How To Avoid The 5 Most Common Sales Onboarding Mistakes
The time lapse between your sales new hire's start date and the date in which they track to meet or exceed sales quota represents your opportunity cost to onboard a new sales rep. A shorter ramp up time means reduced risk in missing your sales quota. With the cost of a failed new hire ramp up at six times the base salary (Topgrading for Sales), it is imperative that your sales new hires ramp up to productivity as quickly as possible.
Having worked with over 400 different IT staffing firms across the country, I share with you how to avoid the 5 most common sales onboarding mistakes.
1. Avoid Screwing Up Your Sales Rep's First Day
Your new hire's first day orientation experience and meeting the team is absolutely critical. I have witnessed hundreds of new hires come in on their first day full of excitement and enthusiasm only to go home feeling deflated and dissatisfied. Why? Because they had little or no access to their manager, the one who sold them on the company and the opportunity because the manager was too busy working on other projects. These disappointed new hires feel like they have been pawned off to other team members to "entertain them for the day" despite having no structured IT staffing sales training to participate in. Don't make this simple but all too common mistake. Make sure you build plenty of time into your calendar so you can spend significant time with your new hires. Also, instead of starting your new hire on a Monday you might want to consider having them start on a Friday. Think about the typical mood and tone of your office on a Monday vs. a Friday.
2. Don't Focus on Speed, Time to Training Completion
Over 90% of the employees I have interviewed regarding their new hire orientation and on-boarding experience expressed frustration with the lack of structure and the massive volume of unstructured content they are asked to read through. Common complaints have included:
- "It was boring"
- "The material is dry"
- "I had to figure things out on my own,"
- "It was a lot of reading and being lectured to."
3. Avoid Shadow Training
Almost every staffing company I have ever worked with relies on shadow training. But as tempting and as easy as it is to ask a new hire to shadow a top performer, I strongly encourage you to avoid shadow training. The problem with shadow training is the person being shadowed is only going to share with the new hire the things they're comfortable and confident doing. This means your new hire is only going to get a partial glimpse into your overall sales process. Not only that, your sales new hire doesn't have the context to even know what to look and listen for or what questions to ask. Shadow training kills the productivity of your top performer and bores the heck out of your new hire!
4. Don't Forget to Track and Measure Your New Hire's Progress & Engagement
Your new hires (especially Millennials) want and need to know how they're performing and progressing with their new hire sales training. Yet most new sales hires indicate that they don't receive feedback from their manager on their performance and that nothing is tracked to measure their skill and knowledge comprehension. For help on creating these metrics, you can read my blog, How to Create Metrics to Track Sales Onboarding Effectiveness. Or, you can go here to view Metrics to Track Sales Training Effectiveness.
5. Don't Skimp on Your Plan to Coach & Reinforce What Your New Hire Learned
I've interviewed dozen and dozens of IT staffing sales professionals and recruiters regarding their sales onboarding experience. Over 95% of those I interviewed told me they've never had follow up reinforcement coaching to support their sales onboarding training." Having a good sales onboarding program in place is undeniably integral to the success of your salespeople and your organization. If your new hires get off on the wrong foot, they will be highly likely to leave. Not only that, recognition is of greater importance to salespeople than just about any other profession. If you skimp on your plan to coach and reinforce sales onboarding training than when, where and how do you plan on giving them recognition?
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.