Five Ways to Onboard your Sales Team
Having a good onboarding process is regarded as especially important in sales. Why is this?
A sales team is only as good as its individual members. You could have a hundred leads, but if your team can’t close sales and reach quotas, those leads are wasted.
One of the biggest causes of issues for sales teams is the sudden drop in efficiency after new hires are brought on. Think of it this way, when a new hire joins,more experienced employees see a dip in efficiency as they help teach the new hires, as they have to be brought up to everyone else’s skill level. It’d be unfair to expect them to hit the ground at the same level as everyone else- even if they were the greatest employee anyone could ever hope to hire, there’s still a process where they have to acclimate to how your business operates.
So we’ve got some practical tips ready to help you:.
Start Onboarding Quickly
Giving role specific advice
Using the right tools for the job
Planning an effective Itinerary
Begin Onboarding before they Start
Consider sending new hires a simple FAQ guide full of all the information you’d have wanted to know when you first started work. Simple, practical facts like: the parking situation in the area, the dress code, where the loos are, and break policy are a great start. When starting a new job, these are all little things that can add up to a surprising amount of stress, with new hires often worrying about not accidentally crossing a line.
If they’re worrying about these things, it logically follows that they simply can’t give their best to the actual role, so getting a clearly written FAQ guide should be your first priority..
Newer sales roles are often filled with young graduates, and in a lot of cases this will be one of their first professional jobs. Easing them into your expectations will make their lives much easier, and yours.
You should also make sure you’ve got their equipment ready to go. No one wants to spend their first day messing around updating laptop OS’s and looking for the WIFi password. Have the tools prepped in advance, along with briefings for any important software or hardware you might use.
2. Role specific Advice
Sales isn’t really designed for a one size fits all approach, so your training shouldn’t be either. Naturally, different hires will fall into different roles, and you should attempt to tailor your onboarding to suit.
Think about where someone's talents lie. Are they better suited to identifying potential customers and reaching out to them? If that’s the case, teach them about your ideal clients, as well as your usual first contact policies, expected etiquette and the like.
If they’re more suited to guiding current customers, through product demonstrations and identifying issues, they should be given a robust working knowledge of your products, and negotiation tactics.
With that said, you should also establish the baseline of knowledge you want everyone to have, and make sure you also have workable training for that too. When everyone has the same foundation, and then builds off of that to specialise, they’ll gel as a team much more effectively.
“In an ideal world, you’d be able to use the right method for every candidate, but that’s not especially practical”
3. Tools for the Job
People learn in different ways, some prefer practical real world opportunities, some prefer to be talked to, and others are indeed comfortable with reading long passages of text.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to use the right teaching method for every individual candidate, but that’s not especially practical. But you should aim to have a variety of approaches.
Consider video learning, white papers, lectures and practical exercises. Experiment with what works, both in terms of engaging the hire, and getting them taught thoroughly.
More in-depth, bespoke training resources may take longer to put together, and will certainly require an investment in time or money, but could be worth it if you plan on expanding your sales team substantially.
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, but you can help your new hires follow along much easier with a well written planned itinerary for their onboarding. It’ll help build up their confidence if they can see exactly where they’re expected to go, and keep things on track
You could have a curriculum ready to go. This would explain to the candidate what they can expect from you in terms of onboarding, what you expect from them in turn, and when you roughly expect it.
Make sure you are ready to talk them through and be open about answering any questions they might have, it’ll really help build their confidence and get them comfortable with what you expect of them.
Give them goals to work towards over a set period, that way you can set key focuses for development. It’s much easier to prioritise in chunks, over a short time, than having vague end goals for a time that seems far away!
5. Quality before Speed
So with all this in mind, the logical conclusion to draw is that all this needs to be done as quickly as possible.
This conclusion would be wrong, for a key reason.
You want people to be onboarded quickly, obviously, to minimise disruption to your day-to-day operations. But what you especially don’t want is to onboard people incorrectly. Skipping steps, rushing things, risks the new hires making mistakes down the line. Take the time to get them acclimate properly, and it’ll pay off long term.
So keep your process simple, and consistent, and you’ll find the onboarding gets quicker and easier with each subsequent hire..
A robust onboarding process is key for any aspect of your business, but especially so for sales. Get a good process going when you’re still small, and it’ll pay dividends when you start expanding in earnest.
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