Picture this. It’s a sunny Wednesday morning and you’re at your desk, snuggling into your second cup of coffee.
Your phone rings, and without looking at the call display, you answer. Because honestly, talking to someone on the phone is WAY better than responding to Francine in Accounting.
The person on the other end of the line introduces themselves before launching into a sales pitch about their software, and how they work with customers just like you, and how it’s going to change your life.
Outside, clouds are rolling in to block the sun. You hear, “Can I book you on a 30-minute call with my account executive?”
What do you say?
If you are like me, you probably weren't listening and say something to the effect of, “We’re okay right now, thanks,” and pleasantly say goodbye to the caller, hoping they’ll never bother you again.
What you don’t know is that the caller did have a solution that could solve a current problem you have.
I have seen many LinkedIn posts disparaging sales development reps (often called SDRs or BDRs) for a “bad call” and “wasting their time.” But the SDR isn’t to blame.
Their organization’s sales ramp and onboarding process is.
That SDR is probably one or two years out of school and has never sold anything before. They’re very green, their sales ramp will be gradual, and their organization has effectively thrown them to the wolves.
The SDR’s onboarding and sales ramp process probably consisted of shadowing other SDRs, reading a bunch of Box files, watching product training videos, and maybe a 1-week boot camp where a revolving door of subject matter experts spewed slide after slide of information at them.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t that effective.
3 questions SDRs need to answer
To correctly get the SDR up the sales ramp and enable the SDR to sell effectively, an organization needs to arm them with the answers to three key things:
What problem am I solving with my solution?
Who cares about this problem?
How do I convey the pain of this problem effectively, so the person I’m speaking with understands they need to care deeply and immediately enough to solve the problem.
These questions are hard. They take a structured approach to get up the sales ramp and to profitability faster.
Here’s how to do it.
3-step onboarding process
To onboard a new SDR effectively with the above information, an organization’s onboarding needs to execute the following onboarding sprints.
Online videos, call recordings, scripts, documents, anything you need the SDR to consume to understand the above three key things. This is the equivalent of learning your scales and sheet music when learning how to play the piano.
Just like you would sit at the piano and practice your scales and practice playing the songs, your SDRs need to practice the messaging. Have them practice with each other, practice with a manager or peer coach, practice with subject matter experts.
Your piano teacher typically sits next to you as you play the sheet music and will comment on and coach your performance. The SDR’s manager or peer coach should do the same as an SDR does dry-runs of calls, emails, and voicemails. Leverage technology to have SDRs post videos of themselves doing a pitch, or call, or presentation, so others at the organization can comment, like or rate their pitch.
Every new topic, message or script should follow the above sprint cycle, so the SDR has an opportunity to truly internalize the message. That way, when they “step on stage” in front of a customer, they are ready to play some great music.
Over to you
Sales ramp for your SDR team isn’t something you can pawn off on subject matter experts, nor is it something you can just expect the reps to do naturally. If you leave it to the SDR team, you’ll have a bad sales onboarding and a slow sales ramp. They don’t make any money and the organization doesn’t hit its projections. That’s why enablers need to take an extremely active role in sales ramp and make sure that their reps can answer the three core questions in their sleep: what problem do I solve, who cares, and how do I make others cares about that problem?
Can your reps do that? If not, then it’s time to get enabling!
About Melissa Madian
Melissa is the Principal and Chief Fabulous Officer at TMM Enablement Services, providing sales and customer experience enablement services for organizations looking to optimize their revenue-generating, customer-facing functions. She takes her 15+ years of experience in building and running successful sales enablement programs for rapid-growth startups, large corporations, and pre-IPO software organizations, and applies those best practices to companies interested in taking their sales and customer success teams to the next level. Prior to her consultancy, she held senior sales enablement positions at Eloqua, Oracle, and Vision Critical.