When Kyle Miglizzi joined Sendbird, he knew that his goal was to work in product management. But he worried that this would be impossible without a CS degree.
Kyle decided to take a role as an SDR to help round out his go-to-market understanding and learn how to sell value through tech sales. What he didn’t know at the time was that the SDR role would equip him with everything he needed to accomplish his original goal – working in product management – in under two years!
What is an SDR? An introduction to the Sales Development Representative role
According to ActiveCampaign, “A sales development representative (SDR) is an inside sales representative [who] focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification.” This role is an excellent way to start out in the tech industry for people with non-conventional, non-STEM backgrounds. It can be a fulfilling career in and of itself, or can serve as a great stepping stone to your overarching career goal.
So what does an SDR do? SDRs are responsible for setting up meetings while engaging prospects via phone, email, LinkedIn, and other avenues. SDRs work hand-in-hand with the marketing and sales departments to create opportunities for the sales team. A Sales Development Representative serves as the first voice for a company and helps tee up the organization for success.
To be successful as a Sales Development Representative, you need ambition, good communication and organizational skills, as well as the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
In this blog, we’ll look at how working as an SDR can help you start your career in tech, or be a fulfilling job in and of itself. We’ll also share some insights from former Sendbird SDRs who have found success through the role.
Using the SDR role to start your career in tech
Most people think that breaking into the tech industry requires a technical degree or background. Today, that’s simply not true; there’s tremendous potential in the tech industry for people with non-STEM backgrounds.
Take Shelly Ouimet, who joined Sendbird after a long career in the healthcare industry. When she started at Sendbird, Shelly was honest about her goal of moving into management. “I was pretty upfront when I stated that I wanted to [get into] leadership. I like helping people and making sure they’re on the right path.”
In a technology-forward company like Sendbird, however, it can be challenging to jump straight into management. So, Shelly took a job as an SDR to understand the ins and outs of the organization. Within a year, she’d been promoted to the first SDR Team Lead.
In a nutshell, for those looking to break into the tech industry, the SDR role offers hands-on experience in a tech company and the valuable opportunity to quantify your impact. It’s a way to learn quickly about the industry and open up many avenues of possibilities.
Jenna Morin, our current Sales Development Manager – Americas & Europe, also started her career at Sendbird as an SDR. Now she manages sales development for an entire region.
Reflecting on her journey at Sendbird, Jenna shared, “Ultimately, it was my goal [starting with Sendbird] to get where I’m at and see what other options were available along the way. I absolutely love the culture and the people that I work with, and I also find the autonomy so refreshing.”
Using your experience as an SDR to open up a tech sales career path
With clear KPIs, a fast pace, and a rewarding environment in which to thrive, the SDR role can be satisfying in and of itself. Some people, like Karanveer Dhami for instance, leverage their experience as a Sales Development Representative to continue up the ladder on their sales career path.
Karanveer started as an SDR, which gave him the experience he needed to transition into a hybrid inside sales role. From there, he cultivated his skills to ultimately become an Account Executive.
“It’s taken me just over two and a half years to get where I wanted, and in that time, I’ve learned invaluable skills. Now I’m in a position where I know the company really well, I know our products really well, I know who we’re selling to, and I’ve also got a lot of selling experience, which is invaluable,” Karanveer remarked.
Karanveer noted that working as a sales development representative prepares you for several paths. “When you start as an SDR, you always wonder about the avenues of progression. All you have to do is look around at Sendbird to see the many paths you can go down…from management to sales to product marketing, being an SDR allows you to put the work in, hit your targets, and show all of the right skills and capabilities, enabling you to move into any one of those fields and be a success.”
The SDR role at Sendbird
When reflecting on his progression from an SDR to a Rotational Product Manager, Kyle said, “In the back of my mind, I always had the goal of transitioning to product management. But I always assumed I would have to get an MBA or a CS degree. As things evolved, though, I realized that [in the SDR role at Sendbird] I gained a lot of product insight and understanding of use cases which helped bridge the gap and enabled me to move into my new role.”
If you’re looking to start your career in tech, just like Kyle, consider applying to be a Sales Development Representative at Sendbird.
Sendbird is on a fast growth trajectory, and we’re actively looking for new SDRs to join our team. To be successful in this role, you need to be outgoing, curious, and willing to reach out to prospects to pitch Sendbird. If you also enjoy sparking conversations and are passionate about technology, the SDR role may just be the perfect fit!
- Lots of experience for starting your career in tech
- On-the-job, continual training
- Access to an impressive tech stack with tools that are staples in the industry like Salesforce, Sales Navigator, Salesloft, LeadIQ, Lusha, Tech in Asia, and more
- A connected and supportive environment—even though the role is remote
- Generous benefits, including PTO and an annual $3,500 ‘Be Your Best Self’ fund
- An open, welcoming, and supportive company culture
Sendbird is dedicated to fostering creativity and embracing different approaches. We hire talented SDRs from all over the world because we believe our differences are our strengths. But don’t just take our word for it.
Take it from Karanveer: “You can ask anyone in the company for help, and they’ll bend over backward to try and help you. In previous companies, you’d get the sense that people were helping you because they had to, but at Sendbird, people help you because they want to.”
Shelly said, “The culture is the thing that is the most amazing about Sendbird because I’ve never worked with a company that has such a global presence before. The company really embraces the diversity across different genders, religions, and ethnicities, while cultivating the strengths of all the different individuals.”
Jenna shared, “It’s a very democratic environment, and that’s not just within the SDR team, that extends to the organization as a whole. We have engagement surveys, open forum meetings, and a once-a-month call with John Kim [CEO of Sendbird]…it’s from the top down.”
Are you interested in starting your career in tech as a sales development representative? Apply here to start your Sendbird journey.