Over the past few years I’ve seen several startups implement a Sales Development Rep (SDR) function in their business with great success. Because of this, I’ve become a big proponent of the SDR role (see Sales Development as the Most Important Sales Innovation in 10 Years and 7 Quick SDR Tips for Startups), recommending it many times. Only, it struck me recently that the activities of an SDR are perfect for an entrepreneur to test potential demand for a new product or service.
Here’s how the SDR role would test potential demand:
- Build a list of potential prospects that could use the product or service
- Develop a cadence or flow of steps to use in a product like SalesLoft
- Call potential prospects and get appointments to do a discovery call around the product or service idea
- Email potential prospects to find latent demand and assess market worthiness
- Rinse and repeat until it’s clear that there is, or isn’t, demand
Sound familiar? That’s because customer discovery is very similar — reaching out and assessing the need in the market by talking to hundreds of people. The benefit of thinking about it as an SDR role is that there’s great SDR content online, and entrepreneurs should use that to do customer discovery more efficiently.
What else? What are some more thoughts on testing potential demand by being an SDR?