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As a sales manager, a big part of your job will involve coaching new sales development representatives (SDRs). They’ll need to be trained to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, receive marketing qualified leads (MQLs), and engage with contacts to assess if they intend to purchase in the future.

Failing to coach SDRs properly means inefficient workflows and poor results. Keep in mind that hiring and onboarding them is an expensive process, which means wasting a costly investment if they leave the company to pursue better opportunities elsewhere.

Consider the following statistics from TaskDrive, a research company for B2B and marketing teams:

  • It takes around ten weeks for newly hired SDRs to finish basic training. However, they only become productive after 11 months
  • On average, the majority of SDRs require 4.1 months to ramp, and they usually spend about 2.8 years in the assigned role
  • An SDR’s average tenure is 1.5 years. Moreover, only 8% will remain in the role for more than three years

Knowing these figures, how exactly can you train SDRs to ensure they deliver excellent results and are willing to stay with the company for a long time?

Define their Goals and Expectations

The training aims to improve and optimize an SDR’s performance; however, identifying their weak spots will be difficult, if not downright impossible, if they don’t know what they’re working towards. Before starting on your modules, first, establish their goals and the expectations the role demands from them.

Here are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll need to communicate to your SDRs clearly:

  • How many calls and emails are they expected to make every day?
  • How many leads should they find per day or week?
  • What is their quota for follow-up calls and in-person meetings?
  • How many of their leads eventually ended in a closed deal?

Your SDRs should understand the importance of these goals and expectations; however, be sure to let them know that it’s okay if they don’t achieve these numbers immediately. Naturally, they’ll need time to adjust to their new role, but a clear understanding of these KPIs will allow them to stay on track.

Create and Develop a “Library of Resources”

No matter what industry it belongs to, a company should continuously develop and create educational materials to help its new hires. This “library of resources” should consist of the following:

  • Sales Playbook: This will outline the best prospecting and objection handling practices. If the company has invested in sales development tools and software, then instructions on how to use these should be included too
  • Industry Articles: Keep SDRs up to date with the latest industry news by providing them with relevant websites and influencers to follow. It’ll be easier for them to stay on top of their game if they’re aware of new trends and technologies
  • Scripts: Newly hired SDRs will undoubtedly benefit from scripts they can use when emailing or cold-calling prospects. However, be sure to let them know that it’s alright to deviate from these
  • Company Decisions and Updates: Changes implemented by the company can affect the entire sales process, which is why SDRs should always be kept up to date. In particular, they should be the first to know if any changes are made to the product or service

A “library of resources” will streamline your training sessions, making them more effective and less stressful. Passing on knowledge and best practices to newly hired SDRs will also be much easier.

Encourage SDRs to Practice

Not every SDR has the necessary skills to excel in the role, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Instead, it only means that it’ll take them a bit more time and effort before they start delivering on your expectations.

Before starting them on their responsibilities, set aside some time to work extensively with newly hired SDRs, particularly those without prior experience; for example, you can teach them how to handle rejections when they’re cold-calling prospects or help them create a template for follow-up emails.

Training SDRs isn’t just about giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to meet your expectations. It also means building their confidence, so they know what exactly to say and do when guiding prospects through the sales pipeline.

Record Calls

This may sound time-consuming and labor-intensive, but audio recordings will allow your SDRs to evaluate themselves and their performance. In particular, they should pay close attention to these:

  • What does my tone sound like?
  • Am I genuinely listening to the prospect?
  • Do I exude confidence or nervousness?
  • Am I using positive or negative language?

Recording their phone calls and listening to them afterward will help SDRs identify their weak areas and deficiencies, allowing them to improve their performance. You can also give them feedback, although be sure to frame your criticisms constructively and encouragingly.

Provide a “Role Model”

Not everyone learns the same way; some SDRs prefer to read through the manual and figure things out on their own, while others may benefit more from “observational learning.” This involves pairing them with an experienced representative who can show them the roped, whether cold-calling or setting follow-up meetings with prospects.

If you want to take it a step further, consider establishing a mentorship program wherein long-time employees will be responsible for coaching and guiding new hires. The latter will learn much faster, and your experienced representatives will also appreciate your trust in them. This will likely drive them to perform better.

Don’t Focus on the Product or Service.

Many SDRs – particularly those without experience in the field – tend to focus on selling the company’s product or service. However, you should train them to concentrate on the prospect’s persona instead. Every call or email they make must be geared towards answering the following questions:

  • What is the prospect’s level of experience?
  • What are their goals and pain points?
  • How do they get further in their career path?

Answers to these will give your SDRs a better understanding of engaging with their prospects. It’ll also give them more insight into how the product or service will help solve the target market’s problems.

Thanks to technology, training newly hired SDRs is no longer a chore. For instance, provides a tool that accurately transcribes phone calls in real-time, which you can compare to your sales playbook. This will help you evaluate your team members, allowing you to see whose performance needs to be improved.

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