In a previous post, we suggested some tried and tested strategies for hiring Sales Development Representatives. Getting these people onto your team is just the first step, the next one is training them properly. The right training is important so you can make sure that your SDRs are able to perform at their best.
Here are 6 key steps for creating a successful SDR training.
1. Set Goals and Expectations
Our first tip is to set clear goals and expectations. Whenever you have a new employee, no matter what role they are filling, it’s important that they know what is expected of them. This will give them something to aim towards each day, and over a longer period of time.
Define the KPIs – how many calls are you expecting your SDRs to make each day? How many emails? How many new leads should they find per day?
Let your new SDRs know what you expect from them, but also make it clear that it’s okay if they don’t hit these numbers right away. There’s always an adjustment period, but having these KPIs in mind will help your new SDRs to stay on the right track.
2. Work on Their Skills
If the person you are hiring is new to sales development, they will not necessarily have all the skills or experience you’re looking for. This doesn’t mean they’re a bad hire – it just means that they will need a little more time to get in the game.
Before they start an outreach campaign, set aside some time to work with them on the skills they’ll need to succeed. For example, you can work with them on how to handle rejection, help them draft email drip templates, or share with them some best practices for prospecting. Working on these skills in the beginning will help those first calls and emails go a little easier, and keep your new SDRs confidence up as they get started.
3. Provide an Example
A great way to show an SDR how to do tasks is by providing them with an example. There are a few ways you can do this. If you have some experience yourself with sales development, you could hop on the phone and show them how you make a call. Do this a few times so your new employee sees how you operate.
Another option is to pair them up with an experienced SDR already on your team. If you have someone who has been at this job for a while, let your new hire shadow them for a bit. This can be of great benefit to people just starting out, and your experienced SDR will get something out of it too. Sometimes teaching others how to do something helps us to understand it better, and your experienced SDR will likely appreciate you trusting them to teach someone else.
Finally, you can look into a mentorship program. For instance, The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals provides a free mentorship program to anyone looking to learn more about sales development. You could help your new hire get started with this program so that they can learn from an expert.
4. Make Sure They Stick to Your Structure and Processes
When a new SDR is first starting out, the number of things they have to remember can be a little overwhelming. During this time, you may find them taking shortcuts or doing things a little differently. So it’s important to point out that they must stick to your established structure and processes.
A solid structure is the foundation of any successful SDR department. You want everyone working on the same page, and communicating effectively, for maximum efficiency. If one person isn’t following the guidelines you have in place, it can mess up the entire operation.
Show them the correct way to qualify leads, or how to communicate with the team members, or how to use your email marketing tools. It will take some time for your new SDR to get everything right, but keep reminding them of the correct way to do things and how to be more productive.
5. Perform Regular Reviews
One of the best things you can do for your SDR team is provide regular reviews of their work. Especially when someone is first starting out, it’s hard to know how well you’re doing. By tracking your team’s progress, and going over what they’re doing well and what they need to improve, you can help your SDRs learn from their mistakes and correct them going forward. This is valuable not only for new SDRs but experienced ones as well.
A great thing you can do is record some of their calls. So when the time for review comes, you can listen together and discuss what they could do better. Doing it this way provides them with direct feedback on their work, which is often more useful than abstract suggestions.
6. Issue Reminders
Finally, issue your new SDRs regular reminders of the things they need to work on. They’re going to have a lot going on in their brains, and they may keep forgetting some small things. For instance, put a Post-it note up by their desk that says “Speak Louder!” or “Talk Slower!”. Or, if there’s a certain fact or statistic you want to mention about your product, give them a reminder to include it in their pitch. These little reminders can really help when they are in the middle of a call, and will eventually seep into their brains over time. Focus on one or two things at a time until they have everything down.
Always Dedicate Time for Proper Training
In an ideal world, you could hire someone and the next day they’d be off and running. But this isn’t how it works. You need to spend time training someone, especially when they are new to sales development. But by taking the time now, you can ensure that your SDR knows the best way to handle things going forward and that they are set up for long-term success. In the end this will only benefit your business, by providing you with a happy and product sales development representative.