Every account executive, in a corner office with a prime parking spot, starts somewhere. And in many sales departments, that starting place is as a sales development representative (SDR). It might not be as glamorous as those salespeople in the movies, but moving leads through the pipeline is an integral part of a great sales team.

Think of it like carrying the baton to the anchor runner: your dedication, speed and hard work mean that the whole team can carry the lead across the sales finish line. But what exactly does that dedication, speed and hard work entail?

In this post, let’s look at a few essential practices every SDR – whether novice or seasoned – can employ to become the hero of their sales team.

Get to Know the Product

Selling something that you aren’t sold on? That’s never going to feel as natural as selling something you believe in, something you know intimately, and about which you can talk confidently. So do your research.

Go beyond the talking points you are given and really try to get to the heart of what makes your product or service unique, attractive and important. Not only will you be rewarded with a better sense of purpose (after all, you’re providing a service you believe in), but you also will feel more confident talking to prospects. And that confidence doesn’t go unnoticed!

Use a Sales Engagement Platform

Management loves a productive SDR, almost as much as they hate seeing leads fall through the cracks. To be as productive as possible, and ensure that no leads fall through the cracks, use a sales engagement platform.

Essentially, sales engagement software removes a lot of the guesswork: it reprioritizes leads for you based on prioritization criteria set by management, and automates your workflow, notifying you when to follow up with leads. Rather than pick leads on a hunch, and follow up whenever you remember to, check out Vanillasoft.com for more information about automating, and optimizing, your workflow.

Overcome the Cold-Call-Phobia

One of the most debilitating fears an SDR can have is cold-call-phobia, that queasy feeling every time you go to dial a number. Honestly, it is the sense of hesitation and procrastination before the call that breeds doubt; if you want to get over the fear, just automate the process. Have your sales engagement platform auto-dial the next lead. You never have to hover your fingers over the phone, second-guessing yourself.

Hone Your Listening Skills

Sometimes, you can engage a prospect more effectively by not talking. Before you eagerly steam through to the next question or talking point, pause and let the prospect formulate an answer. And then, actively listen. Active listening lets your prospect feel heard, it shifts the attention toward their needs, and it gives you valuable information.

Seek Out Guidance and Mentorship

Finally, it pays to be upfront with your ambitions; let it be known that you plan on working your way up to Account Executive and take every opportunity for mentorship you can get.

You can view your role as an SDR as a stepping-stone on your way to further sales success, but don’t diminish the sales development role in the process – while it may be not be closing, it has a crucial and substantial purpose in the overall success of your organization.