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Why the SDR model as we know it is dead

In today’s newsletter, I will share why I think the traditional SDR model is no longer effective and suggest ways to future-proof your sales development career. By adapting to the changing sales landscape in 2023 and beyond and making well-informed choices, you can save time, earn more money, and have the freedom to live life on your own terms.

Let’s dive in:

Observation #1: SDRs are being fired in droves

2023 was a challenging year for salespeople. According to, 236,835 employees were laid off in the tech sector alone. That’s an average of over 794 people fired per day, and new layoffs continue to occur daily.

These layoffs typically occur when businesses are seeking to achieve profitability or extend their runway. As a result, they let go of employees who are considered non-essential for the operation of the business. When SDR teams underperform, they are among the first to be laid off.

Observation #2: Throwing bodies at growth goals does not work anymore

A few years ago, increasing the number of salespeople in a territory was an effective strategy to acquire new customers and create the impression of growth for investors. It was simple to schedule meetings, generate opportunities, and close deals that ultimately resulted in churn after 12 months.

However, in 2023, CFOs carefully examine every expense, and hiring costly full-time employees is no longer their preferred choice.

Observation #3: Tools and AI make SDRs more efficient = less SDRs needed

Since the beginning of 2023, the sales industry has been greatly impacted by AI and ChatGPT. Initially, there was a belief that AI would replace all salespeople. However, after a few months, it became clear that AI would instead empower salespeople who were able to quickly learn how to use it.

As a result, we are seeing a significant increase in productivity among SDRs, and there is a rapid growth of SDRs as a service agencies and individuals. For businesses aiming to minimize risks, collaborating with an agency is less risky compared to hiring, onboarding, and training a full-time SDR.

These three observations indicate that the traditional model of hiring in-house, full-time SDRs and promoting them to AE within six months is no longer valid.

However, it’s a great opportunity for those who can adapt and find solutions:

Solution #1: Learn the basics of human psychology

If you ask ChatGPT to write a cold email for you, this is what you get:

Image #1
Image #2
Image #3

No single human would respond to an email like this one, and I had to regenerate the response three times to make it remotely readable.

An AI can generate incredible cold outreach messages, but it needs to be trained by a human who understands psychology and knows how to get responses from other humans. If you can identify:

  • your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  • the problem they are trying to solve
  • how to incorporate these problems into your outreach

Then you will be able to schedule a lot more meetings.

Solution #2: Learn how to use AI tools to become more efficient

One option is to learn how to use AI tools to increase efficiency. For instance, you can utilize AI to identify and address problems with your ICP, extract key details from a 10-K report, or train ChatGPT to use an email framework tailored to your needs.

Many sales tools incorporate AI into their roadmap, but knowing how to effectively interact with AI is crucial for improving as an SDR. If you’re interested in doing this, go check my AI Outreach System.

Solution #3: Prepare to lose your job, and become independent

The future looks bleak for those who believe they can secure a job and remain employed at a single company until retirement. This is particularly true for salespeople, who typically have an average tenure of 18 to 20 months.

You have the option to continue switching sales jobs every two years or so, or you can escape the hamster wheel and become independent. If you have the skills to book meetings for someone else, you can do it for yourself as well. You’ll discover that many businesses are willing to pay you to book meetings for them or teach them how to do it.

This is a topic I will explore into with more detail in a 7-day email course. I am still in the process of creating it, but you can already pre-order it now.

Hope this helps.


Thibaut Souyris

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you:

→ Join my AI Masterclass on the 11th of October (80+ students & waitlisters)
→ Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (250+ students)

Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (75+ students)

→ Sponsor my newsletter & get 40K+ eyeballs on your ad!

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