How to Create Metrics that Track Sales Onboarding Effectiveness
In the years since I launched Menemsha Group I have met and spoken with hundreds of IT staffing leaders including owners, COO's, CFO's and Sales VP's. They tell me repeatedly over and over that their number one challenge to growing their business is figuring out how to provide effective, structured sales onboarding for their new hires. They go on to tell me that they need to accelerate sales ramp up time and improve employee retention.
Many have shared with me "Dan, if we hire 10 new sales reps or recruiters, we're happy if two or three of them are with us twelve months later." In response, I ask "what have you done to create metrics to track your sales onboarding effectiveness?" To do this day, I've only met a handful of staffing leaders who had an answer to this question.
If your objective is to reduce sales turnover and accelerate the time it takes for a new sales rep or recruiter to meet quota then you will need to understand how to create metrics that track sales onboarding effectiveness.
In this blog I do just that. I'm going to share with you how to create metrics that track sales onboarding effectiveness. The first step to creating metrics that track sales onboarding effectiveness is to define the specific skills and behaviors you want your salespeople to exhibit. The second step is to establishing a mechanism for quantifying and measuring skill adoption.
Why Staffing Firms Must Create Metrics that Track Sales Onboarding Effectiveness
Without metrics that track sales onboarding effectiveness, sales managers and leaders have no idea which training modules and content are having an impact and which skills and knowledge your salespeople are lacking. Without the data you have no means for improving your sales onboarding and sales training program. This is one of the reasons why so many IT staffing firms struggle with high sales turnover and struggle to scale.
How to Create Metrics that Track Sales Onboarding Effectiveness
To figure out what metrics to track to measure sales onboarding effectiveness you'll need to ask yourself some questions to assess your current sales training and sales onboarding program.
- Currently, how do your sales new hires consume and experience your existing sales training? Are you deploying online sales training or instructor-led classroom training?
- Are your sales new hires reading Word, PowerPoint or PDF documents?
- Are your sales new hires watching sales training videos?
- What sales training activities are they participating in?
- What exactly is the content that your sales new hires are consuming?
- What sales skills are your teaching specifically?
- What knowledge are your teaching specifically?
As you assess your sales onboarding program including your content you will first need to identify the specific skills and behaviors that you want and expect your salespeople to demonstrate and execute. Identifying the desired sales skills and behaviors that your sales team is to execute provides the foundation for establishing clear and consistent standards on how you want and expect things to get done. Without completing this step you will not be able to track and quantify the effectiveness of your sales onboarding. Without clearly defined skills or behaviors you have no way to create skill competency exams which are essential to measuring and quantifying sales onboarding effectiveness.
This is a time consuming process on behalf of the sales leader in which he or she must really think through the skills and behaviors that are required to "win" across each stage of the sales process and each customer touch point. This is one of the reasons why many IT staffing firms choose to outsource over building their sales training program.Mechanism for Tracking Sales Onboarding Effectiveness
Assuming you've defined your desired skills and behaviors, the next question is, do you have a system in place that will allow you to test the competency of your sales new hires in how well they understand those desired skills and behaviors and their ability to execute those skills and behaviors? At Menemsha Group we leverage our cloud based sales enablement platform for tracking sales onboarding effectiveness. We apply certification exams in which sales new hires must complete a combination of multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank and essay questions to demonstrate their competency. This tells us how engaging the sales onboarding and sales training content is and if the rep is grasping the concepts.
For example, in our objection handling training there are a number of skills and behaviors that we teach. We believe that in order to properly address an objection salespeople must be able to acknowledge and express empathy, ask clarifying probing questions, offer a credible rebuttal and check for feedback. We don't view objection handling as a single skill but rather five separate skills. To create metrics to track sales onboarding effectiveness, we create certification exams around each skill competency (empathy, asking probing questions, checking with the customer, etc.). Then we track and measure how effective a seller is at executing each of those skills across a variety of use case scenarios.
What metrics have you created to track the effectiveness of your sales onboarding program? What challenges are you experiencing with ramping up your new hires? Please share your thoughts, comments and questions below.
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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.