How to Build & Structure SDR Onboarding w/ Graham Taylor

#53: Listen as Graham Taylor, Training Manager at Phreesia and SDR Nation Coach, discusses onboarding & training techniques for sales development reps. He goes over the importance of developing a solid strategy, the nuances of individual exercises, and how beneficial simulations can build confidence.

Listen to the episode by clicking play below OR search “the sales lift” wherever you get podcasts.

Important Links:

Graham Taylor’s LinkedIn Profile

Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:

Forming a Solid Strategy (0:23)

You need somebody to be the leader of a trainee, so when something goes wrong or when they’re not sure about something, they know exactly who to go to. Someone responsible for making sure the SDRs onboarding is a positive experience. 

Concepts that seem so simple might sometimes be hard to put into practice. So it’s crucial to have new SDRs focus a lot on that.

Talk with your AEs, whether they’re new to the company or recently promoted from that CRO, about working with the SDR. 

People sometimes get confused between onboarding and fully ramping up SDRs. Onboarding takes place the first three to four weeks, and that’s essentially the training period.

Nuances of Training (7:12)

The first thing is to jump into teaching new hires in the industry. Once they can understand that, you can go a little deeper into the ideal customer profile and what their day-to-day looks like. 

The second week is all about cold emails, cold calling, objections, handling the sales process, the Salesforce tools, etc. 

Then, in the third week of the onboarding process, there should be a lot of shadowing. We cover subjects from cold calling to how to use Salesforce, to what is our sales process.

Observation of the Process (11:11)

This is where trainees watch someone else go through the role or simulate going through the role a little bit at a time. 

Once they have all the steps aligned in the process, you can assign exercises such as phone calls, having a prep call with a sales or an account executive, or having Baton-pass meetings. 

Graham emulates a lot of that in his simulations and either role-play as a sales rep.

It’s important to support the SCR teams, and so many people often forget to support the supporters.

Needing Additional Resource (15:43)

When Graham started, the onboarding experience for new hires was not that great.

They weren’t where they needed to be, so Graham saw they needed somebody to really hone in on those problems and figure out how to mitigate them.

At the end of that onboarding period, the new hires are transitioned onto teams throughout the sales development organization. Graham notes there is no” end” of training or graded evaluations. It’s whether or not the STR is ready. 

Once they transition to a team, Graham makes biweekly calls to help that transition. They need time to get into the role, get hands-on and really learn it for themselves. It also provides more support for them and takes a little pressure off of the managers.

Graham Taylor’s Bio:

5 Years of Sales Development Experience (SDR -> SDR Manager -> Training Manager)

Oversees training/education + onboarding for Phreesia’s Sales Development team of nearly 150 SDRs

As of Jan 2021, career coach and Outbound Account Executive for SDR Nation

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