Largely fueled by COVID-19, a growing number of companies are making the shift to a fully remote workforce. According to a recent Willis Towers Watson report, “Employers expect 19% of their workforce to be full-time employees working from home post-COVID-19” — nearly three times what it was in 2019 at just 7%.
Just like with any other type of position, new salespeople who will be working remotely need effective onboarding. Here’s how to tackle this process 100% virtually and set your salespeople up for success.
The success and efficiency of your digital onboarding largely hinges upon the tools you use. Therefore, you need to find the right combination and make adjustments along the way.
One of the best platforms for creating a streamlined onboarding process is Kissflow. It allows you to easily manage every aspect of onboarding and make it systematized for a homogeneous experience for all of your reps.
Or as they put it, “Keep the onboarding process paperless and free from human intervention with online onboarding and workflows.”
Among its many features, there’s an employee self-service area where new salespeople can submit documents, find information, speak with other team members, and more.
For basic communication, there’s Slack which allows you to conveniently send messages, share files, and keep new salespeople in the loop. Create different channels and ensure new reps are on the same page with your sales leaders every step of the way.
And for all of your video conferencing needs, there’s Zoom, which is the most popular option with nearly 43% of the market share as of mid-2020. This is the perfect platform for holding video calls during the onboarding process and building strong rapport (something we’ll discuss in more detail later on).
For an exhaustive list of other tools you can use to facilitate smoother virtual onboarding, check out this resource from Time Doctor.
Since there will never be any in-person interaction, it’s easy for miscommunications to happen. So, soon after a new salesperson has officially been hired, send them an email welcoming them to the team along with a detailed outline of what to expect from that point until they’re actually selling.
For instance, you’ll want to include the exact date and time onboarding will begin. And you’ll want to provide an outline of what will happen throughout each day of onboarding. Here’s a quick example of how LinkedIn approaches their virtual program.
You may also want to mention the technology you’ll be using, both for onboarding and for day-to-day activities, along with login information so new salespeople can get familiar with it ahead of time. The more transparent you are, the smoother the onboarding should go and the less potential for glitches there will be.
Another essential part of providing streamlined onboarding is developing a robust online educational resource that’s available 24/7 to answer a new rep’s questions and direct them to helpful content. This is a growing trend where “many of today’s leading cloud-based companies, such as Uber, Shopify, Airbnb, Salesforce, and HubSpot, are strengthening their businesses with effective online learning resource centers,” explains Dan Westmoreland of eLearning Industry.
Some common types of content that are featured in these hubs include:
Some companies even have discussion boards and forums where salespeople can share their experiences with one another and sales leaders can offer insights.
Most experts agree that trying to jam a ton of in-depth training into a single day is ineffective, especially when it’s online. If possible, it’s much better to break down your virtual training into multiple sessions throughout the week.
“Spreading the process over a longer period of time enables hiring managers to address issues and make improvements if something is not working,” says Vicki Chabot of The Enterprisers Project. “It also reduces the stress that a new hire might feel working from home, especially if they are juggling responsibilities with children, partners, and pets while also attempting to absorb new information.”
You might, for example, spend the first day going over the basics like a salesperson’s role, job description, and your company culture. From there, you could move on to more advanced topics like the products you sell, the specific sales techniques your company uses, and so on.
Earlier, we touched briefly on using Zoom as a platform for video conferencing. While email and messaging apps like Slack are generally fine for basic communication, experts recommend making it a point to have sales leaders maintain contact with new reps via video throughout the duration of the onboarding process.
That’s because “using video can improve engagement during calls and helps managers/trainers pick up on non-verbal cues (i.e. facial expressions and body language) which is important throughout training and gauging comprehension,” writes Angela Hughes of Acceleration Partners.
With nearly a fifth of all salespeople being fully remote in 2021 — and no doubt more in the future — many sales leaders need to make some radical changes to the way they onboard. And often that means making the onboarding process 100% virtual.
Doing so effectively requires sales leaders to use the right combination of technology, set clear expectations right from the start, provide new salespeople with comprehensive online resources, spread out training sessions, and use video to stay in close contact with reps.
See how HireDNA can help you build a stronger sales team by using cutting-edge technology to find ultra talented reps. Book a demo today.
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