Why Building a Diverse SDR Team is Important

Sasanka Atapattu
October 20, 2022

If you aren’t aware it’s been published for years, Studies show that more diverse teams perform better. Repeatedly,we’ve seen studies, McKinsey: Diversity wins:  How inclusion matters, where enterprise performance gains and business success correlate to companies that are intentional in building diverse teams. But how important is it in building an entry-level sales (Sales Development Representative(SDR) team?

Sales organizations spend $900B a year in building sales organizations, it's the most expensive part of building a company. While there’s no shortage of sales technology for sales reps (funding for this area went from $1.8B in 2020 to $4.3B in 2021) I doubt many sales leaders invested in increasing diversity on their sales teams.  In 2019, a McKinsey Study  found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile – up from 21% in 2017. 

How does this relate to the importance of building a diverse SDR team? SDRs/BDRs/ADRs, whatever your organization calls them, is the bench of world class organizations, and will be the future of the next generation of executives within your organization!

In our own work with companies where they are struggling to find diverse leadership, our response is always the same: hire and promote from within.

According to a report in 2021 from LinkedIn, companies with proactive DEI practices within their sales orgs are shown to have three key indications of success when it comes to new business

  • Higher sales forecasts: Leading sales organizations say their team’s revenue is expected  increase 9% between 2020 and 2021. Lagging sales teams expect just a 6% increase.

  • Higher conversion rates: Sales teams with leading DEI practices boast an average lead-to-opportunity conversion rate of 54%. Lagging DEI sales teams have a conversion rate of just 26%

  • Higher sales attainment: Sales teams with leading DEI practices have reached 43% sales attainment so far in 2021. Meanwhile, lagging DEI teams have reached just 31%.*

Most importantly, the need to build diverse SDR teams is to be competitive in today’s talent market and to your buyers. According to Pew Research, Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse population. By neglecting to diversify your salespeople, the frontline folks of your organization, is setting your company up for failure. How are you going to sell to an increasingly diverse population of buyers that are looking for diverse sellers? 

Diversity isn’t just a case study about stats and performance nor is it a ‘topic of the month’ Building diverse entry-level sales teams is the new norm. Soon we'll be living within a generation that will be asking ‘who is actually the under-represented group and why are particular organizations homogenous or segregated: Not getting ahead of diverse hiring now is a recipe for failure.

*Resource: It’s Official More Diverse Sales Teams Win More Often