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Sales Development

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As a Sales Development Representative (SDR) you will be dealing with the front end of the sales process. Your focus will be on generating opportunities that the Small Business (SMB) Advocates, 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!

Slack Channels & Aliases

You must be logged into your GitLab slack account for the links below to be active

Main Channel = #sdr_global
Enablement = #sdr-enablement
Conversations = #sdr-conversations


All = #sdr_noram
Commercial + LATAM = #sdr_noram_commercial
East = #sdr_noram_east
Central = #sdr_noram_central
West = #sdr_noram_west


All = #sdr_emea
Commercial = #sdr_emea_commercial


All = #sdr_apac

Issue Boards & Team Labels

SDRs use the SDR Issue Board to track relevant GitLab issues involving the SDR 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 scoped labels are used.

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

How & When to Create an Opportunity

Process to follow how & when to create an opporunity is found in the Business OPS section of the handbook.

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. Should you require any further training throughout your time with Gitlab, this can always be arranged to plug any gaps in your knowledge around the product or SDR processes.


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

Onboarding Assessments


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

SDR Manager

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 Manager. When an SDR receives an introduction like this, 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, (please copy the SDR Manager on the email):

Hi {},

My colleague {} has been trying to find people responsible for evaluating and selecting DevOps tools 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 GitLab; the first single application for software development, security, and operations that enables Concurrent DevOps, making the software lifecycle 200% faster and radically improving the speed of business.

Thank you, I appreciate your help.



How to SDR, Commercial

Video: Welcome to the Sales Development Commercial Team

SDR, Commercial Standards


SDR, Commercial 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

SDR Inbound Priority Process

SDR Priority Process SFDC Work Views

P1 - MQLs-Request Contact

This will be your top priority view. Records with Status = MQL or Inquiry that have requested contact either via our web form or from an event. Review and determine what outreach/status should be. Status and/or Initial Source is not restricting factor when a contact request is received. All must be Accepted, follow up completed then record updated with appropriate Status disposition based on outcome. Expected follow up is to happen within 1 business day.

P2 - MQLs excl SaaS trials

Records with Status = MQL AND MQL Date = LAST 60 DAYS. This could include leads that MQL'd due to a demo, downloaded resource or came by our booth at an event but this view will not include SaaS trials. Sort by Last Interesting Moment Date so they appear reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent at top). Sync records into Outreach enmasse, when possible, and insert into correct sequence. When you bulk import to Outreach, you will likely get a failure notice on some of the records which is an indicator of duplicates. Please follow the dupe and merge process before trying to import again. Trial leads need to be sequenced within 1-2 business as the sequence is coordinate with marketing's outreach. *If you sort by the last column, you can see if any of these leads has both an Self-hosted and SaaS trials

P3 - Qualifying

Records with Status = Qualifying which means at some point, you may have been engaged with them. Decide on next steps and use the "qualification notes" field to enter in the next step date and action needed. This will help you to prioritize from the lead view itself.

P4 - MQL-Trial - SaaS

Records with Status = MQL AND Trial - SaaS = True w/in the last 60 days. Sort records by Evaluators and place in high or low trial sequence. Trial leads need to be sequenced within 1-2 business as the sequence is coordinate with marketing's outreach.

P5 - Accepted, showing action

Records with Last Intersting Moment Date OR Last Activity in the past 60 days.
Review and disposition the Status correctly:

You should sort by "Outreach stage" as an indicator of whether leads should be moved to 'Unqualified', 'Nurture', or 'Qualifying'. You can also sort by Trial columns to see if presently in or ever taken a trial/type. For example, if Outreach stage is Unresponsive and trial has ended, it likely should be moved to Nurture, No Response.

You can leverage visible fields like Title, No of Employees and/or Last Interesting Moment/Path Factory Engagement Score to determine if record should remain in Accepted status for further outreach.

P6 - Accepted, no action

Records without a Last Interesting Moment and/or Last Activity within the last 60 days.

Review and decide if you need to take an action or if the lead needs it's status updated.
The purpose of this view is to identify any bottlenecks, example: if behind on follow-up or if you forgot to disposition out of accepted status. It's good practice to check and clear this view once a week.

P7 - Inquiry

Records with Status = Inquiry sort by Last Interesting Moment Date (LIM). This is a "fishing pond like" view.
These records have not yet accumulated enough points (i.e. engaged with high value content) or completed a 'hand-raising' activity to be qualified as an MQL. Review the LIM description (if available) and Company to determine if worth bumping into an active outbound contact.
Do not work to clear this view - this view will only be worked when P1 - P5 are completed.

P8 - Stale MQL/Nurture w/new LIM

Records with Status = MQL OR Nurture AND MQL Date older than 30 days BUT Last Interesting Moment Date within 30 days or less.
Do not work to clear this view - be aware of this view as records may appear in this view due to re-engagement campaigns. If there are leads in this view with a MQL status, you do need to decide on what action to take per our normal 1-2 business day SLA.

*Note: If you see a lead in any of your views with a Path Factory Engagement Score of 5 or greater, we would like you to move to accepted and begin outreach unless you determine the lead to be unqualified. We will be testing whether this is the correct score to use and gathering feedback from the SDR team.

SDR Record Handling Priority Process

Records - LEADS & CONTACTS - are generated by the Marketing team for XDR team who are responsible for qualifying the records before handoff to the Sales team.


Qualification is performed by the SDRs. The best interest of the customer/prospect end user is to be paramount at all times

Status Process

We must have an accurate reflection of the record status(lead & contact) based on what the person engaged with, what is the status of followup and where they are in the lifecycle.

The SDR is 100% responsible for ensuring this status is accurate.

SDR 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

Gather billing and end user details from the reseller:

Create new LEAD record with end user details

Converting LEAD

SDR Prospecting

At GitLab, it is imperative that SDRs consistently follow up in a timely manner. Top performing SDR's will experiment with a mix of calls, personalized emails, and non-traditional touch points in their prospecting cadence.

High vs Low Touch

SDRs should follow the lead research process to determine if the lead will be sequenced as high/low touch.

What distinguishes High from Low?

High Touch:

  1. Involves higher quality leads
  2. High Touch is for trial lead records where one of the following qualities is true:
    • Persona title is given
    • Phone is given
    • In MM or Enterprise segment
    • Has business email (if SB/Unknown segments, need to factor in 5+ users as a secondary qualifier)
    • Web form was completed with relevant question
  3. Involves personalization, more touches and multiple channels are used (calls,emails,LinkedIn)
  4. Offers a meeting as CTA early in the sequence whereas Low Touch will try to engage via email to allow XDR’s an opportunity to qualify before getting on a call that may not be a good use of their time.

*SDR’s may weave in additional phone calls into their workflow

Live Chat

We use a live chat tool - Drift - to facilitate two-way conversations with website visitors. As an SDR, 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-managed and SaaS products. The content of the nurture differs between a self-managed and a SaaS trial. Details of the self-managed 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 for Self-managed and SaaS trial records.

If a prospect requests a trial extension, we need to make sure that 1) we have had qualification questions answered and 2) they meet with an AE.

SDR Calling

Video: Best Practices for Opening Calls

Video: Best Practices for Asking Questions

SDR 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 (SDR) 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)”

There are some opportunities where it makes sense for us to have the prospect purchase through our online portal directly without engaging with an account executive however we would like to have an AE involved for opportunities where the 1) Company has 30 or more employees, or the 2) Opportunity value is at or above 3K or 3) our top 2 tiers are being considered or 4) a trial extension is being requested. After gathering SAO critera, please direct them to a meeting with an AE as the next step in our qualification process. As always, our goal should aways be to ensure the best customer journey so please make sure the next step makes the most sense for the prospect.


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.

SDR, Commercial Compensation and Quota

Variable Compensation

Full-time SDR, Commercial 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. 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.

Monthly quota of Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs)

Month 1 - Ten Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs) Month 2 - Ten Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs) Month 3 - Thirteen Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs) Month 4 onwards - Sixteen Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs)

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

Additional Measurements

SDR, Commercial 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.

How to SDR

Video: Welcome to the GitLab Sales Development Team

As an 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 Strategic Account Leader 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.

Monthly quota of Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs):

Month 1 - Two Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs) Month 2 - Four Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs) Month 3 - Six Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs) Month 4 onwards - Eight Sales Accepted Opportunities - (SAOs)

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

Below are reports from Salesforce that GitLab leadership uses to see all the SDR 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 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