When people hear the words “sales” or “salesperson“, there are likely several stereotypes that come to mind. These stereotypes include being pushy, commission-driven, and exaggerate their product to make people buy it. However, it is essential to counter and redefine these preconceived notions. As an SDR for a sales education software, I learned first-hand how our product to service and actually help people. Additionally, I took each experience in the sales process steps as an opportunity to grow my professional capabilities and skills.
Prior to accepting my current position, I knew that I was interested in sales but had preconceived notions about the sales process steps myself. I erroneously believed that an SDR would just read off a script and make back-to-back cold calls. However, I immediately realized that this position was different. Instead of blind repetition and monotony, the SDR team taught our cohort how the platform benefits disadvantaged populations that do not have access to much professional development and educational opportunities. Our team provided outsourced sales services to showcase how our product can help these communities.
I realized that nonprofit organizations, specifically educational and career development nonprofits, could use our program to help their students become stand-out candidates in a competitive applicant pool. Especially in our current economy, most applicants have comparable qualifications and are applying for limited job positions. Our software increases people’s chances of getting hired because it teaches them how to sell themselves to an employer by highlighting their qualifications and performing better in interviews. They are also given access to a network of recruiters and hiring managers. I realized that instead of forcing this program onto others, it was important to focus my efforts on organizations and people who needed these services.
What people do not tell you about being an SDR is how much rejection you face. I struggled with this at first because no one enjoys rejection. However, our SDR team instilled in us resilience and grit from the first day of training. They taught us how to take these experiences and use them to develop ourselves, whether that be changing our sales strategies or focusing on a different demographic. Additionally, I learned that each experience was a learning opportunity and a chance to grow professionally. Something you perceive as a “failure” is not actually a failure unless you give up. As long as you are persistent and learn from your mistakes, you will continue to improve and succeed.
My main takeaways from this SDR position are to never back down from a challenge and to remain resilient in the face of adversity. Before this position, I had never directly experienced the sales process steps, so there was definitely a learning curve. However, throughout this process, I have discovered many new sales strategies and techniques that I can use in my professional and personal life. My experience taught me that the path to success is rarely smooth, but the struggles become extraordinary opportunities to better yourself. The lessons that I learned during my time as an SDR will help me in all facets of life whether that be in academics, athletics, or future jobs and internships. They have not only allowed me to grow as a young professional but as a person as well.
My experience within an SDR team has been unique and different from any of my previous positions. This position helped me develop a variety of different sales strategies and taught me how to be sympathetic to people’s pain points. Furthermore, I was not only given the opportunity to help vulnerable communities, but I also learned valuable lessons while providing outsourced sales services. I am confident these lessons will take me far both personally and professionally in life.