For most organizations, the first few days of sales onboarding are relatively intense. There is a high reliance on instructor-led induction programs to bring sales reps up to speed on products or processes. The end objective though, invariably, is to enable the newly onboarded salesforce to start clocking revenue for the organization in the shortest time span possible!
A recent study suggests that the average time for a new sales employee to be at par with an organization’s existing performers is about 11 months. This implicates that irrespective of the induction curriculum’s thoroughness, a new sales employee will have a steep and long learning curve before becoming productive.
Sales onboarding strategies, thus, must look beyond the formal training agendas to build sales enablement journeys that are sustainable, engaging & more effective.
A well planned and executed sales onboarding journey, that also leverages digital learning, can offer multiple tangible benefits for an organization. For starters, it can create significant cost savings as compared to traditional sales training induction programs.
It can also help organizations make a great first impression and continuous engagement for the salesforce, thereby substantially improving their retention. Another study has also proven that sales enablement journeys have the potential to improve win rates for sales reps by 14%.
A focused attention towards sales enablement along with leveraging technology, provides the opportunity for organizations to create highly efficient sales onboarding journeys that can boost sales productivity.
For example, organizations can now use game-based learning to onboard new hires. This make every onboarding step feel potentially exciting and relevant. Evidence suggests that using game-based learning can help improve employee engagement by 48%.
Below are six key trends for creating a state-of-the-art sales onboarding and enablement process to maximize sales productivity & ramp up your salesforce.
Trend 1: Pre-boarding
Sales onboarding doesn’t necessarily have to begin with a salesperson’s start date. Even without mandating or controlling what work they do before their official joining date; sales hires can be given the option to kick start their learning process. If done right, pre-boarding can help reduce the duration of induction programs while also improving sales productivity through better engagement!
For example, a large private insurer in India leveraged Master-O’s game-based sales enablement platform and recommended sales onboarding curriculum, to onboard 3,000 new sales hires before their official joining date.
By aligning them on basics concepts like the overview of the life insurance industry during this time, the organization was able to reduce the induction training from 7 days to 2 days. Additionally, this approach to pre-boarding reduced their time span between joining to actually generating leads by approximately 35%!
Trend 2: Keeping sales onboarding content short, yet sustainable
Building on the point of reducing time, there’s adequate research to prove that without planned re-enforcement of information, we can lose up to 75% of it within the first week of receiving it!
Any newly recruited salesperson requires access to learning content that can be consumed on the go without disrupting his/her daily workflow. Microlearning design helps package content that can be consumed easily and even revisited for refreshing knowledge on different products, offerings or skills.
For example, offering on-demand personalized trainings can help new reps refresh themselves on key benefit messages just before they need to meet a customer. In 2019, we’ll increasingly see organizations ditch the “data dump” and focus on more actionable, ongoing information to be available for their sales reps to consume.
Trend 3: Sharing tribal knowledge
A great way of getting new sales reps aligned on your organization’s way of selling is to crowdsource winning calls from your top performers. This digital repository of high-quality calls for new hires can help reduce their onboarding time. Some areas which these sample calls could address for new sellers can be:
• How do I represent & position my new organization & myself?
• How do I respond to a customer objection?
• How do I address comparisons with competition?
• How do I negotiate a deal?
• What are the unique nuances of our sales cycle?
For example, for a large private bank in India, we developed mock calls to address customers of different personality traits using our communication profiling tool . This library of digital content served as reference material for new hires to tune their communication styles based on certain conversation cues and consequent pitch variations adapted by their senior counterparts
Trend 4: Focusing on selling skills
Often, sales enablement journeys focus heavily on one type of training, like product, over other important training that can have a direct impact on the likelihood of sales quota attainment. Enabling sales reps through focused training on selling skills can be a useful approach to improve productivity of a sales onboarding journey.
For example, new sellers can be trained on key aspects of sales planning such as customer segmentation and prioritization. This tool allows sales reps to profile customers in four quadrants based on their revenue potential for the organization, thereby significantly improving the probability of achieving sales targets.
This can be further fine-tuned by using a data driven approach that builds learning journeys on existing skill gaps for a learner. Master-O’s dashboards have served as an important starting point to create such outcome-oriented sales enablement journeys along with improving on-the-job training or coaching inputs that line mangers can also share with new sellers.
Trend 5: On-the-go sales readiness platform
Along with having a comprehensive sales enablement strategy in place and the right team to execute it, an on-the-go sales readiness platform can be the fuel to keep the sales enablement engine running seamlessly.
Within such a platform, content authoring capabilities allow sales training teams to create or repackage existing training content in an engaging format, which can be customized for each step of the sales onboarding process. Content that can be easily customized and distributed is a useful tool for creating a role-based onboarding strategy.
Such a content authoring tool can empower sales enablement teams to repackage onboarding content in bite-sized content on digital flashcards and two-minute short, game-based assessments.
Trend 6: Enabling managers through data
An effective sales enablement strategy also focuses on how sales leaders can use data to coach their teams. Analytics and dashboards provide sales managers and the sales enablement team with key insights on how the onboarding content was viewed, in how much time and whether assessments were passed or failed. This ability allows managers to track individual as well as team progress and make more informed decisions about team members who need special training or specific performance inputs .
Sales manager dashboards are not exactly a new idea. However, increased reporting insights will revolutionize how managers measure and manage sales productivity of the sales reps and improve their sales performance. For example, this data can help managers get insights on:
• Which sales tactics are strengths and weaknesses for employees?
• Which employees are most agile learners, hence potentially high performers?
• Which sales concepts correlate to improvement in business performance?
• What’s the ability of sales reps to handle customer objections?
Sales onboarding in today’s fast-paced work environments can be effective if they leverage the implicit evolution of behavioral psychology. Through a well-planned combination of digital content and interactive learning platforms, organizations can create winning sales onboarding journeys that improve sales productivity!
To know more about how Master-O leverage these trends, you can have a look here. We’d be glad to know your feedback and comments on our approach!