How to reduce the Time to Productivity for new hires.

How to make your number


Your company is growing quickly with an aggressive number for the year. You added reps to make the number. But you’re worried: How long will it take for the reps to be ready?  To decrease ramping time, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the Sales Enablement phase on pages 319 – 322 of the PDF.


One of the big gaps between average and top-performing organizations is sales rep onboarding time. Top performing organizations typically have a robust training program.  For most, too much of the training time is wasted on corporate policies and internal systems training. Onboarding can also be too simple and fast. Many times, it’s a rep being assigned to a high-performer for a week.  Then they are thrown into the deep end.


Drive revenue per sales head up and time to productivity for new sales hires down. Validate you are following best practices and adopt new emerging onboarding best practices. Start by evaluating your onboarding program against the four components of successful sales onboarding programs. 


To gain traction quickly, reps need to learn about their customers.  Each type of buyer has unique objectives, fears, metrics, and objections.  “A” Players have internalized these key characteristics through years of experience. 


Without a customer-focused onboarding program, new reps learn through trial and error. This is a critical mistake. Many VPs miss their 1st quarter simply because their talent is still learning about their customers. Opportunities slip through the cracks. Territories under-perform.


Here are the 4 Components of a Successful Sales Onboarding:


Customers:  This is the most overlooked portion of a typical sales training.  Every sales rep should know their customers care about.  Personas and buying process maps should be studied to ensure buyer alignment. The rep should come away with a full understanding of key persona:


  • Objectives and Job Responsibilities
  • Buying Process Maps
  • Common Objections
  • Challenges
  • Goals
  • Priorities
  • Means
  • Key Metrics They Follow
  • Social Engagement (Where do they connect and talk to peers?)


Product: The key to a successful product training is to teach how the customer views the product.  Don’t get hyper-technical unless your customer demands it.  Key product trainings should include:


  • Your value proposition
  • Key differentiators from the competition
  • Features important to each Persona
  • “How it Works” for each product sold (At the level the customer asks about)
  • How these products improve the customer’s success metrics


Job Responsibilities:  Your job responsibilities should be more than just table stakes requirements.  Pull your “A” Players into the training.  Ask them how they have achieved so much success.  Here are some key factors:


  • Time management (How does an “A” Player structure their day?)
  • Activity responsibilities (and how to prioritize them)
  • Sales Process, including Tools to help
  • Skills that are vital to the role
  • What metrics will be used to determine their success


Systems Responsibilities: Systems training is known as “necessary evil” in Sales Training.  It doesn’t have to be.  Equip your CRM with valuable tools and marketing materials to enable your new talent.  Show them where they can access key customer data.  CRM system adoption is critical to managing sales rep activity.  If reps won’t use it, the manager is coaching in the dark.


Ensure that your reps get the training they need to be successful. This means focusing on your customers. Give your reps the knowledge they need to be productive.


To determine if you have the right onboarding program, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the Sales Enablement phase on pages 319 – 322 of the PDF. To request a workshop with a talent expert simply sign up for a MySBI account and check the box in your preferences to request a workshop. 


Drew Zarges

Helps small business owners overcome their biggest sales and marketing challenges to accelerate revenue growth.

Prior to joining SBI in 2011, Drew worked in the intermediary investment sales world. During that time, he worked his way up the ladder from client service representative to leading and coaching his former company’s sales team on the west coast. At SBI, Drew has served some of the company’s most prestigious accounts as a consultant. For these clients, he successfully executed everything from sales process and lead generation projects to highly technical account segmentation work. He now serves as the General Manager of SBI OnDemand, a unit dedicated to applying the firm’s battle tested concepts and projects to the small business community.

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