In previous podcasts we’ve discussed the importance of a strong sales onboarding program. Today we discuss how a strong sales onboarding process is the key to bringing your company to the next level. I’ve laid out the six best practices that your company should adopt to increase growth and revenue, and ensure success.
What we’re going to cover:
- Three Buckets.
- Map it out.
It takes a village.
“When I say teamwork most people are thinking about the sales team, the sales managers, the players on the team, but really it’s the entire company. It takes a village.” “There are certain disciplines within the company that sales reps need to learn about. So why would I have the sales manager or sales reps in the sales department walk them through those things? If you’re really going to build a synergistic team it’s nice to have some cross functionality here.”
“You don’t just push them off to a department and say “hey explain what you do” This is about getting together, laying out a plan, and deciding how you’re going to deliver information and in the time frame you’re going to deliver it. And everybody’s accountable for their components. We’re going to get a commitment on that and then you’re going to sign off that they actually know what they’re doing.”
“But this is where they access everything they need, doesn’t have to be a single location, all your content that’s to be used. And the content has to be in a way that they understand what’s available to them, how they’re supposed to use it, and when they’re supposed to use it.”
Easily accessible library.
“So, at the end of this sales onboarding process, let’s say a new sales rep sells something and there’s no one there to help them, can they process the order? Can they grab the information they need to make it happen? Because you’re teaching them step by step how to be a productive member of your company, your society, and you want to have a way for them to fall back on what they’re being taught without having to pick up the phone and call you every time they have a question.”
Set the tone.
“When you hire somebody, you want to start the relationship off properly. You want to set the tone. I want to set the tone from day one on how we’re going to communicate but quite frankly I start setting that tone at the job offer. “Here’s what I’m going to do for you and this is what you’re going to do for me” and we’re going to agree on that.”
Formal feedback process.
“I want to know what’s happening in their life, and I want feedback from them. What are you learning? What are you benefiting from? Where do you need help? Where do you feel like we are falling as a company? Where are you falling down?”
“If I have my sales onboarding program set up and there’s some responsibilities for administration I want a clear understanding of the communication. ‘This is how you process the order, this is how you’re going to communicate with our department, these are the things we’ve got to have, this is what’s going to cause your order to get held up, and if you need help these are the people you talk to, that’s part of the communication.”
“The other side of it is communicating to me that they understand what they’ve been taught. I want to know as my sales rep evolves, are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing or are we having a problem? I want to know when a rep is hired into my company how they’re doing on a week to week basis, I want that feedback. It’s important to me because I can make adjustments, but if someone’s not getting something then I need to make sure they go back and they do that. Because I can’t put them out in the field if they can’t do what I need them to do.”
“How things work, vacation policy, time off, meeting dates and times, how to process paperwork, how to request things.”
“Marketing: What’s our message, who are we talking to, what do our buyer personas look like, who’s the ideal prospect, what does that look like and what does that conversation look like with them?”
“What am I selling? How versed am I in the product? How much do I have to know? And what’s the method for getting there and who do I have to prove that to before I can go out in the field and sell my product? And then what are my resources to help me sell that product?”
“I have three buckets and in each one of those buckets I want to score them out. I want to score them out at the end of 30 days, minimal acceptable score, the manager signs off on it, everybody who’s doing the training and helping signs off on their component and then we do a thumbs up thumbs down. If somebody doesn’t meet the minimal acceptable, it’s decision time. If they’re not making the grade they need to go.”
“You need a sales mentor for them, somebody who’s going to put a foot up their butt or a shoulder to cry on when things aren’t working right, to give them some guidance, somebody internal.”
“You need that formal feedback process. I want to know from the mentor what’s happening with the rep, I want honest feedback but I also want to know that you’re giving them the guidance that they need.”
“The sales mentoring program takes a long time to build and takes time to get the right people in place but it is absolutely a development opportunity for someone who’s thinking about moving in to management. If you find the right people and put them in place and forge strong relationships, team relationships, they’re going to import their ways on each other inside of the context of the company message which is how you want it delivered.”
Map it out.
“I want to know from day one through day ninety what this rep is doing. I want it completely mapped out, I want score sheets, I want the three buckets filled out, I want to know day by day who’s doing what and what they’re being trained on, and who’s signing off on it.”
“So I start with the calendar, just lay it out for 90 days and then I get everybody lined up to where they need to be. There are days in there for selling, there’s days in there for making calls, you should have it all laid out.”
“There would be a selling opportunity or call and they would set an appointment for on a day or time that they had something scheduled with training or development. When your rep is cancelling something they’re basically telling that person I don’t respect what you do, I don’t respect the process, I don’t respect the company enough, I don’t respect your area of the company, I’m too important, too busy, to respect that because I have an appointment.”
Keep Filling The Funnel
We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover. You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.