Ramping Up SDRs: The First 90 Days


Sam Nelson
Reading Time: 3 minutes



Ramping Up SDRs: The First 90 Days

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Sam Nelson

SDR Leader at Outreach

It’s harder than ever to find talented Sales Development Reps (SDRs). Even hiring the finest talent doesn’t mean that they’ll be successful without  a well-structured onboarding and ramping process.

Their first 90 days will show you who will break and who will win.

In this episode, we interview Sam Nelson, SDR Leader at Outreach, about his unique and effective onboarding process for SDRs.

Join us as we discuss:

-The advantages of grouping all your new SDRs together (known as the Agoge Tribe at Outreach)

-What to watch at one week, one month, and the first 90 days

-Indicators of successful SDRs 

-What effects COVID has had on remote onboarding

The benefits of grouping all your SDRs together

Inspired by Spartan culture, Outreach joined all new SDRs together as one group before they became ‘official sales warriors.’ This group is known as the Agoge Tribe.

The people responsible for onboarding the Outreach Agoge Tribe are specialists at this. They’re the ones who make sure that the SDRs can excel at their profession. Sam was one of those specialists:

  • As one of the company’s very first SDRs, Sam knew every facet of the company’s context firsthand. He could onboard others from personal experience.
  • Streamlining meant that Sam could focus on issues that were pertinent for new SDRs in particular. There was no dilution of subject matter, and everyone advanced in unison.
  • Processes could be developed and improved upon with lightning fast efficacy, since everything was aligned with one objective: ramp new SDRs. Processes run more smoothly without needing to accommodate for outliers, like more tenured SDRs.

Ramping up SDRs: What to look for during the first 90 days

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On your SDR team, if you want to make changes, the highest return on investment is going to be in those first 90 days.

Sam Nelson – SDR Leader at Outreach

The 90-day Outreach Agoge process is mandatory for every SDR entering the business. Only after this period will SDRs graduate into other team segments.

When boot camp begins, entire days are devoted to different channels, including cold calling and email sequences. During this time, Sam and his fellow Agoge managers take meticulous notes about questions coming from the trainees.

It’s natural for only a portion of all the new information to stick, at first. The questions and/or issues any new SDR experiences gets noted down to help further refine and improve the process, going forward.

Indicators of successful SDRs

Sam mentions that the Outreach Agoge teams are evaluated in a number of ways, primarily working backwards from how well they each track toward quota. There is also focus on the number of SQLs or qualified opportunities that get accepted into the pipeline.

It’s the second month’s performance that correlates with how well a new SDR might perform long term.

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For the first 90 days, one of your major goals needs to be making sure that SDRs do not get in the habit of being reluctant with the phones.

Sam Nelson – SDR Leader at Outreach

Both the willingness to dial out and to ask questions are the strongest indicators of how successful an SDR will be.

As with any situation, there will be red flags too. Missing quota early on is one of them. Another is reaching out to the wrong type of people: non-influential, non-decision-making people.

Effects of COVID-19 on remote onboarding

Sam believes that the telephone has sustained its efficacy as a sales tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even a 10% contactability rate can yield meaningful results and help SDRs with reaching quota.

Automated sequences are useful, but we have to guard against them becoming the be-all and end-all of the prospecting process.

What might be helping the situation for remote SDRs today is the reduction of stage fright. Sitting in an office among colleagues, while cold calling, can be a daunting experience. Working at home means having a little more privacy to make those sales calls and practice the scripts and processes: there’s an opportunity to rehearse more and build confidence.

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Call reluctance can really hurt SDRs.

Sam Nelson – SDR Leader at Outreach

To continue the conversation with Sam, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/realsamnelson/

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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