Sales development refers to the activities that take place at the early stages of a sales process, i.e. research, prospecting, outreach, and qualification.
In other words, a sales development team is responsible for building a sales pipeline.
In most companies, they represent a link between the Marketing and Sales teams, following up on inbound leads and/or identifying suitable leads to reach out to. Their ultimate aim is to generate qualified leads for the sales team.
Sales development representative (SDR) is a person who carries out prospecting, lead generation, and lead qualification. Once a lead has been qualified, the SDR will then hand them over to an Account Executive (AE).
Because of their specific focus, an SDR’s performance is usually measured on meetings booked, rather than deals closed.