Sales Onboarding; Five ingredients to set your people up for success
Sales Onboarding can seem straightforward, after all salespeople are self-starters, right? But, what if we told you that two-thirds were planning to leave within the year? That’s a fact according to a Glassdoor survey. What’s more, the cost of replacing just one salesperson is estimated at $115,000. With your bottom line at stake, it’s worth asking, why do so many new salespeople call it quits during ramp-up or shortly after?
Train to retain
You may think it’s down to money but it turns out over 70% of salespeople are likely to accept less money to work at a company with a great culture. What does creating a great culture involve? Support and training plays a major part; giving your new hires the tools and information they need to be effective before quotas kick in. A well structured, varied and practical sales onboarding program gives them the best chance to excel. We believe that supporting your new hires to achieve target is the key to retention and achieving ROI on your recruitment.
Five ingredients to fuel success
Giving new salespeople the right kind of support is undeniably a challenge when sales leaders are hungry for revenue. We have been helping organizations improve their sales effectiveness for over 30 years. We have witnessed those organizations that do this well and helped those that required guidance.
This series, 5 ingredients necessary to set your salespeople up for success will explore how to transform your sales onboarding experience into one that swiftly delivers engaged, high-performing salespeople.
Our 5 key ingredients for sales onboarding success:
1. Insight is power
Your new salespeople must intimately understand the value proposition of your products or services. This requires an understanding of your marketplace and the challenges customers face. Such alignment of understanding ensures their ability to position solutions to your customer needs.
However, all too often we see product and skills education delivered as separate components. When this occurs we hear sales leaders bemoan their team’s inability to position solutions in the context of their customer’s world.
Video is a great medium to share customer interviews. Invite customers to share why they chose your products and the value they realize via video interviews. Mobile learning platforms enable these to be codified quickly by market segment, problem, location etc. Then, wherever and whenever salespeople require them, they are available. Whatever format you choose, encourage your people to share case studies and customer feedback regarding why they use your products/services.
2. Challenge and engage
Salespeople come in all forms, but many are ‘activist learners’ by nature, they prefer to learn by ‘doing’. Furthermore, you can always spot a high potential performer by their desire for feedback.
Engage new salespeople in regular role-play challenges, right from the start, this develops their articulation, listening and influencing skills faster and more effectively than any other medium. Establishing this as a method of choice also gets them familiar and comfortable with the approach.
Invite them to articulate your solutions for different customer profiles, if this is not feasible face to face, use a web conference tool or invite them to submit a video of their response to a scenario. Either way, they get to warm up their sales’ muscles and you get to share specific, relevant feedback that will continually hone their technique.
3. Collaborate on action plans
Once new salespeople are underway with their development, encourage them to self-assess strengths and opportunities for development, self-awareness is a crucial component of improvement.
Encourage your sales managers to improve their ability to identify skills, knowledge and attitudes in their people and provide a mechanism for joint development planning. Encourage sales managers to regularly meet their new recruits, face to face or via video chat. These meetings should enable feedback sharing and discussion for incorporation into action plans both can refer to on a regular basis.
4. Reflect to grow
Shadowing experienced colleagues is a great way for new hires to get acquainted with the finer details of the role. One thing often neglected however, is encouraging the new hire to reflect on their experience and record key learnings. This ensures they not only identify opportunties to improve but also that they develop observation and learning agilities, which accelerate their development.
5. Feedback on the real deal
As your new salespeople transition to actively engage with customers, observation and feedback from a coach or their manager needs to take place. This is the ‘danger zone’, too little support at this stage leads to good people walking out the door.
Provide clear, easy to use coaching tools which observers use to record skill and knowledge application by the salesperson. Observation tools make feedback provision simpler for the coach/manager to structure and ensures all sales practices are considered. Be wary not to declare victory too soon and wind down coaching support at the first sign of success, as we know performance can be fickle.
You may already have some of these steps in place, but we offer a mobile-first learning and coaching platform; On.Board, which supports all these development modalities and connects new hires with their line-manager and others, to ensure they get the support needed to thrive.
Stay tuned for part two of our series when we take a closer look at some practical challenges and how to maintain high engagement throughout your sales onboarding program. In the meantime, see exactly what On.Board can do for your team by requesting a demo to see how it could engage and ignite the performance of your sales new hires.