What sucks with the force of 1,000 Roombas but only makes things messier?
A poorly organized SDR team that misses quota and takes forever to ramp.
What sucks with the force of 2,000 Roombas but will actually help fix that situation?
Putting together an SDR Playbook.
I’m joking, of course, it’s not that bad. And honestly, even if it were, the payoff makes it well worth it. Between tidier training, reduced ramp-time, and more confident cold-callers, an SDR playbook has a way of smoothing out a lot of the turbulence generally associated with growth.
In this post, I’ll set you up with a template and explain how I use it to build effective SDR playbooks quickly and easily.
The Last SDR Playbook Template You’ll Ever Need
Below, I’ll break down the sections of the SDR playbook, explain what I’d include in each, and give some advice on filling out the template.
We’re going to keep this playbook super tight and concise because neither you nor your SDRs have time to waste.
So here’s what to keep in mind as you go through this process:
1. Don’t overthink it.
If it’s not something an SDR should eventually know off the top of their head, then it probably doesn’t need to be in this document. Don’t put any information in there you don’t think an SDR needs to see.
2. An SDR Playbook is not a substitute for active coaching.
Think of the SDR playbook like the teacher’s notes - super useful to the students, but not a substitute for the teacher.
3. Focus on your industry, not your product.
This might seem counterintuitive, but SDR playbooks don’t need a huge section on the product. As long as the SDR knows what problem your product solves, they’re set. Put your energy into the sections that will make the most impact on your SDRs.
4. Don’t worry about filling this out in order.
Just because the sections are in order doesn’t mean you need to fill them in that way. Pour your energy and knowledge into the sections you’ve got memorized anyway, and lean on others to help with sections that involve their expertise.
With that mindset, let’s dive into the actual playbook sections you’ll focus on. These mirror the order in the playbook template I use:
SECTION #1: The Company Overview
This section should contain any information about the operation of the company that is relevant to the SDRs - such as who their supervisors/managers are, how to contact them, and some higher-level information like your company’s mission and place in the industry.
Start with the basics.
You’ll want to invest a decent amount of time making sure these concepts are clearly laid out in the Playbook, but resist the urge to wax poetic. You don’t have to write the saga of your company, just give them the bullet points.
This section is also home to the organization chart:
The Sales Team Chart is probably more relevant to SDRs. Here you’ll break down the details of their “day-to-day” team.
You can also opt to provide a Communication Guide, which details how/when to reach out to certain members of leadership. This is helpful if you want to begin building a more clear-cut hierarchy and lines of communication - a key stage for growing startups.
SECTION #2: Industry Info
As some of the more important information to an SDR’s ultimate success, this section should be one of the most well-fleshed out, and include any info that is helpful in understanding the challenge your prospects are trying to solve.
As an expert in your industry, this section should also be relatively easy for you to bust out.
It might look like a simple five bullets, but feel free to expound on this topic. The more knowledgeable your SDRs are about the industry (with all its challenges and nuance), the better. If you’re gonna get wordy anywhere, this is the section to do it.
SECTION #3: Product & Pricing
As I discussed earlier, your product and pricing section only needs to include the most essential information.
SDRs don’t need to be product experts - if someone is interested in learning more about the product, that’s the perfect time to pass them along to an AE.
SECTION #4: SDR Process/Workflow
Finally, the SDR workflow. Here, you’ll lay out the specifics of your SDR’s day-to-day functions, and all the strategies, tactics, tools, and resources that go along with that. This’ll be a big one.
In the SDR Process/Workflow Section, you should include the following:
Overall Prospecting Process
This should cover the basics of your sales process and essential terminology. Later, you’ll go into the actual how-to of sales, here, you’re just laying the foundation.
Objection Handling/Brush Offs
Make sure to cover all you know about Objection Handling and dealing with various types of Brush Off. There are a lot of obstacles to booking a meeting, and your SDRs need to be prepared for them.
Competitor Battle Cards
This section is also where you can create an archive of your Competitor Battle Cards. These comparative documents can help SDRs better position themselves in calls, and more easily overcome objections. These should be updated frequently.
Questions to Ask
Being a good SDR isn’t just about talking. Make sure to include a large and well-developed section devoted to asking effective questions and knowing how to actively listen.
How to Book a Meeting
Finally, explain in great detail exactly how your SDRs should go about booking a meeting, and what their follow-up should look like. Give examples.
With the workflow fully laid out, you can build out a formal reference library.
SECTION #5: Messaging Library (Scripts + Templates)
This might be the longest section in your SDR Playbook (though not too difficult to actually fill in). The messaging library serves as a hub for all your go-to scripts and templates - the only essential thing is to make sure they’re up to date.
Your messaging library should come equipped with:
Snippets are pieces of content that you can copy and paste into any email or message. Use these as you see fit.
Categories include: Value Proposition, Results, Case Study, Infographics, Articles, Videos, and Testimonials.
Your library should have emails for various situations and stages in any sequence. SDRs can use these as one-off emails or build their own sequences with them.
Email topics should include: Introductions, Personalized Emails, Value-Based, Value-Adding, Experimental, Follow-Up, Rejections, and Goodbyes.
Build out your sequences in easy-to-understand tables for SDRs to easily reference.
Sequences should include: Automated Emails, Cold Calls & Emails, Personalized Calls & Emails, and Nurture Streams.
This section will have to be tailored slightly to the social media platform that you use.
Your social media section should include Contact/Connection Requests and In-Platform Messages. Also commenting on posts, and following when working off of a targeted account list.
Cold calls are the lifeblood of the SDR, and this section should have all your scripts well laid out (and updated often).
At a minimum, this section should include Outbound Scripts, Inbound Scripts, Voicemails, and Maneuvering.
As a whole, this might be large enough to warrant its own document, in which case, all you have to do is plop down a link in the Playbook.
SECTION #6: Best Practices
All the little (or big) operational tips and tricks to help the SDRs job go more smoothly and sales close faster should go here.
SECTION #7: Metrics
Here you’ll offer a quick breakdown of the KPIs you use to measure the sales process, including explanations of these metrics and links to relevant dashboards.
SECTION #8: Resources/Reference Material
Realistically, this is one of the most helpful sections of your SDR playbook and should be a thorough library of reference material. Your SDRs will find examples of what they should be doing (or sounding like) incredibly helpful.
I’m pumped for you to get going with this playbook, because your next steps are laid out before you like a brilliant golden path of warm, peach-scented success.
Alright, maybe not that glorious, but it’s still pretty good:
Step #1: Steal this template directly by opening the Google doc and making a copy that you own.
Step #2: Fill it out as promptly as possible.
Step #3: Begin working it into your SDR onboarding and distribute it amongst your team.
Step #4: Watch as your team begins to get sharper. They’re ramping up faster, making strides in their progress, buying in more quickly and crushing those quotas like nobody’s business.
Step #5: This is where my advice ends. How to celebrate kicking this much butt is up to you.
Ready to go, but want a little more advice? That’s what we’re here for. We specialize in helping startups build, scale, and optimize their SDR teams. Reach out for a free consultation where we’ll analyze your data and provide you personalized recommendations - all at no cost.