My First four Months @ Cledara as an SDR

Recently I finished my fourth month of working at Cledara as an SDR, and what a ride it has been so far.
My First four Months @ Cledara as an SDR

About me 

Before Cledara I played football for FC Miami City in Florida, USA.

Football has always been a burning passion of mine, and I have been playing since I could walk. But the pandemic came and football stopped, and suddenly I was back in England thinking about what’s next in life. 

I am a very competitive person by nature, so after a bunch of “What career is best for you” online quizzes, sales felt like the right transition… Probably not the best way to find a career but it seems to have worked for me!

And I was both pleased and surprised to realise that sales and sport really aren’t that different. You come in every day trying to deliver your best, constantly trying to improve, push your teammates, and achieve the desired result.

Just like football. 

So what is an SDR?

An SDR is a Sales Development Representative, part of the sales team. In simple terms, it is my job to find potential customers, reach out to them and get them to have a 30-minute demo of our product. 

In my humble opinion… It's one of the most important roles within the company, as 95% of the time we are the first real person a customer has contact with. 

The key part of the process

I am the SDR for the Benelux region (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg). 

That means I am in charge of finding suitable customers through various avenues, such as LinkedIn, news articles, newsletters, etc. in the Benelux region.

And how do I know who to contact?

Well, here comes the key part of this process: finding SUITABLE customers. Our outreach is highly targeted to businesses that we believe would have a genuine need for our product… no spamming. Basically what we do is magic, we bring customers out of thin air. 

Our main outreach method is email. We also reach out through LinkedIn, and soon cold calling. Where our value really lies is our creativity.

A creative SDR is a better SDR

The people we contact typically receive 10’s of sales emails every single day, so we NEED to stand out. That’s the fun part of the process.

I’ve written poems, used Gifs, taken selfies with advertisements, recorded personal videos… I even bought a company’s product and sent a picture of me using it!

We also work super closely with our marketing team who develop some incredible content to help our outreach. (Special shoutout to Juanmi, the visuals king)

Top traits that make a great SDR

For me, there are many traits that make a great SDR. I could make a list as long as this blog post… here are my top 3 :

Be a great listener

Great SDRs listen more than they talk. The talking side should ask questions and then provide value. Listening demonstrates genuine interest and makes the prospect feel like their needs are actually being heard. When you’re a good listener, you’ll also be able to handle objections better because you took note of what they actually said. 

Grit/Resilience

Being an SDR isn’t easy. Failure is a common occurrence for us, and being told “no” all day can be really tough. Sometimes you can go days without a “yes”, so you have to be resilient and just keep going. 

Coachability

While being an SDR is a vital role, it’s not a senior one. This means we tend not to be as experienced, and we need help honing our skills. Being able to accept constructive feedback, and take it on board is a vital skill in becoming a great SDR. 

Why an early-stage startup like Cledara?

I’ve realised that working at an early-stage startup provides some incredible opportunities you just wouldn’t get at a larger/corporate business. Let me explain.

Massive exposure

In a startup, you see how all aspects of the business works, from sales, to marketing, to engineering, and all the way to seeing how the founders work. You get the opportunity to collaborate with other teams, for example; Sales work with Marketing to brainstorm content.

You just wouldn’t get that level of broad exposure across a business as a junior hire in a larger company. 

A culture that pushes you further

I think all this is really only made possible by the culture we are all building here. A culture that is open, honest, transparent, and one that thrives on working together.

It’s really great to have a team that wants to see the entire business grow, and that wants to be a vital part of that. It’s also a place that celebrates and rewards success, with many opportunities to progress and advance in your career.

That just pushes you to become better, faster.

The speed of light

It is incredible how fast things move at Cledara.

When I joined 16 weeks ago there were 3 of us in the London office, now there are 12. Equally, when I joined there were a grand total of 14 staff, now we are pushing 30.

If you’re quite an impatient person (like me), who likes to see things move/happen quickly, then an early-stage startup is a great choice for you.

Feel free to reach out!

If you have any questions about my experience so far @ Cledara or just as an SDR please feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you, and help you with any questions you have :)

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Jenny Liu
Finance Leader @ Marshmallow