Sales Recruiting and Onboarding Success Tips.

Published on Aug 21, 2017

Did you know that more than half of all employees who left their job during the 

past year did so within the first twelve months, according to a recent Workforce Insights study by Equifax? That’s employees overall. The average sales force loses one-third of its reps each year. That’s a pretty chilling stat brought to us by Hubspot, a stat we see our clients being affected by directly.

To help rectify this issue, organizations are moving away from the old school new-hire orientation classes and are focused on creating a strong onboarding process for new employees. But onboarding is more than simple new-hire training. It is a process of acclimating new employees to the organization’s culture and team, aligning expectations and performance and providing tools and information to ensure a quick ramp-up and long-term success.

Key Components for Onboarding Sales Reps

A recent statistic from O.C. Tanner shows that 69 percent of new hires are likely to stay with the company for at least three years if they have a positive onboarding experience. So how do you ensure you have a solid onboarding process to keep your sales reps from becoming a negative statistic? Let’s review some key components:

  • Proactive Engagement  Successful onboarding begins prior to your new sales employee’s first day of work. Engage sales candidates early to begin fostering excitement around their new role and to build enthusiasm for the company. Have a plan…30-60-90 days with a defined agenda of what information or training you plan to cover. Pair new-hires with successful sales reps that can demonstrate what makes them successful to get reps excited about the possibilities.
  • Present Goals – Share your organization’s roadmap, goals and objectives. Explain how the new sales rep’s role fits into the overall direction of the organization. Make sure your goals are realistic and provide insights on past goal achievements. Build incentives and incorporate gamification to make it fun while bringing out the competitor in your reps.
  • Introduce Culture – Provide an overview of your organization’s culture in terms of the overall, then the specific sales culture. Offer guidance to new employees to ensure their success. Discuss unwritten guidelines or rules that may not be found in the handbook. Help your new sales reps to navigate the organization, their team, and the environment. Introduce them to the entire organizational culture so they understand the entire business. This will give them a better understanding of the mission and vision of the organization, which will help them sell better. Introduce them to marketing, product development, operations, delivery etc. so they can understand the behind the scenes of what they’re selling.
  • Provide Training – Deliver functional training on your organization’s products, services, and target customer demographics. Provide training on any necessary tools or systems. Ensure new hires have access to relevant sales or product content. Sales rep training should be an ongoing and structured process. This should not be a one-time event. It should be part of continued coaching. It’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and their learning style to customize the training to their needs. Implement accountability measures to reinforce behavior change and ensure tactics and strategies are being deployed.
  • Clarify Objectives – Initiate on-the-job coaching to build confidence and reinforce sales reps’ goals and objectives. Address priorities, expectations, and deliverables during these one-on-one discussions. Track and measure goals and objectives in the CRM for customized reporting and analytics. This also emphasizes to the rep the importance of maintaining updated data and activities in the CRM.
  • Establish Mentors– Partner new sales reps with seasoned sales professionals who will provide coaching and mentoring. Mentors can introduce new hires to cross-functional team members, other divisions, and organizational executives. An organization that demonstrates the investment in its sales reps garners loyalty. Have new reps ride along and shadow experienced reps on live calls, demos, and meetings. Training is a great way to prepare reps for the sales process, but there’s nothing like getting real-world experience.
  • Give Continuous Feedback – Ongoing communications with sales reps ensures they are receiving the training and support they need to excel in their new role and that they are digesting and acting on what they have learned. Set a cadence and agenda for period meetings with reps as a team and individually. Have a well-defined agenda and always review activities and metrics.

Okay, great. These are the basics. But the devil is in the details, right? For one thing, who will be included in the onboarding process? Who “does” the onboarding? The best answer is, those who have knowledge and influence who are deeply invested in whether or not a new sales rep stays on and succeeds. These members of the organization should include:

Human Resources – Among other things, HR reps are doing the hiring. The last thing they really want to be doing is the firing. HR reps have a vested interest in keeping sales reps long-term. Who better to initiate onboarding? HR will acclimate sales reps to the organizational culture i.e. rules, regulation, etc. not their job to focus on selling.

CEOs – Yes, we know CEOs are busy, but company culture, goals, objectives and vision stem from the desk of the CEO. Who better to be involved in onboarding than the person setting the tone for the organization? The CEO’s involvement will depend on the size of the company. The bigger the organization, the less likely the CEO will have to allocate to each new hire. To help alleviate this problem, hire in “classes” if you can. For example, bring on five or more reps at a time and onboard them all together. Involving the CEO will help reps to sell with the long-term in mind versus their wallet.

VPs of Sales – These folks have the vision, too, but they also lead the charge in meeting goals, objective and numbers. Who better to motivate? VPs have vested interest in ensuring the successful and accelerated onboarding of new reps. After all, it’s their job on the line if goals are not achieved. They definitely should be hands-on in the process and direct high-level strategies to ensure goals are achieved.

Investing in structuring your organization’s onboarding process for new sales hires will result in a positive ROI in terms of employee retention and satisfaction. And that translates into revenue generation.

Interested in a thorough evaluation of your sales rep onboarding process? Revecent can complete an analysis of your organization’s onboarding strategy to identify what’s working well and areas for improvement. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results. 

HireDNA is a national sales recruiting firm specializing in helping technology and professional service companies recruit, train and manage high-performance sales teams. 

Our approach centers on four principles proven to maximize sales performance: deploy an effective sales system, hire and develop the right talent, empower teams with the right tools and drive accountability with effective sales leadership. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

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