A few weeks ago, InsightSquared welcomed 5 new reps to our Outbound Sales team. This was an exciting move for the whole company, but also meant that a lot of our sales manager’s time had to be allocated to sales coaching and ramping up our new hires.
Onboarding time for new sales reps varies by industry and company. There is no unanimous benchmark for the time it should take to ramp up new reps. And you’d never want to rush it, either – your new hires should be given ample time to learn, internalize, observe, practice, critique, and so on. But you can make the process more efficient – here are a few ways to do it:
Outline learning expectations
Providing a framework for the learning requirements of your new hires will not only make the process more efficient, but will help your reps measure expectations and internalize new information and skills more easily. Some learning categories include internal systems, product knowledge, marketing and lead generation, buyer personas and process maps, prospecting and opportunity management, competition and differentiation, and technology and other tools.
Make sure you take some time to stress the importance of coachability to your new sales reps. Your new sales reps should be coachable if you hired correctly, but be sure to emphasize how important the education part of onboarding is. Sometimes, new hires want to jump right in to sales before they’re ready. Instead, create a culture where learning everything they can is a good thing and it’s okay to ask questions.
Create a resource library
Eight or more hours per day of new information, new people and a new environment can be overwhelming, and new hires won’t get it all in the first try. To make it easier for them to review and study everything you teach them during the first few weeks, create a resource library for them in the cloud. We use Box here at InsightSquared for to organize our Sales Training library.
Include resources like Best Practices documents, sales scripts, your formalized sales process, sales call and demo recordings, sales contests, slides and handouts from each training session, and new employee resources like checklists. Check out our blog post on productivity hacks for sales managers to learn more about what to put in a sales resource library.
Your sales reps should learn early and often how you define your sales process and your sales methodology. Dedicate an entire training session to them, put them in a slide deck in the resource library for later review, and talk about them often. The sooner your new hires learn how your sales team works, the better – with a concrete, clearly defined sales process in mind, your new hires will become more efficient, develop stronger skills through repetition, have next-step guidance, gain a sense of support and commitment, and ultimately close more deals. And you as a sales leader will be able to manage your expectations better, hold reps accountable, manage the sales funnel and pipeline effectively, forecast more accurately, and determine where in the process your reps are getting stuck.
Implement a mentoring program
Last week, I wrote a blog post on how to find a sales mentor. Make this process a little easier for your new reps by creating a mentoring program for them. Pair each new rep with a more experienced, successful rep who is willing to put in the effort to help out the new one. Have the new rep shadow his or her mentor for up to 3 months so s/he can learn through direct observation and ask questions. They should meet at least once a week for an hour and be able to talk not only about their performance, but also how they are adjusting to the new position both on a professional and personal level.
The more you can do to help your sales reps internalize new information more quickly and ease them into their job transition, the faster they will ramp up. What tips do you have for onboarding sales reps quickly and efficiently? Share them below!