Onboarding your SDRs remotely

Despite all the complications that came with COVID-19, there were also some interesting developments – especially for salespeople. While most industries suffered from the lockdowns and economic instability, many SaaS and tech companies did well in 2020.  With all this growth, a lot of companies have needed to expand their sales teams. A lot of the sales leaders I’ve spoken to, have found it quite difficult to recruit and onboard their SDRs remotely. Remote onboarding if done incorrectly, will lose companies a lot of time and money. Here are some tips on how you could get your SDRs up to speed quickly and efficiently. 

How to approach onboarding your SDRs. 

On boarding start before the candidate even receives the offer, and it’s not just a one or two-week thing. It is an ongoing process to help your SDRs get collect all the fundamental information they’ll need to sell your product or service. 

Not only that, this is a crucial time for the employer to understand the recruit’s skillets and figure out where they’ll need support the most. For example;  the coronavirus lockdown has meant people are working from home.  Ensuring that your new SDRs have access to the correct equipment can be a logistical nightmare. Organisations have to deliver all the equipment the recruit will need and in a timely manner.   Factoring in the delivery times, you need to ask for all their personal details and send them the equipment before their start date.

How not to onboard your SDRs. 

Sales Benchmark Index identified the following as some of the many mistakes that companies make when onboarding their sales people:

  • Inadequate preparation for the first day 
  • No detailed plan for the onboarding 
  • No dedicated mentorship or support.
  • Poor onboarding structure, milestones and guidelines.
  • Too complicated; there are too many unrealistic expectations of the new hire. 

These problems exist whether or not you’re onboarding your SDR remotely, it’s just a little more challenging when you can’t help that person face to face. Working from home has created barriers to communication that you wouldn’t find in the office.

Since we’ve talked about what you SHOULDN’T do, here’s how you SHOULD onboard your SDRs. 

Shift your onboarding process to digital.

Whatever processes you used to have for in-person onboarding, make it happen digitally. All the documents, such as training manuals, playbooks, and company information should be readily available for all your new sales staff. Develop a digital plan for how you’ll deliver the in-person training remotely. This might be a short Zoom session or pre-recorded videos that they work through at their own pace. 

Have all these compiled for their first day, where you handover everything they’ll need to do their jobs well – passwords, softwares etc.

Welcoming your SDRs 

To help your SDR to a good start, it’s important to give them a proper welcome.  We recommend a short call before their day starts, to tell them what will happen.  During the call, help them set up their computer with all the relevant applications they need and confirm that they’ve got access to all your communications channels.  A short welcome message with links to all  your apps  – Zoom, Slack, or Hello Monday. 

It might also be nice to set up a meeting with their teammates that day, so they meet everyone all at once, and can start building rapport. With remote working in place, all the bonds formed over an informal coffee  in the break room aren’t easily available. It is the sales manager’s role to formalise these and make sure their new starter still meets with everyone. 

Find your new SDR a buddy.

One of the best ways to successfully onboarding your new starter is assigning someone who they can always go to for help. A buddy or workplace guide for the first few days will help them feel comfortable and get them used to their role faster. 

While managers are a great help, they are busy. Having a nominated individual as the point of contact for any issues that arise will help them feel better about asking questions they might not be comfortable asking their manager. 

It is important to choose an individual that is around the same age/level as the new SDR. The more the two employees have in common, the better they will work together.  Scheduling regular 1-2-1’s and catch ups will give them a dedicate time to get help.

Overcommunicate. Everytime! 

When onboarding new starters, especially SDRs, it’s best to assume they don’t know anything.  Over-communication is essential when working remotely, don’t assume your new starters will know what you’re talking about. Confirm it. Get them comfortable with all the basic processes in your company before moving on to complex concepts. 

Having clear expectations from the beginning, their tasks, and deliverables will get them up to speed faster. Make them aware of all the team meetings they need to take part in, when they happen, and on which platforms. 

Focus on their skills, not the products. 

As with any entry level position, you won’t know what your SDRs know. It is important to cover the fundamentals of selling during on-boarding. By all means, talk about your product.  During all of that, don’t forget to show and teach your SDRs HOW to sell the products. Focusing too much on your product or service features from the onset may lead to SDRs that only know how to have feature based conversations. They need to be able to tell their prospects how these products will help them overcome their challenges.

This is where you talk to them about how to approach prospects, how to successfully structure a cold call, how to manage objections, and how to manage client relationships. Give your new SDR the fundamental skills needed to make them successful salespeople. 

The second welcome!

Once this is all over, many colleagues will be meeting again for the first time. It is important to give those remotely on-boarded a proper, face to face welcome.  While they may not be new starters per se, they may still be nervous about their first day in the office. 

You’ll need the new starter’s buddy to help them liaise and network with their colleagues, learn the office. 

How can ExP help you onboard your SDRs?

As a remote-first company, ExP Recruitment specialised in helping sales leaders find, and on-board their SDRs remotely. Following these steps will help you improve your new starters’ experiences. Contact us today for a free consultation on how you could improve your sales recruitment process. 


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