Meet: Sales Development Representative

After a company has a great product, they still need to get it into the hands of customers. Sales teams are a key part of that effort – especially at B2B companies.

The structure of a sales team typically depends on the total cost of the product, and whether a company is B2B vs B2C (want a reminder on that? Take a look in our FAQs). Simply put, the bigger the price tag of the product for a customer, the more that a company can spend on building out a sales team to make that happen.

Sales organizations can be complex and have a wide variety of roles, so we’re focusing here on the role that is typically the entry point to a career in a sales organization: the sales development representative.
This role is a mix of figuring out the right customer to target, qualifying leads to know if they are a potential customer, and ultimately working with a salesperson or Account Executive to convert them to a paying customer. 

A job in sales can be a great entry point to a career in technology because there is usually a clear career development pathway. As you become more sophisticated and deeply understand the product and customer, you can take on increasingly complex and high-value sales targets, and compensation can grow significantly.

It is important to call out here that compared to other roles, jobs in a sales team have more variable compensation tied to the amount of sales or revenue they generate. This is riskier than an operations or customer support job from a compensation perspective, but also comes with higher upside if you do well.

Who hires a lot in this function:
→ B2B software companies

What's it like?

You'll love it if

→ You have an outgoing personality and enjoy connecting with new people
→ You enjoy working closely with the end customers of a product

You'll hate it if

→ The thought of phone calls with strangers freaks you out
→ You are uncomfortable promoting a product

How we do it

Building a great startup is hard. Really hard. It requires domain expertise, uncommon talent, great execution, great timing, and a little luck. It also requires the ever-elusive great idea. Our team has developed the playbook on how to rapidly validate, refine, and build new businesses.

Sample role

Sales Development Representative


→ Achieving monthly individual direct sales target

→ Successful completion of any outbound campaigns via email and LinkedIn that are launched from time to time.

→ Qualify all sales leads based upon lead qualification criteria definitions.

→ Ensure customer follow-up all the time.

→ Make outbound customer calls to promote and sell a product or service.

→ Managing online events, webinars, etc.

The nitty gritty

In this role you’re likely to use a number of sales-focused tools like Salesforce, HubSpot and Outreach to track and organize your contacts.

Your time
On a typical day you will likely spend 80% of your time on sales interactions and 20% analyzing and reporting your learnings.

The job ladder

Entry level

Sales Development Representative
Sales Associate
Business Development Associate

Identifying likely sales prospects; cold calling prospective leads; presenting sales materials


Account executive
Sales Manager

Selling higher value customers or contracts; delivering product demonstrations to buyers; overseeing and directing sales teams

High level

Head of Sales
Chief Revenue Officer

People management; strategy and planning for the sales team; building sales strategy; identifying the tools and people needed to grow



Ideas Spun Out

In the rarest of cases, a startup idea has great timing, true customer demand, and the market is enormous.


Ideas Killed

More often than not, an idea isn't a viable business. Our learnings from our failures make us more confident in the ideas that we love.


Allison Bryson

Allison Bryson works in sales at DocuSign. But that wasn't where it started. She began her career with stints in grassroots voter organization and tradeshow marketing. When she transitioned into tech her goal was to find a career ladder that was people-focused and could lead to quick growth. Today, she is a market development representative at DocuSign where she identifies and pursues potential customers to grow the business. She helps shape the strategy for customer acquisition–which is a key objective for the company.

Allison's career path
→ Started off with stints at a political non-profit that supports progressive youth-centric policy
→ Did a stint in tradeshow marketing
→ Got into tech sales with a real estate focus at HomeAdvisors
→ Helped develop the Sales Development (SDR) function at real estate startup Loftium
→ Scaled up her sales skill at DocuSign

How did you break into technology?
“In my first roles I had lots of varied responsibilities. That included a mix of facilities work, but also tasks that required me to build spreadsheets and complete analysis.

When I decided I wanted to make the leap to a technology job, the key for me was emphasizing on the skills that are common from my early experience. The biggest thing was problem solving. Even though I didn’t have direct experience in tech, I was able to describe myself as a good problem solver in high stakes situation.”

Who's hiring?

See who’s looking for sales reps on Indeed, or scan the open jobs on LinkedIn.

Careers at PSL

Check out openings across all our portfolio companies.

Studio Investors

PSL Studio is independently funded by top venture firms from across the United States. They form the foundation of a venture network surrounding PSL companies and entrepreneurs. They invested in us because they want to invest in you.