Curious. Tenacious. Resilient. A certified people person. Keen on the latest sales strategies. An excellent communicator.

Maybe these traits describe you. Or, maybe these traits describe what you aspire to be—not just any sales development representative, but the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), the MVP, the Tom Brady of your sales department, the one who inspires awe and envy in your colleagues.

A sales development rep should have a diverse array of skills in their portfolio. But to be the GOAT, there are specific personalities and traits that can take your work as an SDR from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Whether you’re a sales development representative (SDR) interested in taking your career to the next level or a hiring manager looking for top-notch recruits, keep these traits in mind. Having an understanding of these traits combined with innovative sales tools will push your sales team to greatness.

Do you have what it takes to be the greatest SDR of all time?

Become the Goat

How Much Authenticity Are You Bringing to the Table?

There are two types of SDRs out there:

Those who believe in what they’re doing, are enthusiastic about what they’re selling, and who have bought into the process.

Those who haven’t.

Like your parents have always told you, “Just be yourself.” Your customers and prospects can almost instantly tell if you’re not being authentic. And when we say authentic, we mean to be real, genuine, truthful, honest, open, and sincere. 

This actually isn’t a new approach. This is how good SDRs have always closed business—by selling from a genuine place.

Unfortunately, the stereotype of the sleazy car salesman is still present in many people’s minds, and as the saying goes, “You can only shine a turd so much.” It’s still a turd.

If you don’t believe in the product or service that you’re selling, get out. We guarantee your numbers will reflect your beliefs. People know if you’re trying to hand them a turd. It stinks, and so do you as an SDR if you’re doing this.

And if you do believe in it, you’ve probably educated yourself enough on your buyer personas, their pain points, and how your product or service is the solution to that pain point to know how to enthusiastically persuade the person you’re talking to become a customer. 

Head of Sales at People Linx, Alex Turner, said, “For me, it starts and ends with PASSION. I have been very fortunate through this journey to work with so many awesome [SDRs], and the one constant through each has been a deep passion for what they do. When passion comes into their voice and they start getting charged up telling me about it, that is the moment I know I want them on my team. Conversely, if they can’t sell you on something they love, how can they sell a prospect on your offering?”

According to the Harvard Business Review:

  • 40% of people prefer a salesperson who listens, understands, and matches their solution to solve a specific problem.
  • 30% prefer a salesperson who shows interest in taking care of the customer’s long-term needs.
  • 30% prefer a salesperson who brings to light a solution the customer hasn’t previously considered.

100% require their SDR to be authentic.

It’s Not the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. One SDR Style Does Not Fit All.

Ok, we’ve established your authenticity. You truly believe that what you’re selling is the answer to your customers’ and future customers’ problems.

Now, it’s time to expand your book of business, except one size does not fit all here. Different personalities and strategies resonate with potential customers differently depending on the industry and the product or service being offered.

First, what exactly does an SDR do?

An SDR completes the initial outreach, prospecting, and qualification of leads that come in from marketing efforts and cold outreach. Their goal is to move as many qualified leads through the sales funnel as possible.

An efficient SDR not only prospects potential customers and nurtures leads, but they’re the gatekeeper who determines if the lead fits the ideal customer profile of their sales team.

SDRs mainly connect with leads through one-to-one touchpoints like sales sequence emails, LinkedIn messages, or cold calling. They’re a vital part of getting a company’s foot in the door when it comes to selling a product or service. Their efforts can set the tone for the rest of the potential customer’s interactions with the sales team.

A good SDR can increase the chance of a sale by 56% if they reach out to the potential customer to discuss a solution to an existing problem.

Second, what SDR personalities mesh best with potential customers?

An SDR’s success is determined simply by its ability to move leads through the sales pipeline. That’s it! That’s all there is to it… Right? 


By utilizing certain traits, a good SDR understands that they can yield even more success for their sales team and help increase the close rate, benefitting the bottom line.

Different Fits for Different Industries

It’s common knowledge that an SDR should be well informed, and have a decent understanding of their brand’s product offerings and buyer personas in order to effectively communicate with leads. But that’s not good enough for you, because you’re not just any sales development representative. You want to be a sales guru… an SDR hipster… the GOAT.

To stand out as an SDR in the manufacturing and healthcare industry, decision-makers in this niche are looking to do business with a salesperson who is more professional, knowing their product inside and out. According to the Harvard Business Review, this is more important than them having a friendly personality or charisma in the way they pitch their product.

This differs from the media and fashion industry which prefer doing business with a more charismatic salesperson, even if that person has a lack of knowledge about the service they provide.

What was the top selection of customers from the majority of industries though? Dealing with a salesperson who is friendly and has a proficient knowledge of their product. They don’t need to know the answer to every question, but they do need to have the drive to find them as well as a personality that is “likable”.

Top 5 Traits for Successful SDRs

However, to truly be successful, is being “likable” all there is to it? That might keep the potential customer on the phone with you longer, but it’s still not significant enough to consistently lend to the overall sales team increasing their closing rates.

Top 5 Traits for Successful SDRs

After reviewing blog posts, articles, and social posts of top sales and marketing professionals, the five traits of successful SDRs are:

  1. Willing to fail. The best SDRs are the ones who see failure as a win. Each “no” can be a lesson learned on how to improve sales and communication tactics. And let’s face it, SDRs will hear more No’s than Yes’s. Top-performing SDRs set higher internal quotas than the one set for the manager and they are tenacious when it comes to mixing up their strategies to get the results that are needed.
  2. Curious. Because SDRs are heading the top of the sales funnel, it can be difficult for them to quickly gain a full understanding of the processes and topics within the rest of the sales cycle. The best SDRs proactively ask questions to make sure that when they are talking to a prospective customer, they have the knowledge to position the products they are selling against competitors. In addition, an SDR with a personality who isn’t afraid to explore has more than likely gathered unique experiences that can be used to relate to a wider group of potential customers.
  3. Active Listeners. Salespeople should love to talk; it’s their job. However, they should also be great at active listening. Many times, SDRs follow a script when talking to a prospective customer and forget the person on the other line is, well, a person. High-performing SDRs shouldn’t follow a word-for-word script. They should truly listen to their leads’ needs and make sure the product or service they are selling meets those needs. They’ll also be better able to have educated and valid responses to any objections the potential customer may have.
  4. Empathetic and personable. We covered this a bit above. Empathy and the ability to connect with others are also cited by experts as vital traits of successful sales development representatives. Whether you’re prospecting a B2B customer or moving a lead through the pipeline, you’re connecting with another human. When an SDR is empathetic, potential buyers are more likely to trust the SDR and, ultimately, your company. When a customer has compared all other characteristics and value propositions, trust is left as the remaining deciding factor in a sale.
  5. Coachable. Sales development representatives should be customer-obsessed, generating viable leads for the sales pipeline. While this role is important, it isn’t a senior management position. Sales enablement strategies and sales goals constantly shift, meaning SDRs should be able to accept and act on feedback as their position may have less knowledge of the company, pipeline, and processes than others higher up in the sales chain.

How To Take an SDR from Good to the GOAT

Embodying these traits is essential to being the GOAT. Imagine Wolf on Wallstreet (but in a WAYYY more ethical way). However, ensure you’re embodying these traits in the right sales environment that is right for your personality and passions.

Don’t make me go into the turd analogy again.

At the end of the day, an SDR could follow the standard sales workflow and they might see some success. But a bossass SDR won’t settle for standard. They’ll keep pushing for more knowledge about the industry, company, product they’re selling, and sale cycles.

By harnessing these skills, you can become a top-notch sales development representative. 

Yet even if an SDR possesses all these skills, there’s always room to grow! (Remember what I said about a certain coachability characteristic?) 

While certain traits are essential to becoming a good SDR, having the right sales technology can boost your productivity and elevate you to greatness—truly the GOAT.

With RocketReach, SDRs can generate more viable sales leads to empower their workflow. RocketReach provides sales development representatives with trusted contact databases to support efficient and effective lead prospecting. Experience what a free trial of RocketReach can do for you.

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