If the old outbound SDR role is on life support, what comes next?

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min read

Much has been said about the demise of the SDR role. Traditionally, this role has carried the prospecting load for revenue teams. But over the past few years, the role's ROI has come under pressure: it’s challenging at best and terrible at worst.

The article, Creative Destruction Hits the SDR Role, provides the reasons why. Some saw this coming early. Others see it now. Questions are: 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? How can I prospect more effectively?

How the function evolves, and more generally how to prospect going forward, is less obvious.

Reimagine Sales Development Prospecting

A mix of evolving, refreshed, and new roles will take over prospecting activities done by the “old” SDR. As you’d expect, implementation varies by company depending on the situation, priorities, ideal customer profile, and sales strategy.

If well conceived and executed, this approach will be cheaper and more productive.

How does the future of sales development evolve? It will look something like this:

  • Enterprise Account SDR. The re-invented SDR role becomes more strategic, focusing on named, high-potential accounts. It aligns with and executes the sales strategy set by the account executive.
  • Growth Marketer. This role feeds leads automatically to AEs in order of priority. It uses various intent signals and clear reasons on “why reach out now.” Finding contacts and putting them into sequences are fully automated.
  • "Full stack" Account Executive. The role assumes greater responsibility for the full pipeline spending 1, 2, to 3 hours daily on outbound. Outreach includes meaningful personalization, phone calls, trade shows, and other events.

Why this approach is more effective

First, this mix enables a more holistic, integrated approach for sales and marketing. Instead of siloed departments, these roles work together well. They identify, engage, and convert leads into customers.

Leads move more efficiently from marketing to sales. Growth marketers can use their skills to make high-quality leads. Enterprise Account SDRs focus on qualifying and nurturing leads. Then, they pass them on to the AE.

Growth marketers are adept at using data and analytics. They use them to improve campaigns and find trends. This data-driven approach can inform the strategies of SDRs and AEs. It leads to more targeted outreach and higher conversion rates.

As companies grow, the traditional SDR model often becomes limiting and costly. Organizations can scale sales and marketing better by using this more flexible approach.

Lastly, a cohesive team covers the customer journey from awareness to conversion. This ensures a smoother, more consistent experience for prospects.

The importance of close collaboration

Whether companies can successfully implement this approach depends on these five factors:

Clear Communication

Regular communication is crucial. It should happen between the enterprise SDR, growth marketer, and full stack AE. They should share insights, feedback, and updates to align their efforts and strategies.

Shared Goals and Metrics

Team members should share some common goals and metrics to measure success. This ensures all work toward the same goals. They can hold each other accountable.

Feedback Loop

AEs give enterprise SDRs and growth marketers feedback on lead quality. Marketers give feedback to AEs on follow-up strategies and market insights. This continuous feedback loop allows for continuous improvement.

Training and Development

Cross-training is beneficial. It lets team members understand each other's perspectives, roles, and dependencies. This can lead to greater empathy, trust, and collaboration within the team.

Technology Integration

Use tech and tools that help collaboration. They streamline workflows in sales and marketing. This includes CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and other communication tools.


Modern sales development processes are essential for revenue growth. Going forward, a lean, tech-enabled prospecting engine will efficiently identify, prioritize, distribute, and pursue promising leads as part of an integrated sales and marketing team.

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