a good understanding of how to apply it throughout the prospecting process.

You will also have taken the time to brush up on the surrounding industry, competition, as well as current topics and trends to craft a compelling case for your product or service – all while creating an excellent client experience. You’ll also be responsible for deciding which prospects might not be a good fit to help save your company precious time and resources.

Use technology to engage leads

An SDRs bread and butter is all about reaching out and converting potential leads into active customers.

You will also be expected to quickly follow up on prospect inquiries with relevant product information to meet their requirements, identifying their needs and suggesting services where appropriate.

You may be expected to use an array of technological channels to reach your prospect. These could include:

  • Emails and direct mail
  • Social media copy and optimised messaging
  • LinkedIn connections
  • Events
  • Phone calls and voicemails
  • Webinars and personalised video

As a successful SDR, you may have to employ a number of these methods until you find the ones that best represent your business and suit your ideal client base.

Timberseed Tip: will I have to cold call as well as prospect? 

It’s important to note that cold calling is used across many SDR roles, but it’s a far cry from the unsolicited phone calling that springs to mind for many of us. Instead, in this industry, ‘cold calling’ is used as a way to introduce businesses to those who are already open to this particular sales method.

Prior to making any calls, you’ll first be tasked with researching the best points of contact within your target market.

And as you’ll have already prospected and gathered all the relevant information before picking up the phone, the person answering will often have training to follow certain steps when it comes to product suggestions.


What are the fundamental skills needed for this sales career?  

At Timberseed, we look for candidates with raw talent.

It’s something that both recruiters and employers truly value, so having a business-focused mindset – powered by excellent communication and research skills – will take you far.

We’re pretty discerning when it comes to finding, selecting, and placing individuals on behalf of clients. So, when it comes to sourcing people for SDR and graduate sales development, we’re constantly on the lookout for candidates with exceptional listening skills, especially those who are able to think quickly on their feet to solve problems and meet customer requirements.

You’ll also have fantastic communication skills, both written and verbal, and enjoy working towards set goals within some of the most innovative industries.

At their core, SDRs are dynamic individuals. 

They go above and beyond when it comes to researching and cultivating conversations, working across a number of social channels to source information and efficiently deliver solutions.

They are also resilient people who won’t let an unsuccessful lead or disappointing interaction put a dampener on their work.

The SDR Skill Toolbox:

  • Natural communicators
    Whether it’s on paper, email, or by phone, SDRs are brilliant listeners and conversationalists. They are able to deftly answer questions and relay information with ease, holding the prospect’s interest while ensuring the call is relevant to its unique requirements.

SDRs are also able to strike the balance between keeping up an easy rapport with potential clients and explaining the effectiveness of their business’s products to customers.

  •  Possess prospecting prowess
    Traditionally, prospecting is the method used to source gold and other precious minerals. As an SDR, it’s all about dispensing, questioning, and collecting crucial details that make customers want to buy your product or service.

You don’t necessarily have to have any previous experience in customer-facing roles – as training and guidance will be provided – but there should be a focus on using language and signals that make clients engage with your sales messaging.


  • Organised and conscientious
    The world of SaaS sales and tech is fast paced for a reason.

So, any good SDR will be up to the challenge of delivering amazing results, even when time isn’t on their side. You’ll be able to use those precious minutes on a call or within an email chain to maximise the sales process, securing an impressive stream of income from a number of cultivated leads.

  • Industry knowledge

No matter what business you work in, good sales representatives will take pride in knowing as much as they can about the products they are pitching to clients.

You’ll be able to respond to any query or problem to the best of your ability, thanks to a stock of knowledge about the benefits, features, and stand-out qualities of your service. SDRs are also able to tailor this information to meet their customer’s requirements, ensuring that a connection is made.

Do I have to be qualified or have previous experience?

Although it is helpful to have some previous experience in a customer-facing role, your raw talents and skills are what we want to discover. When we’ve successfully placed a candidate, you will be given time to learn any additional skills and get to grips with the role during a top-class training program.

As a rule, most SaaS and tech-focused businesses have specialised processes that require their own inductions.

But don’t worry, as you’ll be guided through the process by an experienced sales team who will be on hand to help you throughout.

Here at Timberseed, we source outstanding individuals for high-quality clients – who are looking to help candidates grow and learn through continual development initiatives.

We work hard to source early career professionals who will thrive within a role that not only challenges – but nurtures – their existing skill set as they progress.

Is an SDR career lucrative? 

The average base salary for a sales development representative in the UK is £30,425 per year.

However, if you are successfully put forward for one of our exclusive entry-level graduate jobs, an SDR can earn a base salary of £30,000-£40,000 within the first year.

As with many sales roles, your motivation and dedication will also pay off, with candidates going on to earn further bonuses or commissions on top of their overall salary. Percentages may differ throughout the industry, but we often see individuals earn an additional quarter – or even half – of their salary back upon review, sometimes even more.

The average ‘OTE’ – or ‘on-target earnings’ – for Timberseed roles is £50k. This is the expected total pay that graduates can receive if they continue to perform well and meet internal targets.

Candidates who excel within the role and thrive as part of an experienced marketing team can go on to earn twice this amount by their second year.

This makes SDR roles some of the most sought after – and lucrative – when it comes to Saas and tech sales graduate jobs.

What support can I expect from Timberseed?  

At Timberseed, we help great companies hire great people.

It’s as simple as that.

But, we stand out from the crowd with a unique methodology, using an exclusive database to connect fantastic candidates with businesses that need quality skill sets.

First things first, we’re people people. Our team of Timberseeders has a proven track record of growing relationships between clients and candidates alike, which has given us a truly impressive success rate – if we say so ourselves.

The clients we source talent for are some of the most dynamic and forward-thinking in the technology industry, who are looking for brilliant individuals to help them innovate – and elevate – their sales process.

So, how do we do this?

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or have up to two years of experience, our team can open doors to some of the best opportunities available, matching your soft and hard skills to roles where you – and your personality – can truly shine.

The best way to do this is by having a chat.

After sending us your CV, our team will get in touch and arrange a friendly discussion. We’ll cover your goals, previous experience, qualifications, and more, before introducing you to a wide range of exciting roles – that often can’t be found anywhere else.

Your dedicated Timberseeder will also offer practical support that you can take with you to interviews and beyond, from CV workshopping to tailored advice – so you can land your dream graduate role.

Want to discover how we can grow your talent? Let’s start a conversation.


What industries does Timberseed specialise in for sourcing candidates?

Timberseed specialises in sourcing candidates for some of the most exciting industries, particularly focusing on SaaS (Software as a Service) and technology sectors.

Can candidates expect ongoing support after being placed in a role by Timberseed?

Yes, candidates can expect ongoing support from Timberseed even after being placed in a role. Timberseed offers practical support such as CV workshops and tailored advice to help candidates succeed in their new positions and beyond.

What criteria does Timberseed use to match candidates with roles?

Timberseed matches candidates with roles based on a combination of their soft and hard skills, as well as their personality fit for the position and company culture. Candidates undergo a thorough assessment process to ensure they are well-suited for the roles available.

Get in touch with the Timberseed team today.