A 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey showed that it took one year or longer for most new employees to get caught up to speed in about 30% of companies.
As a sales manager, you might find that statistic concerning. A year is a long time for a person to work at a company without completely understanding their job. For salespeople, slow progress translates to a lowered ability to sell productively.
Can you imagine how much your team’s sales results could improve if every single salesperson went through an effective onboarding process?
Chances are, their results would improve quite a bit. To learn how you can make that happen, check out the following tips for sales managers who are onboarding new hires.
Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Hires in the Sales Department
1. Ease new salespeople into their role
You cannot expect a new salesperson to immediately understand the way your sales department operates on a daily basis – it will take some time for her to adapt.
To support her during that time, avoid overwhelming her with unnecessary tasks or disciplining her when she does not produce top results as quickly as you would like. Instead, let her know that you are available to answer any questions she might have.
2. Provide proper training and resources
It might seem obvious that you must teach new salespeople about your products and services, but many sales managers fail to do this in some way.
For example, they might offer outdated resources that are not conducive to learning, or they might expect their new salespeople to figure out the details of the products and services on their own.
Avoid doing either of those things. Instead, communicate openly with your new salespeople and determine their learning style so you can provide them with a training experience that is well-suited to their preferences if possible. By doing so, you will not just help the new hires – you will also help your team’s results as a whole.
But you cannot only teach your products and services – you also need to teach new salespeople about your company culture and the common procedures in your sales department. That way they can get used to how things are done quickly and become a productive member of your team in no time.
3. Assign a mentor for each new sales rep
In addition to providing training and resources, you may want to assign one of your seasoned sales reps to sit down with the new salesperson and go over all of the applications she needs to use. The seasoned rep can help the salesperson learn how to use those applications in a day-to-day setting and address any questions.
This is a great way to onboard a new salesperson successfully and gives your top sales reps an opportunity to take on a leadership role by serving as a mentor.
4. Set challenging (but achievable) goals
If you set goals that are too challenging, you will find new sales reps feeling burnt out, discouraged and overwhelmed. They may even consider leaving their new position with your company, which will contribute to costly employee turnover at your company.
On the other hand, if you set goals that are not challenging enough, you will fail to motivate your salespeople to achieve top sales results. They may also feel underutilized and start questioning their decision to work for you.
To combat these issues, set goals that are challenging but achievable. Also, make sure the goals you set are concrete so the new salespeople know exactly what they must do. That means you must avoid any vague statements and instead outline goals that are easy to understand and measure.
Keep in mind that the goals you set should not all be centered around sales results – you should set learning goals too. For example, you might let a new salesperson know that she should show mastery of your CRM in 30 days and give her an outline of exactly what “mastery” entails so she is aware of everything she needs to know to meet her goal.
Whatever goals you decide to set, make sure your timelines for achieving those goals are realistic. The last thing you want is a sales rep who feels like she does not have enough time to reach her goals because then she will feel like you set her up to fail.
5. Check in every week
More often than not, people leave their managers, not their companies.
As a sales manager, that means you need to establish yourself as a trusted leader by showing that you genuinely care about the well-being of your team. Maybe you already have a great relationship with your current salespeople, but you are not quite sure how to make a good first impression on a new salesperson.
If that is the case, you will be happy to learn that it is easy to build a healthy professional relationship with new salespeople after she is hired. Other than following the previous tips outlined in this post, you just need to make sure you check in with the new salesperson every week to provide helpful feedback and answer questions.
Doing so will help your new salesperson adjust to her new role more quickly and it will also decrease the likelihood that she will quit her job. Checking in allows you to quickly identify any challenges she is struggling with so you can work together to overcome them.
Keep in mind that your weekly check-in does not have to be extensive. Something as simple as a 10-minute phone call or an in-person meeting can work wonders for a salesperson’s morale and the results that she is able to achieve.
6. Ask for feedback on your onboarding program
One of the best ways to determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process is to directly ask your salespeople what they think about it.
However, you should not perform this task yourself or have another sales manager handle it – if you do, your sales team’s answers may not be honest due to fear of the repercussions they might face for making negative comments. Instead, have a neutral party, like a human resources employee, address it. That way, your salespeople will be more likely to provide an accurate assessment that details the good and bad aspects of the onboarding process.
Once you have feedback from several salespeople, do not be afraid to make changes to your process for onboarding new hires based on that feedback.
It may take some time to implement these changes, but it will be worth knowing your new salespeople are empowered to adapt to their new job more quickly and start achieving top sales results.