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7 Skills Every SDR Needs to Dominate in 2021

Despite wishing 2020 comes to an end, we still have over 150 days left before the new year. 


The COVID era hit the b2b sales world like a ton of bricks and we're all wondering how to recover. Organizations have resorted to remote work and SDRs have had to adapt to increase efficiency.

But the learning doesn’t stop here. SDR’s need to get used to this potential ‘new normal’ and work on skills that will make them more successful. Here are 7 Skills Every SDR Needs to Dominate for 2021.




The ability to be coached is among the most important skills a professional can have.


Constructive criticism is tough. It can sometimes feel like you have to unlearn everything. But as long as you're coachable and sales leaders see this, anything can be learned.


A coachable SDR isn't someone always saying yes. Coachability is the ability to learn from past mistakes. Current times have this skill being harder to measure but sales leaders are aware of who stepped up. 


Some organizations would hire younger SDR’s as they feel they're easier to coach. Though this might be true in some cases, it’s a dangerous assumption to make.

Coachability is being confident in your abilities but being open to learning others.




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If we didn’t know what each year would be like before, after 2020 we can be ready to expect anything.


No one can predict another global pandemic but we can improve our day-to-day. Start with little things and make a habit of them. Organize your workstation at home (keep it away from your bed) and set daily routines. Have these routines take place before you begin your shift and breaks between productivity.


It’s all about working smarter with your time to reach your daily goals. Organization is about setting daily, weekly and monthly goals and holding yourself accountable.


One of the coolest tools for this is Trello. It is a calendar on steroids and allows us to get things done.




Working from home has unfortunately made us hungrier but this isn’t the hunger I’m referring to.


Hunger in b2b sales for an SDR is the desire to become better, to close more sales, to make more money. This hunger will be the fuel that inspires you to become better every day.


Sales leaders want SDR's with personal goals that go along with business objectives. Both goals will keep you motivated and focused.

We know how difficult it can be to separate personal life from work, especially with all that’s going on. But staying focused, aiming at small goals at a time, are the motivation you need to stay hungry.




Coachability and relationship-building tends to go hand in hand as they show you how well a person gets along with their team.


You won’t see eye to eye with everyone and the uncertainty of present times have made us all irritable at some point. But this is a skill organizations hold in very high regard.


Relationship building at work is learning the ins and outs across various departments. It's also the best way to have you qualify for other roles if this is something you wish to pursue.


The skill is often confused with networking but this couldn't be further from the truth. Networking is doing things expecting something in return. Relationship building is balancing out giving and asking without expecting something in return.


Video prospecting


This isn’t a personality trait but a skill that seems to have permeated into the way prospecting is done.


Facebook is transitioning into all video and b2b sales has followed suit. SDR's are sending out short clips explaining product benefits.


These videos, usually under 2-minutes long, have become an effective way to prospect. They use real-time metrics and show prospective clients that they’ve done their research.


Video prospecting has done wonders for many of our reps and it only takes a few days to learn. For video prospecting you're going to need:

  • - Decent quality Webcam (1080p Full-HD)
  • - An Online Video Platform, we recommend checking out Vidyard

  • - Research the prospect and pain points 

  • - Create a script tailored to each prospect

  • - Confidence!

To those who prefer emails and calls, keep pushing, but also try video prospecting. Would you rather read a long email or watch a 60-second video? Check this sample video for instance. 



Thick Skin


Having thick skin is implicit with the SDR position as you have to be prepared for rejection.


It is acquired through experience and will be a skill required as the b2b sales world grows more competitive. 


As millennials and centennials take over the SDR positions, the baby boomer mentality comes to mind. Baby boomers have always highlighted newer generations' lack of backbone. They're accused of seeking instant gratification and having a me-first mentality.


Though we can’t convince our predecessors that this isn’t true, we can point out that sales has evolved. It has evolved to the point of not needing to work long hours to reach quotas. You can work smarter using modern tools for efficiency.


Rejection and long-term goals create thick skin. This continues to be the case for the salespeople in the trenches day after day.



Strong Follow-up Game


No matter what your preferred outreach technique is, follow-ups are pivotal.


We’ve seen SDR’s with the best improv skills, delivery, and closing tactics lose out on business due to poor follow-up game.


So whether you're cold calling or emailing here are a few follow-up tips that will help you stay on top:

  • - Reread skill #2

  • - Adopt manual note-taking. Studies have shown the benefits of handwriting vs typing for remembering.

  • - Always highlight one key feature from every phone call/email/social message. At the very least the gatekeeper's name or something mentioned on the call. Your prospects get dozens of calls and emails per day, make yours stand out.

  • - Schedule these follow-ups. Think of always waiting 3 days before calling someone back. A similar approach should be taken on with your follow ups.

Closing Tip


We also recommend SDR's stick close to marketing. Versatile reps with knowledge in both departments will be a huge asset to any organization. This doesn't mean you'll be changing careers, but it does mean learning the ins and outs of marketing. Here's more context on why working together will be extremely beneficial.


We don’t know what’s in store for us in 2021. In fact, we don’t even know what the last 5 months of this year is going to look like. But we do know these skills will have you prepared for anything.


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