Inefficient onboarding can cost your company hundreds of thousands of dollars - up to 2.5% of your total business revenue, according to one study. And the main culprit is slow onboarding of salespeople, who close deals and maintain customer relationships.
For most salespeople it takes at least 7 months to ramp up to full productivity at a new job. During that long stretch of time, they’re working below their full potential and limiting company revenue.
What can a company do about this? The answer is found in better onboarding and training methods. When you give salespeople an excellent onboarding experience, 70% of them will stay at your company for at least 3 years.
Here are some tips for creating a great onboarding and training program.
1- Don’t Wait Until Their First Day
The onboarding process should start the moment you hire them, not on their first day. As soon as they have accepted your job offer, send them a set of training materials to review - also called a “pre-hire program.”
The pre-hire materials can include information like:
Company background info
Welcome from the CEO
Welcome from the sales team
Basics of what to know on the first day
Salespeople tend to be highly motivated and will appreciate having these materials asap. They can look over what’s expected of them and feel 100% prepared for their first day of work.
2- Create a Channel for Questions
Any good salesperson will be bursting with questions about their new job. Provide a way to answer these questions anytime - including before their first day - in a private, stress-free setting. Hint: Don’t make them ask the boss, or they’ll avoid asking important questions.
Some companies set up a channel on Slack, Google Hangouts, or another communication app. You can also set up a private group on LinkedIn. Invite your other salespeople to help answer their questions and the experience will build camaraderie.
3- Appoint a Mentor
The best sales onboarding programs pair newcomers with successful mentors. The mentor doesn’t have to be your #1 salesperson - you might not want to slow that person down - but it should be someone with sales experience who is a good ambassador for the company.,
A recent study by Forbes found that mentorship programs are the key to retaining millennial-age employees. Mentors provide a trusted ally during a challenging job transition, making the salesperson feel less alone. Encourage your mentor-mentee pairs to stay connected on social media, which is another factor in the success of modern mentorship programs.
4- Set Goals for the Onboarding Period
Make it clear that your new salesperson will be expected to hit some early goals - but don’t set revenue-driven goals right from day 1. Give them some fast wins that will encourage positive selling behavior - different types of goals to hit at 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days.
Early goals may be as simple as introducing themselves to every customer or providing the boss with a 1-sentence status report for every client. By 30 days, they should have hit the ground running and be transitioning to revenue-based goals. Challenge them to win 2 new clients, for example.
By the 90-day mark your new salesperson should be fully integrated into the company and able to generate revenue consistently. Now their goals can be like any other salesperson’s.
5- Provide Data and Research
If your company has done research on customer types and buyer behavior, share it with your new salespeople during the onboarding period. Sure, they might not understand it all at first, but they’ll glad to have it on hand.
Millennial and Gen Z salespeople in particular come from generations that are tech-savvy and accustomed to reading through complex data. As eager video viewers, they’ll absorb company stats even more fully if you provide training videos that guide them through the information.
6- Celebrate Victory
Too many companies allow negativity to scare off new salespeople. This cultural negativity is a mismatch for the ideal sales personality type, which is open, curious, reflective, empathetic, and driven.
Salespeople have a wellspring of energy and enthusiasm for their jobs. Keep it flowing by openly acknowledging their early sales victories, and show them how great it feels to be a sales superstar at your company.
Hire Sales Stars With SelectOne
To learn more about hiring and training salespeople, connect with SelectOne and download our free guides, True Match: Hiring For Personality and The Employer’s Guide to Hiring Salespeople. We’ll ensure your company attracts the right salespeople, every time.