What it's like to be an SDR in 2021 - Punch!

What it’s like to be an SDR in 2021

A sales development representative (also known as an SDR, BDR, ADR or SDE) works from a targeted list of potential prospects to develop new sales opportunities. Their success is often measured based on the number of qualified leads passed on and appointments set.

It’s all too easy to picture rows of bored people in headsets making cold call after cold call – but that certainly isn’t the case here at Punch!

We caught up with Henry, a keen golfer and self-confessed ASOS addict, to learn more about his role as a sales development executive at one of the UK’s top B2B marketing agencies.

Tell us about your role at Punch! 

I’m a sales development executive, which means I seek out opportunities and appointments on behalf of my clients. I spend a lot of time on the phone trying to reach the right people in my clients’ target audience.

What does a typical day look like for you?

After my morning coffee I normally go out into the garden to check on the birds. I see if the feeder needs topping up and have a quick walk around for some fresh air before I start my working day from home.

I check my emails first and then load up what I need for my various projects – I’m working on Pitney Bowes and Ancoris at the moment. It’s the dream to log in and find an email or a LinkedIn message confirming a date and time for an appointment! 

I spend the first couple of hours of the day calling through the warm leads – ones that are signalling the most interest and more likely to become sales opportunities. We then have a team meeting at 11am and then another hour or so making calls before lunch.

After lunch we continue working until 3:15pm when we have a whole department drop-in session. It’s a chance to catch up with everyone and have a coffee to break the day up; the same as we would if we were all in the office. Then I tend to go back to making calls, sending emails, reaching out on LinkedIn before wrapping up at quarter past five and settling down for the evening.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

It sounds like a cliché but each day is different and I enjoy talking to a variety of new people every day. A lot of the work I do for Pitney Bowes involves speaking to people in other countries such as France and Germany, which is quite exciting. There’s a lot of variety in the role, meaning you never feel like you’re stuck on one task.

How do you keep sane working from home?

In the evenings I make sure I close my laptop down and don’t check my emails until the morning

Netflix has been a big help, and ASOS! The amount of things I’ve ordered that I didn’t need is ridiculous! Then obviously chatting to my friends and keeping in touch with everyone is also important.

I’ve been playing golf in the garden as well! I need to keep practising on my golf game while the clubs are shut.

Did you always want to work in sales?

This is a question that I don’t really have an answer for! I guess when I was younger I probably wanted to be an astronaut – I can’t say I remember thinking I wanted to work in sales. 

My degree is in History and International Relations which is very different to what I do now, but joining Punch! was a good opportunity for me because I’ve been able to build my confidence, grow and progress. I certainly don’t have any regrets about the route I’ve chosen.

Why did you want to join Punch!?

To be honest, when I was finishing up at University I applied for as many jobs as I could! But Punch! stood out to me because it felt different – I loved the branding and the relaxed feel of the office and the people. I actually turned up to my interview in a suit and was quite surprised to see everyone else in short sleeved tops and casual jumpers! 

What are your goals for 2021?

The trouble is, I don’t really know what’s going to happen in 2021! It’s difficult to know what will be possible outside of work at the moment. 

My professional goals are to keep progressing, keep working hard and keep climbing up the career ladder. I’d like to be running projects and doing more behind-the-scenes client work.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m still quite young, I’ve no idea where I’ll be in five years’ time. I haven’t thought of that yet. I’m just focused on working hard and progressing in my career. I had absolutely no experience in sales but Punch! has provided me with all the support and training needed to develop my skills and reach my full potential. 

What makes a great SDR in your opinion? 

Someone who, on the phones, can be confident but not overly confident. You need to let the other person speak.

I’ve fallen victim to this before. I have been speaking to someone and it feels like it’s going in a brilliant direction. Then bombard them with information. It’s like writing an exam – the first question comes up and you just want to write everything down that you know. 

Being able to listen to what the prospect has to say is a great trait to have; as well as just being open and friendly.

Three tips for anyone thinking about a career in sales?

Be confident, friendly and chatty. Be engaging and learn to listen. Be resourceful as well – and proactive! That’s more than three, sorry!

Do you have what it takes to be the next big thing in sales? Punch! is always keen to hear from bright new talent. 

Send your CV and cover letter to Senior Talent Coordinator, Emma Hollands


One-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many, programmatic, lite…it’s understandable why account-based marketing can seem daunting at first! But regardless of the ABM terminology being used, the basic principles are the same. Putting more resources into fewer target accounts who are more likely to convert, and provide a greater ROI. Which kind of ABM approach you should adopt depends on a number of factors. In this blog you’ll find out what the 3 types of ABM are, and which is right for your business.

the three types of ABM

So you’ve decided that adopting an ABM strategy is right for your business and that’s definitely a wise choice.


It’s understandable that you might have some concerns, running an ABM programme requires a shift of mind-set. It takes sizeable marketing ‘balls’ to shift resources from more typical marketing strategies to account-based marketing.


But that’s exactly what organisations are doing – the number of companies with an advanced ABM programme doubled from 2017 to 2018. And why?


Simple – because in a recent study, 97% of marketers reported a higher ROI from ABM than other marketing campaigns. Any successful ABM campaign is one that balances these three measures –


  • The likelihood of a given target account buying
  • The resources required to acquire them as a customer
  • The potential ROI to your business if they convert

The differences between the 3 types of ABM are driven by a need to align these factors, so let’s look at exactly what each approach involves and what factors should inform your ABM strategy.

One-to-one ABM

The original and probably best known of the 3 types of ABM, and the approach you’re most likely already familiar with.

One-to-one ABM is a strategic approach that treats your most valuable target accounts as their own individual markets. This means engaging with each of them in a specific and bespoke way.


A typical one-to-one campaign would involve targeting 5-10 key target accounts, the ones whose business would make your year or even change the direction of your company.

The resources required to engage with each account in a one-to-one ABM campaign are significant. With that in mind, it’s vital that you have deep insight into how likely the target account is to buy. Intent data is a great way to choose your target accounts based on whether they’re starting a buying journey.


By focusing on 10 accounts that you know are likely to buy, you can allocate more resources to engaging with each, knowing that they are more likely to convert and provide you with a great ROI.

You should consider one-to-one ABM as your strategy of choice if –


  • You can research the accounts in detail and gather detailed insights on how likely they are to buy
  • Your products and solutions are high-value and high-consideration
  • You’re selling into a mature or even saturated market
  • Your opportunity to close rate is high
  • You have clear and genuine points of differentiation from your competitors
  • Each account has a large number of key stakeholders from whom you need buy-in
  • You have the resources available to create content bespoke to each account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account

One-to-few ABM

One-to-few ABM, or ABM Lite as it’s also known, is a way of using the one-to-one ABM principles and applying them at scale to a greater number of target accounts.

For example, you might be dedicating 40 days per month to your top 5 accounts in a one-to-one strategy.


If you then wanted to reach out to your top 30 accounts, you most likely wouldn’t be able to scale up the same approach unless you have 240 days worth of resources available to do this. So what’s the answer?


Your best strategy would be to focus on small groups of target accounts, rather than individual accounts. These groups can then be treated as their own individual markets, in the same way as individual accounts were with one-to-one ABM.


The most common way to organise accounts into groups of 5-10 is by sub-sector. If you’re targeting the retail sector, your sub-sectors might be fashion, groceries, DIY and homeware.

You can then build specific content that will resonate with that sub-sector, identifying trends and solving their challenges.

Consider one-to-few ABM as your strategy of choice if –


  • You have a small addressable market of target accounts
  • You’re selling high-value, high consideration solutions or products
  • You have to get buy-in from 3-4 key stakeholders at each account
  • You’re able to gather insights into the challenges facing each target sector
  • You have the resources available to create sector specific content
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your product or solution has clear points of differentiation from its competition

One-to-many ABM

One-to-many ABM takes the ABM approach and scales it so the principles can be applied to a larger number of target accounts.


How many? That’s up to you, as there are no hard and fast rules as to where one-to-few ends and where one-to-many begins.


Similarly, you might be wondering where to draw the line between one-to-many ABM and just ‘marketing’? Well you’re not alone, there’s not a clear agreement even among leading practitioners of ABM.


It depends on the lifetime value of those accounts to your business, the greater the value, the fewer you should go for.


The average number of accounts for a one-to many campaign according to the ITSMA sits at around 100. However you may choose to go for more than this and dedicate fewer resources to each, or use an approach closer to the one-to-few model, and dedicate more resources to engaging with each account.

You should consider one-to-many ABM as a strategy if –


  • You want to increase brand awareness whilst also creating engagement at key accounts
  • Your solution is new to market, or the market need educating on its potential
  • There is one or a couple of key stakeholders at each target account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your pipeline to close rate is low and could be improved
  • You don’t have access to information on which accounts are starting a buying journey
  • You need some accounts to convert more quickly in order to see ROI sooner


In these times of uncertainty, making the most out of your marketing budget is more important than ever. In Account-Based Marketing you reduce the number of accounts you target significantly and then increase the amount of resources you spend on them. This makes the actual account selection process very important because you can’t afford for an account that receives significant resource to just fall by the wayside. So with that in mind, here a five tips for best practice account selection.

Have you thought about targeting different industries?

People are getting scared and more cautious about taking meetings and calls. So, who is engaging?


Some industries are booming at the moment such as:


  • Video conferencing technology
  • Project management tools
  • E-learning
  • Ecommerce
  • Gaming

With an influx in demand, they might just be looking for your solution. But for industries heavily effected, you need to rethink your GTM strategy to be as humane as possible; if your solution is something that would be deemed essential to these businesses – keep helping. If it’s more of a luxury, consider targeting different industries where an influx of demand means they might be on the lookout for your solution.

Sales and Marketing, Name a Better Duo

We always talk about the importance of sales and marketing alignment, but it comes into play with regards to account selection as well. A common mistake is allowing one department to select all of the target accounts for a campaign.


If the sales team are solely responsible then you run the risk of them giving you all of the ‘problem’ accounts that they have yet to achieve any traction with. As Jamie Hardin, Senior Marketing Manager of ON24 explains “ABM should be viewed as augmenting the current strategy, not a ‘Hail Mary’ initiative on an inactive account.” Similarly, it would be foolish for marketing to be solely responsible without using the information that sales already have on the accounts that they’ve been engaging with.

This could be information on which accounts are reaching a contract renewal date, previous positive conversations with the clients, or even contacts that could have used your services in a previous role at another company.

By combining the information marketing has alongside insights from sales, your account selection can lay the foundation for a successful campaign.

Are you intent on this?

Utilising intent data is the best way to select accounts. This helps you understand which companies are in a buying window based on the websites they’re visiting and the content they’re consuming. However, platforms such as Bombora and Nexus aren’t at everyone’s disposal, which is why a combination of the above tactics gives the next best chance of selecting accounts that are most likely to convert.


Account selection is perhaps the biggest factor in the success of an Account-Based Marketing campaign. Good accounts, that fit your ICP and are showing intent are bound to be successful, whereas accounts that aren’t selected on insight and reasoning are likely to fail. There’s never a sure fire way to pick accounts that are destined to convert, but by following these tips you’ll have a solid foundation for your ABM programme.

Do it early!

One of the most consistent mistakes we come across with account selection is doing it too late in the ABM journey. After first defining your ideal customer profile or ICP (link to other blog) and selecting your sector, you should be looking to choose your accounts. Prioritising selection early on in the process will give you ample time to gather insight into them, allowing you to really personalise your message that will resonate with the target DMU.

Make Sure They Fit Your ICP

Using an ICP to frame your account selection ensures that your target accounts are most likely to be a good fit for your business. It also ensures that you don’t fall for those ‘dream’ accounts that you may have put on the list because you want the logo on your website, or you’ve always dreamed of working with. If they aren’t right for the programme, you shouldn’t be targeting them. It’s not about if you want them, as much as it’s about if they want you.

So, you’re thinking about adopting Account-Based Marketing…

Fantastic! But there are three different types of ABM; one-to-many, one-to-few, and one-to-one. So, which one is right for you? Luckily, we have a handy little calculator that will tell you exactly that.