4 Vital Areas to Address for Strong Sales Onboarding
Companies who rely on sales reps to bring in revenue know that sales training, or sales onboarding, is important to the success of their team. Without it, new sales reps, even if experienced, will have difficulty building the right relationships with customers and closing deals.
Effective sales onboarding is about more than software training and process training. For the best results, sales onboarding provides ongoing reinforcement and constant communication in every area the sales reps work.
Poor sales onboarding can stretch training out as well, perhaps even by several months. This, combined with frustration and a poor experience for both sales reps and customers, can lead to high turnover and a significant loss of revenue as companies need to replace members of their team.
However, when sales onboarding is not only present but successful, many benefits come to both the sales reps themselves and the organization. Employee engagement and morale will improve, sales will increase, and customer relations will deepen.
For the best success, there are four key areas that company leaders must address when creating a strong sales onboarding program. Once this occurs, the chances for a successful sales team increase dramatically. Let’s begin by identifying what defines sales onboarding.
What is sales onboarding?
Sales onboarding is the process that sales reps undergo to learn how to interact with customers, use existing or new sales software, and understand your company’s values. Today, this typically takes place with the help of digital training programs and sales enablement tools.
Ideally, training material should be presented to employees in a way that is quick and easy to learn. Onboarding time is a big concern for sales teams and company leaders; therefore, sales organizations aim to reduce the ramp time as much as possible while still being effective.
On average, it takes four or five months to train a new sales rep using sales team onboarding. With the rapidly changing landscape of online commerce, it’s vital to reduce this onboarding time as much as possible. Otherwise, this can lead to missed sales opportunities and early turnover for new sales hires due to frustration and lack of knowledge.
Reducing onboarding time isn’t just about retaining new employees. It also helps to attract top talent and improve relations with customers, as team members want to spend their time selling rather than training. Faster onboarding allows the sales team to align better with the sales cycle and company values by reducing wasted time and boosting productivity.
The four areas that must be addressed
Before achieving their desired goals, sales managers and company leaders will need to design a standardized onboarding process that covers four principal areas in sales onboarding: knowledge, alignment, engagement, and reinforcement.
Addressing the need for knowledge
Knowledge is more than simply knowing what to do during every stage of the sales cycle or what pitch to give to customers. To be effective, sales onboarding processes need to illustrate the value as to why that tool was chosen and how it will help sales teams be successful in their jobs.
No matter how experienced reps are when they join a new team, they won’t be able to perform their best and engage effectively with sales leads if they lack the contextual, specific knowledge about the product or service they are selling. This is what makes the right training software such a differentiator because it can instruct users on the how and why behind a specific tool. Showing users how to make an impact on your specific business is key to better digital adoption. Even better, the best training software tools will provide information directly within an app l to deliver training information right where the users work, when they need it.
Knowledge also goes beyond knowing what products to use. New sales opportunities pop up often, which gives new sales reps little time to memorize specific details about each buyer persona they interact with. Sales reps who know their customers well and understand their pain points are 28% more likely to close a sale, as customers prefer reps who understand their unique situations. With battle cards and sales enablement tools at their fingertips, your sales onboarding system becomes a much more productive process.
Pro Tip: Have your managers and trainers spend time with their sales reps to create the training that sales teams need to succeed in the short and long term. Spending time with sales reps will identify issues that may otherwise slow down the onboarding process and increase ramp time.
Alignment: getting everyone on the same page
Onboarding sales teams won’t work well if everyone has different goals. Communicating consistent messages at the same time will help to ensure all sales reps and teams are on the same page.
The right sales enablement software can help company trainers find and edit training in one simple place, and quickly, which also cuts down onboarding time. Managers can easily communicate process changes to an entire department at once. And, if these change notifications appear in the flow of work, then sales reps will instantly see all updates, allowing them to receive information even faster. Such a functionality will also ensure that everyone knows about the products or services they are selling at once without the need to pull together time-consuming meetings.
With the right learning system in place, company leaders set clear expectations for reps and create the right type of training to meet those goals.
Empowering sales reps through engagement
One of the best ways to boost the performance of sales reps is to engage them fully with their work. Simple processes and software training often fall short. The best way to engage sales reps during the onboarding process is to connect them with their work and reduce frustration right away to reduce the learning curve.
Personalized training that appears in the flow of work can engage sales reps from Day One of training. Whether it appears in databases, CRMs, is available during sales calls, or follows sales reps across a variety of apps, the right training software should be available anywhere, even in enterprise software such as Salesforce.
Think of the value sales reps can have when their sales onboarding process includes instant access to the learning material itself, such as walkthroughs, databases, or your entire sales enablement content library.
An effective sales onboarding checklist should give step-by-step directions to sales reps throughout their flow of work. Some training programs miss this, causing sales reps to search for answers in databases and waste time, which leads to disengagement and higher turnover.
Optimizing training for retention and reinforcement
Optimizing training for reinforcement will involve editing the learning material that already exists and making it available throughout the employee’s journey. However, the thought of editing content in a digital training program can feel like a nightmare. This is because many training databases are messy and not centralized, making it a time-consuming affair.
The right training platform for sales onboarding needs to have out-of-the-box, easy-to-edit training resources all within a centralized location. This helps managers and trainers reinforce and optimize new material quickly. Editing time can shrink to just a few minutes and changes are populated through an entire company at once.
Such a feature is not only useful for creating training, but it is especially useful for updating training content when issues arise and skills gaps become apparent.
Employees, including sales reps, can only retain a small amount of learned information at a time, and having information appear in the flow of work lessens time searching for reminders. Sales reps will only need to sift through the information they need, enabling them to learn at an easy, natural pace to become more effective at their tasks.
Making all four elements work together
There are many benefits to a company once the right sales onboarding training platform is chosen. Among them are reduced employee turnover, improved morale, and a boost in sales revenue. The right training program must not stop at mere software training or process training, but instead is a valuable companion that employees rely on for day-to-day work. With the right information at their fingertips at all times, sales reps can focus on building relationships with potential customers, addressing the needs of customers, and spend more time selling. To learn how you can build a strong sales onboarding program, contact us today to get started.