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Practice Makes Permanent: 4 Onboarding Tips for Business Development Reps

Nov 07th, 2017

When it comes to onboarding new business development reps, you will likely find they have a variety of prior business development experience. No matter what your new hire’s previous experience is, all require a certain level of onboarding, continuous training and guidance in their new role.

At Brainshark, our BDR onboarding process consists of utilizing our own technology for online learning, collaborating with various team members, and developing an appropriate coaching process to reinforce training. Ramping up new BDRs has taught me many lessons and we always look for ways to hone our onboarding and continuous training processes as more new hires join the team.

Here are 4 tips for BDR onboarding and continuous training:

1. Utilize your internal knowledge

When new business development reps join a company, they likely only have a vague idea about what they’ll be selling. BDR onboarding should aim to give new reps an understanding of their target audience, company strategy and products. Work with your sales enablement team and tap into the knowledge of your subject matter experts to gather relevant content to help these new BDRs ramp up. Leverage sales readiness technology to create curricula specifically for onboarding in areas such as product knowledge, customer success stories, competitive analysis, target personas, and the art and science of discovery. At Brainshark, we use our own technology to map out curricula and test reps through assessments and video coaching challenges to ensure they fully understand our message.

2. Mix things up

When a new hire starts, don’t just make them sit at a computer to complete training after training. Help new reps interact, collaborate and shadow fellow team members such as other BDRs, managers, NAMs (national account managers) or other customer-facing roles across the organization. This is where the new BDR can get a good feel for what their day-to-day should entail and what the company’s culture is like, as well as key areas such as phone techniques. We never want a full 8-hour day to consist of only online learning or only call shadowing.

3. Don’t overdo onboarding – but do continuously train and coach

At Brainshark, we like to get our new hires on the phone during day 1 of week 3. We find that waiting too long after week 3 can actually be counterproductive. However, getting reps on the phone this early requires some strategic coaching along the way; in other words, practice makes permanent.

Sit in on calls with new reps and debrief together afterwards. This is a type of informal coaching, where you point out what they did well and pose a question around areas of improvement. Instead of criticizing or calling out their mistakes, by posing a question, you can lead the BDR to the right answer, so they see the path to improvement themselves. So, the next time they get on a call, they can apply what was discussed.

Use formal coaching as well to send video coaching challenges to new and existing reps on how they would handle an objection or position a new message to a specific buyer. Also incorporate live role plays where the manager acts as different personas from different industries and the rep has to respond with their pitch or answer various questions.

4. Welcome all questions

When it comes to onboarding, create a comfortable environment where reps are never afraid to ask too many questions. I’m sure we are all familiar with being the new person and feeling lost the first few weeks in a new role. As a manager, make yourself available as much as possible for new reps so they know you’re there. Try to lead reps to the right answers, instead of just giving them the information. Questions are a positive thing because it means new reps are eager to learn.

For more on using video coaching technology to improve sales readiness and performance, check out our eBook: Next-Gen Coaching for the Next-Gen Sales Force.