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Challenges in hiring your first SDR

For business owners, hiring the first (Inside) Sales Development Representative (SDR) can be a nightmare. SDRs are the face of the company. They are primarily focused on opening the door on behalf of the company they work for, with some air support from marketing. – is inside sales outsourcing even an option?

Let’s start with some worrying statistics by The Bridge Group – a respected name in Sales consulting – that is bound to open your eyes about the criticality of hiring the right inside sales or SDR:

  1. The annual attrition rate of SDRs is a whopping 34%, whereas the ideal attrition rate should only be 15%.
  2. In 2010 the average tenure of SDRs was three years, but in 2020 it decreased to just 1.5 years.
  3. The average ramp-up time for an SDR is 3.2 months so forget about total productivity during this time.
  4. Hiring SDR costs, including loss of revenues due to the vacancy, recruitment fees, and onboarding cost, is an eye-watering $115k.

— In need for a good call script?

In isolation, these statistics look alarming enough. But in unison, these stats prove that hiring the wrong SDR can break the backbone of growth for your business. Research has shown that in more than 36% of businesses, a newly recruited SDR leaves within the first 6 months of hire. Now combine this with the average ramp-up time of 3.2 months, and the average recruitment cost and the challenge is more or less defined.

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What do you get?

Yes, indeed, a nightmare of escalating costs and a waste of invaluable time and resources. At the same time, your competitors who have the right SDRs move far ahead in the game.

The business landscape moving at unprecedented speeds. As the average goal attainment is just over 54% in the industry, hiring the right SDR should be your topmost priority as a business leader. Research has proven that the biggest threat to sales organizations is not losing clients but losing sales representatives. So it’s needless to say that keeping your SDRs happy is another priority.

Scary right? So, how can you mitigate the risk of hiring the right SDR, and how should you go about it?

There are 2 ways you can go about it:

  1. A) Inside sales outsourcing (SDRs)
  2. B) Hiring your SDRs by following certain principles to mitigate risk

Both options have their advantages, and it depends on your personal preferences, and how you want to go about hiring your first SDR.

Take a look at the points of both options and decide for yourself what works best for you.

Option A: Inside sales outsourcing

According to a recent study, mid-market firms that outsource sales gain a significant competitive edge. As a result, many companies now take a different approach, entrusting their in-house sales functions to sales partners. To efficiently drive their sales strategy, many high-growth companies are looking to work with experienced sales partners.

Inside Sales Outsourcing to experienced sales agencies has multiple benefits over in-house hiring.

The benefits:

  • Inside sales outsourcing services are typically scalable and adaptable.
  • High-end sales and marketing toolkits are available to an outsourced sales team.
  • Well-targeted outbound sales call centres can generate more MQLs and SQLs
  • Outbound telemarketing reduces the time it takes to convert a lead into a customer.
  • Large product campaigns are propelled by sales outsourcing.
  • Reduced cost of training and time investment in sales-related activities

Inside sales outsourcing presents its own set of challenges. But overall, it can be a great low-risk option, especially when you lack experience.

Option B: hiring an SDR

Inside sales outsourcing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Business leaders want to have direct control over the sales function. Other arguments against outsourcing sales functions include risking your reputation, quality control and confidentiality.

Thus, many business owners prefer hiring their SDRs. Here are some tips to mitigate the risk while hiring your first in-house SDR:

1. SDRs who are aligned with the company culture

“Cultural fit” is one of the most popular catchwords in HR, and that is for a reason. It is the most crucial factor for success in any position. Even the most talented SDRs will perish if they do not comprehend and align with the company’s values, dynamics, and overall mindset.

Thus, it is important to carefully look at this aspect while hiring a new Sales Rep.

Try to find out in-depth what values the prospective hire stands for. What drives the new hire, and why do they think they can be a good fit culturally? Look for small gestures and signs; often, they speak much louder than the words coming out of their mouth.

2. Hire a hungry storyteller 

As a business leader, you already know that a sale is all about telling convincing and compelling stories. But what is the point if that talented and experienced storyteller leaves your business within a year at the first chance when a better opportunity comes along?

Often, businesses make the mistake of going for the most experienced and reputed name in high demand in the marketplace, and more often than not, such personnel cares only about the money. The history of multi-turnovers should ring an alarm bell as this suggests a clear pattern.

Rather hire someone young and passionate, someone who may not be too experienced but is hungry for success. But ensure that this hired personnel is a great storyteller.

3. Keep your SDRs engaged with a clear plan for growth that is in line with their career aspirations

According to a Gallup Report, 85% of employees are disengaged in their jobs, and the attrition rate of disengaged employees is five times higher than engaged employees.

The report further states that the reason for this disengagement is mainly due to the following three reasons:

  • The roles and KPIs of the employees are not well-defined
  • They do not have a clear understanding of their career trajectory and path
  • The employee feels they are undervalued in terms of compensation and accountability

This statistic proves that, while hiring a new SDR, if you can clearly define her role, understand her career aspirations, and make her accountable for her KPIs, you will have a great chance of keeping her engaged and, by extension, retaining her longer.


The onboarding of your first SDR can be a daunting challenge, and getting it wrong can greatly impact your growth. Hiring the wrong inside sales or SDR will cost you time and missed opportunities.

So, hiring the right SDR is crucial for your success. You can go about it in 2 ways

  1. A) Inside sales outsourcing is a great low-risk option.
  2. B) Judicially hire to mitigate risks, keeping in mind that your hiring will be based on

-the right Cultural fit

-hire hungry storytellers and

-SDRs who are fully engaged

Hire the right SDR to fuel your sales pipeline and accelerate your business growth. 

You know where you can find us for sales training or sales enablement.

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