If you have ever gone through the process of hiring a team of SDRs, you are well aware of the amount of time and frustration this brings. 

You start by posting the job and receiving countless applications from candidates with little to no sales experience. You spend weeks and weeks screening and narrowing the field until you feel like you have found the best fit for your organization. But, that is just the beginning… You now have to begin the process of training and coaching them to become a productive successful member of the team.  

That whole process can take over six months of focused energy and effort only to find out that the candidate you thought was going to be this amazing rockstar is not a good fit for the role and it is time to start that whole process all over again. When you have aggressive goals to meet and short timelines, the typical 50% churn rate of SDRs in the SaaS world can be devastating.

Along comes the SDR bootcamp

SDR Bootcamps have been popping up over the past couple of years as a way to solve this challenge. The concept is pretty simple. The bootcamp takes on the sourcing and training of the candidates who are interested in getting into sales. Once they graduate successfully, they are offered up as proven assets ready to be productive in weeks instead of months. 

This is a great program for both the candidates and the companies looking to hire. The students, who find it hard to break into sales, are learning what it takes to be successful in the SDR role and are then being paired up with great companies to help them to continue their development. The companies are able to significantly reduce their time to hire as well as their risk that the candidates will not produce.

Win – Win… right?

Not all SDR bootcamps are created equal

Don’t short-change yourself on the research you do when partnering with an SDR Bootcamp. While all of these programs claim to be producing graduates that now have the “experience” that proves they will be successful in this role, every program has a completely different way of getting the students into that graduated status.

If you are considering hiring from an SDR Bootcamp, it is super important that you know exactly what the “experience” the graduate has gained and what that means for you. Besides some of the basic cost-level questions you will be asking the potential partner, here are the top 3 things you absolutely need to dig into before hiring from an SDR Bootcamp.

1. What is the focus of the training program?

The SDR function is effective in so many different industries as well as sales processes. There are inbound SDRs that only focus on the qualification of prospects. There are Outbound SDRs that are more focused on making cold calls and going through the discovery process. Your sale may be more transactional with a single decision maker or it may be an enterprise sale taking 18 months to close and more of an account-based approach that is supported by the SDR.

It is essential to make sure you share the responsibilities of the role you are hiring for and make sure the SDR Bootcamp shares with you how their training develops the candidates in alignment with your role. Make sure you dive deep into this area. If they are open to sharing with you an outline of the content of their training program, bonus!

2. What is required of a student to be considered a graduate?

Training someone to become an effective and successful SDR is not as simple as providing them some book knowledge in a classroom setting, administering a quiz, and calling them a graduate. Many SDR Bootcamps are not addressing the real issue when it comes to developing solid SDRs. You cannot really know if someone is going to be productive as an SDR until you put them in the role and let them experience what it looks like to actually live in that environment for a period of time. They need to feel what it’s like to make 60 – 80 calls a day, hearing no, getting hung up on, and going hours without a decent conversation. How that person deals with this adversity will be a huge indicator of their success in this role.

Most of the programs stop short. They teach their students via a live classroom environment or provide videos for them to watch at their convenience. Then, followed by some testing, the students are declared certified or graduated. This really provides very little value to either the student or the employer. They have never taken the knowledge they gained and proven that they can apply it in the real world.

When asking this question, make sure the person shares with you the amount of time the students spend in each phase of their training. If they say they are applying the knowledge in the real world, ask them for how long they are doing this. Days? Weeks? Months? If you were training an SDR, how long would it take before you would feel comfortable that they get it and will be successful?

3. What guarantee do you have that the SDR will be successful?

One of the big reasons you are considering working with an SDR Bootcamp is to ensure that you are able to significantly reduce the risk of hiring someone that will not be successful in the role. So, what happens if you hire from the SDR Bootcamp and it does not work out? What happens if the person is not successful and you are right back to where you started? What do they provide you to help ease your mind this will not be the case?

Most programs will provide some kind of refund or guarantee that has a time limit associated with it. Make sure you fully understand what they would consider to be part of the guarantee and the criteria they lay out that determines if you will be able to apply the refund or guarantee to your situation.

For example, they might offer a replacement at no cost only if the SDR is fired within the first 45 days of employment. Does that mean that if they quit voluntarily, then you will not be able to receive the guarantee or the refund?

SDR Bootcamps have become an amazing resource for Sales Leaders as they build out the SDR function in their organization. While they are all trying to solve the same problems, they are all coming from different angles and experiences that have led them to build the programs the way they believe to be the most effective. It is now your job to work to find the one that aligns most with your experience and needs.

About Fuel Sales Academy

As experts in driving demand in the K12 Edtech space, Fuel Sales Academy focuses on building quality SDRs through a comprehensive 3 – 5 month training program. This vocational program puts the student directly in the environment making live calls to apply the skills taught in the classroom. Dedicated coaches support them through the entire program and once they graduate, we help them find a home. 

If you feel our program might be a good fit for your needs, I encourage you to learn more at www.gofuelsales.com.

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