One of the most critical outcomes of any sales onboarding process and ramp-up effort is sales readiness.
Just about every sales leader I speak with about this topic has indicated that they want their new hires to be “client-ready” and producing revenue faster, sooner, and better than what they currently see. The common challenge, however, is figuring out how to bridge the gap between execution and goal.
If lowering ramp-up time as well as building new sellers’ competence and confidence faster are part of your goals in Q2, we recommend you focus on the following three areas now:
For instance, one of the key indicators of “sales readiness” is a seller’s competence on a sales call with a prospect. A confident seller demonstrates a combined and integrated command of the product/solution set, industry and domain expertise, and client knowledge.
A task like “shadow 10 calls by Friday” might not net the seller any added insights if the seller doesn’t understand what the desired/expected behaviors are (in this case: How to lead a high-performing sales call in our company). It won’t matter if they shadow 100 or even 1000 calls if the goals are not clearly defined or communicated. It’s imperative that your new sales hire understand the behavior behind the task, as opposed to just the task itself.
A seasoned and highly successful seller who recently joined a new team confided in me that his onboarding only involved generic sales and product overviews. An onboarding plan like this one, where he had only to complete a negotiations training module, did not suit a sophisticated and seasoned power seller with a 7-figure revenue goal for 2021 such as himself.
Within his onboarding, he noted a lack of coaching or support designed for someone who needed to generate a monthly goal of over half a million dollars every 30 days.
While my colleague has plenty of sales skills, he felt his readiness to represent his new employer was delayed. Because his employer failed to be thoughtful about how and what he needed to learn to perform at the high level they expected of him, my colleague’s enthusiasm for his new role greatly diminished.
At EnableU, we recommend creating a personalized learning plan that aligns with two things: the sales hire’s professional development goals and the company’s definition of a great sales representative. By customizing learning plans in this way, you can reduce the friction caused by onboarding and enable your sellers to achieve sales readiness faster.
“Readiness” is often wrongly considered a binary state in new hire situations. A B2B seller is often considered either “ready” or “not ready” for frontline selling. They’re either a “green light” and cleared for duty or “a red light” needing additional training and supervision. That assumption is false.
Most people’s learning and growth takes place on a continuum. Just think of a person’s development of speaking abilities or motor skills and how we look at a child’s progress in those arenas:
We often talk about reps as needing to go from the proverbial “0 to 100 miles” within a business quarter—or even a month—without any deliberate thought as to what stepping stones in performance we must enable them to achieve in order to drive long-term success.
What I’ve found to be more brain-friendly to the learner and more meaningful to the business is to design clearer, “bite-sized” milestones and more rigorously measure a rep’s progress in reaching those milestones.
We as leaders want to catch the “misses” along our sales hire’s path to those milestones sooner and faster. That’s how we can ensure meaningful course correction as part of an onboarding program that supports faster, better sales readiness and sets the foundation to higher performance.