The role of practice and feedback in effective sales onboarding

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onboarding feedback

The best salespeople have their eye on the prize, that is to say, they are driven by goals and achievement. They want to learn by doing. They crave feedback so they can hone their skills, and they’re not the only ones. According to a PwC survey, 75% of employees think feedback is valuable and almost 60% want it daily or weekly.

But feedback needs to be relevant, timely and actionable. A hard task when your team is dispersed and face to face observation is a challenge. The solution? Video recorded role-play challenges, which we explore in part 2 of our blog series, Five ingredients necessary to set your salespeople up for success.

A starring role for role-play

Knowing the value proposition of your products or services is good. But your salespeople won’t get far if their articulation and influence skills are not strong. Asking powerful questions which challenge customers to recognize value in our proposition requires cognitive skills that grow fastest through practice.

For sure, you can provide video examples of how it is done, but if you have ever watched videos of skilled individuals doing something you aspire to achieve, you will know that watching does not confer ability, otherwise we would all be fabulous surfers, singers, comedians and gymnasts etc. 

That’s why when onboarding new sales people, we believe it is crucial to include regular role-play challenges which facilitate the required cognitive growth. 

As with any practice, it needs to be deliberate and varied so consider inviting your new salespeople to position your product/service with: 

Observing their behavior as they respond to different challenges will equip you with a real sense of their strengths and development opportunities. Some will have the rapport building but struggle on the specifics of your product specs. Others may be knowledgeable on how a service can solve a customer’s problem but are too rigid in articulating the message to have an impact. 

With behavioral evidence, feedback becomes straightforward, enabling you to provide feedback and suggestions that will have a positive impact on their performance. 

Let’s get practical

Role-play challenges sound great if you’ve got the resources and time to bring your team under one roof or schedule countless face-to-face meetings or web conferences. But the realities of running a team and meeting sales targets often means this isn’t practical. 

That’s where On.Board, our functional onboarding platform, can help. Instead of sharing endless videos of other people why not invite your new salespeople to video themselves responding to role-play challenges? Once uploaded nominated coaches and managers are alerted to provide feedback. The very process of creating a response, is practice in it’s own right. If you have ever read the ‘Inner Game of Tennis’ you will know that we all possess an amazing ability to self adjust. Inviting your new salespeople to respond to challenges, may mean they complete 10-15 different versions before uploading one they are comfortable with, that is quite a practice session on its own!

You can also foster team collaboration through On.Board’s social learning feature, where your new hires share their video responses with the rest of their group for viewing and feedback. 

Seeing is believing

Here is a four minute video explaining how role-play practice works on On.Board

Set a series of different challenges and you can test and feedback on every aspect of a sales conversation so your new hires accelerate in performance. 

But there is more they’ll need to do to become high performers. In part three of our series, we’ll be looking at the importance of collaboration when onboarding salespeople, specifically regarding joint action plans for continued improvement. 

In the meantime, to take a look at exactly how On.Board can challenge, engage and ultimately boost the performance of your sales team by requesting your free demo


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