When Should You Build an SDR Playbook (And What Information Should You Include)?

The short answer to this question is ASAP, however, the more practical answer might be once your sales team experiences some initial traction from either Inbound or Outbound Sales. The key here is to make it repeatable, scalable, and to shorten the onboarding time for future reps, especially when going from the SDR to AE path.

Here at zlien, I’ve written different versions of a playbook that have proven to be applicable to our Sales, Account Management, Customer Support, and Marketing Teams. I’ve also found that most of these departments have collateral already built that can be useful that doesn’t need to be recreated (just aggregated and organized). Additionally, your reps should view the SDR playbook as a living document that continually needs revision as soon as a new SDR is hired, you sell into new territories or offer new solutions, or adopt new technology in the sales process.

Some of the most important sections in a playbook should include:

  • Company Values & Vision

I like to detail our core values, the value prop (based on solutions) that our Saas product offers customers in the construction. The playbook should read logically from generally to specific and the best way to start is by detailing the overarching goals of your company.

  • Sales Team Structure

In this section, it’s important to detail the different roles that might be aligned with Marketing or within different teams. For example, I divide 3 different segments of our sales team with each member’s role into: Inbound, Outbound, and Business Development/Partnerships.

Additionally, I include a glossary of important terms related to revenue that new reps might now know: Churn, ARR, CAC, Up-sell, etc. as well as any SLA (service level agreements) with Marketing or Account Management.

  • Ideal Customer Profile

It’s important to define who the ideal customer is for your solution. At zlien, we help contractors and suppliers on construction jobs in certain states, and some states are better to prospect into than others. We’ve divided these customer segments into Tier 1 and Tier 1 areas to help us negotiate those conversations in a more effective manner.

I also like to include charts that define the decision maker and possible organizational structure based on either SMB, Mid-Market, or Enterprise-level companies. Give examples of power users, success stories, or client testimonials for your new rep to reference on his/her phone calls!

  • Products & Pricing

This section should be a reference to the actual product that your team sells. We sell a SaaS product, but it’s also helpful to define what features are included in each plan and how your team breaks down pricing.

  • Qualification & Process Maps

When your reps first encounter a prospect on the phone or email, how can they know whether or not he/she is a good fit? zlien uses a modified version of BANT (budget-authority-need-time) to fit the industry we sell into and the different pain points that our solution might solve.

A good reference to include here is some sample qualifying questions, objections, voicemail/email templates, and battle cards for most common competitors in the market that prospects might already be utilizing instead of your company.

In terms of the overall process, I like to map them out based on a MQL or an Outbound lead and the individual journey the prospect might have from SDR to AE to Account Manager.

  • Visionary Reading & Industry Resources

In addition to the playbook you’ve written for your new reps, it’s important to keep them informed with industry resources and/or sales resources. As a construction SaaS company, I post industry-level newsletters and the top leaders in the supplier and subcontractor market that we could sell into with success.

Additionally, I post some sample podcasts, new sales books, and articles that align with the vision of the overall company.

Some personal favorites include: Bridge Group and Close.io

  • KPIs & Results

Your new reps should also now the expectations. How many SQO’s do you want them to produce per month? We have a motto that we use to establish accountability among the overall team and the individual rep: Know Your Metric. Do It Every Day.

This section tracks CRM reporting (we use Salesforce’s dashboards) to track the number of touches, calls, and SQO’s produce daily, monthly, weekly, and quarterly. When I meet one-on-one with an individual rep to review calls and track progress, he/she should be able to tell me how well the rep has executed on his/her KPIs.

While these sections aren’t the complete playbook we’ve built, I’ve found that these are some of the most important to our success. Overall, every sales team needs to reflect and measure success, but also codify the process to ensure scalability as the team and company grows. Lastly, I’ve also found that talking to other SDRs is one of the most helpful ways to get feedback on how to solve problems and expand your sales knowledge!

– Paul Dean-

Paul Dean is the Outbound BDR Manager at zlien, a construction SaaS company headquartered in New Orleans, LA, that helps facilitate fair payment for contractors and suppliers nationwide. He manages and leads a team of Outbound BDRs to success through qualification, call coaching, and sales enablement. Feel free to shoot him a message to chat or reach out on Linkedin!

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