When hiring new sales development reps, the first week can be make-or-break. They say that even the longest journey begins with a single step, but that step needs to be taken in the right direction.

While most sales leaders understand the importance of training new reps, many struggle with exactly how to best train newly hired SDRs. According to a report from the AS-ISP, sales training is the top challenge facing sales organizations, towering high over all other inside sales challenges in the report. Without the right training, inexperienced SDRs can quickly become a drain on your company’s resources. According to Boston-based investor David Skok, it takes an average of 23 months for SaaS companies to start recouping their investment from new sales hires. I don’t know a lot of growth-stage companies that have 23 months to wait for sales hires to start paying for themselves! Luckily, with the right training, new SDRs can become revenue-positive far sooner.

Here are the three most important things that SDRs should do during their first week in order to begin helping prospects and building pipeline as quickly as possible.

Study Ideal Customer Profiles

It’s my firm belief that all sales activities should be entirely customer-focused. Newly hired SDRs are often laser-focused on learning about what they’ll be selling. But it’s far more important to focus on who they’ll be selling to. That’s why the first thing that all SDRs (really all sales hires) should do is to discover who your ideal customers are. SDRs need to study which personas you typically sell to in order to discover what’s important to individuals in those roles and how your solution can make their jobs easier.

Some factors to consider for each persona include:

  • Various job titles that match the persona

  • Common tools and applications they use

  • Most common questions they ask

  • Triggers for change

  • Perceived barriers

  • Success factors

At RingDNA, we created some buyer persona cards that help our newly hired SDRs quickly learn who we sell to and how we win deals with individuals in those roles. We even made a helpful template you can use to help get you started.  

Survey the Competitive Landscape

Serious B2B buyers are almost certainly researching the competitive landscape, and a large percentage of deals are likely to be competitive. In order to win those competitive deals, reps need to understand the competitive landscape at least as well as prospects. To help your SDRs hit the ground running, I recommend creating a document that lists basic information about all of your top competitors with some “sound bites” on why customers choose your solution over each competitor. While getting their feet wet, SDRs can leverage these sound bites during calls and emails when discussing the competition.

One important note: when discussing competitors, don’t go too negative on them. Instead, focus on selling the clear value of your solution in a comparison format.

Listen to Successful Calls

For SDRs, every sales activity is leading toward a phone call. And it’s on phone calls where deals where deals tend to move forward to the next stage. That’s why it’s crucial for SDRs to master their phone game as quickly as possible. One amazing sales training shortcut is to create a repository of call recordings. By enabling SDRs to listen to recordings of outstanding calls, they can start their tenure off right by emulating A-players with a proven track record.

As a sales coach, it’s important to make sure that newly hired SDRs know why these conversations went well. Without boiling the ocean, focus on only one or two reasons why each recording stands up as a model call. As an example, you could use one recording to illustrate how a rep asked the right questions and another call to illustrate how a rep expertly overcame a specific sales objection.

If new SDRs can come out of their first week with some understanding of your target buyer personas, insight into how to beat top competitors and experience listening to how top SDRs are adding new opportunities to your pipeline, they’ll not only be able to begin doing their jobs faster, but they’ll also begin their journey sure-footed and on the path to success.

Jesse Davis is a Sr. Content Manager for RingDNA, a complete sales acceleration and communications platform for Salesforce customers.