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  • Mike Piddock

Master the Ramp: Reducing the time taken to make SDRs productive

By embracing structured processes, fusing teams through peer support, and anchoring in real-world practice, SDRs can broaden their horizons, and flourish in their roles. Our approach to "Mastering the Ramp" empowers SDRs to continuously drive up their skills and amplify their knowledge. Let's take the leap of faith...

A proficient and highly productive SDR team is the golden ticket in the ride to success. After laying down the foundation with basic training, ramping is pivotal in transforming your rookie SDRs into skilled and savvy professionals.

Understanding SDR Onboarding

Onboarding lays the foundation for success. It's the standardised training program designed to ensure every new SDR reaches a baseline level of competence.

It is characterised by:

  • Uniform Training: All new hires go through the same curriculum of essential topics like product knowledge and sales processes.

  • Collective Learning: New SDRs participate in group training sessions, fostering camaraderie and shared understanding.

  • Basic Skill Acquisition: Focus on equipping SDRs with fundamental skills to perform core tasks (cold calling, email outreach, etc.)

  • Consistency: The goal is to ensure that every SDR possesses a minimum level of proficiency before transitioning to more advanced stages.

The Essence of SDR Ramping

As you embark on SDR ramping, the focus shifts from a one-size-fits-all approach to a personalised journey of growth. Ramping is all about nurturing and developing the individual.

Key features include:

  • Tailored Development: Crafting customised improvement plans for each SDR, allowing for strengths and areas for enhancement.

  • Bespoke Coaching: Unlike uniform training, ramping sessions are designed to cater to the specific needs of each SDR, creating a more profound impact on skill refinement.

  • Individual Challenges: Ramping introduces SDRs to scenarios and challenges directly aligned with their role, helping them build confidence in real-world scenarios.

  • Continuous Evolution: Ramping is an ongoing process, evolving as the SDR grows and adapts to their role.


Before delving into the intricacies of SDR ramping, it's essential to establish a clear distinction between onboarding and ramping processes. While both are pivotal phases in shaping a successful SDR team, they target distinct aspects of professional growth.

  • Onboarding focuses on foundational training and ensuring every SDR reaches a baseline level of competence.

  • Ramping shifts to a personalised journey, focusing on continuous improvement and adapting to the specific needs of each SDR.


The cornerstone of effective ramping lies in identifying the unique strengths and areas needing improvement for each SDR. This assessment is rooted in:

  • Skills audit: Evaluate each SDR’s existing skill set. Where do they excel naturally?

  • Performance analysis: View performance metrics to identify patterns. What areas yield positive results? Where are the gaps?

  • Feedback loop: Engage in open conversations with them to understand their self-perceived strengths and challenges.

Create a personalised coaching plan

Next it's time to design a coaching plan that hones skills and boosts confidence. Look at:

  • Strength enhancement: Leverage the strengths of each SDR and guide them in using these strengths to excel in their role.

  • Focused improvement: Address weak points with targeted training sessions, skill-building exercises, and practice scenarios.

  • Role play and real-world scenarios: Provide opportunities for SDRs to practise in scenarios mirroring real interactions with prospects and customers.

  • Regular check-ins: 121 sessions to discuss progress, challenges, and the coaching plan.

  • Adaptability: Adjust the plan as SDRs develop and as market conditions change.

  • Collaboration: Encourage SDRs to share their insights and experiences.

  • Balancing individual & team dynamics: Encourage collaboration among SDRs, and seek to foster a team-growth mentality.


MONDAY: Sharpening the Saw

Sales skills training session: Kickstart each week by exploring new ideas, tools, and resources that SDRs can wield, such as compelling call-openers to finessing email copy. This session serves as an arena to share insights, tactics, and tales that fuel steady evolution.

TUESDAY: Fusion of Minds

SDR-only peer support session: An arena for unreserved dialogues, sharing best practices, and tapping into pooled experiences, but within a structured path. Every SDR tosses in a challenge they're grappling with, followed by group chats, brainstorming, and immersive drills.

WEDNESDAY: Cultivating Curiosity

SDR-led training: Encourage SDRs to scout for external gems and showcase new finds to the team. It could be it an article, a tool, or a savvy technique. Create a culture of self-managed enlightenment and innovative spark.

THURSDAY: Real-World Playtime

Role play and feedback session: The spotlight is on bridging the gap between theory and real-world action. SDRs take the stage in role-plays and get tailored feedback from experienced colleagues. Use practical scenarios, polishing their approach and boosting confidence.

FRIDAY: Reflect and Ascend

Review of new skills session: A chance to look back at the week’s journey in applying freshly honed skills. SDRs share their call recordings, videos, and triumphs for immediate insights. Beyond quick feedback, this doubles as an avenue to pinpoint areas for growth.


Prospecting is an art that constantly evolves. As SDRs progress they enter a dynamic landscape where refining their approach becomes essential. Here we cover the nuanced aspects of targeted outreach and leveraging insights to refine SDR strategies.

From basics to precision

The initial training equips SDRs with fundamental prospecting skills, but the journey doesn't stop there. As your SDRs gain experience, they'll notice that the prospecting landscape shifts from broad strokes to fine-tuned precision. The transition involves:

  • Revisit the ideal customer profile: SDRs should use interactions to better define the ICP, and not be afraid to challenge previous expectations with real-world knowledge.

  • Performance assessment: Evaluate the performance of customer segments. Which are yielding higher conversion rates? Which require more nurturing?

  • Dynamic segmentation: Implement systems and processes that enable segments to be adjusted based on real-time performance.

  • Strategic allocation: Allocate more time and effort to segments showing promise, perhaps due to alignment with the product's value or a more pressing pain point.

  • Test and iterate: New segments can emerge from unexpected interactions. SDRs are at the sharp end, dealing with prospects daily. They are best positioned to test new segments with tailored outreach and gauge the response in real time.


As SDRs step beyond the onboarding phase, they must develop their own unique voice and forge connections that transcend scripted interactions. Here we delve into the art of effective communication, covering calls, emails, and new avenues like LinkedIn and WhatsApp.

Beyond scripts: Finding authenticity

Moving beyond the confines of scripts and templates, SDRs should aim to develop a voice that resonates with authenticity and aligns with their unique personality. This process involves:

  • Personal branding: SDRs should create a brand that stems from their genuine qualities, creating a sense of authenticity.

  • Language tone: Scripts offer structure, but SDRs should infuse their personal tone with humour, warmth, or directness.

  • Inject empathy: If SDRs make meaningful connections it shows prospects that they're valued beyond a sales pitch.

  • Script-free zone: Unscripted conversations exude confidence and authority. Use active listening, respond organically, and adapting based on conversation cues.

  • Navigating curves: Empower SDRs to steer conversations in unexpected directions, to show adaptability and genuine interest.

Building rapport: The human connection

Rapport-building is a cornerstone of effective communication. Encourage SDRs to:

  • Go beyond business: Inquire about prospects' outside interests, humanise the interaction, and lay the foundations for more meaningful conversations.

  • Share experiences: Find common ground - a shared challenge or a mutual interest - to foster rapport and ease the conversation.

Explore new channels

SDRs should use new platforms while respecting their nuances:

  • LinkedIn: Not just connecting; SDRs should share insights, articles, and join relevant conversations to show thought leadership.

  • WhatsApp: Where appropriate this can be a less formal space for communication, sharing quick updates or setting up calls.


Objections as catalysts for improvement

Objections are not roadblocks; they're stepping stones. Each objection is an opportunity to learn, adapt, and refine strategies. Here's how:

  • Analyse root causes: SDRs should dig deeper to best understand the underlying concerns. Is it simply a misunderstanding or a genuine concern?

  • Apply collaborative feedback: Objection handling is best managed as a group. Peers and managers offer diverse perspectives that lead to more effective rebuttals.

  • Incremental improvements: With each new objection seek small, measurable improvements in how best to handle them, which compound over time.

  • Embrace live feedback: Use peer or manager call-listening to make immediate adjustments to objection handling, pitch delivery, and overall communication.

Motivation: From 1st to 3rd meeting

Motivation is a driving force. As SDRs inch closer to their first booked meeting, it's important to:

  • Celebrate incremental milestones: Such as a positive call or improved email reply rates.

  • Leverage success: Harness small wins for future success: every subsequent contact benefits from the experience of the first.

  • Maintain recognition: Keep motivation levels high beyond the first meeting booked, by acknowledging effort as well as results.

  • Foster a growth mindset: View challenges as opportunities to learn and excel.

  • Praise resilience: A growth mindset fuels resilience, but everyone always appreciates a helping hand to feel unafraid of setbacks.

  • Adopt a learning orientated outlook: Make objections a positive outcome to aid each SDR’s personal learning journey.


For ramping SDRs, technology emerges not just as an arsenal of tools, but as a force that fine-tunes processes, enhances efficiency, and bridges gaps. Here we look at leveraging tools, refining workflows, and introducing new platforms for evolving needs.

The role of technology In the journey from training to mastery, technology is the silent collaborator, enhancing SDR efficiency, refining processes, and powering decision-making.

By optimising tool usage, introducing new tech solutions, and prioritising data-driven decision-making, SDRs don't just integrate technology; they amplify its impact, ensuring every action is a step towards refined excellence.

The ramping phase is about becoming not just familiar, but truly comfortable with the technology stack. Encourage SDRs to dive deep into each tool's features. The more they explore, the more adept they become at weaving tools into their workflow. The goal is to minimise friction. Streamlined access and quick navigation enable SDRs to focus on high-impact activities.

A deep dive into technology options

We’ve trialled and tested over 200 sales technologies in the last year, and selected a handful for our business and our clients. We’ve distilled some of the best into this guide.

As well as considering the merits of each tool, we’ve also paid particular attention to the ability of each to integrate with others. Products that seamlessly (or at least easily) integrate with one another significantly enhance efficiency and accuracy.

We’ve divided the tools into four categories:

  • DATA: Finding it, cleaning it & checking it

  • OUTREACH: Through phone, email & social

  • ANALYSIS: Listening and understanding

  • EFFICIENCY: Building a smooth-running machine

*** Download the SDR tech guide here ***


In the ramping phase, effective follow-up and relationship building are cornerstones of success. We look at the intricacies of nurturing connections beyond initial interactions, exploring follow-up formats, the role of informality, cultural sensitivities, and using social media.

Beyond transactions: Forging new bridges

The SDR ramping phase marks a pivotal journey from lead to conversion, surpasses initial contact, introducing the art of nurturing enduring relationships. This is where the power of effective follow-up emerges. Look to use:

  • Diverse comms channels: Beyond the ordinary, platforms like WhatsApp and IM tools step in. Used astutely, they become bridges to cultivate personal rapport.

  • Personalised videos: Amid busy inboxes, personalised videos carry not just words, but personality and authenticity. Salespeople become problem solvers.

  • Value through content: Have SDRs share insights, articles and resources to evolve from transactional operators to fountains of industry.

  • The elegance of informality: A dash of informality bridges gaps, converting interactions to heartfelt connections.

Harmony across cultures

Navigating global outreach requires considering cultural subtleties and adapting the approach.

  • Unlock the social media treasure trove: By delving into prospects' online personas, uncover shared interests, enabling more personalised and engaging interactions.

  • Authentic relationships: Shift from sales to sincere curiosity. Probe into challenges and aspirations, actively listen, and respond with empathy.

  • Tailored content: Sharing pertinent and personalised content isn't a mere exchange, but a gesture of care and understanding.

As the SDR ramping phase evolves, modern sales become a dance of diverse channels, cultural acumen, and authentic bonds. It's not just about pitching, but orchestrating lasting relationships.


During the SDR ramping phase, measurement is the compass guiding progress. Here we dive into metrics and performance evaluation, highlighting the significance of feedback, both developmental and positive, to drive continuous improvement.

Metrics that matter

Metrics illuminate the path to success. During the ramping phase, metrics to monitor include:

  • Conversion rates: From initial outreach to booked meetings, tracking conversion rates unveils the effectiveness of each stage.

  • Response time: Swift responses reflect engagement. Timely interactions create positive impressions.

  • Engagement metrics: Monitor email open rates, click-through, and call response rates.

Providing feedback to SDRs

Feedback is a cornerstone of development. Offer both:

  • Developmental: Constructive criticism to guide improvement. Highlight areas needing refinement and give actionable suggestions.

  • Positive reinforcement: Positive feedback acknowledges achievements, boosts morale and encourages consistent efforts.

Using holistic assessment

Ensure performance analysis and assessment is multidimensional. Look at both “objective achievement” (comparing actual outcomes with goals) and “behavioural assessment” (gauging how well SDRs align with desired behaviours).

Using third-party feedback and motivation

There’s huge value in inviting speakers to come in for SDR Masterclasses. They can challenge current processes, and bring fresh perspectives, giving SDRs confidence to think outside the box with their tactics and find their authentic voice.

Recognising struggles and using PIPs

Not all SDRs will progress seamlessly. Some may require extra support. When an SDR struggles, offer a structured Personal Improvement Plan (PIP). This plan identifies areas needing development and offers tailored support. PIPs should include targeted training and mentorship to bridge performance gaps.


As SDRs ramp to their most effective state, they coalesce into a cohesive unit. That means building high-performance SDR teams (not individuals) becomes the focus. Here we look at the importance of motivation, collective achievements, and tailored recognition.

The evolution of motivation

As SDRs evolve into a high-performance team, motivations evolve too. By nurturing group motivation, cultivating a motivation-driven culture, adapting recognition strategies, and emphasising well-being alongside ambition, SDR teams solidify into formidable units. They are poised not only to excel in their roles but also to inspire and elevate each other. Consider:

  • Shared goals: Establish collective targets that align with individual aspirations. This synergy fosters unity and mutual support.

  • Peer recognition: Encourage SDRs to recognise and celebrate each other's achievements. Peer acknowledgment resonates deeply.

  • Ongoing learning opportunities: Training to fuel personal and professional growth.

  • Autonomy and ownership: Grant autonomy in decision-making to foster a sense of ownership and motivation.

Recognition for a new workforce

Newer generations of employees increasingly expect recognition in different forms to those used traditionally in sales. Think about:

  • Adaptive recognition: Customise recognition to cater to individuals' preferences - some might value public acknowledgment, while others might prefer private appreciation.

  • Personalised rewards: Tailor rewards to individual tastes: books, experiences, or opportunities to lead initiatives.

  • Showcase diverse journeys: Highlight the diverse paths of successful SDRs.

  • Tell stories: Sharing tales of SDRs overcoming challenges helps underscore that success is a journey, and create memorable touchpoints across the team.

  • Prioritise balance: Encourage healthy work-life balance, and address the line between ambition and stress. A rested and content team performs better in the long run.


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