Sales Onboarding is perhaps the most often overlooked aspect of sales enablement because it ranges from non-existent to drinking from a fire hose. But companies with a documented and consistent sales onboarding process experience 91% retention and 33% improvement in time to first deal. Another interesting stat is that 73% of new sellers report the most lasting and impactful information they receive during their first few months comes from veteran sales people. That is considering boot camp, learning management systems, and playbooks.
Therefore, if a company is looking to take the guesswork out of sales onboaording then it needs to have a consistent, documented process focusing on information from peer sellers. Try these ideas to foster a ground-up onboarding framework that focuses on best practices from your best practitioners.
Collect Win Stories from your A-players and keep them is a central location that can be searched. These Win Stories need to be facilitated through thoughtful and considered questions to get the most out of the material. The question should also be consistent and asked directly after the deal is won while the honeymoon is still ongoing. Catalog the Win Stories by the topics that are most important to new sellers and their biggest learning gap: Products, Buyers, and Competition.
Products: Provide an extensive overview of the product but remember you are training sales people. Leave them with three takeaways, the top three and the most important so that the seller has talking points. Then provide the seller Win Stories where these products and takeaways were the reason for the win. It would be a good idea to validate these takeaways against your A-players.
Buyers: Give the new seller an idea of the buyer persona and where they are on their buyer’s journey when they meet the new seller. Again – as new sellers we want to share the top 3 pains that your buyers have and how we can address these pains. The Win Stories should focus on how these pains were uncovered by your A-players and addressed.
Competition: New sellers need a thorough overview of the competitors but also some context as to which ones are most relevant. I recommend ranking the competitors from the most Win Stories to the least to give the new sellers context. Keep it simple with messaging from your A-players – let the new seller know their unique differentiation and how that competitor will try to position themselves against you.
You will also want to ask your A-players what they do to earn their success – whether it is talent, territory, or technology – and document these tactics in the form of a Game Plan. I use a simple survey tool you can review here. Record their demos, steal their email and proposal templates and place them under the appropriate sales stage in your sales process. I would also recommend getting your onboarding process on a checklist that covers these topics and orientation so that new sellers understand exactly what is expected of them and when. Loop the front-line sales manager in on the progress of the checklist to facilitate the initial one on ones.