Hiring New Sales Reps

7 Essential Tips for Onboarding SDRs

If you’re thinking of hiring new SDRs, that’s exciting! But we also understand the stress it can bring at the same time. Onboarding SDRs takes time and dedication from Sales Leaders. That’s why we’ve put together some essential tips from sales experts in the B2B world.

Yet, with an average SDR tenure of just 1.8 years (yes that’s 17 months), it may not seem like it’s worth the time to onboard them properly. This is generally what happens and new SDRs get thrown into the deep end, forced to cold call prospects much quicker than they’re ready for. Which is just one of the many reasons why the tenure is short.

When onboarding SDRs, your focus should be on the following objectives-

1. Focus on the Problem

Contrary to common belief, a SDR’s job is not to sell your product. It’s to peak the prospect’s interest and to intrigue them enough that they’re willing to engage in a sales conversation.

If your onboarding focuses on products, then you’re not going to teach a new SDR what they really need to know.

Onboarding for SDRs should focus on the problem your product or service solves.

This allows SDRs to ask the right questions, listen for cues that trigger follow up questions, and show the prospect they understand the problem they are experiencing.

Prospects don’t book demos because of features, they book demos because you solve their problem.

2. Teach your SDRs about Buyer Personas

While teaching SDRs how to solve the problem of a prospect is key, another important tool is allowing them to understand the buyer’s persona. For example, understanding the difference between a Sales Leader and Sales Enablement if you’re selling conversational intelligence can make or break a phone call.

When onboarding SDRs you have to rewind your knowledge and try to put yourself in their shoes. While it may seem easy now, it wasn’t when you first started.

3. Review your Tech Stack

How often do you review your tech stack? Are you measuring ROI on any of the tools? We have a separate blog for building a winning sales tech stack, but these questions are important before you start onboarding new SDRs. Get your tech stack in check and make sure all of the tools are necessary before you train newbies on them.

Give sufficient time to your new SDRs to learn and properly use each tool in your tech stack. Some are relatively easy, like Zoom or Slack, but others can be more complicated like Hubspot or Salesloft.

We’ll touch on this more below, but if you’re in software sales and you don’t have conversational intelligence or real-time sales coaching software then you’re already behind the curve.

4. Communicate Expectations

Hands down one of the most important things. As Sales Leaders, learning how to communicate and even set expectations can help bring your team to the next level.

Some things that seem obvious to you might not be as clear to those SDRs who are less experienced. Try having weekly recap meetings, daily huddles, or even Q&A sessions to address all the questions or concerns as soon as they arise. Make sure to ask for and especially give feedback regularly. But feedback should be both positive and constructive.

5. Get used to Rejection

Failure is unfortunately an SDR’s constant companion. They’re going to have to get comfortable dealing with failure and it’s important to be upfront during their onboarding.

If your plan for onboarding SDRs is to have them shadow your top SDR before you release them on their own, it’s time to rethink that strategy. They will develop an expectation of success. The new SDR will try to use the same tactics they just watch your top rep perform and think they can achieve the same results.

Well, unfortunately they will learn the hard way. New SDRs new time to ramp up and need proper onboarding. They very rarely crush it right out of the gate.

6. Real-Time Sales Coaching

If you want a secret weapon, then real-time sales coaching is it. Yes, you still need active coaching. But having recommended responses available as they are talking to a prospect is a game changer. This allows them to properly handle objections as well as learn immediately after the call was over what worked vs. what was missed.

Your one-on-one coaching to learn the playbooks and battlecards gets reinforced while SDRs are live on the call. This allows them to remember how to respond and handle objections correctly. Plus they get to listen and formulate good follow-up questions as the entire call will be recorded and transcribed.

7. Follow up with Active Coaching

While new SDRs will get live feedback from real-time sales coaching software like Abstrakt, everyone knows active coaching is still needed. Active coaching is about being truly hands-on with your new SDRs and really any new members. Be present on the sales floor, listen to calls, and correct mistakes (and explain them) as they happen.

Onboarding SDRs

Whenever you’re adding or replacing a previous team member, hiring is difficult and takes time. When you’re looking at onboarding SDRs, it’s important to have a plan in place. Schedule out their first couple weeks and even start to provide them goals as they dive into the world of sales.

Sales Leaders who take the time to onboard SDRs can make or break their time at your company. That’s why investing in a tech stack that can make onboarding SDRs easier is vital.

If you’re looking for a real-time sales coaching software, take a look at what Abstrakt can do for your sales team. We’re redefining the conversational intelligence software market with real-time technology.


Clare Dobson - Director of Marketing

With experience from SaaS to home services to non-profits, Clare has built proven marketing strategies for various customers. She is passionate about the customer’s success as well as empowering those around her each and everyday.