8 Qualities a great SDR will embody in 2024

Cole Oslund
April 24, 2024

Sales development representatives (SDRs) have a tough job. They spend most of their day competing for leads, trying to stand out while hoping not to annoy the prospect. The best of them might land 12 qualified sales calls for their AEs a month.

SDRs are both the entry-level into the sales department and the core foundation. No inbound/outbound/prospecting, no new revenue. But not everyone is cut out for the work. Median annual turnover was 50% in 2022 according to SDR consulting firm, The Bridge Group. The SDRs who can crush quota quarter after quarter are cut from a different cloth.

Desanka Murdzeva has been a Senior SDR at Warmly since November 2023, after stints at MailShake, Next Sales, Acqualify and AnyConnect. Among her impressive social media following—including 8,428 LinkedIn followers—she is known as the Outbound Architect for her unbelievable omnichannel pipeline building. She was recently recognized as one of 60 SDR Leaders and SDRs to Learn From in 2023 by Demandbase. Here’s how she embodies the eight qualities of a next-generation top SDR.

1. Total # of Meetings Booked

In five years as an SDR, Desanka has booked over 1,000 qualified meetings. That’s consistently 200/year. The average monthly quota among B2B companies is 5.8 stage 1 converted, fully-qualified opportunities a month. Desanka has consistently brought in 3x that. Desanka was also applauded by her company’s founder for booking 11 meetings her first week at her new job at Warmly—while being onboarded. In December.

What you can learn from it: While companies typically build in time for SDRs to ramp up, the ones who succeed don’t wait to get after it.

2. She’s an omnichannel architect.

Desanka belongs to a new breed of sales development reps who are shaping the SDR landscape of the future. In 2024, when buyers are weary and sales tools abound, a great SDR cannot just be a blunt force cold-calling machine. A great SDR must be an architect of outbound motions across all the different channels, including email, phone, LinkedIn and social media. At whatever company she is working for, Desanka builds a scalable flywheel of messages to get the right message at the right time through the right channels.

What you can learn from it: Omnichannel architecture is absolutely a skill that can be trained. Every SDR in 2024 should be learning how to optimize revenue operations.

3. She has mastered signal-based prospecting.

If you’re reaching out to companies when they’re not in a position to buy, you're wasting your time. Desanka is the master of signal-based prospecting. Her workflow mass-scrapes the internet for clues that a prospect might be in-market. Maybe they changed jobs, engaged with marketing content, or laughed at something her firebrand CEO wrong on LinkedIn.

“We always have a reason why we’re reaching out. Every email we send and every call is with intent,” Desanka says.

She even looks for customers who are not in-market. “Once a week or every two weeks, I go into G2 and check the reviews for competitors and read about complaints they have about those products, and I’ll reach out if our product can solve those needs,” she says. “They are already using a competitor. I know they have the budget. I know they have the need.”

What you can learn from it: The best SDRs are always watching for signs a prospect is either in-market, might soon, or can be persuaded in that direction.

4. She’s embraced the limelight.

The best SDRs are no longer invisible workhorses hitting the phones. They are internet personalities with their own followings. As an SDR working remotely in the North American market from North Macedonia, Desanka has built a loyal following of over 8,000 on LinkedIn with pithy, relatable posts that regularly get between 60-100 reactions.

“People don't just want to read about your job and your company and your product. They want to see the real you as well,” Desanka says.

Her LinkedIn strategy isn’t just to repost, like many SDRs in her space will do. “I do posts related to the product, but I also post funny jokes and things that are relatable to sales and other SDRs. I don’t want to keep it too professional because everybody wants a human touch.”

What you can learn from it: You can stand out with honest, relatable content will help you connect better with peers and prospects.

5. She embodies the Gen X attention span.

SDRs in 2024 are competing not only with each other but an infinite cyberspace of content and distractions. Desanka is the queen of short punchy copy in emails and LinkedIn posts—perfect for a world of full inboxes and short attention spans. She runs her email copy through Lavender and consistently scores close to 100 in CEQ on the first attempt.

What you can learn from it: There is no shortage of tools to help you write snappier copy. 

6. She is unbelievably creative.

A good SDR has the framework of A/B testing. They’re always trying different approaches to figure out what is working. Desanka is relentlessly committed to trying out new approaches for reaching clients through personalized videos, personalized text messages, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Her varied approach matches the reality of the buyer landscape. You’re never going to reach your prospect sending the same rote emails as your competitors and pulling from the same contact databases. If there’s a prospect that you’re sure is a good fit but who won’t reply to you, a creative SDR might get in touch with somebody junior on the same team or in a different department who can then cross-introduce the SDR to the team.

Desanka ends every day by looking for new ways to prospect. “I’m always scrolling and searching for new ways to prospect and trying to engage with people that might be a potential fit,” she says. “For example, I’ve joined a Slack channel with like-minded sales leaders and sales people. When someone complains about a problem that can be solved with an autonomous sales orchestration platform, I can introduce myself and try to sell them Warmly.”

What you can learn from it: There is no framework or playbook that will work indefinitely. Smart SDRs are always testing out new strategies and methodologies for getting through to prospects.

7. She is mentally tough.

For some people, being an SDR is a stepping stone on their way to a different position. Desanka is powered by more than just ambition or competition, though she has both in spades. “In North Macedonia, the minimum paycheck here is $400 a month,” she says. “Coming from a really poor country, I feel like I have to be successful and get the things I want for myself,” she says.

That mental fortitude to do hard things helps Desanka get through the parts of the job that bog other SDRs down, like the constant rejection. “In sales, you just have to deal with it,” Desanka says. “If somebody says no, I don’t care at this point. I’m going to forget about you, and you’re going to forget about me two minutes after this call.”

What you can learn from it: Learn to embrace adversity. In building her LinkedIn following, Desanka has also encountered more than a few detractors. “It’s not just people who say no. There are people who are just going to disagree with you for no reason and leave rude comments. You just have to not care because people are going to be mean, and as [my CEO] likes to say, we need to have some enemies as well.”

8. She’s a natural leader.

Unlike most SDRs, Desanka doesn’t want to become an AE. Her idea of growth is being a leader in the SDR team. “I’ve never seen myself being an AE,” Desanka says. “When a colleague needs help, or when we hire a new employee, I really enjoy showing them the best ways to succeed.” She was upfront with her CEO from the get-go that her goal was to mentor and grow other SDRs to be successful—something most SDRs would not even think about until they have hit quota.

Another huge green flag for an early SDR leader is the ability to attract a following of talent. Within her first months as a senior SDR, she was able to bring in two other reps, reinforcing to leadership that they put her in the right position.

What you can learn from it: Instead of hoarding the secrets of how they get meetings, great SDRs regularly share and involve their teammates in the discussion in order to uplevel them.

What Makes a Good Sales Development Representative?

The best SDRs don’t just perform their job function—triage inbound, prospect, or cast outbound lines all day. A good SDR knows it’s a game of both quantity and quality. They increase quantity by finding prospects across LinkedIn, conferences, cold calling, email, and warm calling. They’re also optimizing quality by figuring out the best people to spend their effort and energy, what part of their outreach to personalize and where do you want to automate.

The best SDRs strike the right balance of automating as much of the rote process as possible, freeing uptime to focus on what humans are best at: emotion. They’re also leveraging tools to dig for intent, optimize their messaging, and reach prospects across channels in creative new ways.

Desanka embodies all the traits of the powerhouse SDR that will be scoring QCs into 2024 and beyond. Mark our words: Desanka will be one to watch. If you want to follow Desanka’s learnings and tips, head over to her LinkedIn and follow her content.