The position of an SDR (Sales Development Representative) is a key role in the sales team and opportunity generation process. It’s a complex process finding and contracting a great SDR – and one that costs your company a ton of time and money.
It is incredibly important to design a good SDR onboarding process. Without well-trained SDRs, your entire sales pipeline would come to a halt without opportunities to win deals.
To enable your new SDRs to achieve the best results possible it’s our responsibility to prepare them with a thorough onboarding. That includes providing the know-how and tools they need for long-term success.
The main objective of the onboarding provides a solid starting point from which they can quickly ramp-up.
The SDR onboarding process has three objectives – first, get to know the company and the product, or the solution which you sell. Secondly, to be fully aware of your target market. Thirdly, to become familiar with the tools and processes of outbound or sales development.
It’s important to emphasize the culture of the team and core values to get new SDRs to get on board with your office vibe. The first step is doing a who’s who of your team.
Present the members of the team and explain their responsibilities within the company. This helps your SDRs understand who to turn to when they have a problem or need help with the product, a human resources question, and so on.
Introduce the current situation of the company, sales strategy, as well as long and short term objectives. This helps the SDR integrate into the sales department and understand the end goal for the team as a whole.
Take time to explain the role that SDRs play in the sales team, what objectives they have, and the processes they should follow. It’s important that your reps understand the key performance indicators in the sales team (not just within their role, but Market Research and Account Executives too). Explain the objectives behind these key figures and the tactical steps to reach their goals.
The SDR themself and other departments in your company should clearly understand the vital role of sales development reps. Typically, SDRs secure quality meetings from which the Account Executives can turn into sales opportunities.
Each rep must learn to effectively prospect the leads and qualify accounts delivered by Market Research. Developing the rep’s expertise and processes are fundamental to get them to the point where they consistently hand over quality leads to AEs.
It’s crucial to teach the news SDR to manage their expectations. They have to understand the target market which the company is focusing on in the first place. Understanding the size that they can attain their objectives in a realistic way.
What tools does a newbie rep need to be successful? Well, the SDR playbook (the manual where all wisdom about sales in the company is collected), the CRM (a technology where all sales information is recorded), and the other tools used to manage their work to the highest standards – give them the superpowers they need to be the best.
The proper tech stack allows an SDR to perform an extremely effective search for leads (through LinkedIn Sales Navigator for example), start prospecting through calls or begin emailing with the right message for each industry, position, or role. All of this info must, of course, be collected through mail tracking tools and a dialer.
Making these tools available to the SDR launches them into owning their pipeline and using the prospecting cadence to contact their leads.
The SDR must make leads aware of the problem and sell the solution. They’ll need to develop an in-depth knowledge of the trends of your industry and the problem you solve.
The major key is that the SDR believes in your solution so that they can sell it. During onboarding, it’s time to show use cases, success stories, and of course, talk about the other guys in the playing field. Discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of your competition, compared to yourselves.
Which companies are the company targeting? Then more importantly, who is the buyer persona? The job of an SDR is to find the right person within the company of which we want to generate a business opportunity—and they need to know exactly who to look for here.
“The job of an SDR is to find the right person within the company of which we want to generate a business opportunity”
Also, they will learn what pain points the ideal customer has and how our product can help them. They will learn how to connect and engage with the potential lead.
We need to teach the new hires how to organize their time, prioritize their tasks, and stay on top of everything. It’s important that they learn to keep their data inputs tidy within the CRM so that it’s easy to pull information from it at any time.
Hands-on: practice what they’ve learned in real-life. The new member of the team has to practice prospecting through cold-calling, emailing, etc.
At this point, it’s a good time to find a mentor within the team who can teach specific tactics and practice with the newbie team member.
Role-playing exercises with both good and bad “clients” can help SDRs learn objection handling and handle doubts. Record how the exercises go, review them (whether they’re audio or text reviews), and use this feedback to schedule further coaching sessions.
Encourage good work and attitude through coaching and ongoing training. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to focus on improving and maximizing the communication and outreach skills of an SDR. Make sure to schedule 1:1 sessions with the new hires regularly to check in on progress and skill development.
In conclusion, the onboarding shouldn’t be seen as just part of a list of things to do before an SDR can be put on the phone. Instead, think of it as a future investment. As you make the onboarding more defined and standardized, SDR ramp-up will be quicker, and you’ll see your company scale quickly.
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