One of the keys to successful sales leadership is getting newly-hired salespeople up-to-speed quickly. The time it takes to move them from wide-eyed new hire to qualifying ninja is critical to any company. High-performing salespeople are the lifeblood of any company.
The way I see it, companies employ one of three processes for launching their new salespeople.
This approach falls under the conventional wisdom mode of training new salespeople in the company’s products/services, CRM, expense reports, coffee maker…you get the idea. The approach is inwardly focused. The new salesperson, after training, is adept at navigating the internal pitfalls of the company.
Often in this approach, the sales leader provides scant sales training preferring to let the new sales hire figure out what works best for him or her. New salespeople are expected to show up with a network, pipeline and short sales cycle. To call this approach outdated is an understatement because it never should have been a sales hire training option in the first place.
This approach is the trendy methodology used by most companies today. Onboarding is a dramatic leap forward when compared to orientation. Onboarding involves integrating the new salesperson into not only the role, but the company and the culture.
Clearly the basics from orientation are included in this process along with a clear role awareness and defined expectation. Don’t underestimate the importance of role clarity…many companies are woefully deficient in this area. Onboarding has another key level to it – the start of the retention process. Integrating the new salesperson into the company culture quickly creates a connection. If done right, that connection will aid in retaining that salesperson in the future.
This approach is our wording used specifically to describe the process of moving new sales hires into revenue production. The focus is to go beyond the inner walls of the company and develop the salesperson’s understanding of the company’s solutions, advantages and functionality in the marketplace.
Obviously, this approach includes all of the aspects of onboarding. However, sales requires a concerted effort to “ramp” the salesperson to revenue. The goal here is to invest the time up front to get the new salesperson in the field selling as fast as possible. This training involves knowing their sales strengths and weaknesses, preferred communication style and natural aptitudes. This quantifiable information allows you to tailor the training to the most effective method for that individual.
The topics salespeople need to know are your company’s Differentiating Value (DV). They need to understand where you compete on the value scale. The salespeople want to learn the competitive landscape. They have to know the ideal customer and who to target for prospecting. There is more to learn, but this sales-focused approach accelerates your new hire’s ramp while putting down a foundation for promoting them in the future.
Speed matters in today’s competitive world. The need for a structured, sales-focused onramping process leads to a faster ramp to revenue amongst all of your new sales hires.