Nearly 1 out of every 3 salespeople turnover each year, according to LinkedIn, Hubspot, Forbes & Harvard Business Review. In my own research and study, I found that the vast majority of that turnover is happening in the 1st year within a new company.
Regardless of their professional experience, a well-structured onboarding program is critical to ensure your new B2B salesperson gains the competence and confidence they need to succeed at selling your unique offering.
Here are the top 10 recommendations for a successful onboarding process:
Begin with a well-defined onboarding program that includes a clear agenda, schedule and timeline. Your goal is to help your new employee learn about your company, and their role, in an efficient and effective manner. Since people have diverse learning preferences and retention methods, it's essential to employ various communication channels and regularly confirm crucial information (tell, show, do & review).
This is your opportunity to set them up for long-term success. It’s not a race to “get them on the phones” as quickly as possible.
When new employees are introduced to your Mission, Vision, and Core Values during the onboarding process, it helps align them with the company's culture and long-term objectives from the very beginning. This alignment can improve job satisfaction and engagement, as employees understand how their work contributes to the broader goals of the organization.
It helps new employees understand the overarching objectives of the organization and how their roles contribute to achieving those goals. This alignment fosters a sense of purpose and a clear understanding of how their work fits into the bigger picture.
New employees need to have a clear understanding of how the organization is structured. Knowing who reports to whom, the different departments or teams, and how they fit into the overall structure helps them grasp the big picture and their role within it.
Salespeople need to understand the company's sales strategy. Educating them about your “Blue Chip” client profile and key stakeholders helps ensure that their efforts are focused on prospects who are more likely to convert into customers. This saves time and resources compared to a scattered approach where they might target anyone and everyone.
In addition, salespeople must have a deep understanding of the products or services they are selling. This includes how they solve specific customer problems or meet their needs. Educating salespeople on these aspects ensures they can articulate the value proposition effectively to potential clients.
Teaching and educating new salespeople on your sales process, including the purpose and goal of each stage, is crucial to ensure that all sales team members are on the same page.
Salespeople who understand the sales process can communicate more effectively with prospects and customers. They can explain what to expect at each stage, answer questions, and provide the right information at the right time, which builds trust and credibility.
In addition, his prevents wasting effort on prospects who are not a good fit or not yet ready to buy, and instead, focus on prospects in the right stage of the process.
Sales tools and technology are designed to streamline various aspects of the sales process. When salespeople are trained to use these tools effectively, they can work more efficiently, reducing manual and time-consuming tasks. This, in turn, allows them to focus on what matters most: selling.
Equip them with the necessary tools, CRM systems, and sales enablement resources to streamline their work.
Providing clear and well-defined performance goals & expectations helps new salespeople understand what is expected of them. It ensures that new salespeople are aligned with the company's overall objectives and sales strategy.
It helps salespeople prioritize their tasks and manage their time effectively and it helps managers to evaluate their performance and provide feedback.
Expert tip: focus on inputs vs. outcomes.
High turnover rates are common in sales, partly because of the pressure and competitive nature of the job. Creating a safe environment during onboarding can help retain new talent.
When new salespeople feel safe to explore and learn, they are more likely to build confidence in their abilities. Confidence is essential for success in sales, as it influences how they approach potential clients and handle rejection.
A safe environment encourages open and honest communication between new salespeople and their managers, trainers and mentors. Salespeople are more likely to ask questions, seek guidance, and provide feedback, which can accelerate their learning curve and make them more productive more quickly.
A safe environment includes job shadows, observations, role-plays, simulations, coaching, mentorship and constructive feedback.
Each new sales hire has unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Weekly 1:1 meetings allow managers to tailor their guidance and support to the specific needs of each individual.
They can assess how well the individuals are adapting to the sales process, meeting their goals, and addressing any challenges. This real-time feedback helps identify areas that require further attention or training.
This personalized approach can significantly accelerate the learning process.
In Conclusion: An effective onboarding program is essential for new sales hires as it equips them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to excel in their roles. It also helps align them with the company's culture and goals while establishing a high standard of performance across the sales team and reducing turnover.
Incorporating these recommendations into your onboarding program can set your new sales team members up for success and drive revenue growth for your organization.
Carver Peterson helps growth-minded leaders of B2B professional & technical services firms achieve predictable and sustainable revenue growth through a refined strategy, defined process and aligned structure.