world class inside sales centers

8 Components of a World-Class New Sales Hire Onboarding Program

Been thinking that revenue targets would be easier to crush if your new hires would ramp up to speed more quickly? You’re spot-on, my friend.

Best-in-class onboarding (or new hire training) programs go well beyond the standard “Welcome to the company” orientation and dive into actual job training. But most programs stop after introducing reps to their new systems and product. This leaves reps on their own to figure out things like:

  • What do I do first?
  • How do I get people to call me back?
  • What do I say if they ask me X?

The result? Long ramp times, while they use experience to supplement what they could have been taught.

There will always be a ramp period. Our goal is to shorten it. Awesome new hire programs have been proven to cut new hire ramp-to-target in half (Training Magazine).

What is the right ramp time? Sorry for this, but it depends – on the talent you’re hiring in, your training program, and the complexity of your offering and sales cycle. But here are a few basic benchmarks:

Top business development (BDR, SDR) programs ramp reps before three months.

Account managers between three and six.

If your deals aren’t over $200K, your sales cycle over 6 months, and it’s taking your reps 6+ months to hit quota, your program probably needs some help.

I’ve been building and benchmarking new hire programs for the past fifteen years, and there are very few who don’t need help. Why?

World-Class New Sales Hire Onboarding Program

Most onboarding programs need help because trainers don’t get sales, and sellers don’t usually get training – it’s a sandbox thing.

A great program is a killer combination of both worlds. Incidentally, a great program can also shrink your rep attrition. Keep them longer, ramp them faster = this is worth your investment, sales leaders!

Here are eight signs of a World-class rep onboarding program (that you should steal immediately!)

1. Training is a process, not an event. Think of it as “Just-in-time training.” 100% classroom time is 1-2 weeks and then decreases gradually to once a month.

For example, a new hire is in full-time training for 2 weeks, but by week 4 they’re in class 2 hours a day and in week six 1 hour a day. By week 8 it’s one hour a week and by month three (and for the rest of their tenure!) they’re in training once a month.

This makes it critical to focus their first two weeks only on what they’ll need month one on the phone. Why? They’ll have no idea what they don’t know yet. That means you’ll graduate a team of super-confident bad-asses that can’t wait to get on the phones. Perfect. Want to learn more? Check out my video on building “Just in time” new hire training.

2. Use call recordings. This is my favorite tip. My theory on ramp is it will always be present because it isn’t the “what to do / say” that takes a long time to get. It’s the “when do I do it / say it” that takes experience to really nail. So shorten that by letting reps listen to call recordings. Nope, the recordings don’t have to be their own, and they shouldn’t all be great calls. Just typical. It’s like reviewing game tapes before the big game –breaking down what the other team (customer) is doing and when they should have used the right play (skill). Check out my LBTV video The Pause Game for more ideas.

3. All six critical components of the program are included and mixed together:

1. Systems & Tools – CRM, Intranet, Lead Management, etc.
2. Product / Service – be sure it’s “how to sell it” and not “the full history of it”
3. Sales – how to sell our products over the phone (not generic sales 101 field training!)
4. Process – how leads and orders get processed + rep and customers’ top 10 questions
5. Acumen – business acumen, industry acumen, and customer acumen – critical!
6. Manager integration – nope, lunch on day one isn’t enough. Get them more involved.

4. GET ON THE PHONES! (ASAP). If you can create an exercise where reps are calling current, potential, or even past customers by day two, do it! They can qualify leads, gather success stories, call cold leads – whatever! The right hires are itching to start calling, and the wrong hires will show reluctance and wash out. You’re welcome.

5. Less than 30% is e-learning. Sorry large organizations, I know it’s so tempting! But classroom- based training is still the most effective for a reason: You can’t practice selling with a computer! Also, how engaging is your new hire’s experience when they’re clicking forward 200 times a day? Painful.

6. Rigor. In my experience, a good 25% of every new hire class should not graduate training (yes, please be sure you’re hiring in groups, not “onesie-twosie”). When you really trust your training department, you’ll count on them to de-facto manage reps during training and coach them out the door if they won’t make it. Start, stop, and break times should be like real-life on the floor, and weekly tests let them know how they’re doing.

7. Training mimics the floor. Quick hit ways to do this:

a. You have a systems sandbox for training (a monthly-updated mirror image of all systems)
b. Phones and systems in the classroom for better role plays
c. Dummy accounts or even real (low scoring) accounts for practice
d. Call coaching or quality forms approved by sales leadership used for role plays / testing
e. Scenario-based testing (because when is a real client going to say, “A – send me a quote…B, schedule a call back…”?)

8. Don’t let HR teach reps how to sell. There’s a difference between regular company training and sales training. Aberdeen recently reported that 85% of best-in-class sales teams use a professional sales curriculum or trainer. What is good sales training? Check out my video here.

Overwhelmed? Here are a few easy ways to start:

Get to know your training ASAP. Pick your best sales leader and charge them with shortening ramp. Attend training, learn about good training, partner and assist your trainer with curriculum.

Get the reports. Sales numbers won’t show you class-by-class ramp times unless you specifically build it. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Close the loop. Are you reporting the top three skill gaps on the floor to training on a monthly or quarterly basis? Do you have the call coaching and rep meeting cadence in place to provide this?

Get some help. Spend the money to bring in a professional sales training leader, someone to fix your program, or a great sales training curriculum. When reps ramp faster and stay longer, you’ll wish you budgeted for this three years ago!

This post orignally appeared on SalesPop!

8 Signs That Your Rep Onboarding Program Is Broken

Do you mind if I start with the obligatory story? I think it’s one you might recognize. It’s the one about a busy sales manager frustrated with the under-trained newbie reps she got as “graduates” from her training department.

But this story is about me. I was the “undertrained newbie” – and the boss. I was twenty-four, and was brought in from the outside to manage a team of 15 outbound B2B Reps in tech. I’m new. My team is new, and we’re all “graduates” of the company onboarding program and all 100% clueless. (Yes, of course we turned it around and were the number one team within a quarter – cue the Rocky music here – but this isn’t that story.)

This is the story of being frustrated that you can come out of a 2 or even 4 week program and still have absolutely no idea how to do your job.

Who do I call first?

What do I say?

Why isn’t anyone calling me back?

What’s the product SKU for an IBM Thinkpad again?

Sound familiar?

Brace for it–now I’m going to hit you with some stats.

  • One in five sales executives are satisfied with their Rep onboarding program (Sales Architects 2014).
  • Fifty percent of reps selling today need to be retrained (or removed) (Bain / CEB 2016)
  • Organizations spend an average of 3x more on rep tools than on rep development (Inside Sales.com 2016) and 25X on recruiting (Training Magazine)
  • Attrition can be cut in half by a good training program (Training Magazine)

So, are you an unwitting accomplice to rep abuse? Let’s find out. Here are some top signs that your new hire training might be broken:

1. The majority of your attrition occurs in the first five months.
They like the company, don’t mind the job, but they’re not ramping up fast enough to make money and they’re frustrated. Time to pull the ripcord.

2. It takes your business development reps over 3 months or your account managers over 6 months to ramp to target.
There will always be a ramp, but a great new hire training program can cut this in half (and significantly impact your attrition, too).

3. Average call length is about 1:30.
These are voicemails, every last one of them. If your reps can’t get people on the phone, keep them on the phone, and get calls back, they need better sales training.

4. Your program is under 4 days or over 4 weeks long.
The first is an orientation, the latter is a firehose. Get them on the phones after two weeks and bring them back for the rest of it! Check out my video on “Just in time” New Hire Training.

5. Your reps have no clear plan of attack for their lead list / book / and/or day.
Ask them how they decide who to call. If they say they start at the “A’s…” then you’re missing a cohesive sales strategy – or your training department isn’t training it.

6. You aren’t training any business, customer, or industry acumen.
Forrester taught us that over 60% of buyers found their sales rep added no value to the buying process. College isn’t teaching them how, and we have to.

7. You’re using the same training as the field.
I get it, you had to use something and your org is new. But it won’t work and frankly frustrates reps to try this old-school model in their new-school world.

8. HR is teaching your reps how to sell.
85% of the best-in-class use a professional sales trainer or curriculum. When’s the last time HR sold your product?

How’d you do? Some of these might take a custom report, but trust me: you’ll be glad you had it created. Your training department needs to be your partner like marketing is your partner – no, scratch that, recruiting is your partner…wait, I can do better…payroll is your partner.

In a recent model I completed with Microsoft, we found that they could add over $50 million back into revenue by cutting new hire sales ramp time down to best-in-class – and nearly double what they could save by cutting attrition to the same. If you focus and invest here, it will quickly be like having another 1/3 of your headcount to help you hit the number.

Ready to fix your oboarding program? Learn the components of a World Class onboarding program that you can steal immediately. Read the article here.

Want more? I did a quick video on what good sales training looks like. What are you going to change in your onboarding program?

This article originally appeared on SalesPop!

 

 

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His stet corpora nostrum in, eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id. Duo ne liber primis, eu vel meis idque. Eum quis homero perfecto at, no vel quot probo. Mundi congue ei vel, ne vitae admodum noluisse ius, aeterno quaestio argumentum ut vel.

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His stet corpora nostrum in


eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id. Duo ne liber primis, eu vel meis idque. Eum quis homero perfecto at, no vel quot probo. Mundi congue ei vel, ne vitae admodum noluisse ius, aeterno quaestio argumentum ut vel.His stet corpora nostrum in, eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id.

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