How To Improve the Performance of Sales Reps (SDRs)?

Are you having a hard time converting prospects to customers? You are not alone!

Have you constantly been at a place where no matter how many cold emails you draft or how many calls you get on, your prospects simply are not converting?

Most Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) have experience and have to work on – 

  • Not having a healthy prospect-to-sales qualified lead (SQL) conversion ratio.
  • Long-hour calls
  • Sending bulk cold emails pitching a product/service
  • Consistent follow-ups
  • Generating sales-qualified leads on LinkedIn, and more.

SDR performance depends on metrics like the number of meeting schedules, number of calls done, number of leads converted, etc. But, most often SDRs are way behind sales quotas compared to the others.

Today, we dive deep into understanding various factors responsible for low SDR performance and discuss multiple strategies to help maximize an SDR’s efficiency.

Factors Influencing SDR Underperformance

It is essential for sales leaders to stay on top of their team’s targets and the target of individual sales reps to understand when a sales rep is underperforming or not meeting sales targets. Sales leaders need to be tracking team and individual KPIs daily.

The following are five reasons why an SDR might be underperforming-

Poor Quality Leads or Prospect List

Everybody is not your customer.

You can’t pitch your product or service to every random lead expressing interest. Checking if the leader intends to purchase your product is essential. Those leads with the buying intent and who have the financial means to invest in your product are likely to become customers and are known as sales-qualified leads. 

Pitching to random leads without qualifying them using standards like Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), buying intent, etc., leads to an unhealthy conversion ratio, severely affecting an SDR’s performance.

Tools like ProspectDaddy enable SDRs to build prospect lists based on their ICP and persona. The list contains the business emails, LinkedIn profiles, designation, company, last LinkedIn post, etc. SDRs could either download a CSV or add this list directly to the sales engagement campaign

Poor Time Management

Most SDRs struggle with time management.

Either they devote extra time to a lead that’s not sales-qualified or spend little time nurturing leads more likely to convert. Lack of time management often leads to underperformance.

Cold Emails Without Personalization

Your cold emails can make or break sales conversion.

Cold emailing is a powerful strategy for lead generation and pitching a product or service.

An SDR’s performance often dips because most of them write and send non-personalized emails which lack complete information about the product or service.

In their emails, SDRs often fail to address the prospect’s pain points, give vague information about the product, or do not address the person’s name in the emails (this is a major red flag!).

One thing that hampers SDR performance is adopting one targeting strategy for every audience. Nurturing the leads without personalization hinders the number of conversions possible. Many sales teams are ignorant of sales engagement platforms like which have detailed personalization features for sending cold emails.

Unaware of the Target Audience

An SDR wastes his/her time if they are unclear about whom to target.

For higher conversions, it is crucial for an SDR to understand the target audience and its pain points. SDRs fail at achieving targets and conversions when they need help understanding the target audience—for example, pitching a product or service without knowing the audience’s demography, needs, preferences, etc.

Your sales efforts are maximized when you address the audience’s pain points and engage with them, adhering to their preferences.

No Follow-Up

Generating and nurturing leads is half a step done. Following up is key.

When you engage with a lead via email and address the pain points, it is crucial to follow up with an email. It ascertains if the lead is still interested or not. Quickly following up with the prospects increases the chances of conversion, creating a sense of urgency for the lead.

SDR performance decreases when they don’t follow up with potential prospects. Sales engagement tools like allow SDRs to set up an unlimited number of follow-ups to their cold outreach sequences that auto-pause when a prospect replies.

Improve SDR Performance in these 8 ways

We have discussed five critical factors influencing SDR underperformance. Now, let’s deep dive into five strategies that can help improve the SDR’s performance:

1. Follow-Up Well

Getting better at sales calls is one part of improving the overall sales performance of the sales rep. The next task is to ensure the sales rep is following up well.

Often sales reps book calls, but the prospect does not show up. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that SDRs have their follow-up game strong. The SDRs must ensure that the prospect is well reminded of the meeting. Make the most of multiple channels to send a follow-up message to the prospect leaving no stone unturned. 

2. Analyse and Improve Sales Calls

One of the best ways to understand the reason behind the SDR’s underperformance is to listen to their sales pitch or discovery calls with clients.

A recorded call with the prospect can help uncover several blindspots that may go unnoticed. While you can listen to the entire conversation at once and conclude what area the SDR needs to improve, breaking the conversation down into several parts gives a deeper understanding of the conversation, making it easier for the SDR to figure out repetitive mistakes.

The most common method to break the conversation would be to segment the conversation in the following ways.

The Start: How the SDR starts a conversation tells a lot about how the conversation will progress. The first 15 seconds of a conversation should grab the prospect’s attention.

The Tone: The tone with which an SDR speaks with the client matters a lot. An SDR should sound friendly, approachable, and confident when speaking with a prospect.

The Pitch & Call Flow: Sometimes, an SDR might not probe or address the prospect’s pain points. On other occasions, they don’t know when to introduce their product features and speak about everything that doesn’t matter to the prospect. In that case, the sales rep needs to learn more about the product, its features, and the pain points it solves.

The Close: If an SDR carries the above three steps well, closing the client must naturally follow. However, if the call recording with the prospect reveals that the SDR tried too hard to close the deal, despite the call going well, you know where the problem lies.

Following are two quick fixes to help improve a sales rep’s performance when cold calling a prospect.

  • Mirror an existing SDR who is performing well
  • Have demo calls with sales managers

Finally, after the end of the call, send your prospect the meeting minutes right after the call so that your conversation stays fresh in their minds. Most importantly, book your next meeting on the call.

3. Run Tasks Immediately or Promptly

If you’ve booked a demo call of your product with a prospect you’ve just pitched, ensure the call is scheduled either on the same day or the next working day, this way, the information about the product and its features are fresh in the prospect’s mind  It’s also important to send out the synopsis of the call along with the meeting invite.

The sales rep can also send out an agenda of the meeting a day before the scheduled demo so that the sales rep’s name and company will remain fresh in the prospect’s mind. This would encourage them to attend the demo as well. 

If you’ve scheduled a call with the prospect, send them a reminder about the call via email and Google Calendar. Scheduling an email with your prospect via Google Calendar allows you to set meeting reminders before the call.

Finally, ensuring your lead is qualified before taking them onto the next stage of your funnel is essential. Sales reps should know whether the lead they spend most of their time on is worth pursuing.

4. Send Personalised Emails

When emailing decision-makers of an organization, it is essential to send personalized emails instead of generic ones. Personalizing does not only mean addressing prospects by name. You need to ensure that the content in the email is highly relevant to them.

The content you share in your email should be of practical value to your prospect. Many sales representatives make the mistake of only mentioning their product features while pitching to potential customers. It is crucial to discuss the challenges of the prospect’s industry and how your product’s features can help solve those challenges. offers a hyper-personalization feature to enhance email open and reply rates. Personalization of emails is crucial to avoid the risk of bouncing or being marked as spam. Personalized emails are particularly significant in a sales strategy as they can help Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) receive higher response rates from potential customers. also provides spintax, which would be helpful in sending unique email ids to the recipients. The use of spintax would reduce the probability of getting caught in the spam filter as each and every email going out would be unique.

5. Harness Multichannel Prospecting

Not all decision-makers enjoy responding to outreach emails.

To ensure your message doesn’t go unnoticed, it is always best to reach out to your prospects using multiple channels. Besides emails, social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent for contacting decision-makers. Using multiple channels allows you to avoid relying solely on emails for outreach.

Setting bite-sized multichannel outreach goals makes all the difference.

The best way to help an underperforming sales rep perform better is by setting small achievable goals for a day/week instead of pressuring them to complete too much instantly. This builds their confidence and allows them to achieve more in the long run.

Set daily achievable goals to make the most of multichannel prospecting. For example, send 20 outreach messages on Twitter and LinkedIn and a minimum of 30 cold emails daily. The key to a successful outreach strategy is consistency, which can be achieved via automating sending out emails and scheduling follow-ups using sales engagement software such as SmartReach. You can set up sequences and send communication and follow-ups via email, Linkedin, WhatsApp, SMS and calls. Adopting multichannel outreach can help increase the reach and the frequency of interaction. It increases the chance of getting a response from the prospect. Additionally, multichannel can help SDRs personalize their messaging and outreach to different customer segments based on their preferences and behavior across channels.

6. Is the SDR taking advantage of the sales software

In today’s day and age if your sales team is not using sales software, then you will face a challenge scaling your revenue. This being said, many SDRs do not use the software available to them in the right manner. Sales leaders need to identify SDRs that arent using available tech in the right manner.

SDRs should get refresher training on the sales software available at their disposal. They should be aware of product features that could help increase their conversions.

Sales engagement platforms like SmartReach provide niche features like Hot Prospects, Sending Holiday Calendar, Shared Inbox, De-Duplication, Missing Merge-tags, Prospect Domain Limits, AI-driven content, spintax, etc. Sales teams which use their features to their advantage are able to spike their productivity and achieve their meetings booked quotas.

7. Is the SDR Motivated?

Imagine being pitched a product by someone who isn’t even interested in selling the product.

Will you feel confident in investing in the product? …. No!

If SDRs are not motivated, getting an excellent job done for them is not easy.

Sales are not always easy. It is monotonous, tedious, and filled (mostly) with rejections. This profession demands SDRs keep their mental and physical well-being in check before thriving at their sales quotas.

Suppose a sales rep is struggling and is not motivated because of their previous performance in sales. In that case, things like getting better at sales calls, multichannel prospecting, following up, and sending personalized emails can help set them on the right path. However, it’s best to direct the sales rep to HR if the lack of motivation is due to personal reasons.

Often, sales reps won’t even recognize that they are losing motivation to do their daily tasks until the numbers (calls booked and sales they’ve made) speak for themselves.

SmartReach has helped keep SDRs happy. Besides all the automation features that have reduced manual efforts, SmartReach provides all high-end features at up to 70% lesser cost as compared to its competitors. The money saved is then used for Pizza Mondays or Tequila Fridays 😉

8. Show Them The Money

Furthermore, in sales, the more deals you close, the more you earn. Hence, it is always a good practice to show sales reps what their monthly earnings will look like when they meet their targets. Additionally, incentives for SDRs can help give them a sense of accomplishment after they achieve micro targets.

If an SDR has seven deals in its sales pipeline, calculate and showcase the money he will take home during the quarter. There is no bigger motivator than cash for sales personnel. You only need to show them the money.

Wrapping it Up!

As many SDRs have trouble generating leads and converting them. It is important for a sales leader to identify these triggers and guide them. We have discussed the key factors influencing low SDR performance to understand the loophole. Furthermore, we have broken down some proven strategies to improve SDR performance. 

From qualifying the leads to tracking metrics like lead conversion ratio, the strategies improve your sales efforts exponentially and leverage the lead generation and lead conversion process. is a sales engagement platform that automates the cold outreach workflow for SDRs. Its powerful multichannel capabilities enable outreach via various channels like email, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, SMS, and calls. By using multiple channels, sales reps can expand their reach and increase their chances of connecting with potential customers, leading to a higher response rate. This approach also helps to build trust and credibility with prospects, demonstrating the company’s commitment to engaging with them. The platform offers a shared inbox, facilitating streamlined sales cycles and a healthy sales pipeline, leading to improved team collaboration, faster response times, and greater customer insights. Ultimately, employing a shared inbox can yield a reduction in costs and an increase in ROI for businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are some popular metrics for SDRs to track?

Following are a few metrics for an SDR to track – 

  • Pipeline generated
  • Lead Response Time
  • Number of calls generated
  • Lead Conversion Ratio

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