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Sales Onboarding: Strategies for Increasing Productivity and Efficiency

Proper sales onboarding boosts employee satisfaction, increases employee engagement and productivity, and bolsters win rates. Any HR employee will be the first to tell you that finding great talent is often a disheartening task. While it’s not impossible, even hiring the best sales rep has its challenges. Sure, you can hire a sales representative with exceptional experience and a great work ethic. But, they will never fully succeed without undergoing an effective sales onboarding process. According to Digitate, employees who have a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the near future. On the other hand, when new employees have a good onboarding experience, they are 18 times more likely to be committed to their employer.

Actually, 62% of companies with effective sales onboarding programs report having greater productivity and a 54% increase in employee engagement. So what should sales managers do to make sure their sales onboarding process is effective? Continue reading to learn onboarding strategies to increase productivity and efficiency.

Why is sales onboarding important?

Sales onboarding is an educational program new sales reps undergo within the first few months of working with a company. During the onboarding process, sales reps gain the knowledge and skills necessary to leverage the company’s materials and tools to sell more effectively. The onboarding process also instills company values into each new hire’s sales initiatives. This helps align new reps with the common goals of the entire sales team. Ultimately, sales onboarding makes sure all sales reps have what they need for success within the company and in their sales meetings.

Additionally, effective sales onboarding boosts employee retention, improves satisfaction, and increases productivity. High turnover is extremely costly to any organization. It actually costs more to hire a new employee than it does to retain one. Companies with high turnover rates suffer financially — it costs between $3,000 to $18,000 to replace a sales rep. If this struggle is resonating with you, it’s time to reevaluate your new hire training process.

Consider this. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with an organization for at least 3 years after receiving a great onboarding experience. Stan Slap, CEO of SLAP, once stated, “You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside.” Basically, if your employees are unsatisfied and ill-equipped to sell, prospects will feel it instantly and won’t have enough quality information to make a purchase. The deeper a sales rep’s understanding of their company’s solutions, the better chance they have at closing deals. Actually, when sales onboarding is done right, win rates can improve by 14% and quota attainment can enhance by 6.6%.

The importance of standardizing sales onboarding

It’s important to have one standard process across the board for onboarding all sales reps. Keeping the onboarding process consistent makes sure all reps align their messaging and sales execution. This makes certain that at each prospect interaction all of the messaging is uniform.

Additionally, organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater productivity. A standardized sales onboarding process empowers new hires to train in a simple, streamlined way. Basically, all sales reps follow the same roadmap that guides them on what to do throughout their future sales processes. This ensures all sales reps are on the same page, leaving little room for error and confusion.

Fundamentally, the sales onboarding program should be based on the organization’s best practices. This way, the sales team will learn how to perform optimally based on what’s worked previously. For example, interactive presentations can actually be up to 25% more effective in communicating a message than traditional presentations. So let’s say your new hires retain more information when learning from a dynamic presentation. Moving forward, using an interactive and engaging presentation in all onboarding situations will prove to be most effective.

Take time onboarding and training reps

Rome wasn’t built in a day! And your sales team won’t be either. Onboarding is a lengthy but important process. Sales onboarding can take up to a year depending on the complexity of the organization or the product. On average, a good onboarding program takes approximately 3-6 months with hands-on training. CSO Insights states that training programs like onboarding are the most important enablement service for high-performing sales teams. Spending the time and energy to focus on onboarding and training new sales reps is critical for company success.

Furthermore, there are some onboarding items like mock one-on-one demos and shadowing existing top performers that take time. Yet, these training sessions are necessary to effectively prepare reps for the field. For example, mock one-on-one demos are a great way to discover your new hire’s weaknesses and strengths. Therefore, sales managers should take the time to continue to help strengthen the rep’s weaknesses and further develop their current skill set. Again, this takes time. But it also ensures your new hire is prepared to win.

Take advantage of sales enablement technology

The right sales enablement platform will serve as a content management system, providing one centralized location that contains all relevant and updated onboarding and sales materials. In this case, sales reps (seasoned and new) will have access to all onboarding materials that they can review whenever necessary. Additionally, sales enablement technology allows for sales leaders to design a dynamic library of materials and tools to help enable effective sales conversations and support buyers throughout the sales process.

But a sales enablement platform offers more than just content storage. It also allows sales reps to gain valuable insights. For instance, new hires can view analytics regarding how their buyer interactions resonated with certain prospects. This enables the rep to become familiar with their own personal set of skills — what they excel at and where they can improve. Especially during the first months on the job, the new rep can watch the analytics improve as their skill set expands.

Sales enablement platforms also help new hires understand how to best leverage content in the sales process. Based on analytics, the rep can see which pieces of content resonate with prospects and at which stage this occurs in the buyer’s journey. Similarly, reps are enabled to see which pieces of content don’t work so well in a given buyer stage. This enables and better prepares the sales rep to execute on the best possible next steps in a sales scenario with the right content at the right time.

Finally, sales enablement technology provides dynamic tools like interactive presentations that encourage sales reps to feel more confident in their sales meetings. This is because the rep has the exact materials needed to accommodate the buyer’s dialogue and dynamically pivot talk tracks in real-time. Based on the prospect’s questions, the rep is able to switch the content in the presentation to answer the prospect’s question and offer the best solution.

Final Thoughts

If your sales team is experiencing high turnover, you may want to take a closer look at your sales onboarding program. Survey your current staff and start a conversation. What did they learn from their onboarding experience? What do they wish they could have learned? How can the program be improved? What are the tools you need to improve onboarding and accelerate ramp up time? With this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to create an effective onboarding program for future hires to increase productivity and efficiency.

According to Accenture, for every dollar a company invests in training, they receive about $4.53 in return. That provides an ROI of 353%! Making a change often seems like a difficult task when in reality it’s the best choice to make. And reaping the rewards from creating an effective and efficient sales onboarding process is priceless.

Improve your sales onboarding process and increase your team’s productivity and efficiency before it’s too late. Request a demo with our team and transform your sales now!

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