Onboarding is essential to sales success. In fact, 94% of sales leaders report that the hiring and onboarding process is critical in enabling sales reps to hit their targets.
The same study found that top sales performers are almost three times more likely to say their onboarding experience was good or excellent. Onboarding quality also matters, since 47% of account executives have left a sales job due to a lack of training or a poor onboarding experience.
So, how do you create a positive onboarding process to accelerate productivity like Hokodo while increasing sales rep retention?
Our recent survey of 300 sales professionals revealed that sales organizations have been improving their onboarding process following the pandemic, and have found some activities to be far more effective than others.
Here are the top ten activities you need to know to build a bullet-proof onboarding process.
10. Role-play & practicing sales calls
Reading about and listening to information will only take new reps so far. Once you've talked through your chosen sales techniques, doing is the best way to truly understand and effectively act on all their newfound knowledge. So, once your new team member has a firm understanding of your sales process, it’s time to practice what they’ve learned.
Creating role-play sales situations for the new rep to practice activities throughout the sales cycle helps them build confidence and improve success when they start engaging with actual prospects. Record these practice sessions and leverage them for all three forms of coaching. This reinforces desired behaviors and helps the rep course correct where necessary for consistent improvement.
9. Instructor-led sessions or education
Sometimes an instructor-led session is better than a recorded one, especially if the topic is complex. This allows reps to present their questions for immediate clarification or additional information. The need for these types of sessions varies by topic and product type. And it’s best to follow these sessions with coaching or reinforcement to ensure the information taught is retained.
8. A prescribed reading list
Give reps a reading list containing white papers, case studies, articles, personas, and information about current market conditions, industries, and competition. This allows them to become familiar with available resources while gaining essential knowledge they’ll leverage in their day-to-day.
7. Self-paced sessions or education
The ability for a rep to learn at their own pace is helpful, especially for basic introductory information about the company, product, or market. They are also excellent for self-coaching where a rep listens to their own recordings. This enables them to finetune their approach by identifying what they are doing well and where they need improvement. In fact, reps who spend 3-4 hours listening back to sales calls each month, win 5.5 % more sales deals, so why not help new reps develop this habit during onboarding?
6. Listening to recorded sales calls
A library of best practices call recordings is a great way for reps to hear a wide variety of scenarios navigated by experienced top reps. New hires learn how to present, respond to objections or questions, and how to handle sticky situations before they are on live calls with customers or prospects. Recorded calls are more predictable than live calls because you can select specific scenarios with known outcomes that give the rep exactly what they need, with no surprises or wasted time on dead-end calls.
5. Product demonstrations or training
One of our survey respondents said, “When this training [demonstrations] is applied to sales, a better conversion rate is seen.”
This can include instructor-led demo training and watching live or recorded demos presented by another team member. Then the new rep can practice applying what they have learned by themselves and in a roleplay situation.
4. 1:1 time with experienced sales team members
Shadowing a veteran salesperson enables new reps to see how their experienced counterpart interacts with customers, gives demos, closes deals, and answers objections. Onboarding reps can pick up tips and tricks to minimize trial-and-error as they start engaging with prospects themselves.
3. Listening to live sales calls
During sales onboarding, it is helpful for the new hire to listen to sales calls so they can hear how successful reps are talking about your product, conveying your value proposition, and responding to prospect objections. The challenge of listening to live calls is that a lot of time may be wasted while waiting to connect with a prospect. And once they connect, there’s no guarantee it will be a good training call.
2. Business, market, or product demonstrations
According to one of our survey respondents, “Product demonstrations give salespeople an immediate means of tactics to communicate to their clients.”
Onboarding needs to include foundational information for reps to build on, like:
- Company culture, brand, service offerings, and company history
- Product and service information—descriptions, demos, playbooks, and standard scopes of work
- Markets, client segments, and buyer personas
1. 1:1 meetings with sales leadership
It should come as no surprise that one-to-ones with leadership are considered by salespeople to be the most useful onboarding activity.
The purpose of recurring one-on-ones with sales leaders is to provide the sales rep with the guidance and coaching they need for professional development. This time can be spent discussing what’s going well, course-correcting where necessary, and answering rep questions.
Ready to build your own bullet-proof onboarding program? Book a demo with a member of our team to see how Jiminny simplifies and accelerates the onboarding process.