Throughout the onboarding process, there will be plenty of opportunities for your new sales rep to learn from mistakes, analyze successes, and refine their strategy – which means plenty of teachable moments along the way. That’s why it’s so important to be an active participant in your SDR’s onboarding.
When your sales reps are new, set aside time each day to provide personalized feedback and guidance for them. This could entail listening to a call recording and discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the pitch, setting goals together, and more. Here are just a few ways to ramp up your coaching so you can better support your new reps.
Teach Your SDR to Drive Conversations
SDRs need to learn to “drive” the conversation the way they want it to go. Essentially, these conversational driving skills are a combination of leadership, listening, and quick thinking skills. The most fundamental way to get SDRs driving conversations is to make sure they’re asking the right kinds of questions.
In general, open-ended questions invite conversation better than yes or no questions. And the specific questions your SDR should be asking deal with pain points and motivation. Simply changing a question from “are you happy with your email service?” to “what could make your email service better?” gives a rep a chance to keep the lead talking. And questions like “what’s motivating you to find a new service” are even better.
Action tip: practice turning yes or no questions into open-ended questions. Give your SDR a list of yes or no questions, such as “are you interested in expanding your warehouse space?” or “does your sales team usually meet their quotas?” Your SDR should restructure each as a conversation-starting question, such as “how would more warehouse space help you?” and “what obstacles do your reps face when trying to meet quotas?”
Pay Attention to Energy Through Practice
A common problem that new reps face is maintaining the right level of energy. It’s important that they learn to set their own pace and avoid rushing their pitch, even if the lead seems disinterested or impatient. Active listening and engagement are some of the best ways to keep a conversation going with enough energy.
New SDRs often struggle with their energy levels because they’re still learning the sales pitch and getting comfortable with the terminology in your field. As you coach, stress the importance of practicing the script. Your SDRs will be able to pay more attention to their vocal tone and energy levels if the script is second nature.
Action tip: when you’re roleplaying with your SDR, have them practice giving the sales pitch to an unresponsive or closed off lead. For this scenario, remind them to stay focused on maintaining their energy level even when they hit a verbal brick wall. This will be an exercise in developing perseverance as well as consistent energy.
Self-motivation is a vital characteristic for a successful SDR. So during the onboarding process, letting your new rep take the wheel and drive their own progress can be a great way to encourage this.
During each coaching session, you’ll give plenty of instructions and feedback, but be sure you’re asking questions, too. Just as you teach your SDR to ask questions on the phone with prospects, ask questions about their performance. For example, “there’s a question you could have asked here. What do you think that might be?”
Action tip: at the end of each coaching session, have your SDR briefly self-reflect in writing. Have them write down a summary of what you spoke about, a description of one thing they did well that day, and a specific skill they need to improve. For a detailed template your SDRs can use to track their progress and set goals, check out the SDR Mastery Journal.
Reflect On Your Coaching
Your new sales rep isn’t the only one who’s learning during their onboarding – you should be, too. This is an opportunity for you to improve as a mentor, and get valuable feedback to guide your coaching strategy.
Ask yourself if the techniques you use would have worked for you at that stage in your career. And don’t hesitate to ask for feedback and interaction. A quick “is that clear?” gives an opportunity for your new rep to ask questions, but periodically asking “can you explain that back to me?” helps make sure your guidance is sinking in as well. Ask your SDR to tell you what skills they feel most comfortable with, and which they’d like to work on.
Action tip: after a coaching session, take some time for self-reflection, but get an outside opinion, too. Write out one way you feel you succeeded as a coach that day and one way you want to improve. And afterwards, ask someone who has observed your coaching for some pointers. Your top sales reps will know what works.
The most important part of coaching your new SDRs is being active in their training. But it also helps to work on your presentation skills and make sure you’re making the right progress. As you give feedback, be sure to start with something positive and encouraging. Keep your critiques actionable and focused on a specific skill to work on.
As you coach, remember to:
- Teach your SDRs to drive conversations with questions
- Practice the script enough to focus on developing energy
- Make sure your SDR is driving their progress through self-reflection
- Assess your own coaching skills honestly and actionably
Coaching a new SDR takes time and patience. Check out our SDR playbook, 1 on 1 meeting templates, and other resources to help you mentor your new representative. And for more personalized help developing your sales team, reach out to Vouris today.