Data-Driven sales training

How Wonderway helped Validity to reduce SDR turnover in 3 months

Less turnover, more internal promotions
20 hrs
Saved on onboarding each sales rep
Less people in training team
1:1 meetings focus on growing reps’ skillset
No clear career path overview for new SDRs and high turnover
A self-serve certification program, and a clear path forward to career growth
A “phenomenal” decrease in turnover and more internal promotions for SDRs

No clear career path overview for new SDRs and high turnover

As a Sales Development Manager at Validity, Melanie Rogers was in charge of making sure that all new SDRs were getting a solid onboarding experience. To do that, she spent a lot of time tracking development in spreadsheets and scheduling meetings with the managers.
While the SDR onboarding was well-structured and involved training activities, there were two challenges with that format:

• It was hard for Melanie and the sales team managers to evaluate new SDRs’ skills and map out a career growth plan for each individual SDR. 
• It also seemed that the SDRs didn't see a progression path to their next challenge. Organizationally, there was a bigger picture of SDR career paths and development, but there was a mismatch between that vision and SDRs’ expectations and, more importantly, their timeline. That led to a high SDR turnover rate.

“Organizationally, there was a bigger picture of SDR career paths and development, but there seemed to be a mismatch between that vision and SDRs’ expectations and, more importantly, their timeline.”

Melanie Rogers, Sales Development Manager at Validity

When the Validity training team went from 4 people to 1 full-time person during the pandemic, executing the full scope of the onboarding program became even more challenging. Presenting career progression options during live workshops turned out to be not enough, and it became clear: to retain more SDRs, it was important to have a more structured approach to career development within Validity.


A self-serve certification program, and a clear path forward to career growth

An “aha!” moment for the sales development team was noticing that SDRs eager for promotion kept requesting access to a certification program for Validity account executives that the team had set up on the Wonderway platform.

Melanie realized that there was a key opportunity to engage those reps and improve retention rates. The SDR certification program was meant to empower SDRs to control their curriculum and find opportunities to grow and prepare themselves for a career advancement. Through 1:1 conversations with their leadership team, new SDRs could identify their next steps and choose appropriate courses.

Now new SDRs join Validity’s Pathfinder program right after completing their onboarding. In addition to general sales skills content from Wonderway, the leadership team at Validity added relevant content modules for sales. The SDR managers are responsible for course creation and enrollment. They also manage, monitor, and review the assignments and ultimately grant certification to a rep. Melanie believes that the partnership with the leadership team was the key to the program’s success and creating exactly the programs that their teams needed.

“I've used a lot of systems, and I've run a lot of different programs. And I had never had a sales person say to me “That learning system is great!” But I get that feedback consistently about Wonderway. They love the structure, they love seeing everything lined out. And what I love is knowing that the plan that we work so hard to put in place is implemented.”

Melanie Rogers, Sales Development Manager at Validity

As opposed to the previous training setup, Pathfinder content modules have tasks added to them. For example, learning how to handle objections would involve some initial conversations and roleplays with the manager, as well as a final graduation requirement: submitting a call where objections were successfully handled using the framework taught in the program.

SDRs that successfully passed a certification course are then required to share that new skill with the rest of their team. This helps both reinforce the skillset and engage the rest of the team by leading a discussion or a workshop on a certain topic.

Pathfinder trainings include both skills that are relevant to SDRs’ current roles at Validity, and skills that would make them a better salesperson overall. For example, reps who have taken a multithreading program and completed it are one step closer to moving into an account executive role.

At the same time, team leads and the sales development team now have a full visibility into reps’ training progress and covered topics. This has led to more meaningful 1:1 conversations with team leads, enabling managers to focus on supporting the reps and helping them succeed.


A “phenomenal” decrease in turnover and more internal promotions for SDRs

Validity was able to achieve a significantly lower SDR turnover, with more SDRs being promoted within the organization to team leads, SDR management, AE roles for Validity’s new business, and roles on the expansion team. 

“Probably three months in was when we started to see the excitement over the program. The performance coming out of onboarding was exactly where they needed to be, so we had set the reps up for success. And when you're successful, it makes you want to be there and be excited about what's next. Annually the turnover was a phenomenal decrease.”

 Melanie Rogers, Sales Development Manager at Validity

New SDRs can now see from day one the potential to grow within the organization and can see team members learn and get promoted. And, using Wonderway makes it easy for the leadership team to see which sales reps are comfortable in their position, and which ones want to keep learning and growing.

How to implement a certification program that fosters SDRs’ career development

Tips from Melanie Rogers, Sales Development Manager at Validity:

1.Start the training with an initial kickoff program

At Validity, all SDRs are by default enrolled in a kickoff course on the Wonderway platform, so that the reps can see what a program looks like and understand the level of involvement and engagement it requires.Beyond that initial course, it's important to let the reps drive their development to help them feel in charge of where they want to take their career.

2. Focus on skills, not speed

Recognize that it's not about speed.
Many of Validity’s high-performing SDRs wanted to push through and checklist all of the courses. We had to highlight that it's about the mastery of the skill or the topic itself, and that the goal was to be able to leverage that mastery. 

3. Recognize reps’ achievements

Validity has a team website, where everyone who's completed a certification has their name posted. Plus they get recognition in online discussion channels and can share their  certifications on social media.

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