Sales onboarding checklist to get the things right from the square one!
It takes around six to nine months for a salesperson to become fully operational after they have been hired in an organization. This probation period proves to be expensive for organizations. Once you have hired someone, you have to think about maximizing your investment.
It is not going to happen overnight. Often, if you do not have a robust sales onboarding checklist, you can over-communicate with the people and give mixed messages that complicate onboarding. If you can nail down your onboarding program, you can properly train your resources.
Your sales recruit can get to know the essence of your business, vision, clients, and methodology. This is the right way to make sure they are ready for success in the future and can get operational as soon as possible.
Recruiting the right people is not the last step in the success of an organization. Indeed, the onboarding process depends on your recruiting team. This is why we have combined a comprehensive sales onboarding checklist for recruiters who can customize it according to their methodology and improve the return on investment for new sales reps.
Before you get down to the brass tacks, there are a few things you should be doing to welcome your new hires. It depends on your operations, whether you want to create some fun and relaxing exercises that will make the recruits familiar to the company’s culture. On the other hand, some companies also prefer to involve recruits in all the related forms and formalities, so these resources can later save time on pedantic details.
The length of your preloading exercises depends on your operations. But before they join the organization in full operational capability, you need to complete these exercises to give them an idea of what they are looking forward to. These exercises can be completed in one week or even two weeks before their very first day in the organization.
Here are the things you need to complete as part of pre onboarding.
Share all the relevant PDFs and other media that will give salespeople an understanding of the workforce. Go through the company’s vision, operation, and methodology. Also, give them a tangible experience of what they are walking into. It prepares them to commit a long term. It prepares them for what is coming on the first day of business and can help ease a lot of the first day’s nervousness.
What new recruiters seek above everything is to understand how they will progress in the organization. You should always highlight the success stories of people who joined the organization and progress to the highest roles. If there is any news or other information that can be shared with the new recruits before the joining day, this is the time to send it.
Get Them Accustomed To The Departments
While it is great to know about success stories in the overall organization, salespeople will be much more motivated to understand how the employees from their own departments progress to the highest roles. You can share the stories of employees who enter the organization in the same designation as these employees and progress to higher management.
Share Basic Expectations
Basic policies and compliance for the company should be set before the first day. This can include some of the most common things like attire policies, code of conduct, and so on. You can also have other policies and compliances they should be aware of from the get-go. This sets up the primary expectation for the employee and what they should be expecting as part of the company’s work culture.
Sales Onboarding Checklist To Follow
Whereas pretty much any industry can struggle from a poor onboarding program, a sales onboarding checklist is even more impactful in your recruits’ career. New hires are often disappointed by the onboarding. They might come across with an understanding that managers do not have enough time to sit down with the newcomers and explain the situation.
It can lead to anxiety and become a cause for failure because employees do not understand the expectations from them. You need to identify resources that can provide proper guidance and mentorship to new resources.
First, you should ensure that the mentor has their email account open and available for any queries raised by recruits. This will allow them to connect with the mentor but also submit any queries to HR if needed. This email account can also be used to share agendas, questions, or expectations the day before, so recruits are prepared for the week’s upcoming programs.
Even if you cannot get in touch with your resources one by one, you can still send a mass email that can address that you will be found for guidance in the office. This way, recruits understand where they should go if they are struggling with any aspect of their new job.
The orientation should be geared towards the workings of the company. Teach your new sales reps how to take care of their HR documentation. Give them the office map of every important location that they need to know. Provide them access to computers, printers, scanners, etc. Give them an introduction with the higher-ups in the organization for a brief period.
You can do plenty of things methodologically to improvise how new resources get acquainted with the organization. Here is a quick sales onboarding checklist that will help:
Establish The Vision, Values, And Goals Of The Company
The company’s vision and goals can give an overall idea of what the sales reps are trying to achieve. The sales representatives of a company need to be in sync with the mission statement. After all, they are the front runners of the company, and these are the people who will be representing the face of the company to the clients and customers.
If you have not provided a clear mission statement, you can provide printed copies or PDFs that can be used as training material, so they have a good idea of the company’s vision. However, this should be an integral part of the orientation session of any company.
Align Your Industry
New sales reps or people who are simply out of college can have a vague understanding of what they will do, but they will struggle to figure out how they fit in an industry.
Industry-specific knowledge is something that is acquired over the years by working with different clients and companies.
Still, this is the responsibility of the onboarding team to speak about the industry so they have an understanding of what to expect and how it operates. Start with an introduction of the company and set the general tone of the meeting.
After that, you can get into the details of the recent developments, expectations, and industry trends. This knowledge is essential for sales reps when they get in touch with prospective customers. Industry-specific knowledge is what makes them seem trustworthy and insightful.
Clarify Sales Targets
Understanding the mission statement and goal of the company is important from an overall perspective. You have to get deeper. Think of connecting the mission statement with how it relates to the individual goal of every new sales rep. This is where the sales target portion of the introduction comes in. Make them understand what is expected of them on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Define the targets they must accomplish, so there is no confusion regarding their role in the organization.
Your goal for the year can be increasing though sales numbers by 30% in a financial year. However, when it comes to the individual, you have to give them a specific target that ties to the overall 30%. You have to do the math and let them know that it means every sales rep is expected to close at least ten deals every month. This is a clearly defined goal, and the team understands how they can make that plan to accomplish this.
Once a goal of the company has been clarified, you also have to provide individual milestones. These milestones might have a specific date from the date of release. It can be in terms of the revenue you are expecting out of each member of your team, the number of businesses you hope them to bring, or even the number of leads they are supposed to collect. These numbers should be defined on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, so new hires can keep track of their progress and are not surprised by any further information in the middle of the year, making their overall sales goal impossible to achieve.
While discussing the goals and its dictations, ensure the new recruits can also expect support from the company. You have to identify the resources that can help when these people are stuck. Mentors and trainers should be allocated to effectively answer any questions and help alleviate any issues during a client meeting. This will ensure that new resources are not overwhelmed with the prospect of doing completely new tasks with no help.
This will also make them more engaged in their position because they understand that support and help are available whenever they need it. This opens up for more innovation and happier employees.
Outline The Code Of Conduct And Compliance Details
Before a client knows anything about your company, they are going to meet your sales representatives. They will find out about the organization’s modus operandi and all other details through the sales reps. This is why these reps must understand how your company operates and what is expected in terms of the code of conduct from them. This includes how they are supposed to dress, interact, and behave with new prospects and clients.
Every new sales rep should be acquainted with the details of the laws of the area they are operating in, the rules they have to comply with, and any other regulatory detail that can completely derail your organization’s operation. This is a basic need that will help them serve the clients better and help your organization succeed. After all, if the sales rep operating in a part of the country does not understand the regulations of that area, they are not honestly representing your company. They might also mislead the clients about their expectations and what value they can provide because, depending on the area code, it can be largely different.
Talk About The Competitors
While everything else is necessary, your sales reps must know your competitors. The product you are selling the lifeline of your organization, but there could be thousands of other competitors in the market trying to target the same demographic as you. As long as your sales rep understands your product, it will help them sell it. But they also need to have a good understanding of the competitor products as well.
You might not want to go down into the minute details of each product portfolio, but help them understand why they are better than the competitor. What your product can provide that the other products from other competitors cannot. These are fundamental questions that every client will ask in a sales meeting, and it will also help the sales reps understand your company better. This is a great way to build up a foundation of product training while also preparing for the tough competition in the market.
Talk About Incentives
Once you have given them an overview of the company, mission, competitors, products, etc., come down to the essential part of employee onboarding. In a sales onboarding program, you have to clearly define how the company will get back to these people. The incentives and other benefits are what will try these people to do their best for your organization.
Start from any monetary benefits such as salary, bonus, incentives, and rewards. You can also include any other particular policies that provide them with additional benefits like medical reimbursement, travel reimbursement, leaves, etc. After all, it comes down to the payslip.
Define Your Training Program
Once the orientation is complete, quickly lead down to the training program. This training will build up the fundamentals of the sales rep, so they are operational as soon as possible.
Professional Sales Training
Sales reps should start their professional sales training from the second day onwards. In this training period, you can go through several topics.
The very first thing that should be included in the professional sales rep training is product training. This is what your sales rep will be selling. Whether it is software or hardware, it is essential to let them know the product’s features, how to use it, how to configure it, and the value this product is providing.
The product training part should be extensive and should also include demo marketing training. By the end of this training, your sales steps should be able to instantly speak about the product and immediately identify all of its features. They should also understand from a client’s perspective what feature is going to fill their needs.
At the end of the training, you should also conduct an assessment to understand how far they have come across to understand the product. This is an excellent time to identify gaps in the process and help the managers decide how to provide any further training or programs to get them familiar with the product.
Sales reps need to have hands-on experience in using CRM. This includes identifying new leads and entering them into the system, scheduling meetings, and logging all the communications. This should be trained every year and renewed based on the unique features of the sales onboarding checklist. There should also be assessments on the CRM certification. This is a great way to let your sales reps know all the software’s tiny details and how to use it.
Not every company follows the same sales process. Depending on the industry and the product you are selling, you might have previously set benchmarks to tell you whether the 10% conversion rate is the industry’s standard or higher. This is a key performance indicator that will let them know what performance rate they should be striving for and what kind of numbers they are accountable for.
Most companies will record business calls or demo calls to ensure that new sales representatives can go through these to understand how experienced representatives do business. The new recruits and people who have just joined the team can get a better understanding of the company’s tone through these calls. They can learn from looking at others’ experience and might even be able to understand the technique that will work for them.
Whether it is prospective new clients or existing clients, understanding how to deal with people personally is an essential part of sales. Drive them through all the typical challenges, touchpoints, and best practices of the organization to prepare themselves.
Buyer persona introduction
While it is necessary to understand your existing clients, sales reps also need to understand the target demographic much better. If you are a company that sells to businesses, salespeople will need to understand the best fit for their organization. What should be the identifiers of a company they can do business with? If you are selling to customers directly, you have to identify the finer details like age, demographic, income, gender, etc.
As we have underlined in the previous section of sales onboarding checklist, understanding the competitor is essential for the sales reps. Competitive analysis can highlight the differences between your products and understand the pitch points that they can talk to your clients with. Be honest about everything that your product can accomplish and what it cannot. You have to focus on the strengths to ensure that it gets an edge over your competitors’ product, for which this is necessary.
Before your sales reps can go to the customers directly and start selling your product, make them give demos to the top management or representatives in your company. Consider this a role-play. This will help them understand how to connect with the customers better and close deals. This also gives you a new employee a chance to interact with the existing employees and understand how they can improve their selling tactics.
Include all the common issues, questions, objections, and rejections that come across in a typical sales process during this training. They should be accustomed to handling the objections and rejections before they are handling the customers. You can provide ready-made scripts to handle these scenarios, but some also have to be improvised based on the situation. Get feedback and rating from your top representatives who are watching these demos. This will ensure that you are only sending out the people who are ready for the field in the market.
Understanding the technology that your company uses can be difficult for new hires. The video, chat platforms, travel booking, and other processes should be documented beforehand. Set up your new hires with all the technological resources to tell them how to use these issues. They should also troubleshoot the fundamental problems and know which help lights to reach out to.
For example, if their headphones stop working, they need to know how to connect a different pair of headphones with their computer, so they do not take client calls out in the open.
Whether they are experienced sales resources or new ones, everybody has to understand how to handle rejection. Rejection will often come during the negotiation. Depending on the situation, your resources might have to make judgment calls like providing discounts, offering better service, etc. Tell yourself resources what they should be doing in these situations and what the protocol is.
Once the training session is complete, make sure you issue a certification exam. While the training itself will teach resources a lot, there is still a need for assessing the understanding of these people. A theoretical exam will help them speak about what they have acquired in the process of the training.
You can also create practical training where experienced representatives role-play as clients or prospects and create scenarios where they negotiate, reject, or hold objections. This will help you understand whether your resources are ready for the market. There should be a passing score for this exam, and only people who are qualified for this should be able to hit the floor. If resources cannot meet this quota, then they should inform the manager. So, better training resources can be identified for these people, or corrective measures can be taken.
In the onboarding process, you should also try to understand the ramp rate. It means how many months it is taking for a new salesperson to get the 100% target accomplishment. This number can only get more accurate as you segment this by the average experience of the resource.
For example, it could take an experienced salesperson six months to ramp up, while a new resource could take a year. After this, mentors can be assigned who can provide feedback and ease some of the anxiety of new resources in an organization. A well-rounded onboarding process dictates the future of the resources and the company alike.
This is the elemental sales onboarding checklist that every organization must follow, depending on their requirements. A sales onboarding checklist ensures that you tick all the right boxes. It makes the onboarding process easier for the salesperson and helps them get accustomed to the company rituals.
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