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SDR Enablement: Best Practices from Hiring to Career Growth

The best practices for SDR Enablement start with hiring and continues with onboarding and practical training. And it’s about preparing them to succeed not just today, but for as long as they are in your company.

When you are building an SDR team, look to SDR Enablement from the initial hiring process through their entire journey at your company.

The best practices for SDR enablement

The more effort a business takes in SDR enablement the more value an SDR can provide that business.

“Just like sales enablement became revenue enablement, SDR enablement can’t just be sales development enablement it has to be top-of-funnel enablement. You’ve got to be hand-in-hand with your sales op team, your product marketing team, with your demand generation team, it’s got to be all aligned.”

Eddy Morris

This alignment starts with the hiring process.

Hiring SDRs

When hiring SDRs, it’s helpful to keep in mind the enormous value SDRs can bring to the top-of-funnel processes. This is why there are some key traits to look out for during the interview process.

One of the most vital traits to look for when hiring is coachability:

  • How well does a person take feedback?
  • How do they approach obstacles? Do they fight through, or do they cave easily?
  • Are they competitive? Are they looking to always improve and do better than yesterday?
  • Can they apply critical thinking to their work? (addition from Alex Kroger, Regional Cohost and Trusted Advisor in Spain).

Other important hiring factors for SDRs include:

  • Passion: while the candidate may not need a passion for being an SDR, they should have a passion for sales. Ideally, they should also be passionate about the product they are selling.
  • Creativity: with the current landscape changing so consistently, it’s important to be able to adapt to what’s in front of you and think independently.
  • Curiosity: specifically, intellectual curiosity. You don’t want to hire someone who’s looking to make money quickly. Rather, it’s better to find someone who cares about the problem your product (or service) solves.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Traits such as respect, integrity, being a good listener, and being articulate are also important considerations.

Onboarding SDRs

The right onboarding helps people start a job in a position to win. The best-in-class onboarding provides the appropriate tools and resources new SDRs need. This also helps to set a strong foundation for those individuals who move into account executive roles.

The ideal onboarding program for sales development enablement will:

  1. enable a person to come out of onboarding and hit their ramp goal, and then a month later hit their full quota.
  2. Skill development to help:
  3. drive the right kind of behavior and best-in-class skills.
  4. Find and work on the skills that they could build upon to help them hit their numbers.

Successful onboarding is about “looking at what are the best practices we can build here, that we can help our reps to build those skills that are:

  1. a) best-in-class, and b) are going to provide results so that when a rep starts, when they get out the gate they can get to their territory and start doing these things and start saying, “oh, ok, I can trust in this because I’m getting the results I want.” (Eddy Morris).

The best practice for onboarding SDRs is a hands-on, practical approach that gives your SDRs the confidence to do their job well as soon as they start.

Your SDR Training Program

Enabling SDRs requires a focus on trainingEnabling SDRs requires an investment in an SDR training program. The coaching is really where management and other leaders align with enablement and run with it.

The reason this alignment is so necessary is that training cannot just be handing a phone script to someone. Training needs to involve teaching new people the why behind what they’re doing.

For example: why is this messaging preferable to other messaging (what makes this messaging work?). How does the SDR role fit into the broader sales process? Why are you teeing the meeting up for?

“An SDR is not a meeting scheduler, they are a qualifier: you are getting in there and you are vetting out what a good fit for your AE [account executive] is. And you’re adding value.”

– Eddy Morris

What should you include in a typical SDR training program?

  • Product training
  • Industry and market trends
  • Terminology
  • Sales process
  • Lead Qualification
  • Cold calling
  • Objection handling

And remember to use The Surrounded Learner Technique to maximize the success of your SDR training program.

Enabling SDRs – Career Pathing

Many view the SDR role as an entry-level job. So how do you help SDRs move forward with their careers?

One method put forward by Heather Reed is to create an agile SDR Enablement program that bridges the skill and product knowledge gaps that exist between the SDR and AE roles.

As Heather Reed explains it, “What do people who don’t have the closing experience need to walk into a closing role that will make their lives and the lives of their manager easier. What foundational skillset can we start giving them? How can we start to shift their paradigm from being a qualifier to really running that deep discovery?”

The first step in this method is to assess exactly the skills an SDR needs to become an AE. As well as what product knowledge gaps they have that would make the closing process harder.

Secondly: figure out how your AE leadership can help bridge this gap without any risk of overburdening the AE with more than they can handle.

Thirdly: define the sales methodology skills that need to be instilled into SDRs to help them make the paradigm shift to AE.

By creating an agile SDR Enablement program that addresses these steps, you can help to take your SDRs—who are ready for the next step—and help them become AEs who provide value at that level.

How robust is your sales development enablement program?

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