A pipeline full of high-quality leads is great, but you can’t close them without skilled sales reps who know what they’re doing. So, when you do find a skilled rep, you want to make sure your sales onboarding process is efficient — and that they’re fully trained, ramped up, and ready to begin as quickly as possible.
According to a recent study by CSO Insights, ramping up new hires as soon as possible is one of the top concerns for 45% of sales leaders. And the average ramp-up time for new sales reps is over 10 months. To cut down on training time, here are five tips you can apply to your sales onboarding process to make sure it’s as efficient as it can be — without sacrificing training quality along the way.
- Start sales onboarding immediately after the new rep has accepted your job offer.
Entering a new sales environment is nerve-wracking for a lot of new hires. One of the biggest questions many people have is: what’s the first day going to be like? Don’t leave them guessing.
Start your sales onboarding on the right foot by creating a sense of belonging and familiarity for the rep before they’ve even stepped into the office. Overcoming that uneasiness before they start will enable them to get into their “zone” sooner.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Have a pre-boarding session. Before the employee’s first shift, schedule a call with them to provide a walkthrough of what they can expect on the first day.
- Send them an email covering common first-day questions. Address common questions like where to park, what to wear, and typical hours.
- Have their tech ready to go. A lot of companies save this for the first day or two of sales onboarding. This can be a waste of a day (or week). New hires shouldn’t have to sit around waiting for IT to come by their desk and set up their laptop for them. Their technology tools should be ready before they come in, including their phone, email, and system logins.
Don’t waste valuable sales onboarding time on admin work or setting up technology, and make it easy for your rep to get started on the team by answering standard new-hire questions early.
- Sales onboarding should be role-based.
Most sales teams are divided into segments of reps with different specialties. So, it’s a good idea to take a role-based approach to your sales onboarding process to ensure each of your reps receives specialized training that best fits their role.
Two common examples of sales roles include Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Account Executives (AEs). The SDRs will likely focus on researching, identifying, and reaching out to potential customers. Their training should have a heavy focus on prospecting, learning your company’s ideal customer profile and user personas, using your CRM and email automation software and mastering phone etiquette to make outreach as efficient as possible.
Meanwhile, AEs should focus more on running demos and giving presentations, as well as identifying customer pain points that may be blocking them from buying and finding solutions to these blocks. Their training should consist of product knowledge, the tools your company uses to give demos and presentations to clients, how to report buying obstacles, and negotiation tactics.
- Provide new sales reps with a sales onboarding itinerary.
In any job, setting clear expectations is important. In sales, where there are defined quotas to hit, these expectations should be especially clear. That’s why giving your new hires a structured training curriculum to refer to can be hugely helpful.
The curriculum should include an outline of everything the sales rep can expect to learn throughout their onboarding and what their goals should be for each stage. This will give them a clear path and get them in the right headspace. They’ll also know whether they’re meeting expectations (or exceeding them) and which areas need work since they’ll have it all in writing.
A good way to design this curriculum is in a 30-60-90-day format: what will employees know after one month? Two months? Three months? With this format, new hires know precisely what to focus on during each 30-day period. This will speed up sales onboarding because it reassures sales reps on their performance and instills confidence when they meet and surpass their goals.
- Recognize that a lot of your new hires are going to be youngin’s.
A lot of businesses ignore the fact that the vast majority of their newer sales reps are millennials and Gen Z-ers that have grown up with the internet. This means older sales onboarding methods (like the 30-page information packet printed on *gasp* paper) don’t work anymore.
When designing your sales onboarding process, keep age demographics in mind. Sure, older generations of sales reps were quite happy with the textbook-based learning approach. But, as new generations join the workforce, this is no longer the case, as they’ve grown up interacting with digital media and other modern means of communications — and this is what they expect.
- Practice makes perfect.
Ah, the classic cliché. It hasn’t stopped being true though. Like any other aspect of life, the sales process can be mastered with repeated practice. This is true for sales reps especially as they learn at an increasingly faster rate with repeated practice. So, make sure that your curriculum also includes a healthy amount of real-world practice scenarios.
Anything that gets your new hires practicing what they’re learning (as they’re learning it — not months later after they’ve already forgotten it) will increase sales training stickiness and rep confidence.
Speeding up your sales onboarding process shouldn’t mean sacrificing the quality of training for your sales reps.
Having an efficient sales onboarding process is crucial for not only your new sales reps but the entire organization too. It may seem like a long process and a lot of effort — and it is. But it’s an investment that will pay for itself many times over when done correctly. Put in the work now, and enjoy all the time you’ll save and accounts your reps will close later. Having a robust onboarding process in place will get them ramped up and ready to go in no time.