Your future sales rockstars: how to hire SDRs and BDRs that will grow within your company

sdrs and bdrs

Illustration by Michael Pilon.

By Michael Pilon.

5 minute read

One of the many reasons a junior hire could leave your organization is that they’re taking opportunities at another company – a challenge our clients regularly go through. But, hiring the right candidates who will stay and grow (and putting in the work to keep them onboard!) is critical. 

Long-term hires reduce costs, create a wealth of knowledge for new staff down the line, provide training support, and positively influence company culture.

So to find and attract the best growth-minded candidates, how do you structure the role, or the length of the interview process? How do you determine the ideal candidate profile and the most competitive compensation package to offer? And how does the size of your organization come into play?

With the help of our junior hiring expert Daniela Dos Santos, who has focused on junior recruitment for the past five of her ten years at STA (and started as an intern herself!), we’ll answer all this and more. Whether you’re making your first entry-level hire or you’ve done it before, this step-by-step guide will walk you through how to make great hires that are more likely to grow within your company. 


1. Define the scope of the role.

Before searching for candidates, clearly define the scope of the role internally and understand the time it will take to hire and ramp your SDRs or BDRs up. This should be done first to avoid any ambiguity or disorganization in the hiring process, as it may deter potential candidates from choosing your company over others. 

Daniela’s Insight: It’s important to keep in mind that if this is your first sales hire, there will need to be someone to help mentor, coach and guide them in the beginning, and there should be clear guidelines in place for how you want new hires to grow (at STA, we call this “Equip” in our F.A.C.E. model). 

So, ask yourself questions like: 

  • What will training and onboarding look like? 
  • What are the KPIs that will be tracked, and are they realistic to hit target? 
  • When do we expect them to be ramped up by?
  • How will we set them up for success?
  • What will professional growth look like?
  • What are the expectations around being in the office? 

Proactively addressing these questions will ensure you’re prepared when candidates  ask them in the interview.


2. Determine the candidate profile for your SDRs or BDRs.

When making a junior sales hire, you should first figure out if you’re looking for SDRs or BDRs with previous experience. Companies often look for it to reduce their overall business risk, even though these positions don’t typically require it, as someone who is less green can ramp up and get promoted to handling a full sales cycle more quickly. 

But, previous experience isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, and impressive drive and personality traits can often lead to better work performance and potential than experience alone.

Daniela’s Insight: To figure out if you should hire an experienced junior, Daniela says to think back to the resources and training time you have available. If your business structure is solid and you have the bandwidth for a lengthier training process, previous experience isn’t always necessary. For those without room for risk, giving your team a break and hiring a BDR or SDR with experience can be a great call. 

Understanding your target audience and sales cycle can also help you choose the perfect candidate profile. Here are additional questions you should ask yourself when making a junior sales hire:

“Who are our customers?”

  • Take the time to understand what your customers are looking for in a salesperson. Do they respond the best to a high level of confidence? Do they prefer longer, more detailed conversations or straightforward and concise interactions? What works for one audience might not work for another, so keep your customers top of mind and choose a candidate profile that will best speak to them.

“What is our sales cycle complexity?”

  • Consider how challenging it is at your organization to book meetings and secure deals. Some sales processes demand a patient and strategic mindset, while others require a grittier and more hands-on approach. 

Overall, there is a place for individuals with all strengths and styles, and if a candidate displays genuine excitement for B2B sales and a drive to learn and grow, and conveys professionalism and expertise, they are more likely to succeed and grow within your company. 


3. Streamline your interview process.

According to Daniela, you should ideally have no more than three interview stages that all take place in less than two weeks – even in a downturn market. Having more stages than this won’t leave a great impression on candidates.

Each step should also be impactful and different from one another, so that interviews don’t feel repetitive or meaningless. 

Here are additional factors to consider based on your company stage: 

For large companies: There are often many stakeholders involved in the hiring process, so it can be difficult to limit to three interviews. If you have a lengthy process, you can try shortening the interview process by combining steps, or hold some of the interviews virtually so candidates won’t need to take as much time off. Remember to be thoughtful about adding more interview stages in the middle of the process, as it should be as seamless as possible. But, if you need to add more ensure there is clear communication with the candidates in play.

Throughout the interviews, you should also highlight how other hires in similar roles at your company have been able to move and grow in the organization.

For startups: Blank canvas companies can be more intimidating for candidates since they have less proof of success, so you’ll need to know how to sell your story, vision, and leadership to get top hires. 

Your hiring process should also involve telling candidates how you will set them up in the organization and the impact they’ll have, rather than what others in the company have accomplished. Especially if they’re the first SDRs and BDRs you’ve hired.


4. Develop a competitive compensation plan for your SDRs or BDRs. 

A comprehensive and enticing compensation plan is crucial for hiring SDRs or BDRs if you want them to grow within your organization. It usually consists of a salary, bonus or commission structure (business development professionals are often offered a base plus commission, while account managers often have a higher base and a bonus), and other factors like health benefits.

Daniela’s Insight: Since comp plans are a tool to drive and reward behaviours, they should be transparent and tied to the outcome you’re looking for. 

Here are some tips for the most important factors to consider: 

Base salary:

  • Start by researching market trends and what competitors are paying for similar roles. And take the candidate’s location into account – the cost of living in city hubs like Vancouver, Toronto, or New York is higher, for example, so salaries offered should be aligned and competitive. 
  • Fully in-office candidates may expect a higher base salary to compensate for commuting and accommodation costs, and candidates may be more accepting of a slightly lower salary for remote roles.


  • A strong commission structure motivates salespeople to excel in their role. For most junior roles, performance is typically measured by booked meetings rather than closed deals, as SDRs and BDRs don’t have control over the final outcome. During the interview process, outline the commission structure very clearly to candidates, show them what reps can realistically make in a year, and give examples of key performers at your company if possible.

Other factors:

  • A strong compensation structure should include a benefits package and a competitive number of vacation and sick days. It could also include: uncapped commission potential, performance bonuses, profit sharing and accelerators. 

Candidates will be looking for these elements in the compensation plan and will likely have questions for you, so prepare in advance and be ready to talk about them during the interview process.

You should also offer a benefits package that is easy to access, primarily digital, and includes specialized services, like dentists or mental health professionals, to remain competitive. You should also offer at least three weeks of vacation – two weeks is no longer competitive, even for junior hires. In addition, companies typically offer five personal or sick days a year and one mental health day per quarter.


Overall, making strategic junior hires that will grow within your organization could be the edge you need in today’s competitive market. We hope this step-by-step guide helps you make that happen.

If you’re looking for more guidance, connect with us directly here.