Daniel Pink & the Keys to SDR Team Success

In his bestselling book, Drive, Daniel Pink outlines three concepts that lead to success and fulfillment in one’s career. He boils it down to these big three: autonomy, mastery and purpose.  

In usual Pink style, the book is an easy read, full of data and packed with relevant anecdotes to keep the pages turning.

Building off his research, Pink argues that, while money is obviously a critical factor in career satisfaction and required to support your lifestyle, it is just one part of the overall hierarchy of what contributes to overall happiness in one’s career.  It takes more than just a fat paycheck to achieve career satisfaction.  

While reading Drive, I kept thinking about how integrating this advice could create a more positive approach to building an effective and motivated SDR team.  

By encouraging these concepts into your SDR team’s workflow, could you drive more success, longevity and career satisfaction among the team?

In the hyper-competitive market for talent among SDR candidates, we know it’s going to take more than good salaries, benefits and fussball tables to keep top-performers around.

Remember, recruiters are hitting up your team all day with bigger better offers.  Drive gives us a clue on how to stay ahead of that competition.  

So how can SDR managers bring the three factors of autonomy, mastery and purpose into the daily life of SDRs?

A few ideas:

  • Autonomy: Run a scheduled, coordinated and airtight on-boarding program to give them everything they need to succeed. Set up crystal clear expectations with each person around daily activities, personal success factors and end results, right from the beginning. Set up dashboards and email daily reports showing exactly how people are doing, every day.  After that’s all set up, let them jump on the phone, fail, and course correct using the tools they have available. Leave people alone, but be available for help and offer advice if they need it.  Track everything clearly and hold everyone accountable every day to hit their activity metrics, but go over them in weekly 1:1’s or behind the scenes so people feel empowered to do things themselves. People will shock you with how much they will jump in and engage when they know what they’re doing and what’s expected. Autonomy empowers. 

  • Mastery: Create an attractive, professional playbook they can master.  Offer well designed, specific training focused on becoming a great SDR.  Create a weekly coaching calendar (TOPO recommends 4-6 hours per SDR per month of 1:1 coaching) Give people the ability to gain new skills and reinforce the ones they have.  Create written and spoken exams they can take and master.  Set up a career path from SDR I –> II –> III –> Team Lead, and so forth, and tie the advancement to passing their exams.  Give everyone the ability to become the best possible SDR you can.  After that, it’s up to them to execute, and eventually, to master.  

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  • Purpose:  bring up questions in 1:1’s that get people thinking; why are we doing this? Where is this all going? Where do you see yourself in five years?  Help SDR’s discover the true passion behind their job. Do they love winning? Do they love helping others? Do they love being part of a high performance team?  SDR is a tough job at times. Pep talks and motivational rally won’t help for long in maintaining morale, it has to come from within.  Can each person on the team answer why this is important and why the mission is critical?  If not, guide them to discover their own reason for being there.  


Remember, SDR is the first job for most people, so to think they have all this figured out is not realistic. However, if, after a while of you trying to bring it out they aren’t coming up with anything, or don’t really care, you may have a larger problem on your hands.

As mentioned, motivation has to come from within.  But as a manager you can help SDRs discover that, and work with more purpose each day.  

Have you tried any of those ideas or found ways to encourage the aspects that Daniel Pink advocates in Drive?  

Please leave a comment below.  

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