The Winning Playbook for SDR Onboarding

Updated: Jan 17



Are you an SDR leader who struggles to find time to onboard new SDRs the way they deserve it and that makes them most productive? 🤓

You are not alone, we also faced this problem and a lot of other great sales leaders did too. BUT there are sales leaders out there who brought this process to perfection.


A standard operating procedure that will not only make your sales development team more productive but will bring you more meetings and more pipeline long term and furthermore, make your direct reports happy. 😎


So let’s first check if this Playbook includes what you are looking for -->

  • This Playbook is for SDR Managers who onboard new employees frequently

  • This Playbook helps to Onboard SDRs faster, more structured, and more efficient

  • The outcome of using this Playbook is to make your new SDRs productive earlier and to save you valuable time while providing the best possible onboarding experience


You should use this playbook if 🎓

  • You are searching for a structured way to onboard your sales development team

  • You want to stay close with your new hires during the onboarding process

  • You want to see the progress of your new hires

  • You want to help your new hires with structure, content, and know-how to get them productive as fast as possible

  • You want to keep them calm during the first couple of weeks within their new role

  • You want to make the best possible impression while onboarding in-person, hybrid, or remotely



SDR Onboarding - Introduction



Onboarding is critical for the success of your SDR team and furthermore for the whole sales organization.


This Playbook for Onboarding your new Sales Development Representatives is used by leading high-growth B2B SaaS companies, e.g. Y Combinator companies. 🧙🏼‍♂️


These companies are hiring SDRs on a frequent basis.. and need a framework to make them productive as fast as possible.


In my previous roles, I onboarded a lot of SDRs and also made a couple of mistakes.


With this playbook, you can avoid the majority of the mistakes so you can be a successful manager. 🙌


If you are not providing the right structure for your new hires from Day 1 on, the chances of failing increase multiple times.


SDRs are in most cases junior employees!


For the majority of those great and motivated people, the SDR job is the first real job. If you are a manager of SDRs, it’s a big responsibility to make sure junior people have a great onboarding experience within their first real job.


Providing structure and being transparent all over the onboarding process is important. Structure and transparency are even more important when your onboarding is fully remote.


We put this playbook together for all managers who are not sure how to onboard their SDRs best. 🤔


When I was starting my first inside sales management role, I had no idea how to onboard new SDRs. I saw first-hand how important and critical it is, to have a clear plan and clear structure to empower every new hire and keep them motivated.


On average, SDRs stay a maximum of 13-18 months as SDR as mentioned by Hubspot. The average ramp time is 3.2 months. ⚡️


So it’s critical from day 1 on to onboard them quickly and provide them with a good and positive culture, a great learning environment, and a defined career path.


Every week you can accelerate the onboarding process and you will get results faster.


New hires stay on average 15 months in the SDR function. If your ramp time is 3 months you have a maximum productivity time of 1 year - if you do a lot of things right - before your SDR wants to get promoted or leaves.


Trish Bertuzzi mentioned in her book “The Inside Sales Playbook” the most important factors to increase the tenure time of SDRs.


You can increase the SDR tenure time by more than a full year if you enable a good and positive culture, a great learning environment, and a defined career path. The SDR baseline tenure is only 8 months. 💥


So if you aren’t enabling the best onboarding experience for your team, you most likely have to hire more often and have a higher attrition rate.


Furthermore, it’s important to check in frequently with all your new hires to see where they need some more coaching and where you need to adopt or deepen the individual onboarding experience.


Make sure you have a system in place to track the onboarding performance and status of every individual new hire.



Your SDR Onboarding Playbook

Your onboarding playbook should cover everything which is important to accelerate within the job. The onboarding playbook is the ground for everything.


If your onboarding fails, your whole team will fail. Below is an example of an onboarding process in our platform --> free to use for you but we will also explain it below.





Structure

I suggest having a weekly and daily structure of tasks that needs to be completed. Most junior employees are overwhelmed with a 30-page document which they have to go through by themselves.


Structure your playbook in small learning pieces which every new hire can digest easily.


Content

Include a lot of different content types, like audio, video, charts, text, and many more. Leverage an internal learning service to upload videos as well.


I recommend splitting the content into two main pieces:

(1) general SDR onboarding content and

(2) specific company, product, and industry-related content.


You want to make sure that new hires also understand how to write emails, how to do outbound calls, and how to structure their day.


Furthermore, you want to make sure you also add your specific onboarding needs for the problem your company solves, the industry you are in, and the product itself.





Example Onboarding Playbook for B2B SDRs



Week 1

Goals

After week 1 ...

( ) You have set up all tools (HR, Computer, Access to all tools and software)

( ) You got to know the most important people you will work together

( ) You know the basics about our industry, the problem we solve and our company

( ) You have looked at relevant information, you learnt a lot

( ) You did first role plays for cold calling and meetings



Day 1 - Monday - Go through company onboarding

1) Meeting: Intro with Manager to show and assign onboarding process

2) Go through company onboarding: Set up all general hardware and general tools

3) Meeting: Intro with Peer Mentor

4) Welcome lunch ideally with the manager, mentor, and broader team

5) Learn the culture, ideally via an employee handbook


Day 2 - Tuesday - Set up sales tools

1) Meeting: Intro with Manager for job and performance expectations

2) Meet with Sales Ops & Enablement Manager

3) Sales Tools Setup: Kickscale, Salesforce, Outreach

4) Sales Tools Training


Day 3 - Wednesday - Metrics and Industry Introduction

1) Meeting: Intro to Dashboards and Tracking

2) Industry Introduction Videos or Meetings


Day 4 - Thursday - Company Introduction

1) Company Introduction Videos or Meetings

2) Submit industry, company, and product-related questions

3) Attend at least 1 AE Call


Day 5 - Friday - Sales Training

1) Attend at least 1 AE Call

2) Schedule an additional 3 AE calls to attend next week

3) First week recap check-in with your Manager

4) Catch up on things not completed yet


--------------------------------------------


Week 2

Goals

After Week 2 ...

( ) You know how to and can sell → Force Management and Command of the Message

( ) You got a Sales Deep Dive

( ) You got even more Product Training Introductions

( ) You got Customer Success Stories Deep Div


Day 1 - Monday - Introduction to other departments

1) Introduction to Marketing Events

2) Introduction to Solutions and Support Team

3) Introduction to Regional or Global Sales Team

4) Meeting with Peer Mentor for Q/A


Day 2 - Tuesday - Shadowing

1) You shadow your Peer Mentor the whole day to learn about processes and tools which are used in Sales Development


Day 3 - Wednesday - Roleplays

1) You have done at least 3 role plays for cold calls

2) You have done at least 3 role plays for discovery calls

3) You summarize your learnings


Day 4 - Thursday - Sales Frameworks, e.g. Force Management

1) Force Management Training

2) Sales Frameworks in general

3) Shadow again a sales call from Account Executive


Day 5 - Friday - Tool Introduction

1) Learn how to use Salesforce and/or Hubspot in details

2) Learn how to use Prospecting tools such as ZoomInfo, Lusha

3) Learn how to use Task and Meeting Management such as Kickscale

4) Learn how to use Outreach

5) Learn how to use LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator


--------------------------------------------


Week 3 - Work it

Goals

After Week 3 …

( ) You have done the job as SDR by yourself

( ) You know the processes and plays of SDRs in your organization


Day 1 - Monday - Territory and Account Assignment

1) Talk with your Manager about your territory and your assigned leads

2) Meet your Account Executives and talk to them

3) Meet with your peer mentor to shadow how to work with account lists



Day 2 - Tuesday - Do Prospecting

1) Introduction Ideal Customer Profile

2) Introduction Personas and pain points

3) Research work: How to prospect and identify leads

4) Check out successful cadences and contact first leads


Day 3 - Wednesday - Do Calls

1) Learn the qualification framework on calls

2) Start to call your inbound leads

3) Collect information and qualify them


Day 4 - Thursday - Sales Framework Training

1) Training on your specific sales framework: MEDDPICC and Command of the Message by Force Management, Winning by Design by Jacco van der Kooij, SPIN Selling, The Challenger Sale, Winning Complex Sales by Miller Heiman

2) Cold and Warm Call Frameworks and Guides

3) Discovery Call/Meetings Frameworks and Guides

4) Shadow again a sales call from Account Executive


Day 5 - Friday - Role Plays and Metric Check

1) Inbound Role Plays for Calling

2) Inbound Role Plays for Discovery Meetings

3) Check your metrics


--------------------------------------------


Week 4 - Work it

Within week 4 you start to work on your very own.

There will still be check-ins with your Manager and your Peer Mentor for any kind of questions.


--------------------------------------------


Week 5 - Certification

Every SDR should run through a certification process about

1) Sales Process in general

2) CoM and Sales Framework

3) Product Sales

4) Industry Challenges

5) Certification presentation including role-plays (Meeting with Manager and Sales Heads)




So what's next?


Do you want to apply this process? We have a fully functioning process ready for you and even more... It comes with content that guides your SDRs through the full process without you needing to coordinate everything.


1. You simply load the process incl. content into your project

2. You assign it to your team

3. Your team sees it in their Dashboard and work through it

4. You see the progress of the full onboarding cycle You can also create and save your own Playbooks to keep your team aligned on winning processes.



 

Here is some more content for you to explore:


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