Creative destruction hits the SDR role


Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter gets credit for popularizing the phrase “creative destruction.” The process describes how older innovations become obsolete and newer innovations replace old ones.

Last year, creative destruction came for the SDR role in a big way. Virtually every metric on the SDR dashboard was flashing red. Low connect rates. Fewer conversions. High cost. Lousy ROI.

Buffeted by Powerful Forces

The reasons the traditional SDR role imploded seem obvious in hindsight:

  • A small percentage of your ICP is ready to buy. According to Gartner, the number is three to four percent.
  • Buyers today complete up to 70% of their research process before contacting sales.
  • More and more software tools and service providers fight for your attention daily.
  • Automation technologies have wreaked havoc on buyer inboxes and voice mailboxes.
  • And more…

Leaders Face Tough Questions

Do I nix the SDR team to cut costs? Do I shift investment to another part of the business with more upside? Should I reimagine the role of SDR?

The Search for Greater Efficiency

One option is to move from traditional SDRs to so-called Account SDRs. For some this is a big step toward a more efficient sales model.

Account-based strategies focus on targeting high-value accounts rather than individual leads. The approach requires a more holistic understanding of the entire account. Traditional SDR roles fail in this respect.

A change like this requires a strategic shift in your sales approach. Now, having a deep understanding of your target accounts matters most. In this world, quality becomes more important than quantity.

We summarize the steps to take:

Define Your Strategy

Clearly define your account-based sales strategy and objectives. Determine which accounts you want to target and why they are strategic for your business.

Identify Target Accounts

Create a list of target accounts based on criteria such as revenue potential, industry, or strategic fit. This list is smaller than your previous lead pool.

Align Sales and Marketing

Ensure alignment between your sales and marketing teams. Collaborate on personalized marketing campaigns and content tailored to the target accounts.

Assess Your SDR Team

Some SDRs can make the switch. Others won’t or can’t. You should look for individuals with strong relationship-building skills and a desire to work with accounts long-term.

Account Mapping

Assign specific SDRs to each target account. They are responsible for understanding the account’s organization, key stakeholders, and pain points.

Training and Skill Development

Provide specialized training for your Account SDRs to enhance their account-based selling skills, including research, personalization, and crafting account-specific messaging.

Customized Outreach

Encourage Account SDRs to craft highly personalized and tailored outreach for their assigned accounts. This can include personalized emails, social engagement, and phone calls.

Collaboration with AEs

Foster strong collaboration between Account SDRs and Account Executives (AEs) who will ultimately manage these accounts. Communication and coordination are crucial.

Account-Based Tools

Equip your Account SDRs with account-based sales and marketing tools that help them gather intelligence, track engagement, and measure progress with their accounts.

Measure and Optimize

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your Account SDRs. Account penetration, engagement rates, and pipeline generation are examples.


By implementing these steps and fostering greater collaboration between your sales and marketing teams, you can increase the effectiveness of your account-based sales efforts and drive better results.

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