Roadmap for Promotion from SDR to Sales Manager


Are you thinking about being promoted to sales manager?

If you are eyeing the role of a sales manager, you must prepare for more than just achieving your sales quota or converting cold leads to SQLs. The role of a sales manager comes with a lot of responsibilities and you must take those extra learning initiatives in order to grow into the role.

Signs that an SDR is ready to be promoted to the role of sales manager

A promotion to a sales manager is usually an internal managerial discussion.

There are plenty of opportunities for SDRs to get promoted to the sales manager role within the same organization. But what qualities make a great sales manager in the first place?

It isn’t someone who delivers on quotas consistently. It also isn’t someone who can generate the most sales-qualified leads. All these qualities make for a great SDR. However, sales managers need to know the in and out of all sales processes. They also need to know how to set goals for a sales team and how to allocate tools to help achieve these goals efficiently.  

Following are five attributes an SDR must have to prove that they are ready to become a Sales Manager –

  1. They have a positive attitude. 
  2. They are eager to learn more to stay up-to-date with their skills. 
  3. They are excellent listeners and communicators.
  4. They are visionary and plan for things, events, and goals ahead of time.
  5. They are loyal to the company. (probably the most crucial attribute!)
  6. They are tech-savvy. Use sales software like SmartReach or ProspectDaddy

The sales manager wears more than one hat. Of course, they will have to manage their team, but a sales manager must keep team members motivated, accountable, and focused on the company’s sales goals.

If an SDR possesses the qualities mentioned above, they might be ready to take that leap to the sales manager role. This article will provide a roadmap for preparing an SDR for the sales manager role. 

5 Tips to Make the Leap from Sales Representative to Sales Manager

Below are five tips to help SDRs prepare for the managerial role they are aiming for.

Ask for the Role

Your management won’t know you want a promotion if you don’t speak up.

There is a latent assumption within the sales world that the SDR with the highest sales conversion will automatically convert to a promotion within the department. But that is only sometimes the case.

Here are a few strategies SDRs can implement to make it clear to the higher-ups that they are ready to get promoted to a sales manager position.  

  • Apply for the sales manager position instead of waiting to get promoted naturally. 
  • Request a meeting with the VP of sales or a position similar to the title and ask for a promotion to the sales manager position. 
  • Write out a letter about why you would make a great sales manager, the changes you wish to implement, and plans for the future of the sales team, and send it to the higher-ups. Remember to CC your immediate managers.

Making your desire for the sales manager role known to the decision-makers of the organization keeps you on their mind when the role is vacant.

Act Like a Leader Before You Be One

If an SDR wants to get promoted to the managerial role, they must start behaving like a manager.

SDRs should take the initiative to help their teammates when they get stuck and ask for their input when they need help. 

Be flexible. What worked for one as an SDR might only work for some. A manager needs to understand that everyone has weaknesses and strengths. They must see those qualities and bring out the best in people.

Seek Mentorship

One of the most valuable things SDRs looking to get promoted as a sales manager can do is to seek a mentor.

Asking a mentor to help guide you can take lots of guts, but it is worth it in the long run. A mentor can monitor your blindspots and point them out to you. Seeking out a mentorship also means that you have an in with the higher-ups.

If you are good at what you do, your mentor can put in a few good words for you.

As a Sales Development Representative, you could be good at what you do, but you need to learn a whole new set of skills as a manager. Your mentor can help you develop these skills. You can start networking on social media sites like LinkedIn or Prospect to connect to someone who could be your mentor.

While leveraging social media for networking, it’s crucial to prioritize your online privacy and security. Review and update your privacy settings regularly, be cautious about sharing sensitive personal information, and connect only with trusted individuals. Additionally, consider using strong, unique passwords for your accounts and enable two-factor authentication to enhance your social media protection measures.

Don’t be afraid to knock on doors and ask for a meeting with seniors you look up to. Mentors can also help prepare for the role by preparing you for challenges that will inevitably come your way as a sales manager.

Take on More Initiatives and Job Roles

Taking off work from your manager’s plate and taking on more initiatives can do wonders for your goal of becoming a sales manager.

Of course, you still need to fill in all the quotas as an SDR and do your job well, but taking these different initiatives will prepare you for your sales manager role. Go the extra mile in everything you do, making you a desirable candidate to be promoted as a sales manager to your seniors.

Here are a few things you can do to take on extra managerial roles as an SDR;-

  • Shadow, your manager for a day. Schedule this day a week in advance and learn what the day-to-day activities of a sales manager look like. 
  • Take work off your manager’s plate by anticipating and preparing for them in advance. 
  • Handle your colleagues with respect, celebrate their successes, and selflessly help them when they get stuck. 
  • Take the initiative to onboard the new hires on your team by assisting them. You can also help them feel welcome by taking them out for a casual lunch. 

Of course, take on these roles only after you are confident with your roles and responsibilities and are smashing your sales quotas. You want to maintain the trust of your managers. When a promotion comes along, and you are hired as a sales manager, it should seem like a no-brainer that you are the perfect fit for the role.

Work on Feedback and Constructive Criticism

A Sales Development Representative should handle feedback with grace and dignity.

If your managers still do not promote you as the sales manager, ask them what you should improve on or what would make you the perfect fit for the role. It should take less time to understand the reasoning behind the rejection. Have an earnest chat with your mentor and learn to improve upon those comments. This shows the decision-makers that you know how to take criticism and are willing to improve.

Your managers might be holding out on the promotion to protect you. Maybe they see that you aren’t ready for the promotion just yet. Whatever it may be, learn to take rejections gracefully. 

When you finally get the promotion, it will be all worth it.

Wrapping it Up!

The five steps discussed above are for any SDR seeking the sales manager’s role in an organization.

How you prepare for the role says a lot about the type of sales manager you’ll be. Keep your emotions aside when applying for the role. Act like a leader; before you know it, your managers will keep you in mind when a sales manager’s position opens up. 

If faced with rejection, take it as a learning opportunity and keep your eye on the end goal.

Your managers or mentor might see that you are not ready for the sales manager role just yet, so ask for their feedback and work on preparing yourself for the sales manager role.

Remember, this isn’t a race but a marathon. Before you know it, you should be handed the promotion to the sales manager role. is a sales enablement platform that focuses on email deliverability. It helps SDRs to get their sales quota fulfilled and close more deals. ProspectDaddy provides the business email ids of the prospects with a few clicks. The emails can be directly imported to the SmartReach campaign or a CSV file can be downloaded. With SmartReach’s multichannel feature that offers outreach via linkedin, email, whatsapp, SMS and call, getting responses from the prospect gets even easier. SmartReach also provides a shared inbox feature, which makes responding to customer queries even faster and avoids duplication. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How long should I be an SDR before asking for a promotion to sales manager?

It takes a Sales Development Representative at least 15 months to become an expert sales rep. You gain the most relevant experiences at the 9th to the 15th-month point.

You don’t want to jump to a sales manager role too quickly. Take this time to make your presence known to the organization’s decision-makers and build a strong rapport with your teammates.

2. What skills should I develop in anticipation of my promotion as a sales manager?

Below are three crucial skills SDRs should develop in preparation for the promotion to sales manager:-

  • Communication skills: This includes improving your communication skills with your teammates and leads or prospects. 
  • People skills: Increase team efficiency by creating better team relationships. You can start by introducing yourself to the other department members. Fostering these relationships will help you in the long run as a sales manager. 
  • Positive Attitude: Learn how to motivate and inspire your team members. Parallelly it would help if you learned how to provide constructive feedback. 

These are just some skills that can help you prepare for your role as a sales manager. 

3. What other career paths are open for me as an SDR aside from a sales manager?

The typical career progression for an SDR is to get promoted to a sales manager position. However, there are many other job titles you could be looking into:- 

  • Account Executive
  • Sales Development Manager
  • Sales Leader
  • Sales Operations Manager

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