But how can you measure the effectiveness of your coaching sessions?
By developing your own training certifications, of course. Think of a certification like a skill quiz — reps earn certifications by studying for and being tested on specific selling skills, such as general product knowledge, negotiation and objection handling.
Certifications are great exercises for sales coaching. The benefits are numerous:
- Studying for them takes reps out of the everyday sales grind.
- Taking the tests provides a great opportunity for you to provide feedback on skill development.
- Passing a certification means that the SDR is extremely proficient in that skill, and it helps you understand who’s headed toward mastery of their role and could be a candidate for future career advancement.
As the coach, you should also prepare reps for each certification. Provide study materials and engage in precision coaching around that particular skill. Note that you can also motivate and reward reps for passing certifications with recognition and incentives.
Because different sales roles require different skills, each sales team should have their own set of certifications. Today, we’re going to cover four certifications for your sales development reps (SDRs).
4 Certifications For Your Sales Development Team
1. Personalized Outreach & Prospecting
For reps to pass this certification, have them identify five individuals they want to reach out to. Ask them questions surrounding their prospecting method:
- How did they find them?
- Why did they choose them?
- How does this person fit into your buyer persona?
Make sure they can answer all of these questions confidently, and that it aligns with your methodology and sales process. Then, test them on their personalized outreach:
- How did they structure their messaging?
- How would they first reach out to this person?
You can also have them prepare an email template that they would send to each person, as well as record a voicemail. In those, look for the tie-in that the SDR uses to connect with that person, as well as a call to action (such as setting up another phone call or asking for a meeting on a specific day and time).
2. Discovery Pitch
This certification involves one of the most important parts of the SDR’s job: pitching your product or service. Have reps present the sales pitch using your team’s discovery deck to an executive at your company (or someone who represents your typical buyer).
- How did they present your business?
- How did they address the pain points that your offering solves?
- How did they communicate ROI?
- Did they ask the prospect compelling questions? Or did they do most of the talking?
Since every sales team is different, you’ll have to define the criteria you’re looking for out of these.
3. Customer Success Stories / Storytelling
In this certification, give your reps two and a half minutes to tell a story around a successful customer use case of your product or service. This can either be live or recorded and posted through a system like SalesHood.
There are five main things you want to look for in their storytelling:
- An attention-grabbing opener (an ROI punch-line if you will).
- A clear explanation of the customer’s use case.
- The impact your offering had on the customer’s business.
- An ROI definition for the prospect.
- An engaging question to end the story.
Also pay attention to how they tell the story — how familiar they seem with the story, what tone they use and how quickly they talk.
4. Objection Handling
The objection handling certification is a live role play.
Have an executive at your company (or someone else that closely fits with your buyer persona) call you and your SDR on a conference line. Let the SDR go through a personalized outreach exercise and basic pitch, and then have the executive come back at them with the main objections your team receives. Here’s what to look for in this conversation:
- Did they have answers to the primary objections and deliver them with ease?
- How did they address and articulate the objection?
- Did they address the objection(s) with specific customer stories and use cases?
You can assess the SDR based on your own criteria, but you should also get feedback from the executive they pitched.
Use these certifications to get your SDR team performing at its highest level. Stay tuned for more certifications for your sales teams!
Looking for another great strategy to improve sales performance? Here’s a checklist to conduct sales win/loss analysis of closed deals.