A recent article in Sales & Marketing Management finds an organization spends 73 days on average training entry-level sales reps. That may seem high but when you consider that the average tenure of a sales rep is 2.5 years – it is no wonder there is such an emphasis on filling the top of the funnel.
The irony is that we sales leaders spend so much time training people whose predecessors were most likely unsuccessful in the first place. The 80 / 20 rule or the Pareto Principal is alive and well in 2016. Think of the waste of time, energy and effort to hire and train under-performing reps – to then spend the same amount of time to do it all over again. At RampedUp.io, we think there is a better way to bring new sellers up to speed without cannibalizing the time of the Sales Manager or Productive reps.
- Create a Sales Onboarding Checklist. As simple as this may seem there are a disproportionate amount of sales leaders that have no consistent process to bring new sellers on board. Perhaps there are a series of one-on-one white boarding sessions where the sales process / competitive positioning / buyer personas are given to the new seller. Maybe you have used the “buddy system” where the sales onboarding is given to a peer in the form of shadowing. Perhaps the process is outsourced all together in that you send new hires to boot camp or ask them to watch a series of videos put together by marketing or human resources.
- Make it Comprehensive and Actionable. It isn’t as though any of the above are bad ideas – they are just incomplete. An onboarding checklist should cover the essentials of getting ramped up, orientation sessions on a white board, boot camp, and help from others inside your organization. A checklist needs to have detailed and actionable tasks. A bad example is, “familiarize yourself with our culture.” A good example is, “review our welcome video from the COO discussing our company culture.” Tasks should be prioritized by date and available for both the new hire and the direct sales manager to review with due dates for each. Lastly, the checklist needs to link out to tasks if they are digital or available online. Don’t make the mistake of handing a new hire a PDF, word, or excel spreadsheet without clearly defining where the rep needs to go to complete the task.
- Close the Loop. The Sales Onboarding Checklist needs to involve direct interaction with the sales manager to review the tasks – and should be a task in and of itself. These check-ins keep both parties involved and provide a path for course correction if needed. You also want to involve quizzes to confirm the information is being understood in the manner you would consider acceptable. I also recommend involving role playing every step in the sales process with peers or the direct manager before the onboarding period is completed. These too should be tasked on the checklist.
RampedUp.io offers Software that places the Sales Onboarding Checklist inside of Salesforce.com. Click here to Review my Sales Onboarding Checklist Template in a google doc. Give us a call if you want to see what it looks like in Salesforce.com.