There is a lot of discussions about how to hire and build an inside sales team. Many companies are migrating to two tier approach. A Sales Development Rep (SDR) prospects for new opportunities whole th Account Executive (AE) demos and closes the company. 
There is an old saying in Inside Sales Recruiting to be successful with this model always hire SDR’s in pairs. So you can see if its the person or the process that makes them successful. 50/50 odds may win in poker but not in sales when the average ramp up time for SDR’s to be full productive can be 2-6 months. 
The average SDR’s don’t last in the position for more than 12 months
Either they get discouraged by the necessary volume to be successful, don’t have the chops to be productive or simply move on to another company. 
I’ve hired a fair amount of sales development reps for my companies and the companies we help. Many times interviewing them can be a challenge because prospecting is considered part art and part science. Very successful Sales Leader once told me, that vetting a good prospector during an interview is one of the toughest recruiting assignments.  
I have found that one way to develop a better method of hiring and managing Sales Development Rep’s expectations is from the book Top Grading. In Top Grading author Brad Smart lays out the employee report card. In the report card you establish what is to be accomplished in the employees first 30, 60, 90 and year end anniversaries. 
A doctoral thesis at Georgia State University examined six different companies who employed topgrading. Between the six companies, a total of around 1,000 new hires were made during the study. Results of the study showed that the average pre-topgrading mis-hire” rate was 69.3%. After the implementation of topgrading, however, the average mis-hire rate dropped to 10.5%.[26]
I’ve found Report Cards to help build your SDR team in a number of ways. 
Some of the ways are:
  1. Interviewing  
  2. On-boarding 
  3. Coaching 
  4. Planning 
  5. Sense of Purpose/Mission 
I’ve found that using report cards with SDR’s can very quickly determine who will have a better than average chance to be successful. 
Interviewing
Once you have your report card drafted you can use the main goals of the position as questions for asking candidates how they would go about accomplishing the goals of the position. I’ve found mediocre candidates will accept the goals and have no real questions about how or why they were developed nor a good explanation of their method of learning and achieving them. Good candidates will have superficial questions that appear good, but not really challenge the reasons behind them. Great candidates will not only challenge the goals but asked insightful questions with thorough explanations of what they need to get to that level of performance. 
Onboarding 
The faster you can onboard SDR’s the faster they can earn quota, and your company makes money. One surprising affect of Report cards is how great SDR’s will almost use them as a road-map to stay on top of their education and performance. I’ve seen some of the best self manage their development because the report card is a guide for them to know what they need and by when. In the end report cards shorten the SDR onboarding. 
Coaching 
Behind every great player is a better coach. To help in coaching report cards can help direct the review and assessment of where the SDR is and where they are going. It helps put observations into a context the SDR can see where they’re headed. It also empowers SDR’s to ask for advice since they know what the ground rules of their position are. 
Planning 
I’ve seen some teams really struggle with how long SDR’s can take to get up to speed. Often times the desired time frame is shorter than the reality. If you have put reasonable/realistic expectations to your SDR report cards than you’re planning will take into account the onboarding timing and anticipated production by key dates. 
Sense of Purpose/Mission 
Cold calling and emailing can leave even the most enthusiastic team player burned out and frazzled. I’ve seen SDR’s have better moral because they know why they’re doing their job, how it helps the organization and gives them a sense of what positions they can get to by their performance. 
How to create your own SDR report card: 
  1. Do your math 
    1. Number of contacts 
    2. Average response rate 
  2. Outline the tools, product knowledge, customer knowledge and other major learnings first 
  3. Detail out your methodology 
  4. Determine the reps required production: emails, conversations, etc. 
  5. Layout the timeline 
  6. Establish the goals 
What is a part of the SDR Report Card
  1. Role
  2. Mission
  3. Outcomes
  4. Role Competencies
  5. Cultural Fit
So I am sharing our SDR report card that we used to hire dozens of successful SDR’s. You can customize it to your specific needs. 
Conclusion and Recommended Reading 
Building an Inside Sales Team of SDR’s is hard. Having a formula for their success and satisfaction with the job can go a long ways. Build your own report cards and use them to build a higher performing more satisfied team.  
To Your Success, 
Steven Wagner 
Get the bonus content: SDR Report Card Template