An entry level position in sales would be a Sales Development Rep (SDR) also known as a Business Development Rep (BDR).
The job of an SDR/BDR is to qualify sales opportunities i.e. make sure they are a good fit. A qualified sales opportunity or sales qualified lead (SQL) could be a prospect who has left their name, role, company name, has showed intent to buy and wants to book in a meeting with a senior colleague known as an Account Executive (AE).
SDR/BDRs may work inbound leads where a prospect comes to you or outbound where the rep must source their own leads.
Qualifications Needed 🎓
There are no specific qualifications needed. Sales reps come from all sorts of different degree backgrounds from History, Politics and Psychology.
The most common college course include:
Bachelor in Business Studies (BBS)
Bachelor of Science (Marketing)
Management Information Studies
No Degree at all
Skills Needed 🔨
Working in sales requires a wide range of skills and being customer facing and metrics driven, requires a particular mindset. Some important skills include the following:
Strong communication skills
Organisation and time management
Collaborative and coachable
Highly motivated and self-driven
Ability to pitch and sell
As mentioned the main job of an SDR/BDR is to build pipeline for the sales org. They are the first point of contact for a business and work with various different stake holders.
Work with Marketing team(s) who provide Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
Outreach to prospective customers via email, phone and potential social media (LinkedIn).
Work with customer support/success to help with more technical questions or issues prospects have or face
Qualify leads and handover to Account Executives to close the deal
Salary Expectations 💰
Sales reps receive commission on top of their salary. The combination of the two is known as their 'On Target Earnings' or OTE.
Working Hours ⏰
Working hours will vary for sales reps and you more than likely will be working longer than 9-5. Things can get particularly stressful with late evenings at the end of each quarter.
Career Prospects 📈
There are many options available to people who join as an entry level sales rep (SDR/BDR). Your initial move will be into a closing role either as an Account Executive (AE) who close new business deals or an Account/Relationship Manager (AM/RM) who grow existing accounts.
In smaller companies there may not yet be an SDR function so you can enter as an AE who normally looks after the full sales cycle - qualifies leads, closes new business and grow existing business.
Sales enables you to also work cross functionally and move into other business functions such as Marketing and Customer Success.
A basic chain of command in a sales org looks something like this: