How to Develop an Automated New Sales Hire Onboarding Process

December 31, 2017


Many companies rely on sales managers and/or top sales performers to train new salespeople. This creates two important and costly challenges. First, the effectiveness of the training provided is dependent on how much time these (typically very busy) individuals can dedicate to it. Second, every time new salespeople are hired, the productivity of these very valuable employees takes a serious hit!

An alternative approach is for companies to provide the bulk of new hire sales training via audio and video recordings backed up by written documents. This allows sales managers and top sales performers to focus their engagement with new salespeople on verifying accurate salesperson understanding of training information. It also provides new salespeople with the repetition required to convert new skills (which feel strange and uncomfortable) into behaviors that are second nature. This will make the new salespeople much more effective at performing the new skills in front of real, live prospects and customers!


What topics should a New Sales Hire Onboarding Process address?

A great place to start would be answering the following questions:

  1. How would you describe your Ideal Customer? Components of your description could include industry, geography, company size, business unit or function, job title, personality traits, situation/need, etc.

  2. What are the primary concerns of Target Contacts? What keeps them up at night? The better you can prepare your salespeople to understand the mindset and primary concerns of Target Contacts, the better your salespeople's chances of developing rapport and credibility with them.

  3. What specific business problems do companies in these target markets have that your company can solve?

  4. What are the impacts of these business problems? A great training tool is short stories that demonstrate business problem impacts.

  5. Can you quantify the impacts of these business problems?

  6. What industry-specific or technical terminology and acronyms does a salesperson need to be familiar with in order for them to sound credible when speaking with Target Contacts?

  7. What types of activities should be included in a salesperson's prospecting plan?

  8. What quantity of each activity should a salesperson perform on a weekly basis?

  9. What messages should salespeople use when prospecting and networking? In other words, what can they say that will be so compelling that it will grab the attention of target prospects and convince them to schedule discovery conversations?

  10. What questions should salespeople ask during discovery conversations to determine whether prospects have any of the types of business problems your company can solve?

  11. If prospects have some of the business problems your company can solve, what questions can salespeople ask to quantify the impacts of these problems?

  12. What questions should salespeople ask to ensure they are qualifying the full scope of available opportunity?

  13. What questions should salespeople ask to determine whether prospects are worthy of the time and resource investments required to manage sales cycles?

The focus of the above questions is providing salespeople with information that will help them identify and qualify opportunities. This is the most critical information new salespeople need to learn in order for them to become productive quickly. Finding and properly qualifying new opportunities is also what companies typically want most from new salespeople. If salespeople can find and thoroughly qualify opportunities, there are usually ample expert resources available to help them convert those opportunities into sales.


Should a properly designed Sales New Hire Onboarding Process include information about other steps in the sales process?

Absolutely! It is desirable for your onboarding process to provide information that makes it as easy as possible for your salespeople to successfully execute EVERY step of the sales process.

For significant steps in the sales process that are performed with any frequency, it is desirable to record (in either audio or video format) a successful salesperson performing that sales process step. These recordings should then be meticulously scrutinized to identify all the little things the successful salesperson does that improve his or her effectiveness. These "best practices" (which are likely the result of painful, expensive trial and error that took place over many years) should be written down so that new salespeople can refer to them while viewing or listening to the recording, along with explanations of why the best practices are more effective than alternative approaches.

Because successful salespeople have probably been using best practices for a long time, doing things this way seems natural and obvious to them. But, these methods are NOT likely to appear natural or obvious to most new salespeople. Why hope that new salespeople notice the nuances of best practices on their own and choose to adopt them? Why not intentionally bring this information to their attention as part of your new sales hire onboarding process?


Conclusion

Developing an effective new sales hire onboarding process requires careful thought and some tedious work. But, the payoffs - helping new salespeople become productive in record time, "saving" the 25% to 35% of salespeople who would otherwise fail, and saving significant time for some of your company's most productive employees - can be extraordinary!