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  • Mike Piddock

Like Ducks to Water: Enrolling SDRs and equipping them to win

The process of enrolling, training, and tooling junior SDRs is a vital investment that pays off immediately and in the long run. By following a well-structured training program, you can help your SDRs overcome early challenges, develop essential skills, and ultimately become productive and highly successful contributors to your sales team.

In this article we'll guide you through the crucial steps of onboarding and training junior SDRs, ensuring that they hit the ground running (or 'hit the water paddling', to extend the analogy).

We will delve into the intricacies of designing an effective training program, from imparting product knowledge and sales techniques to cultivating crucial soft skills like communication and resilience.

Enjoy taking the plunge...


Finding talented individuals who possess the innate qualities of a successful salesperson is undoubtedly valuable. But relying on natural ability can lead to missed opportunities and underdeveloped potential, especially now that sales is part technology arms race.

By providing a comprehensive and well-structured learning program during these critical weeks, you can equip your SDRs with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to thrive in their roles and contribute to your company’s growth.

What’s more, by seamlessly integrating SDRs into your organisation from day one, you foster a sense of belonging and purpose, allowing them to both hit the ground running and begin to form a bond with your business.

According to a survey conducted by the Sales Management Association, companies with a formal onboarding program experienced 54% greater employee productivity and 50% higher retention rates. There is clearly a positive correlation between a structured learning program and the overall success of SDRs, so why do so many companies overlook this crucial stage? A lack of time...

To set SDRs up for long-term success, it is essential to make a substantial investment in their onboarding and training - if not financial investment, then certainly an investment of time.

This investment must encompass a programme that equips SDRs with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to excel in their roles. By allocating time and resources to enrolling and training, you demonstrate your commitment to their success and lay the foundation for their long-term growth within the business.

Failing to apply the necessary time and effort at this stage of the SDR journey could result in high new-hire turnover within the first few months, poor results, and future re-training costs.

Let's explore strategies and best practices to ensure a seamless enrolment process, setting the stage for SDRs to thrive and achieve remarkable results, quickly.


The initial four weeks of an SDR’s journey are crucial in determining their long-term success. It’s during this period that the foundation for their performance and growth is laid, making it essential to prioritise a structured onboarding process.

Building Confidence & Avoiding Overwhelm

Research conducted by Gallup reveals that employees who feel confident in their abilities are 2.6 times more likely to be engaged in their work. To achieve this, it is important to provide clear and comprehensive role explanations, ensuring SDRs understand their responsibilities, targets, and how their role contributes to the overall sales strategy.

By setting realistic expectations and providing the necessary support and resources, you can boost the confidence of your SDRs and set them up for success.

Reducing Staff Churn

Research conducted by the CIPD suggests that 22% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment. By providing a warm welcome and effective role explanation you can mitigate the risk of early departures and improve overall staff retention. It instils a sense of purpose and confidence in new recruits, enabling them to perform at their best.

A well-structured programme directly impacts productivity and performance. According to a McKinsey report, companies with a formal onboarding process experience a 50% increase in new hire productivity.

By investing time and effort into creating a comprehensive enrolment plan that includes clear goals, training, self-managed onboarding, and ongoing support, you accelerate SDR learning curves, equip them with the necessary skills, and set them on a path for success.


The early days in a new role can be overwhelming for SDRs, potentially impacting their confidence and performance. It is crucial for organisations to create an environment that fosters confidence from the very moment your new SDR walks in the door.

Implementing a buddy programme, pairing new starters with experienced SDRs or AEs, providing guidance, support, and knowledge adds huge value. Deloitte says mentored staff are six times more likely to report higher job satisfaction.

Onboarding (or “enrolling”) and training are two interconnected elements that form a powerful duo in equipping SDRs for success. While distinct in their objectives, they share similarities and work together to create a solid foundation for growth and performance.


During the onboarding process, it is essential to cultivate your company culture and ensure SDRs feel connected to the mission and values of your organisation. By incorporating cultural immersion activities, such as team-building exercises, introductions to key stakeholders, and sharing success stories, you create an environment that promotes collaboration, engagement, and enthusiasm.

Additionally, providing SDRs with the necessary tools to perform their roles effectively is crucial. This includes access to technology platforms, CRM systems, sales collateral, and documented processes. By equipping SDRs with the right technology from the start, you eliminate unnecessary obstacles and set them up for success.

Onboarding focuses on introducing new hires to the company culture, values, and processes, fostering a sense of belonging and alignment.


Training plays a pivotal role in empowering SDRs with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles and achieve positional goals. It is important to design a comprehensive training program that covers various aspects of the SDR role, including prospecting techniques, communication skills, product knowledge, objection handling, and sales methodologies.

Incorporating a mix of interactive training methods, such as role-playing exercises, shadowing experienced team members, and providing ongoing coaching and feedback, ensures that SDRs can apply what they learn in a supportive environment. Training must also incorporate skills around the sales tools you’ve given them access to.

Training aims to empower SDRs with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their roles and achieve positional goals.


Provide opportunities for SDRs to put their learning into practice to facilitate deeper understanding and retention of key concepts. By immersing SDRs in practical exercises that mirror their day-to-day tasks, they gain hands-on experience and build confidence.

Knowledge Sharing and Demos

A strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and interactive demos is vital to ensure SDRs have a comprehensive understanding of their role and proficiency in using relevant tools. Encourage subject matter experts within your organisation to deliver presentations or workshops, sharing their expertise and industry insights.

Provide SDRs with demonstrations of the tools and technologies they will utilise in their daily tasks, such as CRM systems, sales enablement platforms, and prospecting tools. By familiarising SDRs with these resources and showcasing their practical applications, you equip them with the skills they will need.

Group Discussions and Expert Guidance

Group discussions play a key role in enhancing comprehension and promoting collaborative learning among SDRs. Use team meetings or workshops where SDRs can openly discuss the challenges, share best practices, and learn from each other's experiences. This creates a supportive environment where ideas can be exchanged, and insights can be gained from different perspectives.

Additionally, providing time to reflect as a group at the end of the day or working week creates a space in which SDRs can air blockages to their development, as well as what they are learning and what's working for them. This fosters a culture of continuous learning and offers opportunities for interaction.

Individual Activities

To ensure individual skill development, hands-on learning activities are essential. You should assign individual projects or tasks that require SDRs to apply their acquired knowledge and skills independently, such as conducting market research, creating prospecting campaigns, tailoring scripts, or analysing sales data.


Research conducted by BambooHR indicates that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company beyond three years if they experience great onboarding. At Second Voice Pro we strongly believe in our new hires taking control of their own destiny.

Clear Tasks for Expectation Alignment

For a smooth onboarding process, it's vital to provide clear training tasks that align with SDR expectations. Communicate learning objectives and desired outcomes of each training task, allowing SDRs to understand what's expected and how their progress will be evaluated.

By setting clear expectations from the start, SDRs can take ownership of their onboarding journey and actively manage their own learning. This sense of clarity fosters a proactive and accountable mindset, enabling SDRs to control their onboarding process with confidence.

Guided Tasks

Guided tasks play a vital role in ensuring that new hires have a clear understanding of what to expect during their onboarding journey. Provide a roadmap or checklist of tasks and milestones, outlining the sequential order and estimated timeframes for completion.

This roadmap serves as a guide for SDRs, allowing them to track their progress and have a clear sense of direction.

Offer regular check-ins or progress reviews with managers or mentors to provide guidance, address questions, and ensure that SDRs are on the right track. This empowers new hires to take charge of their onboarding process and set the stage for their future success.

The Power of Reflection

Incorporating intentional moments of reflection into the process can greatly enhance long-term success. Encourage SDRs to reflect on their progress, lessons learned, and improvement areas. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions provide opportunities for open dialogue and allow SDRs to share their experiences, challenges, and successes. This fosters a growth mindset among your SDRs, leading to sustained success in their roles.


Simplified Language

When onboarding SDRs, it is essential to communicate in a language that is easily understandable and accessible to everyone. Avoid using jargon, technical terms, or complex language that may overwhelm new hires. Instead, focus on simplifying concepts and explanations to ensure clear comprehension.

By speaking in plain English, you create a pathway to development that enables SDRs to grasp information more effectively and apply it to their roles. This approach encourages open communication, eliminates confusion, and facilitates a smoother onboarding experience.

By striving for simplicity, you promote effective knowledge transfer, increase learner engagement, and contribute to the overall success of the onboarding process.

Albert Einstein said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." By simplifying and breaking down complex concepts, you encourage your entire business, including trainers, to have a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Breaking Down Complex Concepts

Attempting to teach these complex concepts in their entirety can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Instead, break down complex concepts into manageable parts to establish a solid foundation and build from there.

Start with the fundamental principles and gradually introduce more advanced concepts as SDRs develop. Provide real-life examples and practical applications to illustrate the relevance and significance of these concepts. By breaking down complexity, you promote better understanding, build confidence, and set the stage for continuous learning and growth.

With this approach, you ensure that SDRs have a clear grasp of their responsibilities, goals, and the expectations placed upon them. This clarity fosters engagement, reduces ambiguity, and enhances job satisfaction, ultimately leading to improved performance and retention.


According to a National Training Laboratories report, individuals retain only 5% of information when presented to them lecture-style. However, when engaging in discussions or practising what they have learned, retention rates increase to 50% and 75%, respectively.

Inclusive Design for Diverse Learning Needs

Furthermore, a study by the Journal of Applied Psychology found that individuals who receive personalised training that aligns with their learning style demonstrate higher levels of motivation, engagement, and job satisfaction.

When onboarding SDRs, it is crucial to recognise and accommodate diverse learning needs. Adopt an inclusive design approach that caters to different learning styles, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Provide a variety of learning materials and resources, including visual aids, audio recordings, interactive simulations, and hands-on activities.

By embracing all learning styles, you create an environment where each SDR can engage with the content in a way that best suits their individual preferences and abilities.

To ensure effective onboarding, it's essential to blend various training methods. This includes a combination of:

  • In-person sessions create opportunities for role playing, along with face-to-face interaction, and immediate feedback.

  • Group discussions allowing SDRs to learn from one another, share experiences, and build camaraderie.

  • Virtual modules offering flexibility and accessibility, allowing SDRs to access training materials at their own pace.

  • Individual activities for personal reflection, self-paced learning, and skill development.

Using these methods, you can create a dynamic learning environment that fosters an empowering learning experience and leads to a motivated and cohesive team.


To onboard SDRs and foster their integration into the team, it is essential to introduce them to the company's vision, mission, values, and product offerings. Confidence in the company and the solutions it sells is key to addressing prospects with enthusiasm.

Vision, Mission, Values, and Offerings

Communicate the overarching purpose and long-term goals of the company, providing SDRs with a clear understanding of the bigger picture. Share the mission statement and the values that guide the company's actions. This helps align SDRs with the company's culture and fosters a sense of belonging from the start.

Creating an aligned team is crucial for long-term success. SDRs should have a deep understanding of the company's culture and how it shapes the way they work and interact with customers and colleagues.

Dedicate time to educate new hires on the cultural aspects that define the business, such as communication styles, collaboration practices, and decision-making processes. Encourage open dialogue and provide opportunities for new hires to ask questions and share their perspectives.

The Power of Product Knowledge

One of the critical aspects of onboarding SDRs is equipping them with in-depth knowledge about the product or service they will be selling. When SDRs have a deep understanding of the product's features, benefits, and unique value proposition, they are better positioned to inspire confidence in potential customers.

Invest time in comprehensive product training, providing SDRs with the necessary information and resources to become product experts. Empower SDRs to effectively address customer pain points and demonstrate your value.

It is vital for SDRs to grasp the market position of the product and how it differentiates from competitors. This lets them deliver compelling pitches that resonate with potential customers. Clearly articulate the unique selling points and value proposition, and provide SDRs with clear messaging frameworks and sales scripts.


Clearly defining SDR roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations helps them understand what is expected of them and align their efforts accordingly. Meanwhile, celebratory milestones and related rewards put down progress markers and raise morale.

Clear Expectations and KPIs

Providing a detailed job description, outlining specific tasks and goals, and explaining the metrics for success are essential components of effective onboarding. When SDRs have a clear understanding of their objectives and the standards they need to meet, they're more likely to focus their efforts and perform at their best.

Key Performance Indicators are measurable benchmarks that assess the success and effectiveness of SDRs' activities. By establishing relevant KPIs, such as the number of qualified leads generated, conversion rates, or revenue generated, you create a performance-driven environment that motivates SDRs to excel.

It's also important to identify the broader qualities and skills necessary for optimal performance in the role. This may include traits such as communication skills, resilience, problem-solving abilities, and a growth mindset.

Motivating with Celebratory Milestones

Celebrating achievements and milestones plays a vital role in keeping SDRs motivated and engaged, creating a sense of progress and accomplishment. Recognise their achievements publicly and reward their efforts, through verbal recognition, certificates, or small incentives. This celebratory approach boosts morale and reinforces a culture of continuous learning.

Reward against a clear system for measuring development. Implement regular assessments, evaluations, and performance reviews to gauge their knowledge, skills, and overall effectiveness.

These measurement tools not only help you identify areas for improvement but also provide an opportunity to mark significant moments of progress. Acknowledge their growth and provide constructive feedback to further guide their development. enabling SDRs to stay on track and continually strive for excellence.


Continuous learning is essential for professional growth and success. By offering SDRs the resources and support they need to continue learning beyond enrolment, you demonstrate your commitment to them and create a culture of lifelong learning.

Supporting Information for Ongoing Reference

In order to foster continuous learning among SDRs, it is crucial to provide them with access to supporting resources that serve as ongoing references.

These resources can include comprehensive handbooks, playbooks, and manuals that outline key sales methodologies, objection handling techniques, and best practices.

Additionally, online platforms or knowledge bases can be established to house a repository of training materials, case studies, and relevant industry articles.

By making these resources readily available, SDRs can access valuable information whenever they need it, allowing them to reinforce their learning, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and continuously improve their sales skills.

Absorbing Information Over Time

Understanding that learning is a process that takes time is vital when designing a continuous learning program. SDRs need time to absorb and apply the knowledge and skills they acquire during onboarding and training.

Incorporate spaced learning techniques, where information is presented in small, digestible chunks over a period of time, allowing for better retention and application. Provide opportunities for SDRs to practise and reinforce their learning through role-playing exercises, real-life scenarios, and ongoing coaching and feedback.

By acknowledging the learning process and providing a supportive environment, you empower SDRs to develop their skills and become high-performing sales professionals.


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