A successful onboarding program is critically important if sales leaders and business executives want to shorten the ramp time to productivity of their new hires. Also important to note…the onboarding program needs to be developed well in advance of a new salesperson joining your team! I suggest that sales leaders establish a written, onboarding schedule (at least a 45-day schedule but even better yet a 60 or 90-schedule) for all new salespeople. The plan should include weekly activities/actions over the first six weeks of employment. Sales leaders need to encourage their salespeople to learn the culture of the company as well as the company’s value proposition during that time. Equally important…they need your support during their ramp-up time.
Set realistic expectations for the first 90 days around learning and actions…not performance! New salespeople need professional development to be successful in a new role. That professional development includes product application knowledge, operational knowledge, company history (the good and bad), information about the competition and why your customers buy from you versus the competition. They need to understand how orders flow through your organization most efficiently. They need to learn the chain of command and how to get problems resolved internally. They need to meet department heads and understand how departments work together as an organized, efficient team.
Make sure you have a hiring profile/job description for your sales position. I’m talking about strategically delineated action items so the new hire will understand what meets minimum and what over- achievement looks like. At the minimum these action items should include:
- An Individual Success Formula
- A Compensation Planner for the Year
- Weekly Activity Levels
- Number of outbound calls
- Number of outbound emails
- Number of face-to-face meetings
- Number of new opportunities uncovered
- An Objection Response Library
In closing we have found that engaged, accountable salespeople are always more productive and have a tendency to stay longer. The key to creating an engaged, accountable salesperson begins with how they are onboarded!