Traditional onboarding consists of giving your new hire a sequence of activities to complete. The new hire advances step by step as he successfully completes the sequence. This is called “waterfall” onboarding because of the infamously long to-do lists given to new hires.
Waterfall onboarding has proven to be an ineffective method for training new hires. The key problem being that critical information is learned out of context. The employee’s manager can’t evaluate the new employee until he is in the field.
We believe that an agile approach is an easier and more flexible way to train new talent. This approach has three key steps:
#1: Describe the Product and Customer
Make sure new hires understand the products you’re selling and the customer you sell to.
We recommend using Product Portfolio Guides as a reference point for new hires. These guides help employees get a better understanding of your client base and selling strategy. Guides might include information about the product’s market segment, personas, and common pain points.
Salespeople with detailed customer knowledge do better when crafting pitches and developing detailed strategies. Spend time with new hires as they get to know your prospects. Make sure they pursue leads that are aligned with the company’s strategic goals.
#2: Instruct on Processes
Companies have different selling approaches, demonstrate what makes your approach unique. This will add a level of self-sufficiency much sooner.
Now walk the hire through the actual sales process including the administrative procedures. Teach the new employee the specifics about your CRM and other software, and confirm the employee understands how to fully reap the benefits of the system and the importance of implementing the CRM and software to its full potential.
Make sure they understand how to fully use the system to boost their performance. Monitor the new hire’s progress so you can pinpoint areas that need attention.
#3: Learn on the Job
Part of successful onboarding includes letting the new hire dive into selling activities right away. Training can be completed in phases. Teach basic product information first followed by a competitive review. From here, you can move on to more advanced material.
Learning will be easier and happens faster when information is presented in context.
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