SalesHack #105: Life on the Sales Development On-ramp


Contributed by Chris Beall, CEO of ConnectAndSell

I get asked this question a lot at conferences, usually by a sales development manager in the next seat as we listen to a tips and tricks presentation: “How long should it take to onboard an SDR?”

My answer, usually given before I have the good sense to stop myself, is “Five days.”  Then I am obliged to list the assumptions behind this answer, often as the innocent questioner is edging his or her way toward the closest door.

Assumption #1:  Your brand new SDR sounds OK in a phone call.

Assumption #2:  You provide the SDR with prospecting lists.

Assumption #3:  You provide the SDR with a system that lets them have 30+ conversations per day.

Assumption #4:  Your goal is to set meetings, not to sell your product in one go.

Assumption #5:  You are willing and able to do a month’s worth of coaching in those five days.

Here’s the program:

Day 1, morning

  • You teach your new SDR the one thing about your product or service that any sensible person would sincerely think is both different and important — its “breakthrough” quality.
  • You demonstrate through 10 live conversations how to set meetings that offer the opportunity to learn more about this breakthrough.

Day 1, afternoon

  • Your new SDR has 10 live conversations, with coaching after each conversation on the one moment where he went off the tracks.

Day 1, night

  • Your new SDR sleeps, dreams, and integrates the learnings of Day 1 into their worldview.

Day 2, morning

  • You demonstrate 5 live conversations.
  • Your new SDR has 10 live conversations, each one coached.

Day 2, afternoon

  • Your SDR has 10 live conversations, each one coached.

Day 2, night

  • More sleeping and dreaming.

Day 3, morning

  • Your new SDR has 10 live conversations, each one coached.

Day 3, afternoon

  • Your new SDR has 10 live conversations, with the coaching done with call recordings at the end of the day.

Day 3, night

  • You guessed it: more sleeping and dreaming. The butterfly begins to stir.

Day 4, morning

  • Your new SDR has 10 live conversations, followed by a one-hour coaching session using call recordings.

Day 4, afternoon

  • Your new SDR has 10 live conversations, followed by a one-hour self-coaching session guided by the coach.

Day 4, night

  • The self-coaching sessions become the thing of dreams.

Day 5, morning and afternoon

  • Your new SDR is now 70 coached conversations into the program. This is the equivalent of one month or so of the usual on-the-job trial-and-error approach. You let the SDR run all day, with a one-hour review of their 20-40 conversations at the end of the day. The SDR runs the review and breaks down their own calls. The coach guides the process and provides feedback.

Your new SDR has done it — with lots of help from you! They have negotiated the on-ramp and are now on the freeway. At the end of each week, or when they ask for it, you let them take you on a tour through 5 conversations where they did great or want help.

It’s really pretty simple. Having conversations is like driving miles when you are learning to be safe and sure behind the wheel. More practice early, with more responsibility for taking the wheel — kept in good shape with a weekly tune-up — lets you cut months off the process and avoid nasty wrecks.

And the best part is, in 5 short days you get a brand new SDR who is happy, productive, and very low maintenance.


About Chris Beall, CEO, ConnectAndSell:

For the past 30 years, Chris Beall has participated in software start-ups as a founder or at a very early stage of development. His belief is that the most powerful part of any software system is the human being that we inappropriately call a “user,” and that the value key in software is to let the computer do what it does well — go fast without getting bored — in order to free up human potential. Toward that end, Chris has been involved with Requisite Technology, GXS, Epiance, Qlip Media, Aptara, Cadis, Sun Microsystems, and Unisyn.

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