You ask yourself: “What can I do different to ramp my reps faster?” Make a change in the new year. Design a program that will do that. Follow the 4 step process below to start this year off right.
Download the 4 Step Fast Ramp Guide at the end of this post. It will help you find the gaps in your current fast ramp process.
Step 1: Define Productivity
What is ramp time? It’s the time between when the rep is hired and when he becomes productive. Now…what is productivity? Has it been clearly defined at your company? Some of the metrics you can use are:
- Time to revenue (retiring quota)
- Social reach
- Lead to Opportunity conversion
- Pipeline generation and management
- Or all of the above
You need to define productivity at the beginning of the process. Be consistent. Ensure the goal is attainable and measurable for both the activity and time. This will be the bar you set for your reps. Equally important, this is the bar you set for yourself.
Step 2: Identify Training Needs and the Training Program
Now that productivity is defined, you need to identify the tools they need. And deliver them in a manner that ensures retention and adoption. Your training program should incorporate different modalities, topics and methods. The days of spending countless hours learning about company history/culture are behind us. That “knowledge” is ante into the game. Training should be focused on helping your sales reps identify prospects and close deals. Different ways to think about your training program:
- Training Modality: Sales training should be on multiple platforms and modalities. Training can take place in a classroom setting, via LMS, mobile applications, etc. Identify what resonates and drives adoption within your organization.
- Training Topics:
- Social prospecting: You need to teach them how to identify prospects on social media.
- Buyer personas: You have unique individuals and roles that you sell to. Teach your new sales reps who these individuals are and what’s important to them.
- Sales process: Your organization has a unique sales process. Teach them how to progress a buyer through his journey with your sales process.
- Training Methods:
- Role plays: Repetition leads to retention. PowerPoint for eight straight hours is death.
- Gamification: Encourage the competitive nature of the new sales reps by making the training interactive.
Training program should be designed with the rep in mind. The sole focus is putting tools in his bag to expedite the onboarding process.
Step 3: Assign a Fast Ramp Mentor
We have now defined productivity and created a training program. The next step is give the new rep someone to lean on. You need to assign a high performing peer to each of your new hires. There is no substitution for learning from those in the trenches. A fast ramp coach acts as a mentor for your new reps. This is how they can help:
- Advisors: Answer product and process questions. Give historical context to the territories/accounts. Be present when the new rep’s Sales Manager is not available.
- Process Coaching: Teach the new sales rep how to use the CRM. Lead management, opportunity management, forecasting, chatter, etc. Give guidance on administrative activities like quoting, expense reports, etc.
The fast ramp coach is there to prevent a new sales rep from drowning. Your new sales reps will never have the excuse of not being informed.
Step 4: Sales Manager Accountability
First three steps accomplished, great. But, the Sales Manager is key to the process. If this step is not followed the previous three are moot. You have to hold the Sales Managers accountable for the following:
- Time and Coaching: Spending time in the field with the new rep. There is no substitution for live ammo.
- Evaluator: Agile review and feedback process. If you wait for a 6 to 12 month review cycle, it’s too late. Ensure the Sales Managers are providing real time feedback.
- Mentor: Identify quick wins and build confidence, with activities such as:
- Getting a meeting with a “dream prospect”
- Building net new pipeline
- Expanding social reach with key buyer personas
- Measuring results: Identify KPI’s to track and manage via your CRM and other business systems. The important thing is that you have a process to measure and provide feedback.
Sales Managers have a lot on their plate. You need to ensure that new sales rep training is always top of mind. You can’t afford to let your new reps linger for up to a year. Their production, or lack thereof, is sitting firmly on your shoulders. Take it into your own hands. Put together a program to shorten their ramp time. Follow the 4 step process above to design a new program today.
Download this tool to find the gaps in your current fast ramp process.