Hiring and onboarding a sales development representative (SDR) can be expensive and time-consuming. But it’s worth the effort because SDRs are a crucial part of the sales process.
A 2021 report by The Bridge Group reveals that SDRs in the U.S. generate a median of $3 million in raw pipeline sales.
And although companies invest heavily into hiring the best talent on the market, they rarely match those efforts in their SDR onboarding process.
Here’s a 10-step SDR onboarding checklist that shows you how to turn your new hire into a quota-crushing SDR.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- An Introduction to SDR Onboarding
- SDR Onboarding Checklist
- Final Thoughts: SDR Onboarding Checklist
An Introduction to SDR Onboarding
SDR onboarding is the process companies use to introduce new sales representatives to their organization, tools, products and customers. The objective is to help recruits get up to speed with the sales process and reach full productivity.
Several factors influence the time required to onboard an SDR, or the ramp-up time, including experience, market complexity and product. Even the most experienced sales development reps need time to learn about a company’s values, products, processes, tools and customers.
Successful SDR onboarding ensures new hires get into the right headspace to sell quickly.
SDR Onboarding Checklist
- Define objectives and KPIs.
- Welcome the SDR to your organization.
- Help them understand what they’re selling.
- Explain who they’re selling to.
- Teach them how to set and organize sales targets.
- Provide access to sales tools and relevant documentation.
- Establish channels for communication.
- Assign a mentor.
- Evaluate their progress.
- Shadow them on live sales calls.
Here’s a 10-step SDR onboarding template that will help you maximize productivity.
1. Define Objectives and KPIs
Define what success means to you. Without that, your SDRs won’t know what’s expected of them by the end of the onboarding process.
Once you know what you’d like them to achieve when they’re fully onboarded, write it down and share it with them. Those key performance indicators (KPIs) will help your SDRs achieve your onboarding goals.
For example, here’s how you can outline month-wise milestones for new hires:
- Month 0: 10 calls per day + Complete quiz on product, processes and customers.
- Month 1: 25 calls per day + One meeting per week.
- Month 2: 50 calls per day + Three meetings per week.
2. Welcome the SDR to Your Organization
Welcome the new rep to your company and educate them about your company values and mission on the first day. An employee onboarding kit is a great way to do this.
Introduce the SDRs to their peers and allow them to have conversations. That will help them understand the team dynamics and their role in the company. A quick welcome post on LinkedIn can also help break the ice with the sales team.
3. Help Them Understand What They’re Selling
Educate new hires about the ins and outs of your product through interactive demos and help them fall in love with it. Use Scribe to create shareable product walk-throughs and save yourself hours of repetitive work.
Show them what separates your product from the competition and allow them to explore your products and services independently to prepare for future product training demos.
4. Explain Who They’re Selling To
Provide context about your customers using buyer personas so SDRs can understand how your product fits their workflow. Make them experts on your target market so they can use that knowledge to add value to their prospects’ lives instead of just selling to them.
Share ideal customer profiles and success stories to help them understand how it solves problems using real-world examples. Your SDRs are the face of your business. Make sure they’re always prepared to answer any questions prospects might have.
5. Teach Them How To Set and Organize Sales Targets
Ask new reps to create lists of prospective accounts and a plan for outreach and pipeline building. You can also conduct team meetings to discuss their plan and provide constructive feedback on their sales prospecting strategies.
Organize coaching sessions to teach the basics of lead qualification, response handling and booking demos. Show them how to use different touchpoints like email, video and direct outreach to nurture prospects.
6. Provide Access to Sales Tools and Relevant Documentation
Provide access to your sales engagement software and teach SDRs how to use it. Start with the basics, such as entering contacts and setting reminders, before moving on to more complex tasks like creating and managing multiple pipelines and using automation.
You don’t need to do this manually. Create an online knowledge base using Scribe and share it with them. For instance, here’s a Scribe that explains how to import a list of accounts into Salesforce:
7. Establish Channels for Communication
Things that seem obvious to you might not feel the same to your new salesperson. Thus, it’s crucial to organize weekly meetings to address queries and increase accountability.
Set weekly reminders in Google Calendar to check in on your SDRs every week and provide support when needed.
8. Assign a Mentor
Get your team members involved in the SDR onboarding and assign an experienced sales leader to each new hire. Ask SDRs to shadow their peers on cold calls and meetings to understand how to speak the same language as your customers.
Listening in on sales calls is one of the best ways to learn industry-specific jargon.
Encourage role-playing outbound calls and teach them how to navigate common sales conversations. Teach objection handling and provide continuous coaching to help them grow in a positive learning environment.
9. Evaluate Their Progress
Create short weekly quizzes to evaluate SDR training progress. For instance, at the end of the first week, use a quiz to test their understanding of your company and its product, customer and sales process.
Here’s an example of a sales performance survey template by Typeform that you can use to evaluate progress:
10. Shadow Them on Live Sales Calls
As you approach the end of the SDR onboarding process, ask SDR team leaders to shadow new hires on sales calls to monitor their progress and provide feedback.
Final Thoughts: SDR Onboarding Checklist
A strategic SDR onboarding plan is necessary to get new hires into the right sales mindset. Although full sales quota attainment is the ultimate goal, it’s important to remember that ramping up new SDRs too quickly might work against you.
Allow them to ease into the process. More importantly, make sure you optimize processes, define success metrics and use online tools to automate repetitive tasks.