Sales professionals continue to debate the efficacy of cold calling, using email for outreach, and social selling. Some play a numbers game and reach out to as many potential prospects as possible. Others aim to be highly targeted and relevant. No single approach is right for everyone, you need to find what is right for you to be successful.

Even though sales development reps (SDRs) achieve success in many ways, their responsibilities come down to just four things. No matter how hard they work or how much natural skill they have, they must learn to master the arts of gaining attention, creating dialogue, provoking thought and expanding relationships.

Gain Attention

No matter which approach your team uses, the ultimate goal of sales development is getting prospects to pay attention to you and your solution. By creating the right kind of buzz inside of an organization, your company gets noticed and ensures you are recognized when you reach out to prospects.

Once you’ve attracted attention from your target prospect, the next step is finding out what will pique their interest in learning more. Your message has to resonate with your prospect enough to get them to stop and listen to you.

If you spend time doing the things that you have always done, it might not be enough. Technology provides sales professionals with a wide range of options to personalize messaging and cut through the noise. People use social channels to share more information about themselves than they ever had, but salespeople still overlook the valuable information prospects provide to us. Find that information and use it to attract the attention you need to move to the next step in the sales process.

Create Dialogue

Eager sales development teams sometimes swing for the fences and try to make a sale before the prospect even knows their names. But initial outreach after getting a prospect’s attention should do nothing more than invite a response.

If you can get the prospect to respond to you, you have solved one of the hardest parts of sales development: getting prospects to acknowledge you. Now you can work with the prospect to give them insight into why they should care about talking to you.

Provoke Thought

As an SDR, you must ensure you add value to an initial relationship as early on as possible. One of the best ways to start adding value to a conversation quickly is to get a prospect to think. Helping a prospect understand their situation can be improved is a start.

Once you get a prospect to think, the conversation can move into a stage that puts you in the driver’s seat. The prospect will likely become more curious about why you are reaching out, and will want to learn more about how you can help them. Moving a prospect from just listening to actually engaging in a conversation only happens when you can move them away from their current status quo and toward a new, better solution.

Expand the Relationship

SDRs don’t usually guide a deal to close, so a critical part of the role is being able to expand the relationship with others internally. This part of the job is often more art than science.

If you succeed getting a prospect to buy into your message, you still need them to show up to the next meeting with an account executive. Prospects can go dark or no-show you on your next meeting, leaving you back at square one trying to resell the first meeting to them. The best SDRs find a way to get prospects to commit to a firm meeting time before they get off the phone, and keep in contact with them before the handoff.

SDRs must have the talent to be marketers and sales professionals at the same time. The role has matured over the last five years, and will likely continue to mature as larger firms begin to place a focus on adding the role. As sales development has matured, businesses are starting to see SDRs as a vital part of the organization and the role is becoming more specialized. Mastering the above four talents gives SDRs a much better shot at sustained success.