Onboarding sales reps efficiently is the key to shaping a promising new hire into a productive member of your sales team. Yet, some sales leaders fail to onboard new sales reps effectively, leaving it as a mere formality or even as an inconvenience to get through as soon as possible. On the other hand, some leaders instead try to overload new salespeople with too much information as soon as they walk in the door. Neither of these approaches works and both creates a poorly performing sales representative at best and cause a once optimistic recruit to develop negative feelings about your company at the worst – but there is a better way. Use our 6 step guide to successfully onboarding sales reps below to ensure you motivate and retain new sales reps.
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1. Start with a plan for onboarding salespeople
There is a time and a place to ‘wing it,’ but not when you’re onboarding salespeople. Most sales experts agree that it can take up to 6 months for a new rep to reach total productivity. This is precisely why a comprehensive training plan can help recruits reach their potential as quickly as possible.
An effective sales plan for onboarding sales teams starts with helping them hit the ground running on their first day. To do this, your new sales reps should already have a simple understanding of your company. Even the best salesman can’t close if he does not know what he is selling. So initially, you need to dive into detail about what your company is all about. Ideally, you should send your new sales hires a digital welcome package full of resources to help them when they start and know what to expect. This should include:
- Mission statement
- Core values
- Key differentiating points
- Company culture
- Products & Services
- Relevant information about long-term/loyal customer
Also read: E-Learning and Its Role in Today’s Sales Teams
2. Prepare materials for onboarding sales reps
Next it’s vital that you plan your onboarding materials in advance. Here’s what you should include into your onboarding plan:
A Sales Playbook
A good training plan for onboarding sales reps starts with a thorough and accessible sales playbook. If your company does not have a sales playbook, start creating one now. A good training manual ensures that they have all the tools they need to succeed while onboarding new sales reps.
What to include in a sales playbook
Besides covering all the job expectations, your sales manual should offer example sales scripts that your top sales reps have used successfully in the past. The bulk of the manual needs to contain an easily referenced list of the most common questions and objections that potential customers have, along with practical ways to reply to these questions and concerns.
After meeting with a new hire, present the manual and have the employee spend the first day going over it—Quiz the rep at the end of the day. The new hire should respond effortlessly to your questions and concerns using the provided responses from the manual. At this point, you want the person to be capable of parroting back the reply as written. There will be time for personalizing a response in the future. Send home the new employee with an assignment to review the manual and develop a few more questions, concerns, and replies.
A training manual is great, but as we know, everyone learns differently. By providing content in video format to onboard sales reps, new hires can learn new content visually and aurally. I recommend providing sales training videos for new hires to learn effective sales strategies your existing team are already implementing. Provide your content on a mobile-ready app or website, and your chances of your new sales rep watching the content goes up drastically, and it’s more likely they’ll even watch the videos outside of business hours. For instance, Some of our clients have new hires take our online sales course SOCO Academy as part of their onboarding process.
3. Establish expectations
Next, it’s critical to for sales leaders to communicate their expectations when onboarding sales reps. To do this, you need to consider what success means in your organization and then clearly relay that to your new sales reps. Then, you can start to create goals, milestones and achievements that you can use to measure the success of your sales reps onboarding process and receptiveness.
4. Practice makes perfect
After introducing a sales team member to your company’s products and services, it is time for practical experience. The best way to start is to have the new employee sit in on a sales call. Before the presentation, go over the background of the client including whom you are meeting with, how you found the prospect and your expectations of the call.
After the sales call, conduct a recap to get feedback on how the rep felt the call went. Discuss how he may have handled the call differently. It is important to recognise that everyone has their way of selling, so don’t insist that your approach is the only one.
Once a new hire has sat in on a few sales calls, let them have a go with trying to close a few of your ageing leads. Sit in on these sales calls and at the end of each one go over what worked and what might need some tweaking. When you think the employee is ready, provide a new lead as a test.
Once the initial steps to onboard new sales reps are complete, your job is not. It is essential to realise the most successful sales reps are always learning, adapting, and improving the way they sell, so encourage experimenting to allow new hires to find better ways of selling. Always follow up with continuous coaching and training.
5. Evaluate performance
When onboarding sales reps, you must assess their performance according to your previously clearly defined (and clearly understood) expectations in Step. 3. To ensure the best results, a team leader should be appointed who can check on the progress of the new sales reps to help move them along their onboarding journey.
6. Invest in training and support
When you offer your team educational opportunities, you tell them that you value them enough to invest in your company’s future and each employee’s future. This often has a tremendous boost to your employees’ morale and job satisfaction. Of course, each employee has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. But training can help lessen the weaknesses and help to bring everyone to the same level. This means less reliance on a select few employees who do something well as more of the team will excel at the tasks. What’s more – becoming known in the industry as a business that is willing to invest in training for its employees makes your company much more attractive to the type of job candidates you want to hire.
Also read: How to Onboard New Sales Reps | Training New Hires Fast
Upskill your most valuable resource with SOCO Academy – E-Learning for Sales Teams
We’ve been implementing sales systems for industry-leading companies for decades. We found that the best system to train sales staff incorporates a combination of e-learning, in-person training and coaching. By incorporating all 3, retention and implementation are maximised, and sales teams reach what we all strive for, their maximum potential.
Interested in e-learning for yourself or your team? Click the link below to learn more. You can drop us an email, and our friendly program advisors will be happy to chat about putting together a system that works for you.
Checklist for onboarding Salespeople
The following checklist for onboarding salespeople can be downloaded and used as a reference: