Structured Onboarding, Enabler to Scaling Your Staffing Business
Having a scalable sales organization, one that produces repeatable and sustainable revenue growth without being overly dependent on a key customer or top performer requires IT staffing firms to adopt a structured new hire onboarding and training program in which all employees are trained consistently. A scalable sales organization refers is one in which all team members have been taught, adopted and execute the same sales skills, sales behaviors, messaging and activities so that your sellers, regardless of experience or talent level, consistently meet and exceed sales quota year-over-year based on following a formulaic process - not last-minute negotiations and guessing. Following this systematic process is what enables sales organizations to replicate or 'clone' success across the organization. It is also what enables companies to achieve sustainable and even predictable revenue growth.
Most IT staffing firms however have little or no sales training content which makes new hire onboarding very unstructured. In fact, most IT staffing firms rely on shadow training in which the new hire observes a tenured employee perform his or her tasks. Under this model, salespeople and especially new hires are left to fend for themselves which slows ramp up time and delays time to first placement and time to quota attainment and leads to employee turnover.
Structured Onboarding, Enabler to Scaling Your Staffing Business
Every sales team and every recruiting team has a top performer. Just imagine what your staffing business would look like if you could clone your top salesperson and your top recruiter. Revenue would go through the roof, right? This is what structured onboarding does. Structured onboarding is the enabler to scaling your staffing business.
How do you think Salesforce.com or Apple onboard new recruiters and new salespeople? Do you think their new hires just shadow a top performer and then start making calls? Of course not. To experience the kind of growth those companies have experienced they put their new hires through a structured and systematic onboarding process that ensures all new hires are trained the exact same way. Most companies don't have the resources of an Apple or a Salesforce.com but all companies can have a structured sales onboarding program.
Examples of Structured Sales Onboarding
So, what does structured sales onboarding look like anyway? Let me offer a couple of examples. New salespeople have lots to learn when they begin a new job. They need training on sales tools such as your CRM and ATS and your lead generation and lead nurturing tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and/or ZoomInfo and many others. Salespeople also need knowledge training. Knowledge training refers to learning things like the staffing industry including VMS and MSP programs, mark-up's, the competition and understanding the industries of your customers including industry trends and drivers. Knowledge training also includes understanding technology. That is a lot already and I haven't even touched on product (services) training or sales skill training.
Most staffing firms try to pack all of this training into a week and in some cases just a few days. Instead, you should extend your sales onboarding and sequence it in a structured format. For example, bucket all of your 'knowledge training content' into knowledge training and build a schedule for new hires to complete this training. Bucket all of your 'sales tool training content' into another bucket and so forth. Structured onboarding means chunking your training content into segmented groups and then sequencing it. To properly sequence your sales training content, think about what a salesperson must absolutely learn and understand in order to make their first placement and hit quota. Your sales onboarding should lead with that content and everything else should follow.
Example of Structured Sales Skills Training
Sales skills training includes things like a sales reps elevator pitch, sharing customer success stories, overcoming objections, pitching a candidate, or executing a cold call. As I mentioned at the onset, part of having a scalable sales organization refers to one in which top performing sales behaviors are replicated across the sales team.
Suppose for a second that Jim is our best salesperson and Jim is AMAZING at opening a sales meeting. To replicate Jim's behavior we would want to define the behaviors, skills and messaging that make Jim amazing at opening a sales meeting. To capture and replicate the behavior we video record Jim modeling his sales opening for the entire sales team to watch and learn from. By incorporating that into sales onboarding for all current and future employees to watch and learn from, it becomes the standard for how salespeople are to open a sales meeting.
Defining, Capturing and Cloning Top Performing Sales Behaviors
That is just one example but there are many different ways a sales rep can “open a sales meeting," some being better than others. Sales leaders have to define the desired skill and/or behavior and then capture it on video so that it can be shared with the team and replicated. To that end, building a scalable sales organization that produces repeatable and sustainable revenue growth is dependent upon the sales team’s ability to consistently execute the desired sales behaviors. But in order to execute the desired sales behaviors, sales leaders must first define what those behaviors are and then capture them. This is why we such big fans of video training and coaching and specifically crowdsourcing sales reps on video and making them available to your team the moment after they sign the offer letter.
Without Cloning Desired Sales Behaviors, Your Sellers are Running Experiments
Let me play out a scenario to illustrate my point. Assume for a second you hire 5 new sales reps on January 1st. Let’s also assume they make thirty cold calls per day trying to qualify sales leads and/or setting up sales meetings. Let’s also assume that each rep attends five sales meetings per week. Add that all up over the course of a year and you just ran 36,000 total cold calls and 650 face to face sales meetings where you're applying consistent, repeatable, predictable sales behaviors that lead to your desired results. OR, you've just run 36,650 individual experiments! Those sales experiments are hindering your ability to scale.
You Should Expect Predictable Results from Your New Hire Onboarding
You should expect predictable results from all of the time, energy and resources put forth into your onboarding. In other words, you should have a good sense of what business results will come from your new hires who have completed onboarding because everyone is being trained the same consistent way. But for most staffing leaders, they have no idea what to expect and therefore have no idea where or how to pivot and change what they're doing. It doesn't have to be this way. Which is why structured onboarding is enabler to scaling your staffing business.
What are you doing to scale your staffing business? How structured is your sales onboarding? I have plenty of additional ideas to share, reach out to me on LinkedIn and let's connect.
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.