Whether you’re building your own inside sales team or considering outsourcing your teleprospecting functions, it’s important to know and perfect the training process for new hires.
Over the last couple of months, AG Salesworks has seen many new faces. As a Manager of Client Operations, one of my jobs is to oversee the training of new hires on my team. Having previously been very active in the training team as a business development rep, I happen to think we have a very effective process that has only improved over the years. Here are a few training tips we follow to ensure successful onboarding of new hires at AG:
1. Pack their day.
On their first week, are your new hires often sitting at their desk, twiddling their thumbs and wondering, “What should I be doing right now?” To ensure that their time is used wisely, make sure every hour of the day is blocked with something to do, whether it be call shadowing, training sessions, or independent research.
2. Mix up the trainers.
Having new hires solely trained by their managers and directors is a tremendous underutilization of talent among the rest of your team. Here at AG, we rely a lot on peer coaching as a means to get new hires up to altitude. How do you become a better inside sales rep? You practice with a stronger inside sales rep. Expectations and overall methodologies are left to the managers, but in regards to learning how to do the job, isn’t it best to learn from someone who is already doing it? Additionally, this process allows new hires to get to know more people in the office, which is always a positive.
3. Take them to lunch.
This may seem like a small task, but it really goes a long way in establishing rapport with a new hire and making them feel comfortable in the company culture. By taking new inside sales reps to lunch, you are affirming that they belong and that you can serve as a greater resource to them.
4. Reinforce with video training sessions.
Studies show that the retention rate for information that is both seen and heard is 80%, compared to a 10% retention for hearing and a 20% retention for seeing. The hardest aspect in our training for new inside sales reps to master is the use of Salesforce.com. However, we have found that making a few 2-3 minutes videos demonstrating everyday tasks performed in Salesforce has helped us to better ensure our new hires get up to speed quickly.
5. Role-play, role-play, role-play.
As a manager, I want to feel 100% comfortable by the end of training week that an inside sales rep will be able to pass a live prospect as a qualified lead if she or he gets that prospect on the phone. There is no better way to ensure that happens than through role-playing. We even take it a step further at AG and include many different people in the office playing different roles so the new hire gets exposed to as many common scenarios as possible. Apart from just sounding confident and intelligent on these role play calls, they are also tasked to put into action what they have learned in Salesforce training, including dispositioning accounts, logging calls, and more. With a manager close by, we encourage them to ask questions, make mistakes and get those pre-calling jitters out of the way.
6. Survey them.
This is one of the key parts of training week. Once your new inside sales reps finish their training, mock calling, and role-playing, survey them to see what they thought of the experience. How comfortable do they feel on their project material, Salesforce, etc.? What exercise did they find most helpful during training week? Least helpful? Identifying trends in feedback helps us as managers tweak the training process to make it even more successful. It also establishes our AG philosophy that ideas for improvement can come from anywhere. A good idea is a good idea, and we value their input.
As more and more inside sales reps join the ranks of your outsourced and insourced inside sales teams, it’s important to know the training processes that they undergo. How do you train effective inside sales teams?
I completely agree with your recommendation on role-playing. Companies really need to get into the habit of role-playing beyond the first couple of weeks or months of their on-boarding process. I’ve research the brain based learning benefits of role-playing and done well and done often is one of the best methods of ensuring your sales people know how to confidently interact with clients and prospects.