How to Onboard New Sales Reps | Training New Hires Fast

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This episode is for you if you’re a sales leader, sales manager, or director responsible for bringing new reps on board and training them to their maximum capability. There’s nothing worse than hiring a superstar sales rep and not giving them all of the tools they need to hit the ground running. Listen, watch or read as Elaine Brindamoor, COO at SOCO Sales Training, joins Tom Abbott, CEO at SOCO Sales Training to discuss best practices regarding onboarding sales reps and reducing ramp-up time.

1. Set Reps for Success

As they say, first impressions are often lasting, so you must set the right impression on a sales rep’s very first day.

To do so, you should initially meet them at the front door with a warm welcome, bring them up, and supply them with the necessary access cards or keys -then the fun begins!

Give them a tour of the office and introduce them to the team. Then have a quick team meeting to involve them with what you’re talking about and what’s happening right now. For example, what projects are you working on? What deals are you trying to close?

Your role as a sales leader is to set up your team to win.

– Tom Abbott

Next, give them their laptop, phone and other necessary technology they need so they’re ready to hit the ground running. Remember, this is all on day one.

Overall, their first day is all about getting comfortable, confident and competent in mind and spirit so that they can succeed with your company.

2. Create a Sales Playbook

A good training plan for onboarding sales reps starts with a thorough and accessible sales playbook. If your company doesn’t have a sales playbook, create one now. That way, you can be sure reps have all the tools they need to succeed while onboarding new sales reps.

Don’t expect new reps to create a sales playbook for you.

-Tom Abbott

After meeting with a new hire, present the manual and have the employee spend the first day reviewing it. Then, quiz the rep at the end of the day. 

The new hire should respond effortlessly to your questions and concerns using the responses provided in the manual. 

At this point, you want the person to be capable of parroting back the reply as written. There will be time to personalize 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.

Infographic on what to include in a Sales Playbook
How To Create a Sales Playbook Infographic

3. Involve Reps in Live Calls

There’s no better way to learn about your sales process than to experience it. You could read about it. You could hear about it, but you need to experience it first.

That’s why it’s imperative to get new sales reps involved with live calls as soon as possible to give them a sense of what it’s like to interact with your prospects.

All they need to do is take notes, be engaged and preferably not say anything!

4. Train Reps with Internal Resources

There’s no reason any company cannot have a comprehensive data bank of sales calls. As such, it’s critical to ensure that your reps hit the record button on every Zoom call and file it away for later. That way, when new sales reps come to you with questions such as:

How do you handle a qualifying call?
How do you handle a discovery call?
How do you handle a needs analysis call?

You can get them to review recordings of those things so they’re comfortable handling such tasks.

5. Practice Sales Role-Playing

The most significant way to use role-play for onboarding sales reps is to base your scenarios on real-life opportunities in your sales funnel.

Not only will this aid new sales reps in retaining what they’ve learned, but they’ll also directly apply what they’ve learned immediately.

As they say, practice makes permanent. So you’ve got to practice these scenarios and get them comfortable in uncomfortable selling situations so they’re ready before the real show.

Not sure where to start with sales role-playing? Check out these downloadable 7-point sales role-play checklist:

A 7 point Sales Role-Play Checklist to ensure you're effectively using role-playing as a sales training tool

6. Document Everything

To speed up the sales rep ramp-up period, ensure that every time you get a question, you not only answer it but document it right away in your sales playbook or a sales manual.

Doing so will encourage self-sufficiency and lessen the sales reps’ dependence on you. So be sure to include everything they might need, such as:

  • Scripts
  • Past calls from every stage
  • Common objections
  • Common questions

That way, the next time a sales rep asks you a question, you can answer it like this:

“Hey, thanks for that question. Have you checked the playbook?

If the answer is no, you say check the playbook first. See me if you don’t get what you want, and we’ll go through it together.”

7. Give Reps Small Wins

Lastly, always give new sales reps an early taste of success by giving them a small win. For instance, you could assign them an easy softball opportunity to work on.

Or, if you’re feeling nice, you could assign them to shadow you on a closing deal. That way, you can share the commission – and the win.

Overall, you want them to feel like, “Wow, I can sell, and I can actually do a good job here at this company!” That way, you can be sure they have the confidence to succeed in your company’s future.

Sales Rep Onboarding Checklist

Checklist to Onboard new Sales Reps
Checklist to Onboard New Sales Reps Infographic

Final Word: “How Long Does it Take to Onboard Sales Reps?”

We’ve seen reports stating it can take new reps, an average of three months to a year, to get ramped up in delivering some results.

Still, the answer is it depends. It depends on your rep, team, you as a leader, the company, the product you sell and the market.

We can only say that we encourage every leader out there to find a baseline. So come up with that definition on your own. What’s important to you? Is it closing deals? Acquiring new leads? Decide on that first.

Then track and measure how long that ramp-up period has been historically, and start incorporating the tips we shared here on this podcast in the order and sequence in which we shared them.

Once you do that, we guarantee you will probably cut your ramp-up time in half.

For comparison, here at SoCo Sales Training, we have people able to respond to inquiries and run their sales calls within one or two weeks.

We achieve this by having them shadow for the first few calls. Then we will cofacilitate or co-host a call, sit back, and shadow them as they run that call until they are proficient.

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