Most companies expect a typical sales onboarding process to last something like three months. Those same companies would be surprised to learn that new sales reps take an average of 381 days to reach the same performance level as established, long-term reps. If you’re a new company and need to expand quickly, you will to shave a few hundred days off of that figure. Don’t fret, however! Below you’ll find three techniques for streamlining the onboarding process.
Tailor On-Ramp Time to the Individual
There’s no rule saying every employee must make the same amount of progress in the same allotted time. Arbitrary restrictions are going to gum up the training process by putting undue pressure on inexperienced hires and allowing experienced hires weeks or months with reduced expectations. As such you should give each new hire an amount of time that will correspond roughly with their ability to internalize and act on sales training. Maybe new hire one has worked at call centers their entire adult life and just needs a couple of weeks to acclimate to the quirks and methods of the new business while new hire two has never worked behind a desk and is essentially learning a new language. It doesn’t make sense to give this two sales-reps-to-be the same ramp period – so don’t!
Set the Right Expectations
A strategy that can be employed alongside or instead of the suggestion above would be to break down the ramp period into different milestones. Something like once every 30 days, carry out an individual performance assessment on each new salesperson in the middle of the onboarding process. This will allow you to assess their performance more accurately, as well as determine how quickly the employee in question is learning the new system. Setting specific and measurable goals for the new employee makes the onboarding process easier to navigate for all parties.
Balance Training with Application
A big hurdle for new hires at any business is the barrage of new information they’re expected to take in during those first few days. Arguably the worst way to go about this is to subject new hires to back-to-back days-long training sessions for the first few weeks. Onboarding is done this way in order to get the training done in the shortest time possible, but studies show that it isn’t uncommon for reps to forget up to 80% of the onboarding information if it isn’t reinforced.
It’s more beneficial for the reps and helps them bring in more customers during the training process if they are required to apply the information they’re learning as they learn it. This means going beyond typical company messaging, demonstrating, and then requiring reps to practice their pitch, qualifying leads, and other best practices. This allows your reps to process the information by putting it into practice while it’s still fresh. Simulated activities are fine, just don’t wait too long to give your new reps the opportunity to put their skills to work.
CLS has training specialists to help you evaluate and improve your training process. Give us a call today to talk about how your sales team could be more productive.
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