Sales Development Representative

June 1, 2020

SDR Onboarding: Getting past the Gatekeeper

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Getting past the Gatekeeper

For many businesses, the Sales Development Representative (SDR) is the lifeblood of your organization. These phone warriors are the ones who make the connections that drive revenue growth in your business. With how important SDRs are: how much time and effort does your organization invest in them? How well are they trained? How well are they coached on improving their calls? How good are the tools they are given to be successful? Check out our last post for more of these questions.

If the answers to any of these questions above range from “could be better” to “not good at all”, you need to start supporting your SDRs in the way they and your organization deserve. One of the best ways to do this is to develop a cold call conversation tree. In this 3-part series, we will walk through the three levels of a sharable SDR call tree. This tree can be customized for your organization and will make SDRs more confident, focused, and efficient. It can be used to improve the quality and speed of SDR onboarding or to help share best practices across a team.

First You Dial…

You know every decision-maker, the gatekeeper’s favorite team, memorized your company research, and have your script edited down to the last dangling participle. You are ready to dial. Your nerves build with each passing ring...what happens next may seem like an infinite universe of possibilities. Your journey begins with these 5 outcomes and our SDR conversation tree can help you deal with each:

No answer – Try again another day!

IVR Tree –There are 3 possible outcomes here. It may be a dead-end with an automated system and without the right extension, you’re sunk. If you do get routed in the right direction it may be to a decision-maker, or to the gatekeeper.

Gatekeeper – They either pass you through, make you leave a message, or refuse you flat out. Either way, remember these points when speaking with them:

  • Be polite: it goes without saying, but always treat him/her with respect. They are the first impression of the company and can be a great resource. 
  • Be direct: they receive sales calls all day long. They will appreciate not wasting their time beating around the bush. Send an email/message to your prospect prior to the call and reference following up on that message.
  • Be confident/personable: approach every call with positive energy and personality. The right attitude will not only increase your chances of connecting, but will also make prospecting more enjoyable.  

Influencer – Speak to an influencer who has the ear of your prospect: they may pass you along, or they may be worth having a conversation with or leaving a voicemail for.

Decision-Maker – When you get the DM, you shoot your shot. Either jump into your pitch or leave a killer voicemail that entices them to get back to you or take your next call.


To help your organization improve each of these actions, you need to walk away from every call with data on what works and what doesn’t. The best way to gain this data and distill it into actionable insight is with conversation intelligence tools like Pickle. We leverage AI technology to collect and analyze as much call data as your organization has and those turn conversations into powerful business insights. Contact Pickle today to learn more about how these AI solutions can benefit you.

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