Average ramp time is one of the most critical metrics when bringing new sales reps into an organization. It’s on the minds of sales leadership all the way up to the CEO. The faster your organization ramps new sellers, the closer they are to closing their first deal.
Seismic CEO Doug Winter is the first to admit that ramp times matter, especially to our board, which is why our organization has created such a thoughtful approach to onboarding new hires. Seismic Senior Director of Onboarding & Knowledge Enablement Meganne Brezina helps new go-to-market hires acclimate to life at Seismic – a key factor in expediting ramp times.
I recently spoke with her to understand how her team approaches onboarding, skill development, and ramp times. Check out what she had to say.
The same goes for the broader Seismic narrative – the bread and butter for our sales reps. Meganne noted that before a rep even speaks with a seller, they must first master our narrative. “The narrative is one of the strongest tools a seller can have in their toolbox. If our sellers can’t tell that initial story, they’re not going to get a first or second meeting,” she said.
The onboarding team is responsible for getting sellers ready for that first call. Meganne noted that “we give our new hires the opportunity to go through the motions and become better prepared in front of customers instead of practicing in front of the customer.”
Seismic reps who repeatedly engage with the narrative pitch deck and associated content have better outcomes. On average, these reps spend 600% more time engaged with the Seismic pitch deck which contains the narrative as compared to sellers who do not leverage the content. In turn, the unengaged reps typically take longer to ramp.
It’s important for our reps to return to the narrative because it demonstrates that they trust it. Seller engagement with the narrative isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it item. Instead, Meganne noted that sellers should revisit the narrative for every active deal. “Every time a rep has a customer engagement, they should go back to the narrative and tweak it to fit the individual they are speaking to.”
Familiarity with the Seismic narrative has had a profound impact on buyer engagement. New hires who consistently engage with content that’s associated with the narrative have 95% more meetings where it’s effectively communicated during prospect and customer meetings.
It’s simple to think of the narrative as a tool that sales development reps (SDRs) use in their initial call. But it’s a tool that is leveraged by every customer-facing role throughout the deal cycle.
Everyone from an SDR to a customer success manager (CSM) needs to be fluent in the narrative to establish trust with a buyer. Meganne said that “this level of consistency ensures that an SDR delivers the same message as an account executive and – when we win a deal – CSMs will deliver the same message when they engage a customer. Providing this level of cohesiveness drives a strong customer experience and we know that retention goes up when customers have trust in their partner.”
It goes without saying that ramp times contribute to better business outcomes. In our conversation, Meganne broke this down into simple terms.
“For sake of argument, let’s say a rep makes $1,000 per weekday for Seismic. This means that they bring in $20,000 over the course of a month with 20 working days. If my team can shorten ramp time by two months, then we are able to drive more efficiency with our dollars – in this example, $40,000 more as we get our sellers out in the field faster and with more confidence. These numbers are just examples to show the impact that faster ramp times can have on the business at large.”
If reps don’t master their content, they’ll be slower to ramp and the business will miss its targets. “If you have reps who go through their content and understand it because they’ve practiced and trusted the content, they’re going to close deals faster,” she said. “And when they close deals faster, the organization gets more dollars in its pockets faster.”
As a Senior Director of Enablement, Meganne and her team operate in somewhat of a fire prevention role. The knowledge team, led by Susan Quesal, serves as a gateway that connects our sales team to other internal business units. For example, if our product team plans to adjust pricing and packaging, Meganne’s team is responsible for readying our sales reps for these changes.
The knowledge enablement team takes a proactive approach to its remit. So when her team learns that new pricing and packaging are around the corner, they proactively reach out to the business unit responsible for the initiative. “With that bridge building and with a proactive approach we’re better able to service the needs of that specific body,” she said. “It’s no longer putting out a fire. Instead, the conversation allows us to discuss how we can specifically support our GTM sellers and prepare for the changes to come.”
Onboarding and knowledge enablement ensures that our GTM organization understands our messaging and how to leverage it in conversations with buyers. When our reps return to our messaging, it becomes second nature and they’re able to close more deals, faster.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your organization can use Seismic for knowledge enablement, please reach out to your customer success manager.