Sales and Business Development

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As a Sales Development Representative (SDR) or Business Development Representative (BDR) you will be dealing with the front end of the sales process. Your focus will be on generating opportunities that the Account Executives (AE) and Strategic Account Leader (SAL) accept, ultimately leading to closed won business. On this team we work hard, but have fun too (I know, it's a cliche …but here it's true!). We will work hard to guarantee your success if you do the same.

This handbook lays out the knowledge you will need to have in order to be successful in your role here at GitLab. Know that if you have the right mindset and come to work hungry with a positive attitude, you will see growth personally and in your career. Let's make it happen!

BDRs and SDRs (XDRs) use the XDR Issue Board to track relevent GitLab issues involving the XDR team. This is a global issue board and will capture all issues in any group/sub-group in the repo when any of the following labels are used.

XDR - Issues concerning the XDR team, general label to use intially XDR in-flight - In-flight issues related to the XDR team XDR top priority - Top priority issues related the XDR team

GitLab Buyer

GitLab Industry


Competitive Landscape

GitLab Solution

GitLab Messaging

Understand how to connect the GitLab buyer pain points to your calls, email messaging & social strategies

When to Create an Opportunity

Before a 0-Pending Acceptance opportunity can be created in Salesforce, the following criteria should be met:

  1. Authority
    • What role does this person play in the decision process? (i.e. decision maker, influencer, etc.) OR is this someone that has a high-level pain and clear path to the decision maker? If so, great! The prospect meets the authority requirement for opportunity creation.
  2. Need (not mandatory in some regions/inquiries)
    • Ideally, BDRs/SDRs should uncover an identified problem GitLab can solve OR a high-level pain and if so, the need requirement is filled. For the US West and East regions, this requirement is not mandatory provided the prospect fits our Buyer Persona (Authority) and is interested in a deeper conversation (Committed Next Step).
  3. Committed next step
    • Is the prospect willing to schedule an introductory meeting to uncover more information and meet with a salesperson? If so, great! With this last step, follow in the instructions below to create an opportunity in salesforce.

SDRs - If you are booking meetings within your assigned account list with the right people, and the prospects are at least curious about addressing a potential pain point, then you have done your job well.

How to Create an Opportunity

You were successful and created an opportunity! Now what?

  1. The Handoff - This can make or break an opportunity being accepted by sales. This simple but important step in passing the prospect to sales requires the following:
    • Send a follow-up email to both the prospect and SAL recapping the business needs of the prospect, any and all data captured on their current situation, confirming the day and time for the discovery call and letting the prospect know you will be sending a calendar invite with agenda shortly.
    • Send out a meeting invite to both the prospect and SAL, including an agenda for the meeting of what the prospect would like to talk about.
      • E.g. Mutual Introductions, Discuss (identified need, or whatever you gathered from your conversation), Discuss potential solutions, Next steps
  2. Create OPPORTUNITY from LEAD or CONTACT record - see 'How to create an Opportunity' in the Business OPS section.
  3. Within the OPPORTUNITY, create an Initial Qualifying Meeting (IQM).
    • If creating OPPORTUNITY from CONTACT see step 4
    • If creating OPPORTUNITY from LEAD see step 5
  4. The OPPORTUNITY is now 0-Pending Acceptance.
  5. Attend the IQM, introduce the SAL/AM to the prospect and hand the meeting off.
  6. Take notes in Salesforce and recap with the SAL/AM after the meeting.
    • It will be in your best interest to sit in on as many meetings as possible at different stages in the buying process to see how the SAL/AM's work with prospects beyond the qualification stage.
    • The better you understand the SAL/AMs you work with the better you will be at making them (and you) successful through prospecting & qualification support.
  7. After the IQM, the SAL/AM will either accept or reject the opportunity based on the SAO criteria.

See additional details about Opportunity progression and the expectations associated to each defined OPPORTUNITY Stage which can be found and is kept up to date in the Business Operations section.

Training and Resources

You play a crucial role that helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing. As you gain knowledge, you will be able to aid our future customers ship better software, faster. There are numerous resources at your fingertips that we have created to help you in this process.


You will be assigned a GitLab Onboarding Issue. If you complete the BDR/SDR onboarding program within the defined time, you will receive the Super Leaf Coin. The BDR/SDR onboarding program provides you with the essential tools and and information in order to be successful as a BDR/SDR. The onboarding contains a prescriptive process and set of tasks for each day of your first 30 days of employment.

Onboarding Assessments

Throughout the BDR/SDR onboarding program there are assessments to test your knowledge on the learned topics from that day/week’s training. These quizzes are sent to your team lead automatically upon completion. Upon receipt, your team lead will review and discuss with you your score during your 1:1 time.

How to assign the assessments to a new hire The team lead should notify the Marketing Operations Manager no later than one week before the new hire start date in order for the Marketo form (where the assesment templates live) to be updated to reflect the new hire name and corresponding team lead.

Who are the results sent to and how do you know you passed? The assessment results are sent to the team lead overseeing the onboarding and will be reviewed in your weekly 1:1s throughout the duration of your onboarding. If not complete after 30 days you will recieve a written warning and you have one additonal week to complete them.

Super Leaf Coin

When you've successfully passed your onboarding test you will receive this Super Leaf Challenge Coin because you now have eaten The Super Leaf.

Super Leaf Challenge Coin

More info about why this skill is so helpful to the tanuki is explained in the first item on this page.

Process Resources

Product Resources


Personal Development

BDR & SDR Team Lead

Weekly 1:1

Asking questions

Don't hesitate to ping one of your colleagues with a question, or someone on the team who specializes in what you're searching for. Everyone is happy to help, and it's better to get your work done faster with your team, than being held up at a road block.

Referring People to the Sales and Business Development Teams

Know someone who works at a company with at least 750 technical employees? Please introduce them to a Sales Development Representative Lead. When an SDR receives an introduction, they will respectfully ask the person that was introduced to them if they would be willing to point them to any people who are responsible for evaluating or selecting SCM, CI/CD, application monitoring, and/or software project management solutions. This approach helps ensure we're talking to the right people, and helps reduce the time it takes to identify the people within a company who would be best suited to hear about how GitLab can help their organization ship better software, faster.

You can use the following text to make an introduction over email:

Hi {},

My colleague {} has been trying to find people responsible for evaluating and selecting SCM and CI/CD solutions at {contact.organization}. Could you do me a favor and point them in the right direction? They would be asking to schedule a quick call to discuss the possibility of using GitLab at {contact.organization}. Thank you, I appreciate your help.



How to BDR

Video: Welcome to the Business Development Team

BDR Standards


BDR Process Flow

It is imperative that you have an understanding of the following concepts to work effectively. Please be sure to review the following resources:


Customer Lifecycle

Lead Management

Video: Lead/Contact Management - Disposition Status

Rules of Engagement

BDR Lead Research

Researching leads is an important first step. Not only can you leverage the information to build a rapport, but it will ensure data integrity.

Please be sure to update the following fields to ensure accuaracy:

Personalized message research help and example:

Three things in three minutes about the Organization, Industry, and Prospect


Under the Account Record

Under the Lead Record

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Company Website

Working with 3rd Parties

BDR Prospecting

At GitLab, the top performing BDRs consistently follow up, experiment with a mix of calls, personalized emails, and non-traditional touch points in their prospecting cadence.

Live Chat

We use a live chat tool - Drift - to facilitate two-way conversations with website visitors. As a BDR, you are expected to be active on Drift during your shift, with the exception of those times when you have to walk away or are taking a break. It is important to maintain a sense of urgency while watching the chat queue, sure to not miss any incoming inquiries.

See also: Drift Starter Guide for Sales Teams

Drift Best Practices

You can see who else is online by viewing the GitLab Team Profile.

Notification settings:

When you are logged in and ready to chat, change your status to active by clicking “Turn off Away mode”

Pushing Conversation to

Logging off:

Conversation flow:

Minor notes:



  1. Subject line
  2. Preview pain
  3. Opening stanza
    • Make it about them, not about you
  4. Benefit and value proposition
  5. Call to action (CTA)
    • Offer available times for a meeting/call
    • Create urgency

Working with Trials

During a trial, a prospect is automatically enrolled into a Marketo nurture stream for both self-hosted and SaaS products. The content of the nurture differs between a self-hosted Ultimate and a SaaS trial. Details of the self-hosted Ultimate Nuture can be found in this Google presentation (must be signed into GitLab account to view).

Details of SaaS trial are being finalized; you can follow the issue here.

You have access to and are expected to use (and customize) the Ultimate master sequences in Outreach for measureable follow up to self-hosted Ultimate trial records.

BDR Calling

Video: Best Practices for Opening Calls

Video: Best Practices for Asking Questions

BDR Prospecting Call Structure

Warm Prospecting Call Example

Purpose: To qualify leads faster and more accurately (Sales Acceptance Criteria) than in an email exchange.

Process: In your reply message to set up/initiate a call, ask a few of your normal BDR questions to prep for the call. To save a step in emails include your Calendly link so leads may schedule the call directly.

“Hi (lead name), this is (BDR) from GitLab. How are you today?”

“Great, is now still a good time to talk about (primary issue)?”

After you’ve established the conversation is good to move forward, ask questions and guide the conversation in a way that enables the lead to tell you what their issue/problem is while also providing answers to the sales acceptance criteria. Your primary role is to gather information, and decide more appropriately how to provide assistance and/or qualify the lead for a call with an AE.

“Great (lead name), thank you for sharing that information. I have a better feel now for how to move forward with your request/issue. I’m going to follow-up with an email recapping what we discussed, send over that documentation I promised and get you in touch with (account executive)”


Video: Best Practices for Closing for Appointments
Your goal is to generate Sales Accepted Opportunities (SAOs) by gathering all pertinent information needed for an Account Executive to take action. Some examples of sales qualification questions can be found here.

BDR Compensation and Quota

Variable Compensation

Full-time Inbound BDRs have a significant portion of their pay based on performance and objective attainment. Performance based "bonuses" are based on individual SAO quota attainment.

Actions for obtaining results will be prescribed and measured, but are intentionally left out of bonus attainment calculations to encourage experimentation. Inbound BDRs will naturally be drawn to activities that have the highest yield, but freedom to choose their own daily activities will allow new, higher yield activities to be discovered.

There is an accelerator for BDRs who deliver over their SAO quota. SAOs are paid out based on progressive tiers of quota attainment:

Additional Measurements

BDRs will also be measured on the following:

Note, while important, the above measurements do not impact your quota attainment. Your main focus will be achieving your SAO quota.

Handover to SDRs

For an inbound lead that which is the correct contact with interest but requires further touches and qualifications the the following process should occur:

*BDR confirms all details, including the telephone number, company and email address *BDR passes the lead to SDR working in that territory or account as a Pre-Qualified Lead *SDR accepts the lead and converts the status to Pre-Qualified Lead Accepted and begins to work on it to progress it to the opportunity

BDR compensation could be looked at to include the number of Accepted PQLs

SMB Customer Advocate

All inbound leads in the SMB sales segment are evenly routed to the SMB Customer Advocate team. Unlike the BDR team which focuses purely on inbound lead management and qualification for mid market and larger prospects and then passes qualified leads to a closing sales function, the SMB Customer Advocates handle the entire buying journey of all SMB customers. This includes inbound lead qualification, closing, renewing, and expanding SMB customer accounts.

The goal of the SMB Customer Advocate team is to support SMB prospects and customers with whatever they need, letting our customers drive the buying process rather than trying to encourage our prospects to conform to our sales process. To that end, SMB customer advocates offer a great product, with fair terms, at a great price, but they do not negotiate on contract terms or price. Their are purely focused on doing what is right for their customers. Does the customer want to buy through our web store? Great! The SMB Customer Advocate team will help with any questions that come up before, during, or after web purchase. Would the customer rather be invoiced? No problem! The SMB Customer Advocate team is there to demo the product, assist with a trial, and answer any pre-sales questions that come up. In addition, the SMB Customer Advocate will assist customers as needed, and will be the customer's point of contact for any renewal and expansion discussions.

How to SDR

Video: Welcome to the GitLab Sales Development Team

As an Outbound Sales Development Representative (SDR), you will be responsible for one of the most difficult and important parts of growing a business: outbound prospecting. You play a crucial role that helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing. You will be tasked with generating sales accepted opportunities within our large account segment.

Getting started, you'll work closely with your Strategic Account Leader (SAL) to strategize which accounts to focus on as well as the potential entry points into those accounts. From there you will work on your own to further research and understanding the account, their business, their initiatives and other related details. Next you will hunt for and identify prospects that have a role in making software development tooling decisions as well as the various avenues through which you could communicate with these prospects. Utilizing all of this research you’ll then strategically communicate GitLab's value with your prospects, as well as the value of taking a meeting with GitLab for a product overview.

SDR Expectations

Video: SDR Expectations & Metrics

Working with Account Executives

Strategic Account Executives (SALs) receive support from the Outbound SDR team. Meeting cadence consist of the following:

Additional ad-hoc meetings may be scheduled in addition to the above.

Strategic Account Leaders (SALs) have direct impact on the Outbound SDR's success. It is very important to form a strong partnership to as you begin your prospecting efforts. The SALs you work with will know a lot about the accounts you are prospecting into, so be sure to communicate regularly to ensure you are as effective as possible.

Preparing for Field Events

Book face to face meetings at Field Events

SDR Compensation and Quota

SDR’s total compensation is based on two key metrics:

Quota is based solely on SAOs. Think of the 1% commission on opportunities you source that a sales person subsequently closes and wins as an added bonus. To be paid on your closed won business, your activity should clearly depict that your prospecting work sourced the opportunity.

SDRs will be expected to get 2 SAOs within the first 28 days of employment, 3 SAOs by the end of their second month, 5 by month 3, and 6 by month 4. After month 4, SDRs will be considered fully ramped and expected to generate 8 SAOs per month.

There is an accelerator for SDRs who deliver over their SAO quota. The accelerator only applies to SAOs; the 1% commission on closed won business is not eligible. Your commission is calculated as follows:

Below are reports from Salesforce that GitLab leadership uses to see all the Outbound created and sales accepted opportunities. If you believe an opportunity you sourced is not reflected in the reporting, notify your manager.

SDRs will also be measured on the following:

The above measurements do not impact your quota attainment, but are critical to being a successful SDR. A SDRs main focus should always be achieving their SAO quota.

SDR Account Allocation

To add an SDR to an Account, complete the following steps:

  1. Go to the account record
  2. Go to Account Team related list
  3. Click Add
  4. Add the User
  5. Select the "Read/Write" access level for the Account, Opportunity, and Case objects
  6. In the Team Role field, select "Sales Development Representative"

If you need to mass reassign or mass remove an SDR from Account Teams, please contact Sales Operations.

SDR Account Research

Leveraging the data gathered above, a SDR should spend no more than three minutes performing account research to personalize messaging. Below is an outline to help you come up with a personalized message in three minutes or less

Personalized message research help and example:

Three things in three minutes about the Organization, Industry, Prospect



Company Website

Outbound Prospecting - The Outreach

At GitLab, the top performing SDRs consistently make and send out a high volume of phone calls and personalized emails in their prospecting efforts. Social Selling and general creativity around prospecting activities is highly encouraged and often leads to more success. In example; SDRs will all be provided a license to Vidyard (download it here).

In the spirit of GitLab's vision: "Everyone can contribute", GitLab SDR's will be expected lead, participate and contribute in regular discussions around new creative ways to engage our prospective customers. When calling into Europe, be mindful of GDPR and only email contacts whose GDPR Compliant boxes are checked in SFDC; Also, all Discover.Org contacts are GDPR opt in.

Video: Sample Vidyard Video for a prospect

Video: Best Practices for Opening Calls

Video: Best Practices for Asking Questions

Cold Calling

With all the technology available to you as a SDR here at GitLab there really isn't such a thing as a "cold" call. Below are a few important tips that will help you structure a prospecting call:

SDR Prospecting Call Structure

SDR Objection Handling

Video: Objection Handling Techniques

Dealing with rejection over the phone

3 No Rule

A- Approach/Intro

B- Brief Initial Benefit Statement (The Why)

C- Connect/Ask Questions

D- Why Now?

E- Obtaining the commitment - Video: Best Practices for Closing for Appointments

F- Follow up