Tips for Effective Sales Onboarding for Long-Term Sales Success
You’re a sales manager. You’ve been there. After you’ve hired a new sales person for your team, you’re just a wee bit lacking in confidence. In fact, you’re afraid—afraid of a number of things, among them that your new hire might be scared away by the rigors of the job, that they won’t fit into the culture of your organization, that they won’t meet your expectations, and—perhaps most frightening of all—that they won’t make sales. They need some sales onboarding help.
A new hire doesn’t have to mean a new wave of fear. Through effective sales onboarding, you can put your fears to rest as you introduce the newbie to the workplace culture and values, set sales expectations, and provide insight to your business’ strategy, intent and direction. By providing this kind of foundation upon which to build their career at your organization, you’ll help them to be successful and effective in making their sales goals. In turn, you’ll also increase sales productivity by eliminating potential issues in the future with this proactive approach.
Introduce the workplace culture
Introducing your new hire to the workplace culture is critical in their development and discovery of where they belong. According to Lilith Chistiansen, VP of Kaiser Associates, “While you may assume that new hires will learn company culture by socializing with your team, cultural norms can be elusive and ill-communicated—so culture is not something you should leave to chance.”
It’s important that your new hire understands how your organization communicates and interacts, and this is especially important when it comes to your sales team. If your sales team cannot communicate effectively, then sales productivity will be affected and the team will undoubtedly fail.
Introducing your new-hire to the culture of your organization can also help to introduce them to the different styles of selling that your team utilizes.
Familiarize the new hire with your organization’s values
Another important part of sales onboarding is that you familiarize your brand new sales rep with the values of your organization. Like the organization’s culture, values can also be hidden, even if they seem obvious to you. Communicating what your company values can play a big role in the development and work ethic of your new hire.
Additionally, what you can do is share stories of your employees during the onboarding process. As Lilith Chistiansen says, “There’s no better way to make your employees fall in love with your company than by sharing stories in your onboarding program.”
Set expectations, especially sales expectations
It’s important that you set your expectations for your new hire so they understand where you expect them to be as time goes by, especially when it comes to making their numbers.
Without getting clear expectations laid out for them, your new sales rep will essentially be floating in space without direction. Ironically, they might not know they’re floating, and they could very well think they’re doing a good job. If you don’t communicate with them from day one, they might not be doing as well as they think.
Be clear with these expectations too. Being vague only opens the door to misunderstanding later on. If your expectations aren’t clearly stated, your new hire will never know whether or not they are meeting them. Above all, clearly tell them where you need them to be by when and what their sales goals are. This gives the sales rep direction and also benefits overall sales productivity by getting and keeping them on track from the start. (This might also be a good time to clearly explain how you’re there to help and to introduce the resources available…so they don’t get scared away as in the sales manager’s typical fears we described above!)
Provide insight into the inner workings of the organization
An effective sales onboarding should also introduce your new hire to some of the inner workings of the organization. By that, we mean providing insight to your business’ sales strategy, intent, and direction. During this time, show them where your organization is heading and how you plan to get there. Doing so will help your new hire to feel like part of the team and the bigger picture right from the start. It will also help them to set a clear course for their own career in alignment with your organization’s goals. Ideally, it will excite and inspire them too, to be part of the company’s success. You make them feel like they are part of the journey.
Give them an early sales boost
It’s one thing to tell a new hire what your sales expectations are, but another to give a helping hand as part of the sales onboarding process. Take the time to familiarize them not only with the organization’s culture, values and goals, but with the hands-on goings on of the sales team too. Introduce them to your current clients. Inform them of prospects you are targeting. Work with them to develop a strategy to determine where they will find their new leads. Fill them in on your intentions as well, so that you can begin to work with them on an effective strategy to make your number.
Also put to work kind words and useful resources to get them off go a good start. Doing so will empower this new sales rep, with praise motivating them to do more and resources empowering them to do more. These resources might be other individuals, training programs, or basic answers to questions they might have. And keep in mind that you as the manager might be the best resource of all. Make it clear that you are available to them if they need help managing a client or following up with a prospect. Help them lay that foundation that will lead to meeting your expectations and sales goals.
How can you be sure that your new hires are getting everything they need when they start, so you can be confident from day one? Focus on effective sales onboarding using these tips. You’ll do more than just prepare the new hire for their new job. This kind of early stage process will set up your sales reps for success so you can make your number!