Sales Onramping: Pay Now Or Later

It has been a few weeks since we have touched on the subject of onramping of salespeople so it is time to return to this topic. All too often we see management waste an opportunity to set the proper tone with their new hire. They then spend months, even years, trying to correct bad behaviors they allowed in the first place.  If you do a search on onramping or onboarding on the web, you will find many articles and all of them at some point will discuss the fact that setting the tone early is very important. So why is this a reoccurring issue for so many new hires?  In my reading the… Read More

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Onboarding, Onramping

We call it onramping because that is truly what occurs with new sales hires.  This area is often overlooked or under-served by sales managers.  They often hire new salespeople, offer some product/service training and then turn them loose in the field. It is the sink or swim approach that leads to turnover. SellingPower.com reports on this fact in On-Boarding: The Most Overlooked Part of Hiring.  Here is why this topic is so important: Unfortunately, great sales on-boarding programs are still the exception, rather than the norm, says Stakenas. He says that most companies are missing an opportunity in the first three to six months of a new hire’s time to… Read More

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10 Commandments Of Onboarding

We only work in the sales arena so we refer to onboarding as onramping since salespeople need to ramp up to revenue (production) during their initial employment.  That being said, CareerBuilder.com provides some excellent rules to live by when bringing a new employee on board (my editing).   Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy employee. Thou shalt give a written plan of employee objectives and responsibilities. A written plan detailing objectives, strategy and expectations of future results helps diminish any confusion about a new employee’s job functions and instead opens up the floor to discuss concerns or new opportunities. Thou shalt give thy employ thy undivided attention. Thou… Read More

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I’m Too Busy To Coach Salespeople

Coaching in many organizations is an after thought at best.  What we see all too often is that the quotas are set and salespeople are expected to reach them on their own (to some extent).  These are the organizations in which we see far too little coaching by the sales managers of their teams.  Why is this?  In a post from Dave Stein’s blog he asks you to name one professional athlete that doesn’t have a coach.  Even amateur athletes have coaches, so why do organizations not require and equip sales managers to be coaches? Dave makes some interesting points and I recommend that you go read the entire post.  He may get you to change your… Read More

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Turnover Reflects Your Onramping Program

When you look at your employee turnover are you content or confounded?  If confounded, what have you done to improve it?  You may want to start by reviewing your onramping program.  Managesmarter.com had an interesting article on this subject and provided the following findings: 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. (The Wynhurst Group) 46 percent of rookies wash out in their first 18 months. (Leadership IQ) Companies that leave onboarding (ed. what we call onramping) to chance experience failure rates in excess of 50 percent when it comes to retaining new talent. (Egon Zehnder International, 2007) More than a 50% failure rate?  Ouch!  I have seen… Read More

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The Absence Of Value

We’ve been working on this value topic because it is the single, most important aspect of any sales position.  A company that lacks a value proposition is destined to stumble through the market while being commoditized on price. I saw this effect 6 years ago when doing sales calls in the field with a company’s reps.  After spending a couple days in a couple different cities, it became clear that they had to value proposition to offer the market.  This absence of value led to one consistent outcome – they had to compete on price.  Granted, some companies are positioned to compete in this format.  The company I was working… Read More

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Marquee vs. Mundane

I’ve been working with a handful of sales managers recently as they onramp new salespeople and I have seen a stumbling block occur more than once.  The issue has to do with the sales manager’s perception of the typical sale. Sales managers, in most instances, work primarily with large, high-visibility accounts as they should.  The issue that occurs is that the manager starts to view these marquee accounts as the model, or even norm, for all other accounts.  What happens is that the manager loses sight of the history of activities that went into earning that customer’s business. Rarely do new salespeople fly out of the gate and close a… Read More

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The Essence of Sales Management

This is a tough topic because there isn’t a cookie-cutter sales manager template that fits for all companies.  Our experience has been that smaller-sized companies tend to expect the sales manager to carry a significant quota while larger companies expect the sales manager to manage without carrying a personal quota.  The department quota/goals are a different story. Nonetheless, ManageSmarter.com offers up a well-constructed guide to sales management titled Executive Guide: Improving Sales from Managers to Salespeople. A point that often gets overlooked in companies is the essence of strong sales management.  This excerpt sums it up nicely: 4. Track where your management team members are spending their time. As previously… Read More

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Onramping Is Everything

This ManageSmarter.com article – On-Board Your Sales Hires Faster – hits me where I live.  We ran into a serious issue with one of our customers where a salesperson we placed was terminated after 60 days.  I won’t go into specifics, but this gentleman never had a chance.  One anecdotal point – he never received business cards.  You get the picture. We are working with our customer this week to establish a formalized onramping program for the next salesperson in this role.  Much, or even all, of the problems that developed were due to this small company not understanding what needs to happen to successfully launch a new salesperson.  Some… Read More

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The Cost Of Underperforming Salespeople

Here’s an interesting little article I stumbled across this morning from Seacoastonline.com titled Get the most out of your sales team.  The premise is simple and accurate – nonproductive salespeople are the bane of any small (or large) business. A nonproductive sales team is among the top common dangers that cause many small businesses to fail. Analyzed studies reveal that a large percentage of small businesses are unsuccessful because of underperforming sales people who bring in, at a minimum, 50 percent less revenue than top performers, according to researcher Dr. John Sullivan, professor of Economics at San Francisco State University. … Studies indicate that a common reason for poor performance… Read More

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