Sales Development Playbook

Sales Development is a vital part of any business. The initial reach out through phone, email, direct mail or social is often the first exposure and experience a potential customer will have with your brand. Therefore, it is extremely important to get your messaging right.

Why is Sales Development not Invested in more?

Oddly, this function is typically left to the most novice of sellers in most organizations. At several companies I worked for, the main funnel for the Sales Development role was folks straight out of college using the role as their entry to a career in sales. This strategy of recruiting from colleges is smart for a couple of reasons:

  1. You can lower your hiring costs
  2. You have the ability to fully shape the sales behavior from the beginning versus trying to break bad habits
  3. You have a clear breeding ground for future promotions to Closing Sales Reps of Account Executives
    sales playbook, sales playbook template

Why are Sales Development Playbooks often not effective?

With all the above benefits, why are Sales Development programs either not very effective OR a department of misery with struggling, unhappy first-time employees in the workforce hating their life with every phone call and email they are forced to make and send?


Well, it’s simple. There is not an effective Sales Development Playbook. The level of training or lack thereof that is provided to Sales Development Reps is pathetic. They are often showed the basics of using Salesforce or CRM, some basic qualification questions, are given a phone/email and told to, “make it happen.” Sales Leaders rely solely on that Sales Development Rep’s own tenacity and ingenuity to figure out how to book meetings for Closing Sales Reps and Account Executives.

Stop Expecting novice SDRs to come up with the Sales Development Playbook

Although this baptism by fire might work for the SDRs that have significant innate ability in sales, it is more often than not a complete failure and morale killer for the bulk of the team.  Some sales leaders think they are weeding out the weak or the “ones who would never cut it as a closer”, but they could not be any further from the truth.

A little direction goes a long way in a Sales Development Strategy

The number of times I have walked into companies and spent a little time with the Sales Development staff giving basic cold call and job training and saw a massive change is outrageous. SDRs who everyone thought were duds sailed to the top of the team ranks by just providing a wee bit of guidance.

sales playbook, sales playbook template 

In my mind, a Sales Development Playbook covers the following critical areas. Some of these areas are components that are taught to the SDRs directly and other are areas that Sales Leadership needs to manage themselves.


Example Sales Development Playbook:


Sales Leadership Tasks

  1.  Source and identify accounts to target
    • Notice I didn’t say “industries”. Industries might be part of the strategy of identifying accounts, but, at the end of the day, you should be doing the initial data work to identify the specific accounts you want to target.
    • This can be done quickly using a freelancer from Upwork with a combination of a data mining tool like ZoomInfo.
    • Identified accounts should then be assigned out to individual SDRs.
  2. Identify the specific ideal customer profile and source an initial set of contacts
    • It will absolutely be within your SDR’s job description to find more contacts and verify the existing contacts, but start with something so that your SDRs can hit the ground running trying to book meetings.
  3. Set up lead prioritization in Salesforce or CRM so that leads from the identified accounts are prioritized for any inbound inquiries (LeadSpace is great for Lead to Account matching)
  4.  Design the appropriate reach out cadence and messaging 
    • This is critical. Do not leave SDR’s without a plan and initial messaging to use.  Remember they have never done this before so email templates they can customize, cold call scripts and voicemail scripts are pivotal.
    • Create a strong cadence plan. In my experience, it takes roughly 18-20 touches over a 30-60 period to take a prospect from “cold” to willing to take a meeting.  You need to lay out what activity to do on what day during the cadence window.  Luckily, this type of cadence strategy can easily be built into prospecting tools like OutReach. 
  5. Conduct role-play certifications on 7 main skills:
    • 60-second elevator pitch
    • Cold call script
    • Qualification questions
    • Basic product understanding
    • Basic competitive advantage understanding
    • Objection handling
    • Voicemail script

Sales Development Tasks

  • Salesforce or CRM training for role
  • Sales prospecting software (like Outreach) training
  • Contact sourcing training like LinkedIn or ZoomInfo
  • Basic product and competitive advantage training
  • Training on how to structure your day for optimal output
    • Account research
    • Cadence training
  • Prep for and pass role-play certifications on 7 main skills:
    • 60-second elevator pitch
    • Cold call script
    • Qualification questions
    • Basic product understanding
    • Basic competitive advantage understanding
    • Objection handling
    • Voicemail Script
 sales playbook, sales playbook template

Sales leadership needs to hold up their end of the Sales Development Playbook HARD STOP. 

Not ensuring that your SDRs are set up for success is literally like throwing money in the garbage. You will have many of them fail and your business will be known for having a miserable entry sales program.

 Sales Development Playbook in a Box is available 

To make the development of the content easier for a Sales Development Playbook, check out my out of the box SDR Playbook Guide. In the Guide, I provide all the training content and SDR manuals you need. It includes a cadence template, script templates, structured day table and training content. There are still customizations you will need to make to fit your business and setup, but this greatly reduces the time and energy spent developing a Sales Development Playbook.


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Sales Training in a Box

Sales Guide for Sales Reps

Written by a Sales Rep for Sales Rep. This guide is purely tactical information that you as a sales rep can implement into your selling behavior immediately to drive near term impact to your quota and achievements.

No sales theory, no complicated sales process or sales methodology, no fluff.

The Guide contains:

  • Training Content 
  • Sales Agendas For Each Stage of Sales process
  • Scripts (Pitches, Meeting Opening, 60 Sec Elevator Pitch, Meeting Closing)
  • Business Case Templates
  • Email FollowUp Templates
  • Forecast Calculator
  • and much much more!

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Sales Guide for Sales Reps
Sales Guide for Sales Reps
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