Your company is growing rapidly, and your team is hiring a lot of new sales reps – and that’s great! But as you hire more people, you have to invest significant time and energy into training them.
You owe it to yourself, your business and the people you hire to have a strong onboarding process that you follow each time someone new joins the team. This way, new reps will be able to hit the ground running and you’ll be able to scale hiring more easily, with less time and effort. The key to a successful onboarding process is thinking of everything your sales reps will need in advance, and handing them the tools they need to be successful. At our company, we consider there to be four pillars of training needed to address the thorough onboard of a new sales rep.
Whatever it is that your business sells – software, services, or a physical item – is your product. Sales reps need to understand the ins and outs of the product, what differentiates it from the competition and why exactly people buy it. It’s vital that when your newest rep talks to a new prospect, they sound intelligent and knowledgeable about the product they’re selling. But beware the curse of knowledge – you as a manager likely have good sales experience under your belt and have probably been selling your company’s product for some time. A new rep is green and doesn’t have the benefit of your experience. Make sure you explain your product simply, clearly and without jargon, so even reps without experience in the industry can understand it.
Product training alone will not make a successful sales rep – you also need basic sales skills. If you’re hiring for an entry level sales position, you’re probably training people that are fresh out of college or fairly inexperienced in sales. When they get on the phones to talk to prospects, they’re not going to know the techniques of successful salespeople unless you teach them. Whatever sales methodology you follow – be it the Sandler sales method, Spin Selling or Challenger Sales Model – you need to pass this knowledge onto your reps. They need to learn how to conduct a discovery call, how to overcome objections, how to ask for a buy in, and more. You can’t just teach someone how your product works and expect them to go evangelize and sell it. It may sound obvious, but a lot of companies just don’t do it.
In addition to selling skills, sales reps also need to understand your company’s specific sales process. This is the system that your team uses in order to navigate a sales cycle. For example, on the business development side of sales, your process should consist of a sales call cadence explaining when reps should contact prospects, when they should wait, and when they should move onto the next opportunity. Whereas on a closing team, the process consists of a number of opportunity stages that prospects go through as they move down the sales funnel. You can’t expect new hires to learn these processes by osmosis – you have to train them on it.
Most of today’s modern sales teams use a cadre of powerful tools to enable sales. Each of these sales systems has a purpose and a function, providing value to your team to help them sell. Tools like Yesware or Signals tell reps when prospects have opened an email. Other tools alert reps to shared LinkedIn connections, news regarding the prospect’s company, and more. New reps don’t always know how to use these tools, or even know what they are. You should conduct a specialized training purely on the different tools you use throughout your sales process.
At InsightSquared, I use these four pillars of training in an intensive training boot camp for new sales reps in their first week on the job and continue to emphasize these ideas for the duration of their onboarding time. By using these training methods, staying organized with checklists and a set schedule for training, you will be able to successfully ramp new sales reps with ease.