Think about it.
A new salesperson starts working at your organization.
How long does it take for them to become productive?
Depending on the industry you work in along with the range and complexity of the products and services your business sells, it could be anywhere from several weeks to a few months. Up until then, they’re a drain on your bottom line.
Even worse, consider the damage new reps could do to your firm and its reputation if they interact with clients and prospects before they’re ready. Small mistakes could be costly if they alienate prospects and clients.
That’s why more and more employers provide new sales reps with onboarding training that gives them everything they need to quickly become productive.
What is onboarding?
Onboarding is much more than a new hire orientation. It goes well beyond explaining employee benefits, workplace logistics and how to access and log into systems. It provides new reps with the information they need to become active and productive members of your organization as quickly as possible.
Onboarding programs can be developed in-house or in partnership with training experts. Another option is licensing or purchasing your training. Many organizations combine the two, adding customized components that cover topics unique to their businesses to standardized learning modules that educate on basic selling skills.
Some parts of an onboarding program may need to be delivered in person. However, more and more companies provide most of their training virtually, through sales enablement systems. New employees can access training modules anytime so they don’t have to wait for trainers to be available to conduct classes.
This gets new reps up-to-speed quickly. Those who are particularly ambitious may choose to complete the training even faster by doing it at home, on their own time.
What are the benefits of onboarding?
Beyond getting reps up-to-speed more quickly, it also helps:
Attract and retain top talent. Job candidates find it attractive when you give them the tools and resources needed to be successful in their jobs. Ongoing training also helps them become more productive over time, making it less likely they’ll jump ship seeking out better opportunities.
This will save on recruitment costs. In fact, an investment in onboarding training and a sales enablement system could pay for itself by reducing your organization’s recruitment budget.
Engage employees early on. For many people, one of the worst parts of starting a new job is feeling lost and insecure. They don’t know their coworkers and aren’t clear of their position within the organization. Onboarding gets new hires up-and-running quickly, letting them interact with their peers and working on valuable tasks. This encourages engagement rather than alienation during the first days on the job.
Improve performance. Good onboarding programs set and explain goals and objectives, making it clear what new reps are expected to achieve. The best salespeople are competitive and will do everything possible to meet and beat quotas.
Builds alignment with your brand. Your marketing team works hard to differentiate your brand, creating a unique vision, mission and positioning for your organization. Onboarding explains it to new reps and provides the language and tools necessary to represent it accurately and prevent gaffs that could harm it.
Encourages beneficial relationships. Most people are familiar with the learning aspects of onboarding. Another critical part of a good program is mentorship, which is more about guidance, direction, and advice. Having access to experienced mentors in helps new reps build meaningful connections with people who matter.
Improves communication. One of the key benefits of onboarding programs is that they provide the framework — and access to people — for new hires to get answers to their questions. It eliminates that feeling of being lost and not knowing where to go for information.
Prevents legal and compliance problems. In certain industries, such as financial services and healthcare, it’s critical that reps communicate in a legal and compliant way. Onboarding provides the knowledge to do so, helping avoid issues that could result in sanctions, penalties or lawsuits.
Makes managers more effective AND reduces stress. Untrained sales reps make mistakes and it’s usually up to their managers to clean them up. This causes unnecessary double work and stress. The right training helps prevent this and keeps employees on task.
Builds trust. Onboarding encourages open communication starting day one. This builds a level of trust that sets a solid foundation for the future of new employees and their long-term association with your firm.
How will I know if my onboarding program is successful?
It’s clear that new employee training will provide many benefits to your organization. However, you should set specific and measurable goals, and track progress toward them through your sales enablement system, to prove the success and return on your investment in new employee training.
Some common goals include:
- Reduction in time to get new reps up-to-speed
- Percent improvement in new rep sales close rates
- Dollar increase in new rep sales
- Percent reduction in employee attrition.
Choose goals that will prove the value of the program to your organization. This proof will help you earn budget dollars to maintain and improve your onboarding and develop additional training.
Remember: It’s important to deliver your onboarding program through a sales enablement system with solid reporting and tracking capabilities. Mobile Locker has developed a cutting-edge platform that can deliver all kinds of onboarding training, including videos, interactive experiences and discussions. It also makes it easy to check the progress of every employee as they move through the course work.
Once new reps are onboard, the Mobile Locker system lets you monitor their effectiveness at selling. This will help you prove the success of your program, look for opportunities to improve it and limit the negative impact to your bottom line of employees who don’t respond well to the training or refuse to use what they learn on the job.