Ready, Set, Hire Your Next Sales Development Superstar!

Published October 20, 2020

by Danielle Benavides

It’s always important to evaluate your team’s onboarding and gaining feedback on what went great and what could be improved. As a Sales Development Manager, we have the opportunity to do just that! 

In this blog, you will learn about three major areas I focus on and have incorporated into my team’s first 90 days and beyond, which has been successful. 

Onboarding. 

Planning to onboard new team members can be exciting and overwhelming, especially as companies continue to transition into working remotely. New SDR’s who are green to sales means taking the necessary steps in teaching them the business, industry, and role while learning the sales fundamentals.

The first two weeks should focus on the topics mentioned above, but it isn’t just about teaching but doing. With each lesson given, an exercise should be included to really practice what is being taught. For me, this includes working with our sales enablement team and setting aside time with me, the manager, to go deeper into their role and responsibilities. 

In these 1.5-2 hours sessions during their second week, I review with them a lot of how-tos such as how to create an opportunity, read a lead, write an email, and more. Not only do I show them, but after I ask each person to share their screen with the team individually and repeat what was just taught. Fear not, my friends, they aren’t left to make a fool of themselves. I have created multiple Google Docs that show them step by step how to complete the task they were assigned, which they can use for future reference. Pro tip: Create an SDR FAQ Sheet with all the links. 

Another great way to ensure they process all that is being taught is by assigning them to an SDR buddy. Why make someone go through this alone? Assigning an SDR Buddy is a great way to help your newbie feel a part of the team and has someone who checks-in with them daily even if it is for 15 minutes to see how their day is going. I also like to set aside time by the second week to shadow their SDR buddy to be exposed to their soon to be day-to-day activities. Once they start receiving leads or accounts, I ask that the SDR buddy shadows them as well to help answer any questions. Pro tip: SDR Buddy’s should have a guideline to follow on what they should cover during their sessions. The mentorship itself should only last 8 weeks.

Weekly 1:1’s 

Structure during a 1:1 never hurts. Why? Because it allows you to know what to touch on when you have 45-minutes of uninterrupted time with your team member. During this time, it allows you to review metrics, weekly and monthly goals, roadblocks, development, and feedback.  As a new SDR, you are teaching them the ropes of success. Starting with a structure allows them to understand the expectations. Each category holds accountability, understanding your team member’s gaps, and gives time to reflect on how to proceed moving forward. 

As a manager, it is also important to ask how you have been doing and if there are any suggestions they have. Communication is a two-way street and you can only become better by being aware. Typically, my team members know that this is a question that will be asked weekly. Although it is not expected to have an answer each time, it has allowed me to make changes in our process and know that the team is being heard. 

And last but not least, how to end the meeting. The last 10 minutes place a crucial role because not everything is always obvious. Setting time aside allows you to review what is expected for next week and where they are in their progress, so there are no surprises. Pro tip: Document the developments, wins, and success. This comes in handy for QBR’s and Mid-Year Reviews.

Feedback.

Constructive criticism can sometimes be hard to swallow. As much as we all love growth, we have all been at a point in our lives where it hurts the ego. Being in a professional setting and working with new hires, positivity comes first. 

There are a few ways I love incorporating feedback to help my team members become the potential I see. Below are my top three go-to’s.

  1. Feedback Friday’s is an activity I created to dig into my team’s emails, cold calls, and qualification meetings. I typically aim for 2-3 activities that happened within the current week and give feedback on their strengths, what could be improved, and giving an example of what that improvement looks like. I send this in an email and attached the Salesforce or Chorus link so that they can review what I looked into as a reference. Pro tip: Digging for emails can be tedious, ask your team to add 2-3 activities they did each day within an excel spreadsheet. This helps save time. 
  2. High Impact Coaching is a training I learned through Winning by Design. Typically, I ask my team members what topics they want to review or common objections they have been dealing with and then place an hour training on that topic. I invite 3-4 team members, ask them to bring their recordings or talk track, and have them present it to the team. From there, each team member goes around giving their teammate individual feedback and go into a mock call afterward using the same scenario and the tidbits they learned from their team. Pro tip: If you have a big hiring class, mix your new team members and veterans every now and then. 
  3. Meeting with Team Members is the best way to expose your new hire to different methodologies. Whenever a team member of mine is struggling in an area, I always direct them to a teammate who I know could say that’s their strength. And it honestly isn’t always within my own team. I take this opportunity for them to create a relationship with other members on the sales team that they might not interact with every day. Afterward, I have them report back on what they learned and how they would incorporate the process into their own day-to-day. 

Overall, training and hiring is a never-ending process. You will find one way that works and a few months later you will be re-evaluating your ways. I encourage you to be open to adapting and overcoming these challenges and know that you have a community that you can rely on and share ideas too. We’re in this together!

Danielle Benavides is a Sales Development Manager at Tipalti, an automated global accounts payables company working with high-velocity companies to overcome the back-office challenges of paying vendors, suppliers, partners, and networked service providers. Tipalti is growing 100% every year and has over 1,000 customers including Amazon Twitch, Roblox, GoDaddy, and Headspace. As the inbound manager, she has hired team members who were recent grads or looking for a career change. 

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