Onboarding Sales Reps in a Remote World
The employee onboarding process is one of the first impressions your sales team will have with your company. Sales onboarding definitions vary from business to business, but it seems most everyone would agree it is a time-consuming process regardless of location. Even more challenging, onboarding sales reps in a remote setting is an entirely new hurdle for both reps and trainers alike.
Sales onboarding should not be overlooked, however. When done correctly, it boosts employee engagement, reduces turnover and ensures your sales reps have the necessary information and skills training to succeed in their new role.
A poor onboarding experience, on the other hand, will lead to lower productivity, personal discouragement, and potentially even cause a sales rep to leave within their first few months. In other words, a new sales rep’s first 90 days can make or break their role. So how do you overcome this with the recent shift to a remote workforce?
Put simply, we need to rethink the whole thing. Instead of the stale systems and procedures currently in place, remote sales onboarding should be intentional, reinforce learning, be easily digestible, and accessible within a central location or tool. Here are some ways your team can build a great onboarding experience that aligns with a remote team’s evolving needs.
No one deliberately creates an awful process—poor onboarding happens largely because of a lack of proper structure. An incredible experience, on the other hand, must be intentionally engineered that way—and is especially true for remote onboarding
What does remote onboarding look like?
The first and most crucial step requires a structured approach. Consider arranging yours into four categories:
- Company: since remote team members might not ever step foot in your physical office, it’s essential to carve out a remote-friendly culture, communicate your core values and find creative ways to keep employees engaged from anywhere.
- Team: Begin by virtually introducing new sales reps to their immediate team. Employee engagement is crucial for productive teamwork, so connect them to a tenured employee who can be their go-to person for support in their early days.
- Role: In addition to showing new sales reps the how-tos of their day-to-day responsibilities, ensure they have access to cloud-based tools and shared files that make it easy to do their job outside traditional office walls.
- Ongoing: After the initial onboarding, regularly check in with video calls to give reps a chance to “see” team members and gather feedback and progress toward the company’s goals.
Training content is quickly forgotten
Studies show that employees will forget up to 50% of the information presented within one hour. This is especially true of sales training materials that are delivered en masse during days-long sessions.
Without being adequately reinforced, our brains discard information to make room for new concepts and ideas. In the past when someone forgets information, it’s not uncommon to turn to your fellow coworker for the answer. This swivel-chair approach to finding information is no longer an option in a remote world. So, instead of simply relying on archaic PowerPoint training, the sales reps’ day-to-day work should incorporate consistent reinforcement of new knowledge for maximum retention.
Outdated systems and processes don’t account for remote work
Imagine this scenario: on their first day, a new sales rep takes a course on your company’s competitors to learn what makes you unique. On Day 45, they’re in a sales call and asked to explain how you’re different from the competition. To recall the information from their training, they’ll need to go to the learning course, find the right module, and fast-forward to that precise moment in the module, all to find the one talking point about that particular competitive feature.
The solution is to leverage technology tools that make it easy for sales reps to easily digest and access your training programs. This way, even in a remote environment, everyone has flexible content and the exact information they need for any given situation from day one.
Information is scattered across tools
It’s all too common to find that teams have their onboarding and sales enablement content scattered across different tools and locations, which leads to challenging situations such as the one above.
And, like Southwest Airlines, before embracing remote work, many companies have traditionally relied on formal, real-time training sessions that forced teams to switch between slide decks and handwritten notes to input the information into their databases. This results in valuable information potentially being lost in translation. Your helpful resources, guides, and documented processes become a giant messy web of different systems outside your CRM.
This is where an organizational-wide onboarding tool like Spekit can help by providing a central library of sales materials and bite-sized training that effectively serves new hires and seasoned sales reps alike.
With the world in a constant state of change and our workforces becoming increasingly more remote, it’s essential to keep improving and evolving our onboarding and sales training processes. Specifically for sales teams, remote onboarding needs to be:
- Intentional: structured in a way that makes sense for the role, the company, and for the individual’s continued development;
- Reinforced: integrated into a rep’s day-to-day workflow to reinforce learning and improve knowledge retention;
- Digestible: available in bite-sized pieces of information that doesn’t require a search-and-rescue team to locate essential details;
- Accessible: searchable from a central tool that is embraced organization-wide to empower new hires and seasoned sales reps alike.
As we’ve seen, the old paradigms for onboarding are no longer the norm. Outdated systems must make way for the new world of remote work, with processes becoming adaptable and accessible in the flow of work. To learn more about how you can simplify and enhance your remote onboarding program, chat with us today to see how Spekit works.
About the Author
Mel is the CEO and Co-founder of Spekit, a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient, Entrepreneur’s Top 100 Women of Influence, and featured across Crunchbase, Fast Company, Business Insider, and more. She is leading the revolution to shatter the glass ceiling and unleash the full potential of every employee. Learn more ->