One of the most exciting things for a company is bringing in new hires.
New people, new energy, new possibilities...The horizon seems a little wider and more colorful than usual with the additions to the sales team.
That feeling of novelty and possibility is precious because it energizes both the joinee and the people around him. The good thing? That feeling can be sustained, but only if the reason for it- namely, the new sales rep- can start working the sales magic they were brought in for as quickly as possible.
How to ensure that? Set them up for a short ramp time by providing them with effective sales coaching during the onboarding process. But, how? According to a survey, the biggest sales enablement productivity goal is "decreasing new salesperson ramp-up time to full productivity" at 44.9%.
Benefits of a faster ramp time
Why not start off slow and steady at the start? Why the hurry to hit the ground running and reaching max potential right off the bat?
Beyond the obvious benefits of bringing down ramp time (greater productivity in a shorter time frame), here are three deeper reasons for bringing it down as low as possible as soon as possible:
Quickly discover strengths and weaknesses
If new hires are to reach their highest levels of productivity quicker, they’ll need to be in the field which means they’ll need to actually be selling. And fast. This process will unveil their particular strengths and weaknesses quicker. Are they great at pitching but lax on follow-ups? Are they confident in cold calling but not at closing deals with them? The sooner they’re playing in the field, the sooner sales managers will learn more about them, and then use that information to help them grow.
Separate good apples from bad apples
HR experts often recommend hiring slow, but firing fast. The onboarding process can be a great way to weed out the bad apples so you can decide how to deal with them in time. The good ones with potential will likely be one of the first to lower their ramp time. For additional incentive and motivation, you can reward them and start preparing them to take on bigger responsibilities when the time arrives.
How to onboard for quality and speed
Because that’s what the ideal onboarding is, right? And in reality, there’s no need to give up on one to make space for the other. It’s all about choosing the right onboarding methods for your new sales reps so they learn the best things in the shortest possible time. Here’s how to do that:
Embrace asynchronous learning
If sales leaders insist on hand-holding and spoon-feeding under watchful eyes, sales reps will never learn as much as they can. There’s no need for every sales training session to be in-person/ real-time/ or another variation of synchronous.
Instead, make space for asynchronous learning. Not only will it allow reps to learn with complete attention at their own time, but it will give you a good idea of their proactiveness. It makes for a more efficient process for everyone involved.
Sales managers and leaders cannot teach everything about sales - especially organizational context which is often not documented well. A lot of things (especially some of the most crucial ones) can’t always be taught easily in a Zoom meeting.
So, encourage new reps to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. The sooner they take the reins in their own hands while the onboarding process is ongoing, the sooner they’ll carve their own place in the company and start producing results.
Create collaborative environments
Some of the best, grounded coaching happens through osmosis just over watercooler conversations or shooting the breeze with one’s team members. Even better learning happens through colleagues one would not have usually collaborated with. As a sales leader, you can ensure new reps receive the benefits of such learning by creating collaborative environments.
During the onboarding process, you can break the reps up into groups and ask them to perform tasks and activities. Or you can ask them to provide an analysis of a sales call to see what sticks out to each member. This can help to broaden reps’ minds right from the start.
5 tips for onboarding new reps with your call library
If you want an asynchronous onboarding method that combines quality and speed while allowing self-learning and collaboration, it’s possible using call recordings.
Sales organizations and reps miss out on a vast amount of information and learning when they ignore the goldmine of recorded calls that they have. There is no better sales coaching and onboarding library for companies than the one that already exists. Below are five tips for ensuring that you use your recorded calls library to its full potential for shortening reps’ ramp time:
Bookmark moments for later review
As you go through the call recordings, take notice of and bookmark the highlights of the sales conversations. Was a sales rep great at objection handling? Did they nail product marketing? Were they particularly great at cold calling?
Find these moments and then bookmark them to showcase to new hires. Instead of telling them what stellar performance looks like, show them through the bookmarked moments. They will have undeniable examples of the performance that’s expected of them.
Leave notes on call recordings
It’s good to know something that works. However, it’s even better to know why it works and clicks. So, as you listen to the call recordings and bookmark the best of the best, make notes of why you thought so and what makes them great use cases.
When new reps will see why those moments work during a sales call, any possible resistance to implementing those techniques will melt away. They’ll know why it might be a good idea to use the puppy dog sales technique or why it's a good idea to go in for a hard close sometimes in the sales process.
Create game tapes from exceptional calls
For those taking part in competitive sports, game tapes (whether theirs or of competing teams’) are an integral part of the coaching process. The tapes help sportspeople to analyze themselves (or the opposing team), pick out areas of strength and growth, and have a game plan for dealing with similar situations.
Sales managers and sales leaders can do the same for truly exceptional sales calls. When the tape is played, present the call as a match that the new reps are going to see in action and then point out the best moves of the sales team. Let them see how sales calls can unfold and what the best salespeople do to close and win deals.
Set up performance benchmarks
We touched on this earlier, but sales call recordings can be a great way to demonstrate the level of performance that’s expected of new hires. Often, new sales reps have their own ideas about how they’ll work and in what direction. It’s important to align these with company objectives and expectations.
When new sales reps can know the direction they should head in right during the onboarding process, it makes it easy for them to start working in that direction. They can then align their personal goals with those of the company to create a clear win-win situation for everyone.
Use conversation intelligence & AI to analyze calls
Technology is a powerful tool that can help with everything from curating playlists to achieving customer success and supercharging sales enablement. You can, thus, bring the specific powers of conversation intelligence and AI to increase gains from the onboarding process.
Wingman’s Sales Performance Analysis solution does this by analyzing your sales calls and pulling out insights that can help your sales team become better salespeople in the long run. You can view basic call metrics like talk:listen ratio and number of calls made. You can view the dynamics and patterns of sales calls that close the deals and get insights on any topic or keyword. Similar CRMs can be used to evaluate performance and generate insights that benefit new reps as well as the already established sales teams.
Ramp time is a function of the quality of the onboarding process
When new reps join, the onus is on them as well as on sales leaders and managers to bring them up to speed in the shortest possible amount of time. If the onboarding process sets the right foundation, then the rest of the process can flow much more smoothly. New reps can achieve peak productivity sooner rather than later and do it while achieving their goals and contributing to the company’s as well.