SalesWorks Blog

What makes a great SDR manager?

The SDR manager is an extremely specialist role that brings considerable benefits to the sales team. Let’s find out more about what they do and how to succeed.

 

SDR

 

We talk a lot about what makes a good SDR, but not so much about what makes a great SDR manager. In this article, I want to redress that balance.

 

SDR managers play such an essential role in the sales team. As the name suggests, they manage the team of SDRs, but it is so much more than that. 

 

The SDR manager helps recruit, onboard and train SDRs. He or she will help them sell, coaching them through problems; they may also design and optimise the sales pitch. The SDR manager is the eyes and ears at the top of the sales funnel, making sure there are enough leads in the pipeline to make target. Perhaps most importantly, the SDR manager is the bridge between the SDRs and the VP of Sales, looking after this specialist group on a day-to-day basis, so the VP doesn’t have to.

Unsung heroes

 

I think in many ways, the SDR manager is the unsung hero of the sales team. The role is tough and nuanced. But, there tends to be less support available for it in the organisation. This is because there is probably only one (or a handful at best) person in the company that performs this role. 

 

Do you think a VP of Sales could provide the right coaching to an SDR manager if they haven’t been one themselves? It’s a challenge.

Top traits

At SalesWorks, we run a specific SDR leadership workshop, so we get to work with some of the best in the industry, including SDR managers from Cognism, Rapid7, Access, Funding Circle and Klaviyo. 

 

Here are the four top attributes that I see in successful SDR managers:

1 – Great SDR managers are coaches

A great SDR manager has done the SDR job themselves and has built up a strong track record. They have been in almost any situation you can name on a call with a prospect, and they know how to turn it around for the best outcome.

 

For the SDRs in their team, the manager is an excellent coach. Sure, they have the experience, but they also have the skills to help their SDRs discover the right answers for themselves.

2 – They’re part of the team

An effective SDR manager is not an armchair general. They lead from the front.

 

When I was an SDR manager, I’d be there on the last day of the quarter, picking up the phone and giving us that final push towards our target. 

I know that all the best SDR managers are happy to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in for their team. After all, they are personally invested in their team’s success.

3 – Expert communicators

SDR managers will mostly be looking after people who are young and new in their careers. This means they need a tonne of feedback, guidance and regular check-ins. 

 

The best SDR managers will take the time to get to know the people they manage, offering open and honest feedback in a way that motivates them to do better.

4 – Adaptable and analytical

Great SDR managers take an analytical approach to team management, with an eye on the data. They know the right style of leadership that is needed for each individual at that specific time. 

At SalesWorks, we talk a lot about Situational Leadership, and good SDR managers will understand this and practise it. They will know how to manage a D1 SDR (low competence, high commitment), through the D2 and D3 stage where their knowledge improves but their enthusiasm may wane, through to D4 when they are ready to move up a level.

Find out more from SalesWorks

So, next time you see your team’s SDR manager, give them a (virtual) high five. They deserve it!

On November 18th and 19th, SalesWorks is holding an open-enrolment workshop for SDR managers.

Designed for SDR leaders looking to develop their leadership skills and invest in their personal development, the workshop focuses on the following:

  • The strategic and people skills necessary to attract, motivate, and manage a high performing team
  • Situational leadership and coaching styles for attracting talent, motivating your team, and managing KPIs
  • How to become an effective SDR leader in an interactive and actionable workshop environment

To find out more and reserve your spot, visit our events page.