7 Steps to SDR Training

Written by Zach Litwiler / February 28, 2023 / 6 Minute Read
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SDR training is crucial for businesses aiming to improve their outbound lead generation. This comprehensive guide offers seven pivotal steps to ensure your SDRs are equipped with the right skills and knowledge. From defining goals to setting clear expectations, each step is designed to maximize the potential of your sales development representatives.

Outbound Lead Generation

If your marketing campaigns are successful, inbound leads create exciting opportunities to generate sales. While your sales pipeline fills with new potential customers, these prospects must be qualified and managed appropriately. Too many prospects and poor lead qualification may quickly create a new pain point in your sales process. Sales development representatives (SDRs) solve this problem.

In order to get the most out of your team of SDRs, business leaders must understand the nuance of this critical role. Whereas a sales rep will typically focus on prospects ready to buy, a sales development rep is keenly aware of prospects at all stages of the sales funnel. For this reason, sales development representative training is distinctly different from traditional training for sales reps.

Within the sales process, a sales develop rep operates as an extension of your sales team to qualify, nurture, and manage leads. Sales managers and training managers must build training and hiring practices to build the soft and hard skills needed for sales qualification. Fully trained and well equipped SDRs can help you build a successful sales strategy that leads to repeatable and scalable growth.

Define the Goals of SDR Training

There will always be a need to develop training around your personal brand especially because sales development representatives are the front line of your inbound sales team. Your professional relationships begin with the efforts of a successful SDR. So it is key to clearly define the goals of the SDR role within your business.

A sales development representative uses the combination of time tested tactics and the latest tech tools skills to manage inbound leads. Even though a potential customer contacts your business, there are many facets within inbound marketing.

This means a sales development representative must use tact and discretion to deliver an effective value proposition. Simultaneously, an SDR is responsible for qualifying leads so that the leads are managed within your sales pipeline. Many inbound leads will not be suitable matches for your business.

Some qualified leads will still be in the fact finding and consideration stage of the sales cycle. Your sales development representatives must also be skilled in objection handling and rejection.

The goals of SDR training is to develop all of these skills and train your specific strategy for transferring high quality leads to closing sales reps. For leads who are a good match but still need lead nurturing, SDRs must have training in these processes and structures.

Set Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations is a crucial component of any successful sales development representative training program. Whether your new sales development rep has prior experience or not, clarity helps to onboard for the SDR role.

Generally, the goal and expectation is to qualify leads. Within the parameters of your specific expectations in regards to time management, quotas like number of phone calls, and other expectations, never lose sight of the primary objective of converting inbound prospects to new customers. This clarity can motivate the SDRs and provide them with direction in their training, leading to better results and greater confidence in their abilities.

Implement SDR Training Programs and Courses

SDRs need to learn and develop various skills to be successful in their roles. Implementing training programs and courses can help SDRs learn the necessary skills, such as appointment setting, interview process, relationship building, and active listening strategies. If your inbound marketing requires cold calling, you will need to develop SDR’s ability in email prospecting and phone calls.

These programs can be delivered in various formats, such as classroom training, online courses, or mentorship programs, depending on the company’s resources and needs. Video lectures and in person training as part of the onboarding process can be powerful to building product knowledge and building camaraderie within your team.

Encourage Collaboration

Continuing the idea of team building, employees often learn best by collaborating with others in their fields. Sales professionals are no different. Encouraging collaboration among SDRs can help them share best practices, learn from each other’s experiences, and develop a sense of community.

More experienced SDRs can work with newer professionals in order to provide them with helpful information tailored to their current struggles. This can improve the overall performance of the business development team and increase their engagement with your products and services.

Teach Objection Handling

With sales, objection and rejection are both part of the job. Newer sales professionals might not yet be used to hearing “no”, so it’s important for them to understand that they’ll often deal with rejection before finally converting on a prospect.

Teaching objection handling techniques within SDR training can help increase performance. Resilience takes practice so early rehearsals in the onboarding process avoids pitfalls in real client facing situations. This can be done through role-playing exercises, case studies, and feedback from managers.

Many of the best business development training programs use gamification as career training materials.

Use Mock Calls as Practice

The sales process can be lengthy and even frustrating and mock calls can help your team experience common roadblocks in a controlled environment. Mock calls are a highly effective way to practice and improve an SDR’s communication skills including active listening. These practices can simulate real-world scenarios and help SDRs practice their sales pitches, objection handling skills, and closing techniques.

These exercises can also help SDRs build job-ready skills, gain self awareness, and identify areas where they need improvement before reaching out to real prospects for the first time. Finally, rehearsal training helps new reps understand SDR workflow.

Provide Feedback

Providing feedback will help your SDRs embrace their strengths and weaknesses. Feedback gives them direction for improvement and helps them find issues with their current process that they likely wouldn’t notice on their own. When you provide an SDR with feedback, you can do so via one-on-one coaching, group sessions, or performance reviews. It’s important to give specific and actionable feedback that can help SDRs improve their performance, leading to greater personal and professional success.

Data can guide SDRs to achieve top performance. SDR training that provides unbiased assessments helps individuals entering a new sales career. Since sales development representative roles are often entry level positions within a broader sales department, young professionals are often eager to learn and grow in their career.

Practice, Practice, Practice

They say practice makes perfect, and that’s especially true with sales development representatives. Practice will play a crucial role in the professional development of your SDRs, as it allows them to develop skills and improve their overall performance. They should be implementing the knowledge they’ve gained along the way in the form of feedback and results from mock calls. The more your SDRs practice, the more confident and competent they become, leading to better results for the company.

There is valuable information in every interaction so measuring tactics and every action within your campaigns provides insight. Hands on skills are only learned and perfected when there are measurable and repeatable results. As you build a sales department embracing continuous improvement will improve the experience for your potential customers and strengthen the onboarding process.

How Long Does it Take to Train a Team of Internal SDRs?

Training SDRs can be a lengthy process, as you’ll want to ensure they have the necessary tools and skills to positively impact your company. In general, training for a sales development representative role, depending on factors such as the company’s goals, the SDRs’ current experience and skills, the complexity of the products or services, and the training methods and resources available. An effective onboarding process will expedite the training.

There are a number of soft skills that will mature over time. For instance, time management is difficult to train with materials and self awareness becomes stronger only with more experience. As with any career, a sales development rep is always honing and adding to their skills. Your company should provide constant training on the latest developments in the industry to help your sales development representatives develop their skills and abilities.

For some simple products and services, sales development representative training can be completed in a matter of a few weeks. In more complex products and services like heavy equipment manufacturing and the tech industry, product training in itself may take a few weeks.

Ultimately, training a team of internal SDRs is a continuous and iterative process that requires significant time, effort, and resources. Companies should invest in a comprehensive onboarding program, continuous training and coaching, and access to training resources to ensure that their SDR team is prepared to achieve their sales goals. The exact duration of the training program depends on the company’s needs and goals, but it typically takes several weeks or months to fully train a team of internal SDRs.

Internal Vs. External SDRs

Choosing between internal and external SDRs will ultimately boil down to the needs and desires of your company. For example, while you might appreciate that a team of internal SDRs will be fully immersed in the culture and values of your organization, it will cost more to hire and train a team of SDRs than to outsource them.

Internal SDRs

The main advantage that internal SDRs have over external SDRs is that an internal team will likely have a greater understanding of the company’s culture, values, and products. They have a better understanding of the company’s goals and vision, helping them align their sales efforts with the company’s overall strategy.

Internal SDRs also have direct access to the company’s resources, such as customer data, marketing materials, and support teams. They can leverage these resources to provide personalized and timely responses to prospects and customers.

External SDRs

External SDRs are a great choice for companies that are looking for impressive results at a lower overall cost. A team of external SDRs can bring fresh perspectives, skills, and experience to the table almost immediately.

Outsourced SDRs can offer best practices and insights from their work with other companies and industries. External SDRs can also provide scalability and flexibility, as they can quickly ramp up or down the SDR team based on the company’s growth goals and abilities. Working with external SDRs will reduce the burden on the internal sales team, allowing them to focus on more pressing and high-priority tasks.

Benefits of Outsourcing SDRs

One of the greatest barriers to entry for small and medium sized businesses is fixed capital investments. Hiring sales development representatives requires salaries, SDR training, and access to cutting edge tools. Outsourcing sales development representatives is a viable option for companies that want to save time and resources in recruiting, hiring, and training an internal team of SDRs. Outsourcing SDRs can provide companies with a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Heightened Expertise: Outsourcing companies that specialize in SDR services often have a team of experienced professionals who are knowledgeable in the latest trends and best practices in sales development. These experts can quickly adapt to a company’s unique needs and provide value-added services that an inexperienced internal team may not be able to provide.
  • More Cost-effective: Outsourcing SDRs is typically much more cost-effective than hiring and training an internal team. Companies can avoid the high costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training SDRs, letting them allocate additional resources to other areas of the company.
  • Greater Flexibility: Outsourcing SDRs can provide companies with flexibility in terms of scale and speed. They can quickly ramp up or down their SDR team based on their needs, without worrying about the costs and risks associated with hiring and firing internal employees. Outsourcing companies can also provide backup support during peak seasons or when the internal team is understaffed.
  • Improved Focus: Outsourcing SDRs can free up the internal team’s time and resources to focus on core business activities, such as product development, customer support, and sales closing. This can boost productivity and efficiency, leading to better results for the company.
  • Reduced Risk: Outsourcing SDRs can reduce the risk associated with hiring and training an internal team. Companies can avoid the costs and liabilities associated with employee turnover, performance issues, and legal compliance. Outsourcing companies can also provide quality assurance and backup support to ensure that the SDR team meets the company’s standards and goals.

Grow at Your Pace by Working With Sales Development Representatives From Valve+Meter

Valve+Meter understands that all businesses grow at different paces, depending on their industry, resources, and other factors. When you work with Valve+Meter, we’ll help your company achieve repeatable, scalable, and profitable results that lead to sustainable growth. Our sales development reps stay up to date on the latest tools and skills in the industry to ensure we can provide you with the greatest results.

We’ll work with you to discuss the unique needs of your business, the challenges and pain points you face, and the ways in which we can help. From there, we’ll develop a strategy you can count on to deliver a steady flow of leads to your sales pipeline.

When you work With Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, we’ll ensure that you never waste another marketing dollar again. Reach out to our team today to learn more about outsourcing SDRs with Valve+Meter.

Contact Valve+Meter to Work With a Team of External SDRs

At Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, we’re passionate about helping companies achieve repeatable and scalable growth. We understand that training an internal team of SDRs isn’t for everyone, which is why we’re proud to provide companies with external SDRs. Our SDRs will take the time to learn about your business, as well as its products and services, to ensure that they have a complete and comprehensive understanding of who you are and what you do.


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