The SDR model isn't dead. But it needs to evolve—quick.

The SDR model isn't dead. But it needs to evolve—quick.

Here are a few ways the SDR model is evolving:

✅ Hiring industry vets and paying really well

I see this in niche, industry-specific solutions. Example: A solution for the largest commercial construction contractors in North America.

They hire reps with 5+ years of experience working in that industry. And they do way more than cold calling and cold emailing.

These reps attend events and work a tight ABX strategy on large enterprise accounts. And their OTE is $150k+

This isn't a common model (yet) but can work well w/ enterprise ACVs.

✅ Providing deal assistance

SDRs help AEs re-engage closed/lost or stalled deals. They work new contacts, old ones, etc. and then loop in the AE. They provide multi-threading support early in sales cycles.

This has become a common trend in the last few years.

This can work well with experienced SDRs and a great RevOps team to help with workflow.

✅ Super lean SDR teams that rely on AI/tech-stack

The SDR team is small and mighty. Reduced headcount in exchange for technology. They use tools like Clay to automate 99% of account selection, list-building, etc.

Sounds great in theory, but I've only seen talking heads on LinkedIn talk about this approach.

Never seen it in action. And when I ask? No one can show me.

I don't believe this is the future for enterprise. Could work for SMB.

✅ Connecting to revenue

Most SDR orgs are moving toward measuring SDR success on qualified pipeline and closed/won revenue.

Comp. on meetings & demos set should be little to none of SDR's OTE. It incentivizes the wrong outcome.

Many orgs are already doing this and you're behind if you aren't.

This is a great forcing function.

✅ More enablement

This isn't anything new. But a few years ago you could get away with feature dumping and pitching in cold emails and cold calls.

That just isn't the case anymore. And it's getting worse.

I can't tell you how many companies I work with who don't provide dedicated enablement for SDRs.

⛔️ AE Self-Sourcing: A necessity, but not the new model

I'm bullish on AE self-sourcing. The best AEs self-source 30-50% of their opportunities. In many orgs right now, it's the only you'll beat your quota.

But I don't see a future where AEs self-source 100% of their pipeline.

It sounds great in theory, but the required culture change is too much.

Everyone needs to chip in to win: AE self-sourcing, SDR sourced, marketing sourced.


Ashley Kelly (VP of Global Sales Development at Rippling) has 350 SDRs in their org.