This post was originally published by Ben Battaglia on lessonly.com.
Today, and every day, hundreds of salespeople across the globe will start a new job. According to one estimate, 84% of sales training is lost in 90 days. It’s clear as day—employees need a better sales training and onboarding process.
Onboarding new sales reps isn’t simple. There’s a lot of information, skills, and expectation to convey—and speed is always of the essence. We asked a few of our sales leaders to share their sales onboarding checklist—their essential tips and tricks to maximize rep onboarding and time to productivity. These five themes were recurring pieces of their sales onboarding plan:
Start new reps in a cohort
When possible, try to start new reps on the same day. This strategy breeds cooperation and competition—or coopetition. First, the new reps will have the shared experience of the onboarding process, providing an opportunity for team camaraderie, unity, and growth. But they’ll also feel the pressure to perform. If a rep sees the peers from his cohort closing deals left and right, he’ll feel inclined to work harder and match their performance.
Design a path to productivity
The easiest way to get from one place to another is a map. When onboarding a new sales rep, start with a clear picture of their sales ramp-up plan—how they’ll get from new hire to a full-quota-bearing rep. This may seem obvious, but examine your onboarding plan with a critical eye. Do your 30-60-90-day sales plan examples actually help the rep become more productive? Are they being offered milestones and checkpoints? With designated and repeatable steps in the onboarding process, your team will drive consistent productivity gains—and correct the flaws in the onboarding process.
Introduce them to the business
When new sales reps start, it’s easy to fill all their onboarding time with essential job skills like positioning and deal mechanics. And while it may be tempting to keep them cooped up in the sales department—don’t forget the rest of the business when creating a sales checklist template. Ensure that new reps understand the entire business lifecycle, from product development to customer experience. Similarly, they should have a high-level overview of business financial metrics like customer acquisition cost and lifetime value. When the sales rep has a firm grasp on the whole business, not just the sales piece of it, they will be more empowered to deliver excellent results to the company.
Don’t forget the people!
While it’s important to know information about the entire business, meeting people throughout the company is even more important. Set a meeting between the new hires and the director of marketing, a client experience manager, or even senior leadership. Opportunities like these hold both functional and emotional importance. From a functional perspective, putting a face to a name, or even to a department, gives the new rep a person to turn to when they need help or advice. It also sets the scene for cross-functional collaboration in the future. Emotionally, meeting people across the business plays an important role in creating a warm and friendly company culture, and boosts retention. When people connect with people, the bonds built pay intangible, yet powerful, returns for the business.
Give new reps an opportunity to practice
Finally, reps need a safe place to hone their skills. Don’t let reps simply learn in a vacuum, then jump onto a sales call. Continuous practice, alongside with feedback from trusted peers or managers, turns a talented sales person into a high-performer. Start by asking your new hire cohort to practice with one another. Next, use a combination of eLearning tools and in-person meetings to present sales pitches to managers or experienced reps who can critically (and positively) offer opportunities for improvement. The time spent preparing via practice will always pay dividends for real-life interactions with customers. Don’t let it slide off your list of sales onboarding best practices.
The first few days of sales onboarding are a whirlwind. As you head into 2022, critically reexamine your sales training program. It could be time to revamp your process so that every new sales rep is onboarded with ease, excellence, and speed.
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