min read

Inbound SDRs — Are they still relevant in 2024?

Inbound SDR made a lot of sense a few years ago. Today? Maybe. Maybe not. In this article, we explore if you should even have an Inbound SDR in your organization.

Vikash Koushik
July 5, 2024
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If you’re active on LinkedIn like me and many other B2B sales and marketing folks, you’ve probably seen the birth, death, and rebirth of Inbound SDRs depending on who you’re following and what they’re selling. 

So instead of blurting out hot takes, why don’t we dig into some facts?

Why did the Inbound SDRs come into the picture?

The idea of the inbound SDR was born out of a specific need: to protect the AE’s time and create greater specialization in the sales process.

Full-cycle sales reps were responsible for:

  • Following up with demo requests
  • Qualifying leads
  • Holding demos
  • Fostering relationships all the way through to closing

But AEs were overwhelmed with the sheer volume of demo requests and tasks needed to convert prospects from interest to customers.

Enter the Inbound SDR model.

Inbound SDRs were introduced to act as gatekeepers to the AE’s calendar. Their role included:

  • Asking qualifying questions to determine if the lead is ready to buy
  • Ensuring AEs focused only on high-potential prospects

In theory, this specialization should have helped the sales process.But what about in the practical world?

Let's find out.

The current state of B2B buying since the introduction of Inbound SDRs

While Inbound SDRs provided temporary relief, it didn’t truly solve the underlying issues.

Sure, it lightened the AEs’ workload and moved opportunities forward, but it still wasn’t as efficient as needed.

Both AEs and SDRs were plagued by disorganized spreadsheets.

And leads were falling through the cracks.

The result?

Mediocre conversion rates and untapped revenue potential.

The numbers speak for themselves. Here are a few things we already know about the current state of B2B companies.

  1. The average B2B SaaS company converts their landing page visitors at 3%.
  2. After converting on the landing page, 78% of the B2B companies are likely to purchase from the vendor that responds first.
  3. If the B2B company responds within 1 minute, their lead conversion increases by 391%.
  4. And if the company responds to the prospect within 5 minutes, they’re likely to be 21x more effective than responding within 30 minutes.
  5. But the sad state of reality is B2B companies take an average of 1 day, 5 hours, and 17 minutes to respond to a prospect’s demo request.

B2B companies have a long way to go to make buying simple for their prospects. 

As a marketer, it’s sad to see that all that time, money, and energy that other marketers put into attracting and driving prospects to the website comes to an anti-climatic state where prospects need to wait for an average of 1 day, 5 hours, and 17 minutes.

So what do you do with your Inbound SDRs?

We think you’re underutilizing your SDRs, especially if you’re asking them to act as a scheduler. 

Let’s be honest. 

When you have tools like RevenueHero that can automate your qualification, routing logic, and schedule meetings with the right sales rep, no matter which channel your prospects are coming from, we think you’re better off re-allocating them to focus on more impactful areas. 

Of course, we’re not suggesting that you let go of your inbound SDR team. Like Marty Baur, Director of Sales at Omnisend, rightly said,

Automation is not something to be scared about. It's not going to eliminate this job or that job. Automation can help do the things that could be automated through a tool like SalesLoft or HubSpot or RevenueHero.

Any type of tool, if it can help us automate things that can be automated and then that frees up time for our team to then focus on high value activities that cannot be automated — Addressing value add questions, helping customers complete their migration, adding value and showing you the benefits of our platform to that customer's business —  that is incredibly beneficial to our top line and bottom line.

~ Marty Baur, Director of Sales at Omnisend

So why not send automated emails instead of having an Inbound SDR follow up?

I hear you loud and clear. In fact, the team at Omnisend was doing exactly that. 

Marty Baur, Director of Sales at Omnisend, was already seeing impressive conversion rates when they were sending automated emails and his team reached out within five minutes. But they didn’t want to settle with ‘good enough’.

In a world where you can get food from your favorite restaurant delivered to your doorstep at a click of a button, five minutes is still too long. People are impatient. 

Besides, sending an automated email also resulted in the email getting lost in the prospect’s busy inbox. And Omnisend’s reps had to engage in a prolonged back and forth to get that meeting on their calendar. Either way, the cost was losing out on high-intent opportunities.

In Marty’s own words:

We said, what if we give prospects the ability to request a demo such that we log that information, but then also give them a list of options to book a meeting immediately? Would that help us convert more customers to book meetings? And then complete the meeting and convert them into paying customers? That was the problem we were looking to solve.

- Marty Bauer, Director of Sales, Omnisend

Since implementing RevenueHero, Marty and his team saw 76% of his qualified prospects book meetings with his sales team immediately. 

He said, “RevenueHero works really damn well. The percentage of qualified meetings that were getting booked on our website within the first 3 months of implementation was beyond our expectations. I would absolutely recommend RevenueHero. It's been a game-changer for us. And this is one of those tools where we saw an immediate impact once we set it up. We're seeing a lasting impact that is consistent and that continues to compound. It works great and I can definitely point to a high ROI.”

Psst… Want to see how you can turn your demo requests into booked meetings? Let’s chat.

How to think about driving maximum value from your Inbound SDRs?

Every business is unique. So, I’m going to share what we’ve seen some of RevenueHero’s customers do.

  1. Deploying your Inbound SDRs to drive new pipeline
    Outbound is harder than ever. Your typical personalization tokens no longer cut it. Email delivery rates have taken a hit. And people can smell a sales person from a mile away.

    This means, you’ll need more time to think of creative ways to get your prospects' attention. And we’ve seen companies do well by adding a few more SDRs to the outbound mix. Because this means more hands on deck to hit pipeline goals through outbound, less pressure to keep cranking those cold calls and emails, and more time to think creatively.

  1. Get their help to ramp up your ABM efforts
    When your prospects get a surround sound effect about you, chances of them converting is a lot higher. And we’ve seen this playout at RevenueHero too. We’ve found that when sales and marketing work together, we’re more likely to get that engagement and that meeting.

    It’s no longer about marketing bringing in the email address and contact number, and sales chases them to get the meeting.

    Mason Cosby from Scrappy ABM shared an incredibly practical tip on you can implement this:
A lot of account based marketers are creating outbound sequence templates. That's great, but I'll be really blunt. Most ABMers have some level of sales background, but they haven't been sellers in their recent experience.

So, marketing provides the direction, the message, the narrative. Sales refines the specific tactics that actually drive open rates and meetings. At that point, we're all aligned. Everybody's excited. Everybody's happy. As opposed to marketing, passing it over and saying, Hey, do this. Cause sales can be like, no.

At RevenueHero, many of our own prospects’ journeys look like this: They see the ad, get an email from an SDR, talk to peers who have also been using RevenueHero, hear about us in a community, and finally land on the website and request a demo.

  1. Help you be where your customers hang out

    Being where your customers hang out is the best shortcut to understand them better.

    When done well, it can even replace the dreaded cold outbound, and over time nudge your prospects to think of you first when they’re in the market to buy your product.

    For example, if your audience is a B2B marketer or a sales person, then you can redeploy your inbound SDR team to become more active on LinkedIn and engage with your prospects’ posts. Similarly, if you’re going after developer audiences then being active on specific subreddits,, hashnode, and building GitHub projects would be a good way to engage with your audience.

    Sure, you’ll not see an immediate impact of it on your pipeline. But when done consistently, it can act as a way to build your brand.

    And not to forget... they can be your eyes and ears, feeding your marketing team knowledge that's worth more than a pot full of gold.

We’ve seen this work for most companies where the qualification criteria for a prospect to be considered as qualified is simple. 

We’re talking about straightforward cases where companies are looking at employee size, geo location of the company or the prospect, or their industry. In most cases, companies add these questions on the form or enrich them using tools like Zoominfo or Clearbit or Apollo.

Of course, not every company has straightforward qualification criterias. And we’ve seen our fair share of complex qualification rules when we implement RevenueHero for our customers.

For example:

In cases where companies sell a  technical product they also need to bring in a solutions engineer on the first call along with the sales rep to qualify the prospect. In these scenarios, we’ve seen companies implement basic qualifications using form values and enriched data. And use RevenueHero’s collective round-robin to pair a sales rep with an SE to get on the first call with the prospect.

Not only does this help the company immediately get someone technical on the call to help with disqualification, but in cases where the prospect was qualified they’ve been able to show the product on the first call, reduce the need to set up follow up calls to show the product, and make the buying process simpler.

All of these are only a few examples of where you can redeploy your inbound SDRs to drive more value for your organization. There are so many other cool and value-add activities they could be doing since they already know your audience, market, and the product. 

No matter where you reallocate your inbound SDRs to, ultimately, it all boils down to can you make the buying simple for your prospects?

Revenuehero is fast and intuitive, custom-built for modern sales teams.
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