Onboarding Success for New Sales Hires
It takes time and money getting the right people for your business. Successful recruitment of staff can play a significant part in your business’s profitability, but your time and effort doesn’t stop once you’ve made the new hire. In fact, the next step of onboarding is critical in ensuring your new staff have not only everything they need to hit the ground running, but will stay the course and turn into valued team members. Here are 5 strategies to make your onboarding program a success and get your new sales hires fully productive.
1. Create a process and streamline your resources
Onboarding is not a one day process so you need to think about the goals you want your new staff to achieve and design the process accordingly. What do you need them to hit in the first week? What training courses do they need to complete and where do you want them to be by the end of their first quarter? As a suggestion, you’ll want to cover foundational knowledge first and have them interview with the relevant people to learn about the culture and history of the company. Next they can move on to your sales playbook, product descriptions and sales processes. Then they can learn about your market, client segments and so on. If you already have an onboarding process in place, take some time to review and standardize it for all new employees so there aren’t knowledge gaps.
All of the above necessitates that your resources are in good shape, easy to find and all in one place so your new hires don’t waste time searching for what they need, or go rogue and ignore the correct recording procedures for example. Plus, be sure to document what you want your new employees to learn, so they don’t have to memorize everything, by having an online resource or paper document they can refer to easily.
2. Be realistic about the job
Of course, this should have happened in the interview, but it's worth reiterating the realities of the role from the get go. A new hire with unrealistic expectations can quickly become disillusioned, demotivated and resentful which is bad news now and down the line. Much better to be very clear about what the role is, what is expected of them and what they need to do in order to be successful.
3. Give new hires time to settle
Onboarding is a marathon not a sprint so build time into onboarding to let your new hires settle. The worst thing you can do is rush rookie staff into the market. Taking the time now to have proper training with an efficient timetable will deliver better long term results. The pacing and content of your onboarding will also depend on the complexity of your product.
If you have a particular offering, like multifunctional software for example, you could consider adding in training with customer support so new hires can hear users’ questions and get a deeper understanding of how the product functions. In fact, any type of multi-format approach is valuable as -- whilst it takes more time and planning-- using a combination of video, in person talks and reading for example will make the onboarding process more engaging.
4. Partner new reps with your veterans
This is a really great strategy to support your new hires, as it helps them become fully integrated with your company and means they can learn on the job from a trusted person. However, this process needs to be handled with care as your top sellers may not have the time or the patience to mentor a new hire. Look for your reps that are approachable and open to mentoring with a desire to teach (It helps if mentoring is promoted as a positive and valued role within your company). New hires and their mentors should be paired up as soon as possible in the onboarding process to build the relationship, which can move from the new employee shadowing the veteran staff member to having them at their side when they begin to make sales calls or presentations themselves. This can give new employees the confidence they need if an overlong onboarding process of only listening and learning makes them nervous to dive in.
5. Get feedback
Don’t skip this important step. You’ve planned the onboarding program but your new employees are actually doing it. Their feedback is invaluable in monitoring the effectiveness of the training and if there is anything they feel is missing, or done particularly well. You can also garner more quantitative feedback by tracking your new hire’s sales metrics from the number of calls booked to deals closed to know if they have joined the dots on all their training. All feedback can help shape and improve your onboarding process where necessary, thus ensuring your efforts are best placed to get results.
Implementing these tips and strategies can seriously improve your onboarding processes and deliver better results for your new hires and by extension your company, so consider building them into your future plans.
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