On-the-job training and continuous professional development is a critical aspect of any sales development rep’s role within an organization. Ongoing training provides many benefits, including updated best practices and strategy, improved messaging, new prospecting methods, and ensured adoption of the latest tools and technologies to assist in the sales process.
Regardless of how savvy your sales development reps appear on the job, even your sales vets can benefit from revisiting skill training and building on their foundation of learning and understanding. We asked our own internal team of sales development reps at QuotaFactory where they felt they could benefit from additional training and found there were 5 key areas for sales development managers to focus their ongoing training efforts on:
1. The role of role play
It is natural for SDRs to experience call reluctance, especially when every phone call can be slightly different than the last. The sales development rep that frequently projects anxiety over picking up the phone and tends to rely heavily on email needs a confidence boost and perhaps, more phone training.
Solution: Improvising on a phone call is a skill that will come with time and practice. The best solution is to use role play. SDRs should role play with their manager as well as their peers. Assign each participant a different “persona” to challenge the SDR to adapt to new calling scenarios so they become more comfortable with the process.
Tip: Mindtickle has a role-play feature in which you can create real-life scenarios for your SDRs to train and also allows you to give them specific constructive feedback.
2. Keep employee morale up
Using the phone to prospect inevitably means dealing with a variety of personalities on a daily basis. Therefore, SDRs must hone their ability to control their emotional response in any given situation. Every day, SDRs must control their aggravation with rude or condescending prospects and must be able to rise above negativity to remain positive for the next dial and conversation. Mastering positivity goes hand in hand with learning how to manage patience when it comes to reaching the metrics required of every SDR. It can be tough to maintain enthusiasm when effort doesn’t match results.
Solution: As a sales development manager, you must be the outlet for your SDRs. Maintain a healthy relationship with them and let them know your door is always open. Talking through negative conversations can be just as beneficial as learning from the good ones. Also, it’s important that your SDRs take small incremental breaks from the phone whether it be to take a lap around the office, play a game of ping pong, or walk outside for a breather. This helps retain their patience and resets their positivity for future calls.
3. Skills that can be mastered off the phone
SDRs have a lot less live conversations than they do dials on their report. This means that there is added pressure to make every live conversation count. Pressure equals nerves.
Solution: Practice and rework messaging strategies. Review objection handling, one-sentence “what we do” statements and key questions to ask to uncover pain points and maintain conversations. Continue with this practice until the rep’s tone of voice is even, the pace of conversation is moderate, and they can easily direct the conversation.
4. A well-documented and accessible playbook
We’ve all heard the statistic; salespeople spend way too much time on administrative tasks. Maintaining an effective and efficient daily schedule while also keeping track of accounts, call plans, and data can be overwhelming without a clearly defined process in place.
Solution: Daily structure is something your SDRs will need constant help with. Create and provide easy access to a sales playbook to define best practices. Try to automate and streamline this process for your entire team and keep all of the materials in a local place like within the Mindtickle platform.
5.Keep reminders handy
Handling an objection plus the added complication of nerves can result in some pretty quick talking. SDRs must master the skill of controlling the speed of their speech, no matter how badly the prospect on the other end of the line throws them off their game.
Solution: This is an important skill that can be acquired over time. Try posting a sticky note with the reminder to “SPEAK SLOWLY” on the SDRs computer screen. One-way call recording is also an effective training method, some reps may be surprised as to what they hear. The first step to fixing a problem is understanding and acknowledging the issue.