Not having a sales development playbook in 2016 is like tossing your team out for the first kickoff of the season without a single summer practice. You wouldn’t hit the field without having run the plays hundreds of times, and you shouldn’t suit up your SDR team without having outfitted them with a power-punched sales development playbook.
The sales development process is evolving, and power players like SnackNation’s Kevin Dorsey and Birst’s Chris Pham are leading the charge. We sat down with the two pros to hear some of their wisdom around the sales development playbook and how to onboard and train your SDRs with it for a season of selling.
Chris led the conversation with a great rundown of how to run through the planning process of setting up your SDR team: the recruiting, the build out, and how to get that process started. Then Kevin dove deeper into the execution — how to get your hands dirty in the steps after you bring on those A-Players.
Just like training camp with any real sports team, when you walk into training camp, it is dialed in from the start. The same goes for the training of new reps on the desk. The moment a new SDR joins the team, hand them a fully fleshed sales development playbook. “Not just a two-pager on how to do your job,” Kevin reminded us. Your playbook should run the gamut from planning, to executing, to analyzing — the whole nine yards.
Having this playbook is something you have to have. At this point, there’s really no excuse not to.”
Take a brand new rep, straight out of college. “If they’ve never been in sales before, and you’re not handing them the tools and tips and tricks for them to be successful,” Kevin warns, “they’re never going to onboard the way that you want them to.”
With the right sales development playbook, the onboarding process is shorter, SDRs ramp faster, and it makes your sales organization look even better to potential recruits. Chris even suggested using it as a recruiting tool: show an interviewee your sales development playbook. Tell them it’s what they’ll get when they walk in the door. Show them to you’re prepared to give them the tools it will take to be successful.
When you can stand out among competitors, you attract the A-Players because they want to work for A-type companies.”
Now, as you’re building your first sales development playbook, the most important theme to focus on is the “Why?” Why does your organization exist? Why does your team function the way it does? Why does it work? It’s not just about how to do the job, but why we do it.
And as you build up this playbook, Kevin suggests three main areas that you need to make sure that you cover: customer and company knowledge (onboarding and planning), the actual sales process (scripting, objections, and execution), and the activity metrics (measuring analytics).
If the reps follow everything in the playbook to the letter, they can do the job successfully. But to be a top top-performer, that’s when you have to go outside the box. You’ve got to get creative. You’ve got to do other things, but this is the foundation. If you do this right, you’ll be successful.
“Having a fine-tuned sales development playbook has saved me a lot of time. Just last year, we built out a new sales team. I hired about 35 reps over nine months. You can’t onboard and train that many people if they’re all asking you the same questions. Those questions are already in a playbook. I’ll revert them back to it. They say, ‘Hey how do I do this?’ Check your playbook first. If you don’t find it there, then come back. When a new rep starts, they just want to know what it’s going to take to be great at their job.” -Kevin Dorsey
A sales development playbook gives them that key to success.
But once you’ve bought into the idea of a sales development, what now? How do you put it into practice? Kevin recommends these three steps:
1. Dive right into the sales process. Use step-by-step instructions and screenshots all the way through on exactly how you want the plays run. Here’s how you go through it. Here’s how you find a lead. Here’s how you use your tools. Give them every step they need to succeed, and then the tools on how to measure that success.
2. Get other people outside of the sales development team in your organization involved. When’s the last time the VP of Sales listened in on a couple of calls? When’s the last time someone in Customer Success had a rep pitch to them? Those are the roles that can really provide insight on what customers are actually saying and feeling.
Don’t just leave it to the managers. Go all the way up to the top and get other people involved in it.”
3. Involve the veteran SDRs and have them test each other. “If it’s just coming from you, then it’s not a training culture,” Kevin admits, “If the team is doing it together, that is a much better way to go through it.”
“I took the team through some prospecting training a few weeks ago and asked who would like to take the training and turn it into a playbook. One of my reps, Jordan, raised his hand and said, ‘I’ll take it.’ He put together a playbook significantly better than I ever could have, because he was in the trenches doing it and applying the messaging.” -Kevin Dorsey
These are just a few tips from one sales development playbook advocate. In fact, Kevin attended the SalesLoft Rainmaker conference just two years ago when he first learned that he needed a sales development playbook. He left Rainmaker, went to work on making his own team’s playbook. Just a year later, he was presenting at Rainmaker about the importance of having a sales development playbook.
Take Kevin’s word for it — if you take the time and effort to build the right sales development playbook, you will outfit your SDRs for more success than you ever thought possible. A great team is only as great as it’s scalability, and with a sales development playbook, you’ll be able to plan, execute, and analyze at scale.
Start today! Download the first section of our newest playbook trilogy, The Sales Development Playbook: Planning, where we discuss career path and structure, as well as how to efficiently create a process and find data to be successful in your execution.
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