"Sales onboarding": job-related training to enable the employee to rapidly achieve sales success.
Sales folks, we can’t do without them. But I’m sure you’ll agree that our sales team represents an expensive acquisition. Hiring a talented sales person typically brings about high recruitment costs, followed by a large salary with a side of juicy commissions.
Of course, our sales reps are worth their weight in gold, making up for any expense and effort by being stellar money-makers. However, and no matter how experienced and previously successful our new recruit has been, we can’t expect them to hit the ground running – creating an uncomfortable gap between that costly hire and their first closed deal.
What I find most surprising is that even with this in mind, many organisations do not have a well-structured sales onboarding programme. This to me seems a like a lost opportunity, one that is costing businesses a lot of money.
Sales leaders should be doing everything in their power to shorten the period between a sales rep coming on board and them closing their first deal.
It’s with this in mind that we have crafted this practical sales onboarding checklist, so you can start creating a results-driven programme or sanity check your existing one!
***Note that these items should occur in phases, based on performance milestones.
Sales Onboarding Checklist
- Share company mission, values & goals
- Walk through company culture (for example foundation commitments)
- Clearly communicate job description, employee compensation structure & benefits enrolment
Tools of the Trade:
- Access to CRM system
- Mobile & desk phone
- Business cards
- Access to email
- Added to weekly sales review
- Access to the “1st call” deck
- Product / service data sheets
- Access to demoware
- Access to customer case studies
- Access to a proposal template
- Walk through how to generate a quote (and the do’s and don’ts of quoting)
- Review target buyer personas to understand key pains & value points
- Review & list the top 3-6 business problems we can solve
- Review & list 5-10 customer case study stats (& the return they achieved)
- Review key objections guide & understand appropriate responses
- Review competitive SWAT analysis
- Review sales process – understand metrics that span the process
- Review sales methodology
- Interview sales ‘A’ player
- Examine the 10-15 discovery questions that will uncover business pain
- Understand internal approval & discount processes
- Attend sales positioning (value based selling) training
- Attend product (differentiation) training
- Get sales certified: Deliver 1st call pitch to nominated colleague
- Get sales certified: Deliver 1st call demo to nominated colleague
- Make dummy cold calls to sales mentor
- Hold ‘mystery shopper’ calls with competitors
- Shadow mentor rep on sales meetings
- Review and understand territory – build territory plan
At this point it is probably sensible to leave you with some thoughts about the pitfalls of sales onboarding.
- Have a clear onboarding plan broken down into a timeline so it is transparent what happens in weeks 1, 2, 3, etc.
- Make sure the plan includes gated milestones that are accompanied by appropriate assessments.
- Beware delivering too much content too quickly, it will not stick in the minds of your new recruits.
- Make sure you focus only on ‘content that matters’ at this stage, the fine-tuning comes with time.
- Don’t fall into the trap of ‘one-and-done’ – have a clear vision for how you will coach to mastery.
- Don’t let the logistics scupper the delivery, be very certain as to how each element of the training will be delivered to your new recruit.
This is by no means an exhaustive checklist but at the very least it should get you started along the path to success.