10 Tips for Faster Sales Onboarding
Reducing sales onboarding time in order to ramp-up new hires quickly is one of the top goals of sales leaders, with 45% listing this as a top concern according to CSO Insights’ 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study. The faster a new sales team member can onboard, the faster they can start making sales.
There are many things organizations can do to speed up the sales onboarding process, but here are 10 of our favorites:
1. Formalized training. Get things started on the right foot with having formal, specialized training for new sales reps. Depending on the size of your business and scope of your product it could be anywhere from a half day to a couple weeks. Model this training so you start with information about the market and customer first, then launch into the specifics about product, pricing and demos. Finally, finish with how to prospect and sell your product to your audience. The more explicitly you can share what does and does not work when selling your product, the better.
2. Sales playbook. A growing trend in the sales enablement space is the use of a sales playbook; a manual that details out exactly who reps are calling on, what their pain points are, what their key triggers are for buying, common objections, scripts and more. Commonly used with inside sales reps, this sales playbook is essentially a toolkit for reps who can very quickly begin sending prospecting emails, making phone calls and having good conversations with prospects from the get-go.
3. Content library. By far the biggest challenge coming into a new organization for sales reps is to figure out where to find all the resources they need to sell. Whether it be scripts, pricing sheets, product specs or marketing whitepapers it’s hard for reps to gather everything they need. Make it easier for them by building an easy-to-use and well organized content library and be sure to review this suppository during training.
4. Master sales deck. Having a master sales presentation is one of the best ways to onboard sales quickly. Have a consolidated, master deck, updated and maintained by marketing, used consistently by every sales rep is critical. During onboarding have one of your best reps present the sales presentation as if your new sales rep were a client so they can get a feel for a typical client presentation.
5. Online presentation tool. Having a master sales deck is great, but having it set-up via an online presentation tool is even better. After showing reps the master sales presentation, give them access to the online presentation software so they can immediately start playing around with it and building their own decks. Getting hands-on with the material right away will ensure they are ready to build their own presentation when their first opportunity surfaces.
6. Leads list. Speaking of opportunities, one of the fastest ways to get a new rep up and running fast is by giving them a designated leads list to start working. Whether you’re providing them with a list of completely cold leads, or leads that haven been warmed up by marketing or inside sales, they’ll appreciate having a list to use to immediately start hunting.
7. Shadowing. A tried and true sales onboarding tactic, shadowing is one of our favorites. Have your reps sit in on everything from prospecting calls to demos to live presentations to get a feel for what questions customers ask, what concerns they have, etc. Make sure they shadow a variety of their peers since everyone has a different style that works for them. The goal is to get them access to the customers early so they can begin to see what works and what doesn’t.
8. Technology prepped. This is part of employee onboarding 101 but we feel it’s definitely important to talk about here. Have all the technology your sales reps will need to do their job set up and ready to go when they arrive. Here’s a list of items to consider (though it’s by no means exclusive). Be sure to create a cheat sheet so they know where and how to log into each one:
- Computer (desktops, laptops and tablets)
- Phone (landline and instructions for setting up their mobile to get emails, synch their calendar, add contacts, etc.)
- Email signature (set it up in advance so it’s one less thing they need to worry about)
- CRM account access
- Other software account access (online presentation tools, online meeting/conference call login, internal chat set-up, prospecting database access, LinkedIn sales navigator account set-up, etc.)
9. Coaching. All good sales leaders know coaching is critical to any sales reps’ success, especially new sales team members. Be sure there is a plan in place to offer to the new sales rep coaching throughout their first 90 days. While coaching will be important throughout their entire career with your company, it is especially important in the early days where you can guide them down the best path from the started.
10. Dedicated sales enablement resource. There’s no doubt that sales enablement functions are on the rise at best-in-class organizations across the country. Already have a sales enablement function? Make sure they are constantly working on ways to make the onboarding experience faster and better. Don’t have a sales enablement resource? Consider getting one. Without a dedicated resource for this function, it may be difficult to ensure everything that needs to happen for sales onboarding gets done.
New sales reps want to prove themselves quickly so make sure that fast sales onboarding a key priority in your organization.