21 Sales Coaching Tools and Resources to Create a Top-Performing SDR Team

21 Sales Coaching Tools and Resources to Create a Top-Performing SDR Team

A self-taught SDR, I am a big believer that you can acquire any skill and master any job you want. With some perseverance and dedication anything is possible. After all, good SDRs aren’t born, they’re taught.

But it’s much easier when you have the right resources, tools, and personal guidance to lean on.

Over the past few years, we’ve grown our team substantially, having hired and onboarded 8 sales reps. This allowed me to develop our own SDR onboarding plan that, closely followed, gets our new hires quickly up to speed.

However, ongoing coaching and training is just as important as the initial ramp-up. And while there’s a ton of helpful resources for SDR leaders, trying to find something worthwhile for beginners or mid-level sales reps might be a real challenge.

That is why I’ve decided to compile this list of the most helpful sales coaching tools and resources that you can use. Enjoy!

Is sales training and coaching really that necessary?

With the looming recession and record-breaking layoffs across the tech industry, team productivity is no longer just something to strive for. It’s a matter of survival. And currently, the situation isn’t that rosy for many sales teams.

Here’s just a couple of jaw-dropping stats from the fifth edition of the State of Sales report by Salesforce:

???? Sales reps spend only 28% of their time actually selling.

???? Only 28% of sales teams expect to reach or exceed their quota this year.

???? The average sales turnover is now at 25%.

Let that sink in.

The good thing is that there are ways to fix all those problems. 

For example, automation tools and AI might help you increase your team’s productivity and make sure they spend their time effectively. Adopting new prospecting tactics and optimizing your existing ones can help with quota attainment while adjusting your KPIs and compensation can be really effective when fighting sales turnover.

However, as a sales leader, you should understand that the root cause of all those problems might be somewhat deeper. Often, it’s the lack of proper management practices that can cripple even the best teams. And sales coaching is by far the most typically overlooked part of that.

Feeling skeptical? Well, RAIN Group finds that implementing a successful coaching program can lead to a 25-40% increase in sales activity, leads generated, average deal size, and close ratio. 

If that isn’t enough to convince you, check out this experiment conducted by ValueSelling Associates. It proves once again that sales training can contribute significantly to any outcome, from employee satisfaction and motivation to overall company culture. 

Now, that is neither a coincidence nor a mistake. 

Over the past few years, I’ve learned first-hand that coaching isn’t just one of the keys to effective SDR leadership, it can also be your secret weapon for boosting team performance and morale.

Reply’s 6-Week SDR Onboarding Plan

Growing your SDR team?

Struggling to get your new hires up to speed?

Follow this step-by-step plan to streamline the SDR onboarding process and help your employees ramp up their productivity in under 2 months.

Sales coaching and training tools

Let’s get to the point with our sales coaching resources, starting with the tech aspect. A huge SaaS enthusiast, I am always up for a great software tool – whether we’re talking about process automation or other forms of sales enablement.

First and foremost, your own tool should be the core of your training efforts. A good SDR should feel at home with it, knowing all the ins and outs, and able to communicate its benefits to your target audience. 

In our case, all our SDRs are the real Reply power users, relying on the platform in most of our daily sales activities. Moreover, we regularly have extensive, hands-on training sessions with our product team for every new feature or product we build.

Other than that, I find the following tools very helpful for SDR coaching and training.

  1. Slite – our knowledgebase and the single source of truth for anything from playbooks and daily checklists to organizational issues. With 24/7 access to the most important information, it bolsters self-education and helps you avoid unnecessary questions.
  2. Loom – my go-to video app for effective async communication with the team. It comes in handy when you want to explain something real quick or give a hands-on demonstration.
  3. Avoma – a recent addition to our sales stack, it is a great tool for sales calls coaching. It provides conversational intelligence and powerful coaching insights so you don’t have to waste hours shadowing live calls.
  4. Fellow – my personal favorite for productive and actionable team meetings. It makes it easy to create agendas, document action items, and do effective 1-on-1 coaching sessions. 
  5. Lavender – an AI-powered email writing assistant helps you coach your SDRs on email writing. It offers a comprehensive dashboard with insights and best practices for the whole team.

And one more bonus tool that I’ve just discovered is Lessonly by Seismic – a convenient coaching suite for teams. You can use it to create step-by-step instructions to onboard new employees and learning guides to upskill the existing team members.

Of course, there are many more tools that can help with SDR coaching and training. You’re free to use whatever works for you, considering your budget and requirements. These are just some of the suggestions that I’ve personally tried and can recommend.

Now, let’s move on to the hand-picked coaching resources.

On-demand sales training and online certifications

It’s an age-old question whether you should handle your coaching in-house or get outside help. Sure, hiring a renowned sales coach might seem like a silver bullet, but, let’s be honest, very few businesses can afford that luxury. 

As for me, I find online courses to be a happy medium and a perfect way to breathe some fresh air into your team when you feel like you’ve reached your limit for in-house coaching. Here are some of the top picks you should consider for your team.

  1. Sell Better by JB Sales – run by John Barrows, it offers real-time coaching from expert trainers as well as a large community of sales practitioners to connect with and learn from. 
  2. Outbound Squad (formerly Blissful Prospecting) provides sales coaching and training programs by Jason Bay and Ethan Parker. There’s a 6-week program tailored for teams as well as an option for individuals. 
  3. MJ Hoffman’s sales training programs focus on the three key aspects of the selling process – from “starting the deal” to closing it. One of the leading sales training consultants, HOFFMAN is offering corporate training and public workshops.
  4. FDTC University offers online training and coaching for AEs by Mor Assouline. The program includes 4 hours of on-demand training, ready-to-use frameworks and scripts, as well as a private mastermind community.
  5. Pavilion University offers tailored programs on a variety of topics – from video selling and cold emailing to storytelling and the art of listening. The courses combine “structured training and community-powered learning.” 
  6. SalesLabs is a consultancy run by my friend and outreach expert Thibaut Souyris. You can hire him personally to coach your team or get one of the available courses to learn at your own pace.   
  7. Salesforce Sales Development Representative Professional Certificate won’t just look great on any CV, but can build or improve your tech sales skills. This certificate from Salesforce contains 5 courses, including conversational selling and tech stack.
  8. Inbound Sales Course by HubSpot is one of the few free training resources for salespeople. It’s pretty short and to the point, yet, as with any other piece of content that comes from HubSpot, you can rest assured that it’s really worth your time.    

Honorable mention: Prehired is a “tech sales career launch program” that provides training and 1-on-1 mentorship for those looking to get started in software sales. Because it is tailored for SDRs looking to get hired, it isn’t the best option for existing teams. But I’ve decided to include it here taking into account the recent record-breaking layoffs across the tech industry.

For those of you facing this challenge, I’ve also put together a huge list of SaaS companies hiring right now. Hope this helps!

Professional communities for SDRs

Just like many of you, I started my career without any personal guidance and had to figure it out all on my own. Luckily, gone are the days when self-learners were left to their own devices. The multiple online sales communities that have emerged in the past few years offer a safe place to connect with peers, network, learn from each other, and exchange experiences.

Here are some of the professional communities I can recommend.

  1. RevGenius is possibly the most popular sales-related community that brings together around 30,000 members across the world. Aside from the active Slack channel, there is tons of content and regular events the members can access and learn from.
  2. Sales Assembly is an all-in-one advisory/training/certifications platform that is based on a strong community of B2B tech sales professionals. With the pricey membership plans, it offers exhaustive resources to train any team.
  3. Modern Sales Pros is “the world’s largest peer education community” of more than 35,000 sales professionals. With an online forum containing thousands of threads, it’s a great resource for peer learning and networking.
  4. SDRevolution is another platform that offers educational content, video training, and a professional community for sales development professionals. It helps you connect with like-minded professionals on LinkedIn, Slack, YouTube, or Zoom.
  5. SDR Nation Community is a dedicated space to connect with peers and find the support you need in your career. The cool part about it is the social events hosted here, like meditation, happy hours, and purpose-focused initiatives.

Honorable mention: Thursday Night Sales is a casual gathering organized by Amy Volas and Scott Leese. And it definitely deserves some recognition for being the “#1 weekly virtual sales happy hour.” ????

Aside from these larger online communities, there are also dozens of active groups on LinkedIn and closed chats in messengers like Slack. It’s hard to find them, it might be even harder to get in them. Sadly, few niche chats or groups like them remain active while being free from spam and product pitching. 

How to build a top-performing SDR team? Coaching tips from Reply.io

If there’s one thing that I learned over the past few years leading our small but mighty SDR team, it’s that every dollar or every minute you spend on team coaching and training is time and money well spent. Think about it as a strategic investment with a guaranteed ROI.

In addition to the tools and resources listed above, here are some tips and tactics we’ve adopted at Reply that might come in handy.

  • Show, don’t tell

There are different ways to get your SDRs to learn new skills. I’ve decided to lead by example. Last year, I started a tradition of monthly level-ups where I share some pro hacks, hands-on tips, tools, and tactics, that I’ve learned recently. As a result, I teach them something new every month and at the same time encourage them to follow my example!

  • Encourage peer coaching and mentorship

Hiring a professional coach isn’t always necessary. In most cases, the internal expertise your team members carry might be enough to train at least your new hires. As different members of your team might be handling different tasks and facing various challenges, why not have them share what they’ve learned to help others expand their skill sets?

  • Check in with your team regularly

Some might find this excessive, but our team has a lot recurring calls. There are daily standups, weekly meetings, bi-weekly training sessions, monthly OKR reviews, quarterly 1-on-1 performance reviews, bi-monthly phone calling level-ups, etc. I believe, with a fully remote team, you can never overcommunicate!

  • Boost personal productivity

This might be my personal game plan, but I just love discovering new tools that can make our lives at least a bit easier. I’m always on the lookout for anything that can help us boost our productivity, speed up and streamline some processes, and cut the manual work. Some of the recent additions to our productivity stack are Workona and Slapdash.

  • Bolster inner motivation

I firmly believe that you can’t just force any initiative on your team. For it to be successful, you have to be on the same page with the rest of your SDRs. Thus many calls, including one-on-one sessions. For me, as a leader, it’s very important to maintain personal connections with each of my team members. 

Hopefully, this will help you build out your internal coaching process to build a team of top-performers ????

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