Our client is rolling out a new AE Onboarding program.  The goal is to reduce the time it takes a rep to retire quota.  The VP of Sales Ops identified 3 reasons he was personally invested in the Onboarding program.

 

  1. “We are NOT capturing the revenue we should as fast as we should.”   It’s simple. Making your number comes down to nurturing your human capital.  The Chief Revenue Office of this client estimates 80-90% of making the number is people.
  2. One of the unwritten Sales Ops leader’s jobs is to be like an Ombudsperson for the sales organization.Sales Ops leaders often have to be the dissenting opinion.  This VP felt the status quo needed to be challenged.  The sales team deserved a training program as aggressive as this year’s budget.
  3. Onboarding is a topic the markets have been screaming to get for quite some time. In a recent post, I urged Sales Ops leaders to take responsibility for training and development.  This sales leader agrees.  The market is shifting.

 

OnboardingWorld Class Onboarding programs include two elements:

 

Activities List – providing an experiential foundation with a list of actionable items to execute

Learning Requirements – providing a knowledge foundation mapped to key content that a rep must consume

 

Expert Panel

The purpose of our Expert Panel call was to review the Activities List.  The list started with best-practices for Onboarding activities no matter the industry.  It included activities the client’s Training and Development team had deemed necessary.  Finally, it incorporated feedback from multiple branch visits around the country. We reviewed the list with the Expert Panel and asked for feedback.   

 

An Activities List will look much different for your company.  As a starting point, download the Onboarding Activities List for all industries.

 

We’ll continue to get their feedback as they socialize the list around their branches.  Early takeaways from the field:

 

  • Sales Force Automation tool must be optimized – Salesforce.com adoption by reps and managers can be improved.  Reps and managers need training on how to leverage its capabilities. Salesforce.com is not a compliance tool.  My next post will look in depth at how to improve adoption.
  • Decentralized structure demands each branch’s perspective – Each branch faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities.  Each must hire sales reps with a unique set of competencies.  Creating an Onboarding program to meet the demands of each region will take input from each branch.
  • Strong Onboarding begins with a strong hiring process – The panel agreed that the Onboarding program’s success relied on the level of talent being onboarded.  One rep suggested interviews include a staged sales negotiation while ‘selling’ a more complex product to the Sales Manager.

 

Key Activities

The Onboarding Activities List has seen two big additions in the past year. 

 

  1. Social Selling activities –Social Selling is the practice of using social media tools to sell more to customers by listening online, circulating content and communicating through various channels. Reps need to actively begin to improve their social brand and footprint on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  2. SFA Socialization – Reps need to be able to share best practices across territories, branches and regions.  These conversations can be happening in Salesforce.com’s Chatter and Groups tabs.  Teaching reps to take their conversations into the cloud will speed up knowledge acquisition.

 

A great Onboarding program offers three benefits:

 

  • Enables full sales productivity in desired ramp time
  • Ensures accurate forecasts as you can identify when a rep will hit 100% of quota
  • Provide a dashboard for managers to follow and assist reps on their self-administered program

 

Be ahead of the market trend that places tremendous value on a highly trained sales force. Having well trained reps will help you significantly reduce your Ramp Time to Full Productivity.  You will reach your revenue potential. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Kearney

Helps clients adopt emerging best practices to help them make their number.
Learn more about John Kearney >

John has been with SBI since 2011. He has worked with executives in Executive Education, Media, Telco, IT Services, and others. Under his leadership, organizations have successfully grown revenue and improved Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. With a focus on aligning strategies across functions, John has delivered strategic solutions that are actionable and executable. Prior to SBI, John earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

 

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